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MDC reunification collapses

The reunification of the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change that had been brokered by the two secretary generals, Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube, collapsed over the issue of allocation of constituencies in Bulawayo.

Morgan Tsvangirai said he could not control his regional leaders prompting Arthur Mutambara to blame him for lack of leadership.

Biti blamed the leaders of both factions saying the agreement he had brokered with Ncube was very clear.

It provided for the Tsvangirai faction to contest 70 percent of seats in the seven provinces other than Matabeleland and for the Mutambara faction to contest 70 percent of seats in Matabeleland North and South.

Each faction would contest the seats it now held. In Bulawayo, the agreement called for the Mutambara faction to maintain its current 11 seats and for the Tsvangirai faction to maintain its one seat.

The six newly created House and Senate seats would be split evenly for the factions to contest.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE100, MDC RECONCILIATION FAILS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE100

2008-02-06 14:40

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0793

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0100/01 0371440

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 061440Z FEB 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2461

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1765

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1891

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0476

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1168

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1525

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1947

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4376

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1018

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000100

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL,

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/2018

TAGS: PGOV ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: MDC RECONCILIATION FAILS

 

REF: HARARE 96

 

Classified By: Amb. James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) The anticipated Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

reconciliation collapsed this past weekend over the issue of

allocation of constituencies in Bulawayo. MDC president

Morgan Tsvangirai blamed Matabeleland leaders in both

factions, admitting he was unable to control these regional

leaders from his own faction. Tsvangirai’s counterpart in

the other faction, Arthur Mutambara, claimed he had been

flexible in negotiations, and blamed Tsvangirai for failing

to exercise leadership. Tsvangirai’s secretary general,

Tendai Biti, was dismissive of the leadership of both

factions; an agreement had failed over only two seats in

Bulawayo and people were thinking of themselves rather than

the country. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) The Ambassador met separately with Tsvangirai and

Mutambara on February 4 in the wake of the failed MDC

agreement. Polecon chief met with Biti on February 4.

 

——————————————

Tsvangirai Blames His Matabeleland Members

 

SIPDIS

——————————————

 

3. (C) Tsvangirai said that last week in meetings in South

Africa his faction had agreed in principle to reconciliation

with the Mutambara faction of the MDC. The devil was in the

details, however, and his national council had rejected an

agreement with the Mutambara faction because of disagreement

over the allocation of seats in Matabeleland. They believed

they had more support on the ground than the Mutambara

faction and should have at least a fifty-fifty split of

parliamentary seats in Matabeleland. Tsvangirai expressed

frustration; this was a Matabeleland problem, members of both

factions from Matabeleland were at fault, and he had been

unable to rein his people in.

 

4. (C) Tsvangirai also said the MDC had decided to contest

the election and not boycott. In real terms, he thought he

and the MDC could win, although he said the ZANU-PF rigging

would prevent a recognized vote count in the MDC’s favor.

Contesting the election, however, would allow exposure of

ZANU-PF fraud.

 

5. (C) While acknowledging a reconciled MDC would be

stronger in the elections, Tsvangirai said he was determined

to run for president if there was no reconciliation between

the factions. At the least, there would be de facto

unification; he told us his faction would not run candidates

in constituencies now represented by strong Mutambara-faction

candidates.

 

—————————

Mutambara Blames Tsvangirai

—————————

 

6. (C) Mutambara’s accounting of the failure to achieve

reconciliation tracked with Tsvangirai’s. He said there had

been an initial agreement whereby the Tsvangirai faction

would be allocated 70 percent of seats in seven provinces,

and the Mutambara faction would be allocated 70 percent of

seats in the three Matabeleland provinces (Matabeleland North

and South, and Bulawayo.) Tsvangirai’s national council had

refused to ratify this agreement, and had instead, according

to Mutambara, demanded 50 percent of seats in the three

provinces.

 

HARARE 00000100 002 OF 003

 

 

 

7. (C) Mutambara said he had been flexible in ceding seats

in Harare. The Tsvangirai faction had not shown the same

flexibility in Matabeleland. While he believed Tsvangirai’s

heart was in the right place, he had not exhibited leadership

and had not imposed discipline on his faction. Continuing to

excoriate Tsvangirai, Mutambara said Tsvangirai lacked

character, commitment, and judgment.

 

8. (C) Mutambara stated he would run for president. He

admitted that a divided MDC would surely lose the upcoming

elections. In the process, Mugabe would gain legitimacy.

 

—————————————

Biti Blames Leadership of Both Factions

—————————————

 

9. (C) Tendai Biti, in a February 5 conversation with

polecon chief, clarified and expanded on the differences

between the factions. Biti said he and Mutambara-faction

secretary general Welshman Ncube drafted the rejected

 

SIPDIS

agreement. It provided for the Tsvangirai faction to contest

70 percent of seats in the seven provinces other than

Matabeleland and for the Mutambara faction to contest 70

percent of seats in Matabeleland North and South. Each

faction would contest the seats it now held. In Bulawayo,

the agreement called for the Mutambara faction to maintain

its current 11 seats (6 House and 5 Senate) and for the

Tsvangirai faction to maintain its one seat. The six newly

 

SIPDIS

created House and Senate seats would be split evenly for the

factions to contest. The Tsvangirai national council

rejected this agreement and initially demanded two additional

seats, which would have given them a 30 percent allocation in

Bulawayo, as in the other two Matabeleland provinces. The

Mutambara faction refused to give on this issue. The

Tsvangirai national council then upped the ante and demanded

 

SIPDIS

it be authorized to contest 50 percent of the seats in all

three Matabeleland provinces. Biti said, however, that the

dispute could have been settled if the Mutambara faction

agreed to give up the two Matabeleland seats.

 

10. (C) Biti opined that the Matabeleland members in both

MDC factions were “vicious” and intent on imposing themselves

to replace the late Joshua Nkomo as the “patriarch” of

Matabeleland. He blamed the leadership of both factions–he

called both Welshman Ncube and Tsvangirai “fools”–but was

particularly critical of his president, Tsvangirai. He

termed Tsvangirai a “disaster,” and said if Tsvangirai

proceeded to the elections as head of a divided party, he

would be completely discredited. On the only positive note,

Biti thought strong mediation might yet effect a

reconciliation.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

11. (C) Biti, who spent prodigious amounts of time trying to

reconcile the two factions, is tired and frustrated, and his

criticisms of Tsvangirai may be, at least to an extent,

unjustified. Tsvangirai is dealing with a rump faction

within his faction, and even a stronger leader might have

trouble controlling it. What the failure to reach an

agreement clearly reveals, however, is that the MDC (both

factions) is continuing to allow personal interests to trump

what should be an overriding concern for the country.

 

12. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: The MDC split and possible

further efforts at reconciliation may become moot. Mutambara

told us today that his faction is considering supporting

Simba Makoni and his bid for the presidency (Reftel). END

COMMENT.

 

HARARE 00000100 003 OF 003

 

 

 

 

MCGEE

(16 VIEWS)

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