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MDC was going to look for new leader if Tsvangirai lost 2008 election

The Movement for Democratic Change was going to look for a new leader if its leader Morgan Tsvangirai lost the 2008 elections regardless of its character or legitimacy.

This was said by IDASA analyst Sydney Masamvu who met Tsvangirai in Pretoria shortly after Tsvangirai had addressed the diplomatic corps in June 2007.

Tsvangirai told Masamvu that there was a 95 percent chance that the MDC would boycott the elections because it was pointless to participate in a forlorn hope.

He said the MDC participated in an unfair election the last time around and achieved nothing by their effort.

Masamvu said though Tsvangirai consistently pointed out that his supporters did not want to participate in a charade; Tsvangirai also appeared to have selfish motives in that he realised that the next election would likely be his last chance to become the President.

Masamvu said if Tsvangirai lost the next election, despite its character or legitimacy, MDC grassroots would likely look for another leader with a better chance of achieving a better result.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07PRETORIA2105, ZIMBABWE: SADC INITIATIVE OFF TO SLOW START

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07PRETORIA2105

2007-06-12 13:30

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO2586

PP RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #2105/01 1631330

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 121330Z JUN 07

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0300

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 4479

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 002105

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR P, AF, DRL, AF/S

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/06/2017

TAGS: PREL PINR PGOV SADC ZI SF

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: SADC INITIATIVE OFF TO SLOW START

 

REF: PRETORIA 2044

 

Classified By: Charges d’Affaires Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(b) an

d (d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. Political analyst Sydney Masamvu told PolOff

on 5 June that the SADC initiative is off to a slow and

disheartening start. ZANU-PF’s official submission to Mbeki

includes troublesome non-starters like demanding that the MDC

acknowledge that Mugabe was elected in a free and fair poll

and is the legitimate President of Zimbabwe. MDC is growing

frustrated with the process and is already leaning toward

boycotting the next election. If one were keeping score,

Mugabe would be in the lead. However, Masamvu, who was in

Harare last week, also believes that many in ZANU-PF are

ready for the SADC-led initiative to work, especially those

who see themselves as Mugabe’s successors. END SUMMARY.

 

————————————-

ZANU-PF PLAYS GAMES WITH NEGOTIATIONS

————————————-

 

2. (C) After asking for a week’s extension, ZANU-PF on 4 June

gave President Mbeki its official response to MDC’s

submission on their vision of the way forward. Political

analyst Sydney Masamvu (strictly protect) told PolOff on 5

June that ZANU-PF’s submission calls on the MDC to: 1) join

SADC leaders in their call for an end to all foreign

sanctions, 2) acknowledge that the last election was free and

fair and that Mugabe is the legitimate President of Zimbabwe,

and 3) agree to a constitutional amendment guaranteeing

Mugabe immunity from any prosecution. (Comment: The ZANU-PF

insistence on labeling Mugabe “legitimate” could be viewed as

one pillar of immunity, but also as a stalling tactic since

ZANU-PF must realize the MDC would never acknowledge such a

statement. End Comment). Rex Mujuru told Masamvu last week

in Harare that Mugabe’s biggest fear is prosecution (i.e.,

before the International Court in the Hague), but that many

in the party, included Rex himself, no longer share Mugabe’s

concerns and would not be upset if he were prosecuted.

Mujuru also told Masamvu that Mugabe had tried to put him

under CIO surveillance three months ago, but that the CIO

refused and told him immediately. At that point, according

to Mujuru, he would have handed Mugabe over if he could.

 

3. (C) In the meantime, Masamvu believes that Mugabe and his

team are already trying to outfox Mbeki (again). For

example, Mugabe’s attempts to enlarge the legislature and

allow Parliament to choose the President will prevent the MDC

from becoming king-makers. Currently, if the MDC regained

all of its 41 seats, it would break the tie between the two

ZANU-PF factions that support either Mujuru or Mugabe.

Masamvu also said that during the first face to face meeting

between ZANU-PF negotiators and MDC Secretaries Generals,

Goche told Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube that they did not

need Mbeki and suggested that they negotiate amongst

themselves in Harare. Masamvu called the move “cheeky” and

said that Mbeki was not happy with the comment. Masamvu also

added that Mbeki should never have chosen someone like Sydney

Mufamadi (SAG Minister of Local Government and Mbeki’s

diplomatic trouble-shooter) to become involved since “the

Zimbabweans will run circles around him.”

 

—————————————–

MDC FOCUSING ON SELF-PRESERVATION FOR NOW

—————————————–

 

4. (C) MDC Leader Morgan Tsvangirai asked to meet with

Masamvu immediately after he addressed the diplomatic corps

in Pretoria on 5 June (Ref A). Though Tsvangirai told

diplomats that it is too early to take a decision about

whether they will participate in elections or not, Tsvangirai

confided to Masamvu that the chances of them boycotting are

currently at 95 percent. Masamvu agreed with Morgan’s

assessment that it was pointless to participate in a forlorn

hope. The MDC participated in an unfair election the last

time around, he concluded, and achieved nothing by their

effort. Though Tsvangirai consistently points out that his

supporters do not want to participate in a charade, he also

appears to have selfish motives in that he realizes that the

next election will likely be his last chance to become the

President. According to Masamvu, if Tsvangirai loses the

next election, despite its character or legitimacy, MDC

grassroots will likely look for another leader with a better

chance of achieving a better result.

 

—————————–

 

PRETORIA 00002105 002 OF 002

 

 

ZANU-PF ALLIANCES STILL FLUID

—————————–

 

5. (C) Masamvu described ongoing and changing alliances

between ZANU-PF members. According to Masamvu, Rex Mujuru is

“restless” and is becoming closer to Emerson Mnangagwa.

Masamvu also heard that the heightened state of alert by the

military was due to concerns about a palace coup, not the

activities of the opposition. When asked who would lead such

a coup, Masamvu said Rex Mujuru. The Women’s League, whose

president recently said that “a fish rotten at the head

should be thrown away,” is leaning toward Simba Makoni.

Masamvu also suspects that Gono is gaining ground and warned

PolOff that if Mugabe is not running, Gono will throw his hat

in the ring 3 months before an election. Masamvu told PolOff

that Gono acknowledges he could not defeat Mugabe, but that

Gono believes he could easily defeat Mujuru and Mnangagwa.

 

———————————

MBEKI CALLS ON MASAMVU FOR ADVICE

———————————

 

6. (C) Masamvu told PolOff that Mbeki asked him and Mike

McGovern from International Crisis Group to meet with him and

Deputy ForMin Pahad to discuss Zimbabwe at the beginning of

May. (Note: Masamvu said the meeting was held at 1:00 am at

Mbeki’s official residence and that Mbeki “was at his best,”

even at that hour. Masamvu was told that Mbeki’s last

meeting that day was scheduled for 3:00 am. End Note) Mbeki

specifically asked Masamvu about the configuration of

political loyalties within the Zimbabwean military and what

kind of assistance the MDC would need to govern. Masamvu

responded that the military is divided in thirds, with

one-third loyal to Mugabe, one-third to Mujuru, and one-third

to Mnangagwa. As for the MDC, Masamvu said, “I had to be

honest; I told them that MDC would win in a free and fair

election, but they would need significant help building

capacity to govern effectively.” Masamvu then joked that

given the shallowness of the MDC ranks, the party would have

to run two pages of classified ads just to get enough

ministers to fill a cabinet.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) Masamvu’s insights into the interpersonal, political

and social dynamics influencing events in Zimbabwe are in

demand by regional and international leaders and analysts.

He was the primary author of the recent analysis on Zimbabwe,

following the SADC Special Session in Dar es Salaam,

published by the International Crisis Group. South Africa’s

highest leaders who are most directly engaged in the

SADC-mandated initiative pursued by President Mbeki call on

Masamvu and seem to value his assessment of the situation.

They and others seek his advice as they formulate their

policies and strategies. As such, Masamvu has become as much

an influential player in these complicated developments as he

is a keen eyed observer and analyst. Nevertheless, his

judgment is valued because he is often close to the mark and

has the rare ability to move comfortably between opposition

and ruling party leaders while maintaining warm associations

within the Zimbabwean and international NGO communities.

Post has learned to trust his judgment. In this case, he

confessed a personal sense of despondency with the pace of

events that significantly chills any optimistic expectations

for the near term.

Teitelbaum

 

(12 VIEWS)

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