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Mudede is like a referee who throws away the whistle to join one team

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede was a ZANU-PF partisan who acted like a referee who throws away his whistle and joins one team.

Tsvangirai was commenting on the pending 2002 presidential elections and the rampant manipulation of the electoral process.

He said despite the unlevel playing field, the intimidation and the violence, his party was not going to boycott the elections because the people had sacrificed too much.

Tsvangirai also dismissed members of the Election Supervisory Commission as ZANU-PF zealots but thought that the chair Sobusa Gula-Ndebele’s background as a lawyer might make him more moderate than his colleagues.

He said if the international community wanted to send in election observers, they must be in the country at least six weeks before the elections otherwise they would not see anything amiss.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE3597, MDC WILL NOT BOYCOTT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE3597

2001-11-30 09:52

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

300952Z Nov 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8374

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03597 010817Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00 WHA-00   SRPP-00

EAP-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   L-00     AC-01   NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SS-00

STR-00   TRSE-00 T-00     USIE-00 PMB-00   PRM-00   DRL-02

G-00     SAS-00     /007W

——————45A7F3 010818Z /25

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0441

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

AMEMBASSY OSLO

AMEMBASSY CANBERRA

AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM

AMEMBASSY KINGSTON

AMEMBASSY ABUJA

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 003597

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 11/29/11

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: MDC WILL NOT BOYCOTT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF MATT HARRINGTON.

REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) MDC LEADER MORGAN TSVANGIRAI TOLD THE AMBASSADOR ON

NOVEMBER 27 THAT RAMPANT MANIPULATION OF THE ELECTORAL PROCESS AND

INTENSIFYING VIOLENCE AGAINST OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS CONFIRM THAT

THE RULING PARTY IS PREPARED TO WIN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BY

ANY MEANS. DESPITE THE UNLIKELY PROSPECTS FOR A FREE AND FAIR

VOTE, THE MDC WOULD NOT BOYCOTT, AS “PEOPLE HAVE SACRIFICED TOO

MUCH.” TSVANGIRAI SAID INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS SHOULD BE IN PLACE

AT LEAST SIX WEEKS BEFORE THE ELECTION IN ORDER TO CONDUCT A

CREDIBLE ASSESSMENT AND HE WOULD EMPHASIZE THIS POINT WITH AF

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KANSTEINER IN THE LATTER’S UPCOMING VISIT TO

ZIMBABWE. THE MDC LEADER CONFIRMED THAT HIS PARTY AND ZANU-PF

REMAIN ENGAGED IN “VERY LOW-KEY, EXPLORATORY” TALKS FOCUSED NOT ON

POWER-SHARING BUT ON HOW TO RESTORE NORMALITY TO THE COUNTRY.

TSVANGIRAI EXPRESSED HOPE THAT THE ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY AND

 

SIPDIS

ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT WOULD PASS SOON. END SUMMARY.

 

USG POSITION

————

 

2. (C) IN A NOVEMBER 27 CONVERSATION WITH MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI IN THE OPPOSITION LEADER’S OFFICE, THE AMBASSADOR,

 

SIPDIS

ACCOMPANIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF, CONVEYED THE USG POSITION

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03597 010817Z

THAT CONDITIONS DO NOT NOW EXIST IN ZIMBABWE FOR FREE AND FAIR

ELECTIONS. IT WAS OUR VIEW, HOWEVER, THAT THERE IS STILL TIME TO

CREATE THOSE CONDITIONS, AND THE UNITED STATES WANTED TO BE

HELPFUL IN THAT PROCESS IF POSSIBLE. THE AMBASSADOR SAID WE WOULD

CONTINUE TO PRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF ADMITTING INTERNATIONAL

OBSERVERS AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. HE REPORTED THAT AF ASSISTANT

SECRETARY KANSTEINER WOULD BE IN ZIMBABWE DECEMBER 8-11 AND HOPED

 

SIPDIS

TO BE ABLE TO MEET WITH TSVANGIRAI. THE AMBASSADOR THEN SOLICITED

THE OPPOSITION LEADER’S ASSESSMENT OF RECENT POLITICAL

DEVELOPMENTS.

 

ELECTORAL MACHINATIONS

———————-

 

3. (C) THE GOZ, TSVANGIRAI BEGAN, IS DETERMINED TO WIN THE

ELECTION USING ALL MEANS, AND WANTS TO ENSURE A PREDETERMINED

OUTCOME. MANIPULATION OF THE ELECTORAL PROCESS IS RAMPANT, AS

GOVERNMENT SEEKS TO DISENFRANCHISE LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE. THE

MDC, HE SAID, PLANNED THE FOLLOWING DAY TO FILE SUIT CHALLENGING

THE ONEROUS REQUIREMENTS BEING IMPOSED ON ZIMBABWEANS WHO ARE

TRYING TO REGISTER TO VOTE. THAT MORNING, HE SAID, HIS 18 YEAR-

OLD DAUGHTER HAD INITIALLY BEEN TURNED AWAY WHEN SHE WENT TO

REGISTER, TOLD EITHER TO PRODUCE PROOF OF RESIDENCE OR TO BRING

HER FATHER TO THE OFFICE. THE ELECTORAL OFFICIAL ONLY RELENTED

UNDER PRESSURE FROM THE GIRL’S BODYGUARDS. “IF THIS CAN HAPPEN TO

MY DAUGHTER IN HARARE,” TSVANGIRAI ASSERTED, “IMAGINE WHAT IS

HAPPENING IN ISOLATED RURAL AREAS.”

 

4. (C) THE ELECTORAL SUPERVISORY COMMISSION (ESC), TSVANGIRAI

LAMENTED, HAS NOT PERFORMED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW. IT IS

SUPPOSED TO ENSURE THAT THE ELECTORAL PROCESS IS CARRIED OUT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03597 010817Z

FAIRLY AND CONSISTENT WITH LAID-DOWN RULES, BUT MUCH OF ITS

AUTHORITY HAS BEEN USURPED BY THE REGISTRAR-GENERAL. TSVANGIRAI

DESCRIBED THE REGISTRAR-GENERAL, TOBAIWA MUDEDE, AS A ZANU-PF

PARTISAN, WHO ACTS LIKE A REFEREE WHO THROWS AWAY HIS WHISTLE AND

JOINS ONE TEAM. ASKED WHETHER THE MDC HAS ACCESS TO THE ELECTORAL

SUPERVISORY COMMISSION (ESC), TSVANGIRAI SAID THE PARTY’S

ELECTIONS DIRECTOR WAS SEEKING A MEETING WITH ESC CHAIRMAN SOBUSA

GULA-NDEBELE. HE DISMISSED THE ESC MEMBERS AS “ZANU-PF ZEALOTS”

BUT THOUGHT GULA-NDEBELE’S BACKGROUND AS A LAWYER MIGHT MAKE HIM

MORE MODERATE THAN HIS COLLEAGUES. THE AMBASSADOR ENCOURAGED THE

MDC TO MEET WITH THE REGISTRAR-GENERAL AS WELL. TSVANGIRAI AGREED

IT WAS IMPORTANT TO TRY. THE BOTTOM LINE, THOUGH, IS THAT

ZIMBABWEANS DO NOT HAVE A NON-PARTISAN BODY MONITORING THE

ELECTION PROCESS. HE SAID THE MDC MIGHT PROPOSE IN ITS INTER-PARTY

DIALOGUE WITH ZANU-PF (SEE PARA 8 BELOW) FORMATION OF AN ELECTORAL

COMMISSION COMPRISING BOTH RULING PARTY AND MDC REPRESENTATIVES, A

STEP THAT COULD OBVIATE THE NEED IN THE SHORT-TERM FOR AN

INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL BODY.

 

5. (C) TSVANGIRAI RAISED THE ISSUE OF INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS,

SAYING THE MDC ASSESSMENT WAS THAT OBSERVER GROUPS NEEDED TO BE IN

PLACE AT LEAST SIX WEEKS IN ADVANCE OF THE ELECTION IN ORDER TO DO

A CREDIBLE ASSESSMENT. HE SAID HE WOULD SHARE THAT VIEW WITH A/S

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 003597

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 05       HARARE 03597 010817Z

E.O. 12958: DECL. 11/29/11

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: MDC WILL NOT BOYCOTT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

 

KANSTEINER DURING THE LATTER’S VISIT TO ZIMBABWE. ASKED WHETHER

THE MDC HAS THE CAPACITY TO ASSIGN ITS OWN PARTY AGENTS TO EVERY

POLLING STATION, TSVANGIRAI SAID THEY HAVE ENOUGH PEOPLE. THE

PROBLEM IS THAT, IN ISOLATED AREAS, THE PARTY AGENTS ARE VERY

VULNERABLE AND “TAKE LOTS OF ABUSE.”

 

MORE VIOLENCE BUT BOYCOTT NOT AN OPTION

—————————————

 

6. (C) ACCORDING TO TSVANGIRAI, THE GOZ HAS STEPPED UP ITS

INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE MDC “BY LABELING US TERRORISTS.”

HE INSISTED THAT THE MDC HAD HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CAIN NKALA

MURDER, WHICH WAS LIKELY AN INSIDE JOB. NONETHELESS, THAT

UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT WAS BEING USED AS A PRETEXT BY THE GOZ AND

ZANU-PF TO CRACK DOWN ON THE OPPOSITION PARTY. THE GOVERNMENT’S

CASE WAS UNRAVELING, HOWEVER, AS TWO KEY WITNESSES IN THE CASE HAD

TOLD JOURNALISTS THEIR “CONFESSIONS” HAD BEEN ERRONEOUS AND

EXTRACTED UNDER TORTURE. ACCORDING TO TSVANGIRAI, SIX MDC

SUPPORTERS HELD IN THE CASE HAD BEEN RELEASED, LEAVING ONLY FIVE

OR SIX STILL UNDER DETENTION. HE EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT ZANU-PF

SUPPORTERS ARE NOW GOING HOUSE-TO-HOUSE BEATING MDC SUPPORTERS IN

CHEGUTU, A TOWN 100 KM SOUTHWEST OF HARARE WHICH IS DUE TO HOLD A

MAYORAL ELECTION DECEMBER 8-9.

 

7. (C) TSVANGIRAI SAID SOME HAVE URGED THE MDC TO BOYCOTT NEXT

YEAR’S ELECTION, SINCE CURRENT CONDITIONS WOULD PRECLUDE A FREE

AND FAIR VOTE. TSVANGIRAI REJECTED THE SUGGESTION OUT OF HAND,

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 06       HARARE 03597 010817Z

SAYING A BOYCOTT IS NOT EVEN BEING CONSIDERED. HE SAID THE MDC

WOULD COMPETE EVEN IF IT HAS TO LIMP INTO THE ELECTION. “PEOPLE

HAVE SACRIFICED TOO MUCH FOR US TO DO OTHERWISE,” TSVANGIRAI

DECLARED.

 

INTER-PARTY DIALOGUE

——————–

 

8. (C) ACCORDING TO TSVANGIRAI, ZANU-PF AND THE MDC REMAIN

ENGAGED IN “EXPLORATORY” ATTEMPTS AT INTER-PARTY DIALOGUE. THE

TALKS ARE “VERY LOW-KEY” AND HAVE NOT EVEN BEEN BROUGHT TO THE

ATTENTION OF HIS OWN NATIONAL PARTY EXECUTIVE. HE EMPHASIZED THAT

THESE DISCUSSIONS ARE NOT ABOUT POWER-SHARING BUT ABOUT HOW TO

RETURN THE COUNTRY TO NORMALITY. TSVANGIRAI SAID THE MDC HAS TOLD

ZANU-PF VIA THIS CHANNEL THAT AN ELECTORAL CODE OF CONDUCT IS

IMPERATIVE AND THAT, IF THERE IS AGREEMENT ON SUCH A DOCUMENT, THE

MDC WOULD BE WILLING TO CONSIDER A DELAY IN THE ELECTION. ASKED

WHETHER THE MDC WOULD JOIN ZANU-PF IN APPEALING FOR CALM AND AN

END TO THE VIOLENCE, TSVANGIRAI SAID HE WOULD DO SO

“ENTHUSIASTICALLY.” THE MDC, HE ASSERTED, HAS ACTED AS A

“RESTRAINING FACTOR” IN ZIMBABWE’S CHARGED ATMOSPHERE BECAUSE THE

PARTY IS COMMITTED TO “PEACEFUL DEMOCRATIC DISCOURSE.” THE

AMBASSADOR REMARKED THAT ANY PROGRESS IN THIS CHANNEL WOULD BE A

POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT AND SAID THE USG WAS PREPARED TO BE HELPFUL

IN ANY WAY IT COULD.

 

CAMPAIGNING

———–

 

9. (C) THE AMBASSADOR ASKED WHETHER TSVANGIRAI IS ABLE TO MOVE

FREELY AROUND THE COUNTRY. TSVANGIRAI REPLIED THAT HE HAD

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 07        HARARE 03597 010817Z

ADDRESSED TWO RALLIES THE WEEKEND BEFORE NEAR CHIREDZI, IN

SOUTHEASTERN ZIMBABWE, AND HE HAD NOT EXPERIENCED ANY SERIOUS

PROBLEMS. POLICE WERE IN ATTENDANCE, BUT THEY CONSTITUTED MORE OF

A THREATENING PRESENCE THAN A PROTECTIVE ONE. TSVANGIRAI SAID HE

DOES NOT ENJOY THE SAME FREEDOM IN MASHONALAND CENTRAL, A PROVINCE

WHICH IS LARGELY A NO-GO AREA FOR THE MDC. INSTEAD OF HOLDING

LARGE RALLIES THERE, THE PARTY BRINGS ITS SUPPORTERS FOR TRAINING

TO HARARE, THEN SENDS THEM BACK TO ENGAGE IN DISCREET DOOR-TO-DOOR

CAMPAIGNING, PRIMARILY WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

 

ZDERA

—–

 

10. (C) THE MDC LEADER EXPRESSED HIS HOPE THAT THE ZIMBABWE

DEMOCRACY AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT (ZDERA) WOULD BE PASSED SOON.

THE AMBASSADOR REPLIED THAT RECENT POLITICAL EVENTS HAVE LIKELY

INCREASED THE INCLINATION OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO

MOVE FORWARD QUICKLY ON THIS LEGISLATION. (NOTE: ZDERA WAS

APPROVED BY THE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE THE

FOLLOWING DAY. END NOTE.)

 

COMMENT

——-

 

11. (C) TSVANGIRAI SEEMED TIRED — LIKELY A RESULT OF

GOVERNMENT’S INTENSIFIED CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE MDC OVER THE LAST

SEVERAL WEEKS — BUT HE REMAINED UPBEAT. HE WAS CLEARLY

DETERMINED TO CONTEST THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION NO MATTER HOW MUCH

PRESSURE HE AND HIS PARTY ARE SUBJECTED TO. TSVANGIRAI’S POINT

ABOUT THE SACRIFICES MADE TO DATE BY THE MDC’S SUPPORTERS IS SPOT

ON, BUT HE ALSO REALIZES THAT THIS IS A POLITICALLY SAVVY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 08       HARARE 03597 010817Z

POSITION. MANY ZIMBABWEANS ARE ANXIOUS TO CAST VOTES IN THE

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND WANT AN ALTERNATIVE TO MUGABE ON THE

BALLOT; TSVANGIRAI WOULD NEVER BE FORGIVEN BY HIS SUPPORTERS IF HE

WITHDREW FROM THE RACE OR IF THE PARTY OPTED OUT ON ELECTION DAY.

WE FOUND ODD HIS EXPRESSED WILLINGNESS TO CONSIDER A DELAY IN THE

ELECTION IF MDC AND ZANU-PF AGREE ON AN ELECTORAL CODE OF CONDUCT,

AS WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE CONSTITUTION PERMITS NO FLEXIBILITY FOR

POSTPONING THE ELECTION BEYOND MARCH 31, 2002. IT IS GOOD THAT

ZANU-PF AND THE MDC CONTINUE TO TALK, AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO

ENCOURAGE SUCH A DIALOGUE, BUT OUR EXPECTATIONS ARE NOT HIGH.

THEIR SECRET DISCUSSIONS HAVE BEEN ONGOING FOR MORE THAN A YEAR,

AND THE FACT THAT THEY REMAIN “EXPLORATORY” AND “VERY LOW-KEY”

DOES NOT PROVIDE MUCH HOPE FOR A BREAKTHROUGH.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

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