Movement for Democratic Change secretary for presidential affairs Gandhi Mudzingwa said party leader Morgan Tsvangirai was going to stand his ground in the intra-party conflict over participating in the senate elections even if this meant driving the party’s current Ndebele leadership away.
He said that senate election participation was not the real issue dividing the party. It was just the ground disloyal elements had chosen to attack Tsvangirai.
Mudzingwa said some opposing faction members were motivated by personal greed or a misguided belief that by participating in the senate elections the party could “regain” political ground lost to the ruling party in the March parliamentary election.
He argued that the party was likely to lose further ground because of the election climate and government manipulation.
He said that despite their differences, Tsvangirai was prepared to work with secretary-general Welshman Ncube, vice president Gibson Sibanda, treasurer Fletcher Dhulini-Ncube, and chairman Isaac Matongo but not with deputy secretary-general Gift Chimanikire, whose public attacks on Tsvangirai had been beyond the pale.
Viewing cable 05HARARE1512, TSVANGIRAI AIDE ON PARTY RIFT, CIVIL ACTION, PITCH
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001512
AF/S FOR B. NEULING
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2010
SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI AIDE ON PARTY RIFT, CIVIL ACTION, PITCH
BY THIRD FORCE
REF: (A) HARARE 1509 (B) HARARE 1508 (C) HARARE 1490
(D) HARARE 1455 (E) HARARE 1421
Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.4 b/d
¶1. (C) MDC Secretary for Presidential Affairs Gandhi
Mudzingwa on November 2 told poloff that opposition President
Morgan Tsvangirai would stand his ground in the intra-party
conflict, even if it meant driving the party’s current
Ndebele leadership away. He said that Tsvangirai would make
his case at the November 5 National Council meeting and would
then go to the people of Matabeleland at rallies next week.
Mudzingwa said the MDC and civil society were co-planning
public “events,” starting next week and peaking in December.
Mudzingwa added that a &third force8 delegation led by
Jonathan Moyo approached him last month about making common
cause with the MDC. End Summary.
National Council Agenda
¶2. (C) Mudzingwa reported that the agenda for the National
Council meeting scheduled for November 3 included (1)
participation in senate elections, (2) preparations for the
National Congress, (3) an action plan for confronting the
regime, and (4) the status of MP Job Sikhala (who the party
suspended recently over his public statements that Nigeria,
Ghana and Taiwan had funded the party, a claim he later
publicly conceded was false).
Leadership Struggle Central
¶3. (C) Mudzingwa said that senate election participation was
not the real issue dividing the party. It was instead the
ground disloyal elements had chosen on which to attack
Tsvangirai. The opposing faction wanted Tsvangirai to
acknowledge procedural wrongdoing by in disregarding the
National Council’s vote in favor of participation. However,
Tsvangirai had done nothing wrong and would not compromise.
According to Mudzingwa, an earlier resolution of the National
Executive had required Councilors to consult with their
constituencies. However, the consultation in many cases had
been nonexistent or inadequate and therefore the Council vote
had been null and void.
¶4. (C) Mudzingwa said that leadership issues were central to
the party’s divisions and could only be resolved at a
National Congress. To that end, Tsvangirai intended to call
an Extraordinary Congress in December. The Congress would
require support from 3/4 of the National Council, which
Mudzinwa expressed confidence could be mustered. Ultimately,
Mudzingwa continued, the party’s constitution would have to
amended to better establish lines of authority and improve
party procedures. To this end, he was aware an amended
version had been drafted – by whom he did not know – but had
not been circulated.
¶5. (C) Mudzingwa said the opposing faction members were
motivated by personal greed or a misguided belief that by
participating in the senate elections the party could
“regain” political ground lost to the ruling party in the
most recent parliamentary election. In fact, the party was
likely only to further lose ground given the election climate
and certain GOZ manipulations. He claimed the Ndebele people
were solidly behind Tsvangirai and that Sibanda was the only
one of the party’s Ndebele leaders who commanded any real
support at the grassroots level. Mudzingwa discounted the
notion that an MDC split would sap the party’s historical
strength in Matabeleland.
¶6. (C) Mudzingwa said breaches between Tsvangirai and others
in the “Top Six” were “irreparable.” When pressed, he
allowed that Tsvangirai could probably continue to work with
Secretary-General Welshman Ncube, Vice President Gibson
Sibanda, Treasurer Fletcher Dhulini-Ncube, and Chairman Isaac
Matongo (who historically has been closely aligned with
Tsvangirai) but not Deputy Secretary-General Gift
Chimanikire, whose public attacks on Tsvangirai had been
beyond the pale. Mudzingwa added that the dissidents meeting
with South African President Mbeki had further alienated
Tsvangirai and the party faithful.
Collaboration With Civics; Action Plan Emerging
¶7. (C) Mudzingwa reported that Tsvangirai was personally
leading the party,s interaction with civil society leaders
on a combined strategy of civil action against the Mugabe
regime. The party was working particularly closely with the
Zimbabwe Confederation of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA). They also intended
to secure the participation of churches, students, resident
associations, women, the Crisis Coalition, and other
¶8. (C) According to Mudzingwa, Tsvangirai wanted a series of
different kinds of events – party rallies, public
demonstrations, civil disobedience in various guises – that
would build toward a December peak. The NCA was planning
unspecified street action in several locations within the
next week (Ref A); the party would “activate local
structures” to be supportive. Mudzingwa anticipated that the
principal rallying issue would be the economy, particularly
prices. Actions would have to be geographically dispersed,
not just in Harare and Bulawayo where the GOZ would be well
prepared to respond. He said the MDC was already mobilizing
for events in Masvingo, Midlands, and Manicaland.
Third Force Pitch
¶9. (C) Mudzingwa said he had met on Tsvangirai’s behalf
three weeks ago with &third force8 leaders Moyo, ex-ZANU-PF
Central Committee member Pearson Mbalekwa, and former ZANU-PF
Chairman for Masvingo and telecom magnate Daniel Shumba at
the threesome’s confidential instigation. They had confirmed
that the “United People’s Movement” or UPM was a vehicle for
Emmerson Mnangagwa and had asked if Tsvangirai would
collaborate with them and consider joining forces under
Mnangagwa. Mudzingwa said he told them that there was
nothing to discuss until the UPM and the identity of its
principals emerged publicly.
¶10. (S/NF) Mudzingwa has frequently been accused by his
critics within the party and civil society of being behind
intra-party violence and of being compromised by GOZ security
forces. Sensitive reporting indicates that his name was
disclosed by a South African agent (who is still being held
by the GOZ) as one of several MDC figures on the SAG payroll.
This information may have been used by the GOZ to induce
Mudzingwa’s cooperation. In this vein, though not
conclusive, Mudzingwa had difficulty explaining to poloff
(and no doubt to his MDC colleagues) the recent hiring of his
wife as a professor at Chinhoyi University of Science and
Technology after she was fired as a secondary school teacher
years ago for her association with the MDC. In any event
(and unfortunately if these allegations are correct), he
appears for now to retain Tsvangirai’s confidence.
¶11. (C) While Mudzingwa is a close and important aide, we do
not necessarily take his characterizations of Tsvangirai’s
position as fully accurate. Nonetheless, his posture is
illustrative of the “unelected kitchen cabinet” that many in
the party and civil society – even outside the Ncube faction
– resent. Mudzingwa,s comments would seem to confirm MDC
mediator Brian Raftopolous’ suspicions (Ref B) that this
group of advisors appears to be encouraging Tsvangirai not to
compromise with the Ncube faction by offering a face-saving
concession on process issues ) a compromise Tsvangirai
appeared prepared to accept when the Ambassador met with him
the evening of the October 27 leadership meeting (Ref C). As
to the UPM’s approach, we would argue that this testifies to
a growing power vacuum in Zimbabwe as Mugabe,s grip loosens,
as well as to the internal weaknesses of both principal