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Mugabe and Tsvangirai in a quandary over GPA

President Robert Mugabe did not want the inclusive government to collapse and at the same time the Movement for Democratic Change did not have a Plan B except for elections.

This was the view of the United States embassy when the MDC disengaged from the government in October 2009 to force Mugabe to implement four outstanding issues with the Global Political Agreement.

The MDC was pressing Mugabe to cancel the appointments of central bank governor Gideon Gono and attorney general Johannes Tomana, to swear in its treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy Minister of Agriculture, and to appoint MDC governors as had been earlier agreed.

The embassy said Mugabe felt that the collapse of the inclusive government would result in chaos so he was hanging on because he believed he could maintain the balance of power within the GPA.

The MDC, on the other hand, had no Plan B and even if it left the government it was not clear how it could cause elections to be held.

“The ultimate goal of the MDC-successful elections-is best realized by remaining in government,” the embassy said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE843, ENDING THE IMPASSE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE843

2009-10-22 14:58

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7276

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0843/01 2951458

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 221458Z OCT 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5054

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3109

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3222

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1649

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2483

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2852

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3270

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5717

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2402

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000843

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2019

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: ENDING THE IMPASSE

 

REF: A) HARARE 832 B) HARARE 826

 

Classified By: CDA Donald Petterson for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Next week in Harare will see a flurry of activity

aimed at ending the MDC’s “disengagement” from ZANU-PF and a

resumption of government under the Global Political Agreement

(GPA). Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who will return to

Harare on October 23 after meeting with regional leaders,

will meet with President Robert Mugabe and Deputy Prime

Minister Arthur Mutambara on October 26. On October 29, the

three principals and their GPA negotiators from the three

parties will meet with Southern African Development Community

(SADC) Troika representatives and a representative from South

Africa, the GPA facilitator. With both Mugabe and the MDC-T

interested in the survival of the GPA and pressure on Mugabe

from at least parts of SADC, compromise on the four

outstanding issues–the appointments of Reserve Bank of

Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes

Tomana, the swearing-in of Roy Bennett as Deputy Secretary of

Agriculture, and the appointment of provincial governors–and

an end to the current impasse is likely in the next couple of

weeks. END SUMMARY.

 

———————–

A Week of Disengagement

———————–

 

2. (C) After declaring that the MDC would disengage from

ZANU-PF (Refs), Tsvangirai traveled to South Africa and

onward to meet with SADC leaders and seek SADC pressure on

Mugabe to comply with the GPA. The MDC held a “Cabinet”

meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe

yesterday to discuss the impasse. Khupe told the Charge

today that the MDC remained solidly behind the policy of

“disengagement.” She noted that there were four outstanding

issues that formed the basis of the MDC pullout: the

appointments of Gono and Tomana in violation of the GPA,

Mugabe’s refusal to swear-in Roy Bennett as Deputy Secretary

of Agriculture, and Mugabe’s refusal to honor an agreement

made with Tsvangirai in June to swear-in provincial

governors. Khupe said that appointment of governors and

resolution of the Bennett issue would be enough for the MDC

to reengage; the removal of Gono and Tomana were part of a

“process” that the MDC would continue to pursue. Echoing

Tsvangirai (Ref A), Khupe said that if no agreement were

reached, the MDC would move for elections.

 

3. (C) For its part, ZANU-PF has so far been relatively

restrained. Columnists in The Herald have alleged that the

MDC action was precipitated because Bennett is white, and

that this demonstrates that the MDC is taking instructions

from the West. But leading ZANU-PF politicians, including

Mugabe, have not gone on the attack. And yesterday, The

Herald’s banner headline was “Tsvangirai still PM, says

Govt.” The accompanying article quoted Mugabe spokesman

George Charamba that Mugabe still considered Tsvangirai the

prime minister since Tsvangirai had not communicated anything

to the contrary. Mugabe presided over the weekly Cabinet

Qto the contrary. Mugabe presided over the weekly Cabinet

meeting on Tuesday without MDC-T ministers. According to a

ZANU-PF minister, quoted by The Herald, “It was business as

usual.”

 

——————-

MDC-M in the Middle

——————-

 

4. (U) MDC-M Deputy Prime Minister has tried to carve out a

 

HARARE 00000843 002 OF 003

 

 

role as mediator. He met with Mugabe on Monday and later in

the day spoke to Tsvangirai in South Africa urging

reconciliation. He later held a press conference in which he

blasted the rearrest of Bennett and the failure to swear him

in; he pointed out that he, Minister of Finance Tendai Biti,

and Minister of Constitutional Affairs Eric Matinenga all had

pending charges, yet had been sworn in. He said MDC-T was

justified in the action it had taken, but MDC-M would attend

Cabinet meetings to act as a check on ZANU-PF and prevent if

from taking unwise decisions. He asserted that there were

ZANU-PF hardliners that wanted the government to fail, but

that the three parties should work for its success.

Mutambara also argued that Mugabe had not been legitimately

elected, and that the legitimacy of the government rested on

the GPA. If the MDC were to renounce the GPA and pull out of

government, there would be no government and Mugabe would

have no legitimacy as president.

 

5. (C) Mutambara told us today he thought the issues of

appointment of governors and Roy Bennett should be easily

resolved. The appointments of Gono and Tomana were

problematic, however. While it was obvious, according to

Mutambara, that the appointments violated the GPA, Mugabe had

publicly stated he would not rescind them. Mutambara

suggested Tsvangirai would have to compromise. A longtime

critic of sanctions, he suggested that Tsvangirai call for

the removal of sanctions to get buy-in from Mugabe on

outstanding issues.

 

—————————–

Tsvangirai Seeks SADC Support

—————————–

 

6. (C) Over the last couple of days, Tsvangirai met with

presidents Guebuza of Mozambique and Zuma of South Africa.

Khupe, who had been briefed by Tsvangirai, said the meeting

with Zuma was positive. Zuma was concerned about spillover

effect from an unstable Zimbabwe for the World Cup in 2010

and took the position that Mugabe should comply with the GPA.

Guebuza, on the other hand, told Tsvangirai that the GPA

issues were internal, and that he and Mugabe should resolve

them. Tsvangirai is traveling to the Congo and Angola to

meet presidents Kabila and Dos Santos and will return Friday

to Harare.

 

7. (C) According to Mutambara and MDC sources, the three GPA

principals–Mugabe, Tsvangirai, and Mutambara–will meet

together on October 26. The same sources indicate the SADC

Troika of the Organ on Politics, Security and Defence

(Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zambia), accompanied by South

Africa as the GPA facilitator, will meet with the principals

and the GPA negotiators from the three parties on October 29

in Harare. (NOTE: Khupe told the Charge that she had met

with King Mswati of Swaziland and President Banda a couple

of weeks ago. She said they were very frustrated with Mugabe

and supportive of the MDC’s position on outstanding issues.

END NOTE.)

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

8. (C) With notable exceptions, Mugabe and most of ZANU-PF

Q8. (C) With notable exceptions, Mugabe and most of ZANU-PF

do not want the GPA to collapse and this is reflected in

their relatively restrained reaction to the MDC’s actions.

Mugabe believes he can maintain the balance of power within

the GPA, and that the collapse of the GPA could result in

chaos. The MDC has no Plan B except for elections and, if it

were to leave government, it is unclear how it could cause

elections to be held. The ultimate goal of the

MDC–successful elections–is best realized by remaining in

government. Therefore, once again, it is in the interest of

 

HARARE 00000843 003 OF 003

 

 

both sides to compromise.

 

9. (C) The most likely areas for compromise are the

appointments of governors and swearing-in of Bennett,

although ZANU-PF could drag this out until after his trial,

scheduled for November 9. Because of Mugabe’s public

pronouncements, rescission of the appointments of Gono and

Tomana will be more difficult. The key to a compromise will

be the ability of both sides to save face. Tsvangirai will

have to get something substantial, although not everything.

And Mugabe will have to get something. This could be a

statement by Tsvangirai that he supports the removal of

economic sanctions (read sanctions against banks and

parastatals, not against individuals), a position he and

Minister of Finance Tendai Biti have supported in private

conversations. An agreement is likely, and the Inclusive

Government will continue to function with incremental

progress. END COMMENT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PETTERSON

(15 VIEWS)

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