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Mugabe and Tsvangirai in a quandary over ministerial posts

Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front president Robert Mugabe and his Movement for Democratic Change counterpart Morgan Tsvangirai were in a quandary over the distribution of ministerial posts following the 15 September inclusive government deal.

Though four ministerial posts- Home Affairs, Finance, Local Government and Foreign Affairs- had caused the stalemate, Mugabe and Tsvangirai were reported to have agreed that Home Affairs and Finance could go to the MDC, but hardliners from each party did not agree.

Mugabe’s lieutenants did not want to give up Home Affairs which controlled the police allegedly because they were afraid of being arrested for their corrupt activities.

Tsvangirai’s supporters, including his secretary general Tendai Biti, wanted all four accusing Tsvangirai of having already given in too much to ZANU-PF.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE932, ZANU-PF–MDC NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE932

2008-10-17 10:51

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8024

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0932/01 2911051

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 171051Z OCT 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3572

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2358

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2476

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0986

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1754

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2109

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2530

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4962

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1625

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000932

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

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: 10/17/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF–MDC NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE

 

REF: A. HARARE 915

B. HARARE 895

C. HARARE 889

 

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Talks between ZANU-PF and the MDC aimed at resolving

outstanding issues from the September 15 ageement,

principally the allocation of ministries, came to an impasse

late Thursday evening. While discussions, mediated by former

South African president Thabo Mbeki, initially focused on two

ministries–finance and home affairs–the MDC has insisted on

an “equitable” distribution of ministries. This would entail

negotiations on ministries across the board. The parties are

scheduled to meet once again on Friday. If ZANU-PF, as

expected, does not agree to a broader discussion, the MDC

intends to argue to the AU and SADC that a power-sharing

agreement is unworkable and that there should be new,

internationally supervised, elections. END SUMMARY.

 

—————–

Setting the Stage

—————–

 

2. (C) MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed the Septmeber 15

power-sharing agreement against the advice of advisors who

believed that the agreement left unsettled major issues,

particularly the distribution of ministries between ZANU-PF

and the MDC. Tsvangirai and Mugabe had tentatively agreed on

an allocation between the two parties, although no agreement

was reached on the important ministries of finance, home

affairs, local government, and foreign affairs. Tsvangirai

intimated that the deal could be concluded if ZANU-PF ceded

control of finance and home affairs to the MDC (Ref C), but

others in his party, including negotiator Tendai Biti, were

pushing for more (Ref A).

 

3. (C) At the same time, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe

was facing resistance to the September 15 agreement from

hardliners in his own party (Ref B). In an apparent salve to

them, and in anticipation of Mbeki’s mediation this week,

Mugabe on October 10 had officially published an allocation

of ministries that would give the four outstanding ministries

to ZANU-PF (although Mugabe at the time stated publicly that

no decision had been made on finance).

 

4. (C) MDC officials this as a provocation and a

demonstration of bad faith. Biti told us before Mbeki’s most

recent mediation effort began on October 13, that he believed

ZANU-PF’s action in publishing the list represented an

opportunity to reopen the entire subject of allocation of

ministries and to focus on a equitable distribution that went

beyond finance and home affairs.

 

———————

This Week’s Mediation

———————

 

5. (C) The first three days of talks this week, according to

MDC contacts, focused on the finance and home affairs

ministries. Mugabe agreed to give finance to the MDC and

then agreed to a proposal put forward by MDC-Mutambara leader

Arthur Mutambara that leadership of home affairs be shared by

ZANU-PF and the MDC on a six-month rotating basis. ZANU-PF

apparently thought this would satisfy MDC-Tsvangirai, and the

government newspaper The Herald reported that a deal was

near. On Thursday, Tsvangirai rejected the proposal on home

 

HARARE 00000932 002 OF 002

 

 

affairs, and told Mugabe and Mbeki that he wanted a

discussion on all ministries in order to arrive at an

“equitable” distribution. In other words, if ZANU-PF

received defense, MDC should have home affairs (police). If

ZANU-PF had justice, MDC should have local government or

information. And so on.

 

6. (C) ZANU-PF was reportedly surprised by the the MDC’s

attempt to expand the discussion. It believes that the MDC

is continuing to change the goal posts and this has

strengthened the position of hardliners who are opposed to an

agreement.

 

———-

Next Steps

———-

 

7. (C) The parties are scheduled to meet again today,

Friday. Biti told us this morning he sees little hope of an

agreement, and that a meeting today will serve only to

demonstrate that negotiations have irrevocably failed.   He

said the MDC will then make the case to the AU and SADC that

further negotiations would be futile, and that there should

be new, internationally supervised elections.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

8. (C) We don’t rule out the possibility that there could

yet be an agreement based upon the MDC taking control of both

the finance and home affairs ministries. In the past couple

of weeks both Mugabe and Tsvangirai have given indications

that this would be acceptable to them. But both face

recalcitrant hardliners within their parties: Mugabe from

insiders who stand to lose patronage spoils and who could

face investigation and prosecution it the MDC heads these

ministries; and Tsvangirai from advisors such as Biti who are

deeply suspicious of ZANU-PF and want a more equitable

agreement. It is particularly significant that Tsvangirai,

who signed the September 15 agreement against the wishes of

his national council, now appears to be working closely with

Biti and unwilling to compromise without MDC consensus.

 

 

DHANANI

(22 VIEWS)

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