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Mugabe behind offer for GNU

President Robert Mugabe was behind the offer for a government of national unity made by Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, Movement for Democratic Change advisor Clive Puzey said.

Puzey said he had met with Mugabe’s long-time confidante Father Fidelis Mukonori who had told him that Mugabe had made the offer because he was uncertain of his continued hold on power, distrusted those around him, and was aware that if developments continued on their present course, Zimbabwe was heading for economic disaster.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was willing to agree to an amnesty for Mugabe and the payment of a pension upon his departure from office to restore the rule of law in the country.

The alternative to reaching some sort of agreement, Puzey insisted, was “bloodshed on a scale never before seen in Zimbabwe, as Mugabe will unleash indiscriminate killing in a brutal effort to maintain his grip on power”.

The United states embassy said Tsvangirai was living in a fantasyland if he thought that Mugabe, in extending this apparent olive branch, intended to reach a genuine power-sharing agreement with the MDC.

“We would wager that Mugabe’s objective is to co-opt his opposition and that, if the attempt is unsuccessful, he will resort to his time-tested successful tactics of violence and intimidation.”

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE754, MUGABE SAID TO BE BEHIND OVERTURE TO OPPOSITION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE754

2001-02-15 12:09

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.

 

151209Z Feb 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8699

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00754 01 OF 02 151209Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01

L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01

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

SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00

PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————C60C21 151209Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8228

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000754

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 02/14/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI ZANU PF MDC

SUBJECT: MUGABE SAID TO BE BEHIND OVERTURE TO OPPOSITION

 

REF: HARARE 628

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00754 01 OF 02 151209Z

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL IRVING. REASONS: 1.5

(B) AND (D).

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) PRESIDENT MUGABE IS BEHIND OVERTURES MADE TO THE

OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) IN LATE

JANUARY BY SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT EMMERSON MNANGAGWA,

ACCORDING TO A SENIOR MDC ADVISOR. THE SECRET CONTACTS ARE

CONTINUING BETWEEN ENVOYS FROM BOTH SIDES AND MIGHT LEAD TO

A MEETING BETWEEN MUGABE AND A SENIOR MDC REPRESENTATIVE

LATER THIS MONTH. WE SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT THE PRESIDENT

INTENDS TO GIVE ANY REAL POWER TO THE MDC BUT, RATHER, HIS

OFFER OF A GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY IS CERTAINLY

DESIGNED TO COOPT HIS OPPOSITION. MDC LEADER MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI IS LIKELY ENGAGING IN THIS DIALOGUE IN AN EFFORT

 

SIPDIS

TO AVOID FURTHER GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED BLOODSHED AND, WE

SUSPECT, IS ATTRACTED BY THE OPPORTUNITY FOR HIS PARTY TO

HAVE A VOICE IN DECIDING THE WAY FORWARD FOR ZIMBABWE.

TSVANGIRAI WILL HAVE A VERY TOUGH — IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE —

 

SIPDIS

TASK CONVINCING MANY IN HIS PARTY’S OWN LEADERSHIP OF THE

VALUE OF JOINING HANDS WITH ZANU-PF, MANY OF WHOM BLAME

MUGABE PERSONALLY FOR ZIMBABWE’S SLIDE INTO POLITICAL AND

ECONOMIC TURMOIL. END SUMMARY.

 

ZANU-MDC SECRET TALKS CONTINUE

——————————

 

2. (C) WE REPORTED REFTEL THAT SPEAKER OF ZIMBABWE’S

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00754 01 OF 02 151209Z

PARLIAMENT EMMERSON MNANGAGWA IN LATE JANUARY SENT FEELERS

TO THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC), PROPOSING THAT

THE OPPOSITION PARTY JOIN A GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY.

ALTHOUGH MDC LEADER MORGAN TSVANGIRAI CONSIDERED THE

DETAILS OF MNANGAGWA’S INITIAL OFFER UNACCEPTABLE, HE

AGREED TO CONTINUE THE SECRET DIALOGUE.

 

3. (C) ON FEBRUARY 14, MDC SENIOR ADVISOR CLIVE PUZEY

(PROTECT) TOLD CHARGE AND POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF THAT

CONTACTS HAVE CONTINUED SINCE HIS FEBRUARY 2 CONVERSATION

WITH US (REFTEL). ACCORDING TO PUZEY, IT IS NOW CLEAR THAT

PRESIDENT MUGABE HIMSELF IS BEHIND MNANGAGWA’S OFFER.

PUZEY REPORTED THAT THE PRESIDENT’S LONG-TIME CONFIDANT,

CATHOLIC PRIEST FATHER FIDELIS MUKONORI, S.J., HAD RECENTLY

MET WITH PUZEY ONE-ON-ONE. IN THAT MEETING, FIDELIS HAD

CLAIMED THAT MUGABE IS UNCERTAIN OF HIS CONTINUED HOLD ON

POWER, DISTRUSTS THOSE AROUND HIM, AND IS AWARE THAT, IF

DEVELOPMENTS HERE CONTINUE ON THEIR PRESENT COURSE,

ZIMBABWE IS FACING CERTAIN ECONOMIC DISASTER. ALL OF THESE

FACTORS, FIDELIS OSTENSIBLY SAID, HAD LED MUGABE TO MAKE

THE OVERTURE.

 

4. (C) PUZEY REPORTED THAT TSVANGIRAI, WITH WHOM HE HAD

SPOKEN THE PREVIOUS NIGHT, IS WILLING TO AGREE TO AN

AMNESTY FOR MUGABE AND THE PAYMENT OF A PENSION UPON THE

PRESIDENT’S DEPARTURE FROM OFFICE. TSVANGIRAI REPORTEDLY

TOLD PUZEY THAT HE IS INCLINED TO JOIN A GOVERNMENT OF

NATIONAL UNITY IF IT RESULTS IN RESTORATION OF THE RULE OF

LAW AND BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT ON THE WAY FORWARD FOR

ZIMBABWE. IF THOSE IMPORTANT GOALS ARE ACHIEVED,

TSVANGIRAI IS YOUNG AND WILLING TO WAIT ANOTHER FEW YEARS

 

SIPDIS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00754 01 OF 02 151209Z

FOR HIS SHOT AT THE PRESIDENCY. THE ALTERNATIVE TO

REACHING SOME SORT OF AGREEMENT, PUZEY INSISTED, IS

BLOODSHED ON A SCALE NEVER BEFORE SEEN IN ZIMBABWE, AS

MUGABE WILL UNLEASH INDISCRIMINATE KILLING IN A BRUTAL

EFFORT TO MAINTAIN HIS GRIP ON POWER.

 

CONTACTS VERY CLOSE-HOLD

————————

 

5. (C) PUZEY SAID THAT ZANU-PF GO-BETWEEN GOODSON NGUNI

HAS ASKED HIM TO BRIEF THE BRITISH AND US ON THE STATUS OF

THESE TALKS, WHICH REMAINED VERY CLOSE-HOLD. HE NOTED

THAT, IN ADDITION TO HIMSELF, MUGABE, TSVANGIRAI, NGUNI,

AND FATHER FIDELIS, ONLY A SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE ARE AWARE

OF THE ONGOING CONTACTS BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES:

TSVANGIRAI’S ADVISOR GANDI MUDZINGWA, COMMERCIAL FARMERS

 

SIPDIS

UNION PRESIDENT TIM HENWOOD, AND STANBIC BANK MANAGING

DIRECTOR GREG BRACKENRIDGE.

 

NEXT STEPS

———-

 

6. (C) PUZEY SAID HE AND NGUNI HAD AGREED THAT MORNING

THAT A SENIOR MDC REPRESENTATIVE SHOULD MEET WITH PRESIDENT

MUGABE TO AGREE ON NEXT STEPS.   PUZEY AND NGUNI DECIDED TO

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8700

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00754 02 OF 02 151209Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01

L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01

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

SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00    PMB-00   DSCC-00

PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————C60C2C 151209Z /38

O 151209Z FEB 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8229

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000754

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 02/14/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI ZANU PF MDC

SUBJECT: MUGABE SAID TO BE BEHIND OVERTURE TO OPPOSITION

 

PROCEED ACCORDING TO THE FOLLOWING ELABORATE SCENARIO,

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00754 02 OF 02 151209Z

WHICH PRESUMABLY PROVIDES COVER FOR A MUGABE MEETING WITH

THE MDC. PAUL NYATHI, AN MDC MP WHO IS WELL-RESPECTED

ACROSS THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM, WOULD BE ASKED TO PROPOSE ON

THE FLOOR OF PARLIAMENT THAT LEGISLATORS SING “HAPPY

BIRTHDAY” TO PRESIDENT MUGABE ON HIS BIRTHDAY FEBRUARY 21.

NYATHI WOULD FURTHER SUGGEST THAT A BIPARTISAN DELEGATION

OF MPS BE SENT TO DELIVER A BIRTHDAY CARD TO THE PRESIDENT.

ONCE AT STATE HOUSE, NYATHI WILL BE PULLED ASIDE BY FATHER

FIDELIS TO MEET ONE-ON-ONE WITH MUGABE, WHO REPORTEDLY IS

PREPARED TO PARTICIPATE IN SUCH A MEETING. THE PRESIDENT

AND NYATHI WOULD THEN DISCUSS THE ARRANGEMENTS FOR

PROCEEDING WITH FORMAL NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES,

INCLUDING AGREEING ON A VENUE OUTSIDE OF ZIMBABWE.

 

TOUGH SELL

———-

 

7. (C) THE CHARGE COMMENTED THAT, IF NOT HANDLED

CAREFULLY, TSVANGIRAI’S NEGOTIATIONS WITH ZANU-PF COULD

TEAR APART THE MDC. COULD TSVANGIRAI CONVINCE THE MDC

LEADERSHIP AND GENERAL MEMBERSHIP TO JOIN A GOVERNMENT OF

NATIONAL UNITY? IT WOULD BE A TOUGH SELL, PUZEY

ACKNOWLEDGED. HE THOUGHT THAT MDC MPS DAVID COLTART, MIKE

AURET, SR., AND TRUDY STEVENSON WOULD BE THE MOST DIFFICULT

TO CONVINCE. IF THE TALKS ARE CONSTRUCTIVE AND RESULT IN A

MUTUALLY ACCEPTABLE AGREEMENT, THOUGH, PUZEY MUSED THAT

PAUL NYATHI COULD BE A KEY FIGURE IN BRINGING HIS FELLOW

MDC LEGISLATORS ALONG.

 

COMMENT

——-

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00754 02 OF 02 151209Z

 

8. (C) THE ELABORATE ARRANGEMENTS FOR A MUGABE-NYATHI

MEETING AT STATE HOUSE ARE UNDERSTANDABLE, AS WE SUSPECT

BOTH SIDES ARE NERVOUS ABOUT KEEPING THEIR DISCUSSIONS

SECRET. A MORE DIFFICULT EXERCISE IS ANALYZING THE LIKELY

 

SIPDIS

MOTIVATIONS OF MUGABE AND TSVANGIRAI FOR ENGAGING IN THIS

DIALOGUE. MUGABE MUST RECOGNIZE THAT HE IS UNLIKELY TO WIN

A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION THAT IS FREE AND FAIR, BUT HE HAS

MADE ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT HE IS WILLING TO USE ANY AND ALL

METHODS TO WIN. AT THE SAME TIME, THE PRESIDENT REALIZES

THAT SUCH A VICTORY WOULD COME AT A VERY HIGH PRICE IN THE

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, AND HE MUST FIGURE IT IS WORTH

EXPLORING ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF HOLDING ON TO POWER. AS A

BRITISH DIPLOMAT REMARKED TO US, HOWEVER, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI

IS LIVING IN A FANTASYLAND IF HE THINKS THAT MUGABE, IN

EXTENDING THIS APPARENT OLIVE BRANCH, INTENDS TO REACH A

GENUINE POWER-SHARING AGREEMENT WITH THE MDC. WE WOULD

WAGER THAT MUGABE’S OBJECTIVE IS TO COOPT HIS OPPOSITION

AND THAT, IF THE ATTEMPT IS UNSUCCESSFUL, HE WILL RESORT TO

HIS TIME-TESTED SUCCESSFUL TACTICS OF VIOLENCE AND

INTIMIDATION.   NGUNI’S PUTATIVE REQUEST THAT PUZEY BRIEF

US AND THE BRITISH IS INTERESTING, AND SUGGESTS THAT MUGABE

WANTS TO SEND US A SIGNAL THAT HE IS TRYING TO BE

CONSTRUCTIVE.

 

9. (C) IN AGREEING TO ENGAGE IN THIS DIALOGUE, TSVANGIRAI

APPEARS TO BE MOTIVATED PRIMARILY BY A DESIRE TO AVOID

BLOODSHED HE BELIEVES WOULD OTHERWISE BE INEVITABLE AND TO

ELICIT RESTORATION OF THE RULE OF LAW. IN ADDITION, THE

OFFER OF 40 PERCENT OF CABINET SEATS MUST BE, ON THE

SURFACE, AN ATTRACTIVE OFFER FOR A PARTY THAT HAS BEEN

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00754 02 OF 02 151209Z

UNABLE TO RESPOND TO ITS CONSTITUENTS’ DEMANDS FOR CHANGE,

GIVEN ITS ABSENCE FROM THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. SINCE MUGABE

HAS MADE CLEAR THAT HE WILL NOT ALLOW THE MDC TO ASSUME

POWER EVEN IF IT WINS IN 2002, TSVANGIRAI MUST HAVE DECIDED

THAT IT IS AT LEAST WORTH SEEING WHAT THE PRESIDENT HAS TO

OFFER. THE MDC LEADER’S INCLINATION TO PROCEED WITH SECRET

TALKS, HOWEVER, POSES A SIGNIFICANT RISK TO THE COHESION OF

THE PARTY. AS PUZEY INTIMATED, MANY IN THE MDC LEADERSHIP

AND AMONG THE PARTY’S SUPPORTERS BLAME MUGABE PERSONALLY

FOR ZIMBABWE’S DESCENT INTO POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC TURMOIL

AND WOULD STRONGLY REJECT PARTICIPATION IN A GOVERNMENT OF

NATIONAL UNITY WITH A PRESIDENT THEY CONSIDER A WAR

CRIMINAL. BESIDES, MANY ZIMBABWEANS BELIEVE IT IS ONLY A

MATTER OF TIME UNTIL THE MDC ASSUMES POWER AND THAT ALL

THEY NEED TO DO IS WAIT FOR THE MUGABE-LED ZANU TO IMPLODE.

TSVANGIRAI, THEREFORE, MUST TREAD VERY CAREFULLY.   END

 

SIPDIS

COMMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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