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Mugabe rejected election proposals for 2008

History could be repeating itself. President Robert Mugabe rejected three proposals that had been made by South African President Thabo Mbeki and insisted that the 2008 elections would be held in March under the existing constitution.

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee that Mbeki had offered three options for implementing a new constitution before the 2008 elections.

The options were:

  • hold a referendum on the agreed draft constitution in February and elections in March;
  • postpone elections until after consultation and a referendum on a new constitution;
  • or adopt an interim constitution through Parliament and hold elections in March.

Tsvangirai said Mbeki met with the MDC leadership after seeing Mugabe and reported that Mugabe had rejected all three options, insisting that elections go forward in March under the existing constitution.

The MDC told Mbeki that the people of Zimbabwe had no faith that their votes would be respected as things stood; a new dispensation, including effective implementation of a new constitution and recently revised legislation, was essential to holding a free and fair election.

The elections were held in March under the existing constitution as Mugabe had argued.

Mugabe has once again announced that elections for 2013 will be held in March but the country has not yet agreed on a new constitution and a referendum.

This could mean that the elections would be held under the existing constitution.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE38, NO BREAKTHROUGH FROM MBEKI VISIT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE38

2008-01-18 10:58

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO5937

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0038 0181058

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 181058Z JAN 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2398

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1723

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1849

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0447

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1126

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1483

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1905

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4333

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0976

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000038

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL,

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: 01/16/2018

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: NO BREAKTHROUGH FROM MBEKI VISIT

 

REF: A. HARARE 26

 

B. PRETORIA 100

 

Classified By: DCM Katherine Dhanani. Reason: 1.4 (d)

 

1. (C) MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai called Ambassador in

Bulawayo and met with DCM on January 18 to brief on the Mbeki

visit to Zimbabwe (reftels). Tsvangirai confirmed that Mbeki

had offered three options for implementing a new constitution

before elections: hold a referendum on the agreed draft

constitution in February and elections in March; postpone

elections until after consultation and a referendum on a new

constitution; or adopt an interim constitution through

Parliament and hold elections in March. Mbeki met with the

MDC leadership after seeing Mugabe and reported that Mugabe

had rejected all three options, insisting that elections go

forward in March under the existing constitution. The MDC

told Mbeki that the people of Zimbabwe have no faith that

their votes would be respected as things stand; a new

dispensation, including effective implementation of a new

constitution and recently revised legislation, is essential

to holding a free and fair election. Tsvangirai said Mbeki

returned to see Mugabe before going to the airport. The MDC

had received no readout on that conversation, suggesting no

breakthrough was achieved.

 

2. (C) DCM asked Tsvangirai what comes next. Tsvangirai

expressed disappointment that a “historic opportunity” had

been lost. He said the two MDC factions would meet the

weekend of January 19-20 to conclude an agreement on joining

forces for elections. Asked whether this meant a decision

had been made to contest elections in March, Tsvangirai

replied with some emotion that the only “principled” decision

would be to boycott. However, he said, the MDC would have to

discuss the question. He was certain that there would be

many (especially MPs) who had a personal interest in

participating, and he was not willing to predict what the

party would ultimately decide.

 

3. (C) Comment: Mugabe’s future course is clear: Zanu-PF will

continue full steam ahead toward elections in March. Mbeki

and the MDC face tougher decisions. Mbeki told the Harare

press corps that the facilitation has made “very good

progress,” but once election dates are announced (likely 45

days in advance of March 29, i.e. on or about February 13)

the facilitation will be forced to admit defeat. The MDC may

achieve an agreement between its two factions, but the

question of a boycott threatens new discord. Most observers

judge that Tsvangirai does not have enough support to pull a

boycott off. He may pragmatically accept a party decision to

contest, but it will be difficult to effectively lead the

campaign in an election he knows ZANU-PF has already stolen.

MCGEE

 

(5 VIEWS)

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