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Mugabe wanted MDC to walk away from talks

President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front refused to budge on the allocation of ministries for the new inclusive government because they wanted the Movement for Democratic Change to walk away from the talks so that ZANU-PF could hold on to power.

This was said by the United States embassy in Harare which said it had been assured by the MDC that it was not going to walk away but would continue to press its case, first at the Southern African Development Community summit, then to the African Union, and finally to the United Nations.

The three parties had failed to reach agreement at the SADC troika largely because of differences over the allocation of ministries, the appointment of governors and ambassadors and Constitutional amendment 19.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE968, SADC TROIKA FAILS TO BREAK ZIM IMPASSE

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08HARARE968

2008-10-28 11:58

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO6582

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0968/01 3021158

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 281158Z OCT 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3624

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2385

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2505

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1009

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1781

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2136

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2561

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4989

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1654

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000968

 

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: 10/28/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: SADC TROIKA FAILS TO BREAK ZIM IMPASSE

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) The SADC Troika was unable to mediate an agreement

between ZANU-PF and the MDC. The talks stalled primarily

over the issue of allocation of ministries, although other

issues remain. The Troika recommended that Zimbabwe be the

focus of an extraordinary summit of the full SADC membership

within the next two weeks. END SUMMARY.

 

————————————-

Talks Break Down; SADC Summit Up Next

————————————-

 

2. (SBU) The SADC Troika-hosted talks on October 27 between

ZANU-PF and the two MDC factions failed to reach agreement on

how to resolve outstanding issues resulting from the

September 15 signed power-sharing agreement. The SADC Organ

on Politics, Defense, and Security could not mediate an

agreement regarding ministerial allocations, appointment of

governors and ambassadors, and Constitutional Amendment 19

(which would encapsulate any agreement), and recommended that

the Zimbabwe issue be referred to an Extraordinary Summit of

all 15 SADC member states within the next couple of weeks.

 

3. (C) The talks were held in Harare and attended by South

African president Kgalema Motlanthe, Mozambican president

Armando Guebuza, Swazi prime minister Sibusiso Dlamini, and

Angolan foreign minister Assuncao dos Anjos. Former South

African president Thabo Mbeki was also present in recognition

of his former role as the facilitator of the negotiations

that led to the September agreement but did not participate

in Troika deliberations. (NOTE: We understand that

Motlanthe was the most sympathetic of the Troika to the MDC

position and more understanding of the MDC than Mbeki has

been. END NOTE.)

 

————————

Home Affairs Critical…

————————

 

4. (C) During the 13 hour session, ZANU-PF and MDC

representatives presented their positions to the Troika. MDC

sources told us that the MDC demanded the outright allocation

of the Home Affairs ministry and an “equitable distribution”

of other ministries. Essentially, the MDC wanted to reopen

discussion on distribution of all ministries, not just Home

Affairs. ZANU-PF insisted on control of Home Affairs as well

other important ministries such as Defense, Foreign Affairs,

and Local Government. (NOTE: On October 10, the government

newspaper The Herald published an official notification of

allocation of ministries between the two parties, giving

ZANU-PF control of the aforementioned ministries, and also

Finance. This notification has no legally binding effect,

but is evidence of ZANU-PF’s intentions. Since October 10,

ZANU-PF has conceded Finance to the MDC, but none of the

other important ministries. END NOTE.) Both sides rejected

any notion of shared or rotating control of Home Affairs as

had previou

sly been raised by Mbeki.

 

————————-

…But Not the Only Issue

————————-

 

5. (C) Additionally, the MDC is demanding five of the 10

provincial governorship positions. (NOTE: Prior to the

signing of the power-sharing agreement on September 15,

 

HARARE 00000968 002 OF 002

 

 

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe made appointments to all

10 positions. END NOTE.) The MDC also wants agreement on

ambassadorial appointments to ensure it gets what it

considers a fair share. Finally, the MDC is insisting on

agreement of a draft of Amendment 19 which will encapsulate

the final ZANU-PF-MDC agreement. This is to eliminate

potential arguments over ambiguities in the agreement,

particularly concerning the roles of president and prime

minister. According to our sources, Mbeki will facilitate

discussion of these other issues between now and the SADC

Extraordinary Summit.

 

6. (U) Dr. Tomaz Salomao, SADC executive secretary, was

quoted by The Herald as saying to reporters when presenting

the official communique that “the only outstanding issue is

that of Home Affairs…Other issues (Amendment 19 and

governors) remain to be resolved but these will only come

afterward.”

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) Despite a positive spin by Salomao, the MDC is

insisting on resolution of all issues before joining a

government. Given the firm positions of both parties, a deal

at the Extraordinary Summit is looking increasingly doubtful.

 

 

8. (C) Mugabe and his inner circle want to hold on to power

at all costs and are hoping the MDC will walk away from the

talks. The MDC has told us they will not do this. They will

continue to press their case, first at the Summit, then to

the AU, and finally to the UN. Meanwhile, the stalemate will

continue as the Zimbabwean people suffer. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

 

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