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Mutambara believed Zimbabwe could be the Singapore of Africa

Arthur Mutambara told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell that Zimbabwe should dream of becoming the Singapore of Africa because of its rich land and human capital.

He said this soon after taking over the leadership of the pro-senate faction of the Movement for Democratic Change.

Mutambara said in today’s global economy no country could develop economically without foreign assistance and investment.

He said President Robert Mugabe’s form of economic nationalism was a thing of the past.

Zimbabwe needed to re-engage the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for assistance on reforms.

Mutambara who said his faction was the legitimate MDC said there were three options to resolve the MDC divide.

The most preferable outcome, in his opinion, was reunification. However, if that was not possible, he favoured an amicable divorce in which both sides shared party assets and adopted new party names.

If neither of these options worked, Mutambara was prepared to go to court and let the ZANU-controlled judiciary determine the fate of the opposition parties.

Mutambara told Dell that he was “rebranding” the pro-senate faction in an effort to learn from past mistakes in which the party had “played into ZANU-PF hands”.

He said that Mugabe’s sole remaining sources of legitimacy domestically and internationally were his liberation war credentials, stance on land reform, and anti-imperialist rhetoric. Mutambara said his party needed to undercut these pillars and reclaim these themes from Mugabe.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE384, MUTAMBARA OUTLINES STRATEGY ON MDC SPLIT.

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE384

2006-03-28 15:36

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000384

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y – TEXT

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/28/2015

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: MUTAMBARA OUTLINES STRATEGY ON MDC SPLIT.

CONFRONTIING GOZ

 

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) Arthur Mutambara, the recently elected president of

the pro-Senate faction of the MDC, told the Ambassador on

March 27 that he favored reunification but stressed that what

separated his faction from that of Morgan Tsvangirai was

values, especially democracy and the use of violence.

Mutambara said he was “rebranding” his MDC to present a more

nationalistic and African-centric image to prevent ZANU-PF

from monopolizing the liberation war legacy. Saying that

Zimbabweans must accept blame for the economic collapse,

Mutamabara declared that both a homegrown recovery plan and

reengagement with donors were vital to recovery. To confront

the regime, Mutambara said he would embrace a broad array of

activities, including demonstrations, but would do so more

effectively than the MDC had done in the past. End Summary.

——————-

 

 

 

Democracy and Unity

——————-

 

2. (C) In their first meeting, Arthur Mutambara along with

much of his factionQ,s leadership (including Vice President

Gibson Sibanda and Secretary General Welshman Ncube) declared

to the Ambassador that his party was the legitimate Movement

for Democratic Change (MDC). That said, Mutambara outlined

three potential solutions to the MDC divide. The most

preferable outcome, in his opinion, was reunification.

However, if that was not possible, Mutambara favored an

amicable divorce in which both sides shared party assets and

adopted new party names. If neither of these options worked,

Mutambara was prepared to go to court and let the

ZANU-controlled judiciary determine the fate of the

opposition parties.

 

3. (C) According to Mutambara, none of these outcomes,

however, precluded a fourth option: eventual reunification in

the future, perhaps ahead of the next national elections

still scheduled for 2008. Mutambara agreed with the

 

 

 

Ambassador that there was little difference between the two

factions on most issues. Moreover, Mutabara said he honored

“Brother Morgan” as a hero of the democratic struggle.

However, he said that there were marked differences over what

he called “values.” Terming Tsvangirai and his faction

undemocratic and prone to the use of violence, Mutambara said

the opposition would have “no moral authorityQ8 to engage

Mugabe if they were guilty of excesses among themselves.

Mutambara added that western supporters of the MDC must “help

us help ourselves” by openly criticizing undemocratic

tendencies among the anti-Mugabe forces.

 

—————————-

An Opposition Party Facelift

—————————-

 

4. (C) Displaying his business management background,

Mutambara told the Ambassador that he was “rebranding” the

pro-Senate faction of the MDC in an effort to learn from past

mistakes in which the party “played into ZANU-PF hands.”

Mutambara said that Mugabe’s sole remaining sources of

 

 

 

legitimacy domestically and internationally were his

liberation war credentials, stance on land reform, and

anti-imperialist rhetoric. Mutambara said his party needed

to undercut these pillars and reclaim these themes from

Mugabe.

 

 

5. (C) With that in mind, Mutambara said the liberation war

tradition belonged to all Zimbabweans, that his party also

favored land resettlement that “was not driven by white

farmer interests,” and that the pro-Senate faction embraced

anti-imperialism and would place African interests first.

Noting that perceptions became reality, he said that the

label given it by Mugabe and others as a supposed British

(N.B. and American) puppet had stuck and had been the party’s

“kiss of death” both domestically and within the region.

Cautioned by the Ambassador that nationalist and

anti-imperialist themes could be misperceived as anti-Western

sentiments, Mutambara said he took the point and tried to

clarify that he did not intend to be confrontational or to

lead a campaign against the U.S. but rather to co-opt ZANU-PF

slogans and expand the MDCQ,s appeal.

 

——————————————— —-

Looking Inward, Reaching Out for Economic Revival

——————————————— —-

 

6. (C) Mutambara agreed with the Ambassador that ZimbabweQ,s

economic meltdown offered an opportunity for the opposition.

He said that his partyQ,s economic platform began from the

premise that Zimbabweans had to accept responsibility for the

economic collapse rather than simply blame it on sanctions or

other exogenous factors. On that foundation, a homegrown

Q&holisticQ8 reform program could be developed which would

address all aspects of the economic downturn, such as

skyrocketing inflation, the ever-sliding currency

depreciation, and the massive quasi-fiscal deficit.

 

7. (C) With a country rich in land and human capital,

Mutambara said that Zimbabweans should dream of becoming the

Singapore of Africa. However, in today’s global economy, no

country could develop economically without foreign assistance

and investment. Mugabe’s form of economic nationalism was a

thing of the past. Zimbabwe needed to reengage the IMF and

World Bank for assistance on reforms and in that regard

Mutambara said he agreed wholeheartedly with the Ambassador’s

formulation: “rescue requires reform.” In response, the

Ambassador noted that rebuilding domestic investor confidence

was perhaps even more important in the near term as a means

to encourage the highly-skilled diaspora to return and

reinvest their funds and their talents.

 

——————————————

Thinking Strategically About Confrontation

——————————————

 

8. (C) Presenting his plan to confront the regime, the

former student leader said the pro-Senate faction would

embrace a broad spectrum of activities. He supported

demonstrations, but argued that the opposition must be

prepared with a “plan B, C, D, and E” if demonstrations

failed. Talk about “the final push” (N.B. the MDC’s failed

mass action campaign in 2003) and “short and sharp” (N.B.

Tsvangirai’s latest call for mass action) efforts to topple

 

SIPDIS

the regime were premature; the battle was a marathon, not a

sprint. Looking long-term, his party would push for a new

constitution before the next national elections currently due

in 2008. If that failed, Mutambara said they would push for

a free and fair election, and would prepare a fall back plan

if the GOZ continued to rig the ballot.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

9. (C) In a point-by-point address that had clearly been

honed by making the diplomatic and civil society rounds over

 

 

the past month, Mutambara lived up to his reputation as a

fiery opposition figure with a globalist view. It remains to

be seen if Mutambara can translate his obvious energy into

concrete steps forward. However, we are hopeful that the

emergence of two “MDC” parties may advance Zimbabwe’s

struggle for democracy by attracting a wider “readership”

across the political spectrum.

 

10. (C) That said, we remain struck by a strong sense of

dQjQ vu. Only a few years ago, Tsvangirai was coming to us

with virtually the same entourage to profess a renewed energy

and commitment to the struggle against ZANU-PF. However, it

is widely believed that it was this same entourage that

sapped that energy. We cannot help but suspect that the

unexpected show of solidarity from the assembled management

team might have been an effort to keep the newly-elected

leader in check. His stance on many issues directly

contradicts the stated positions of ostensible backers Ncube

and Sibanda, with whom there are already rumblings of

discontent.

DELL

(9 VIEWS)

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