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Mutare bishop felt Mujuru was key to any political agreement

The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe bishop Trevor Manhanga told United States embassy officials that in his opinion no new political arrangement could go forward without the approval of former army commander Solomon Mujuru because he still held the upper hand within the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

Manhanga said he was going to meet separately Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Mujuru, and leader of the United People’s Party Daniel Shumba to try to find a solution to the country’s crisis.

Manhanga said that the MDC needed to tone its rhetoric down and be prepared to engage. The party needed to understand that it was in for a sustained struggle, not necessarily a climactic moment of change.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 06HARARE783, MUTARE BISHOP ON DIALOGUE WITH MUGABE, NATIONAL

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE783

2006-07-03 14:06

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7858

PP RUEHMR

DE RUEHSB #0783/01 1841406

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 031406Z JUL 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0275

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1261

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1106

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1265

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0526

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0891

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1319

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3690

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1088

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1727

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1476

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//

RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000783

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

AFR/SA FOR E. LOKEN

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

TREASURY FOR J. RALYEA AND B. CUSHMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2011

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MUTARE BISHOP ON DIALOGUE WITH MUGABE, NATIONAL

RECONCILIATION

 

REF: (A) 2004 HARARE 1434 (C) 2003 HARARE 1599 (C)

 

2003 HARARE 1599 AND PREVIOUS

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher W. Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) In a June 29 meeting with the Ambassador, Evangelical

Fellowship of Zimbabwe Bishop Trevor Manhanga said President

Mugabe seemed genuine in his recent efforts to reach out to

religious leaders. He said Central Intelligence Organization

(CIO) head Happyton Bonyongwe was facilitating the bishops’

efforts, including a meeting between the Mutare troika and

Mugabe. Manhanga said he would use the meeting to push for

reforms to support a national dialogue that could lead to

&managed change” in Zimbabwe. The Ambassador said the USG

was open to working with all parties toward positive change

in Zimbabwe, but that a more constructive GOZ relationship

with the democratic opposition and with the international

community would require concrete first steps by the GOZ

toward sustainable economic and political reform. End

Summary.

 

————–

Meeting Mugabe

————–

 

2. (C) In a meeting at the Embassy, Manhanga told the

Ambassador that in spite of all the independent media’s

negative spin on Mugabe’s recent engagements with the

churches, Mugabe’s tone and hands-on posture in their recent

meetings had given him hope that Mugabe was sincere in his

desire to reach out. During a four-hour meeting with Mugabe

and about a dozen other clerics at State House earlier in the

month, Manhanga said Mugabe had clearly been listening to the

religious leaders, taking his own notes, and refusing to be

distracted by aides’ interruptions. Although many clerics

present had been sycophantic ZANU-PF supporters, others had

been quite frank in their criticism of the GOZ, and in

response Mugabe had acknowledged the non-performance of many

in his cabinet.

 

3. (C) During the meeting with Mugabe, Manhanga said he had

noted that he and Bishops Mutume and Bakare ) the Mutare

troika — had “done the homework” Mugabe had assigned them

two years ago and had approached both the MDC and western

diplomats about what sort of government actions could lay a

foundation for dialogue (reftels). However, they had been

unable to get a promised follow-on appointment with the

President to report their findings. Manhanga said Mugabe had

acted surprised and had turned to Security/Lands Minister

Mutasa and Justice Minister Chinamasa demanding to know why

he hadn’t been informed.

 

4. (C) Manhanga said after the meeting, CIO head Bonyongwe

had approached him and promised to facilitate a meeting with

Mugabe. He blamed Party Chairman John Nkomo and Secretary

for Information Nathan Shamuyarira, who had been the bishops’

earlier intermediaries with Mugabe, for their failure to

secure a presidential meeting. Manhanga said he had tested

Bonyongwe’s sincerity with a request for an initial

appointment with Bonyongwe, and, joined by two other senior

CIO officials, Bonyongwe met the troika for two hours last

week. Manhanga said Bonyongwe had promised to arrange a

 

HARARE 00000783 002 OF 003

 

 

meeting with Mugabe following the latter,s return from the

AU Summit in Banjul.

 

—————–

Message to Mugabe

—————–

 

5. (C) The Ambassador asked Manhanga what issues he intended

to raise with Mugabe when he finally saw him. Manhanga

responded that he would urge Mugabe to “normalize” the

domestic political situation as a foundation to support

bridges with the international community. He would assert

that inter-party differences were not as great as many

believed and that Mugabe should meet with opposition leader

Morgan Tsvangirai. The MDC wanted improvements in the

political environment but “the government’s legitimacy was

not a problem” for them. Broad-based constitutional reform

was a possibility in that differences between various

constitutional proposals (e.g, the GOZ’s 2000 version and the

NCA’s draft) were not great. Even land reform offered common

objectives — transparent distribution to benefit the

landless — that could be agreed across political lines.

 

6. (C) The Ambassador noted that policy and process were the

issues for the USG, not the identity of those in government.

The USG would continue to evaluate GOZ policy with an open

mind, even if there was considerable doubt about Mugabe’s

motives or will to follow through on commitments based on

prior experience. The Ambassador questioned whether Mugabe

was sincere this time or was simply biding time, as he had

done so often in the past. Moreover, even if he had the will

and apparent authority, would Mugabe be able to overcome

resistance by an entrenched ruling elite deeply invested in

the corrupted status quo? Manhanga agreed that these were

fundamental questions on which he hoped to get a handle in

the coming weeks.

 

7. (C) The Ambassador added that the first steps in any

bridge-building exercise with the international community

would have to come from the GOZ. To elicit engagement from

the USG, those steps would have to involve concrete actions

that demonstrated clear commitment to genuine, serious and

deep reforms. Meetings, while potentially constructive,

would not be sufficient if not coupled with meaningful

action. Security and Lands Minister Mutasa’s land reform

briefing for the diplomatic corps (ref A), for example, had

been a publicity exercise that ignored the real issue of how

to make the agricultural sector productive again. Only real

reforms on the economic front — secure land tenure, fiscal

discipline, market-based exchange rates — would get the

international community’s attention.

 

—————————————-

Meetings with Tsvangirai, Mujuru, Shumba

—————————————-

 

8. (C) Manhanga said he was scheduled to also meet

separately with MDC anti-senate faction President Morgan

Tsvangirai, former army chief and ZANU-PF kingmaker Solomon

 

SIPDIS

Mujuru, and United People’s Party interim President Daniel

Shumba (N.B. a political ally of Mujuru’s principal

intra-party rival, Emmerson Mnangagwa). Manhnga said that in

his opinion no new political arrangement could go forward

without the approval of Mujuru, who still held the upper hand

within the ruling party. For its part, Manhanga observed,

the MDC would need to tone its rhetoric down and be prepared

 

HARARE 00000783 003 OF 003

 

 

to engage. The party needed to understand that it was in for

a sustained struggle, not necessarily a climactic moment of

change. He said he feared a national descent into chaos or

violent internecine conflict, and hoped the bishops’ effort

would contribute to a process of peaceful managed change.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

9. (C) The bishops’ latest effort, however sincere, has a

painfully familiar air about it and we are frankly skeptical

that it will go any farther than their earlier forays. We

see no evidence that Mugabe or those around him have even

begun to consider the meaningful reforms that are a sine qua

non of a national dialogue and of reengagement by the

international community, a view reinforced by Mugabe’s recent

headline remarks rejecting the idea that Zimbabwe needed

“rescuing” by Kofi Annan or anyone else. In our view, Mugabe

instead likely hopes to use his engagement with the clerics

to project a conciliatory posture to domestic and

international audiences as his regime casts about desperately

for a lifeline.

DELL

(5 VIEWS)

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