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Ncube said unity talks were on

The secretary general of the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change Welshman Ncube said the Tsvangirai faction and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front were holding talks to form a government of national unity.

He said the talks had started on 30 May.

Initially President Robert Mugabe wanted to make Morgan Tsvangirai vice-President but this was unacceptable to Tsvangirai as the vice-President had limited powers.

The MDC preferred the “Kenyan” type of solution where the president was ceremonial and the Prime Minister had executive powers.

Ncube said the big question was whether each individual would make the compromises necessary to achieve an agreement.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE500, ZANU-PF AND MDC DISCUSS GNU

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE500

2008-06-11 15:24

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO6759

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0500/01 1631524

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 111524Z JUN 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3010

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2042

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2163

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0705

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1440

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1798

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2219

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4650

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1305

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000500

 

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: 04/02/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF AND MDC DISCUSS GNU

 

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

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Welshman Ncube briefed polecon chief June 11 on talks

between ZANU-PF and the MDC directed at a government of

national unity (GNU). According to Ncube, the talks have the

blessing of both Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and MDC

president Morgan Tsvangirai and envisage a “Kenyan” solution

with Mugabe retaining a ceremonial role as president and

Tsvangirai assuming the position of prime minister. The big

question is whether each individual will make the compromises

necessary to achieve an agreement. A first round of talks

took place on May 30. A second round is taking place June 11

and June 12. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Ncube said that the South Africans had been pressing

for some time for a continuation of the SADC talks to resolve

the current crisis. Tsvangirai refused to participate as

long as South African president Thabo Mbeki was in charge.

He did indicate he would allow South Africa to mediate talks

that had as their focus a meeting between Mugabe and himself.

 

3. (C) According to Ncube, an initial meeting took place on

May 30 in South Africa, ostensibly to discuss a one-on-one

meeting. Participants were ZANU-PF negotiators Patrick

Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche and MDC negotiators Tendai Biti

and Elton Mangoma. (NOTE: Ncube had previously negotiated

with Biti in the pre-election SADC talks. Since the current

talks were to focus on a Mugabe-Tsvangirai meeting,

Tsvangirai wanted Ncube replaced with Mangoma, the MDC

treasurer. Ncube said Biti and the South African mediators

continue to brief him on developments. END NOTE.) Mediators

were Sydney Mufamadi, Frank Chikane, and Mojanku Gumbi.

 

4. (C) Ncube stated that Mugabe took the position, through

his representatives, that he wanted an agenda before he would

meet with Tsvangirai. The meeting therefore expanded into a

discussion of the run-off election, violence, and

implementation of the pre-election SADC agreement. It was

agreed to have a second round of talks; ZANU-PF wanted

concrete proposals from the MDC for a government of national

unity in the event there was no run-off. The second round is

taking place June 11 and June 12 in South Africa. Ncube

commented that this round was to have take place in Harare,

but the ZANU-PF negotiators told Biti they could not

guarantee he would not be arrested upon returning to Harare.

(NOTE: Biti has been absent from Zimbabwe since shortly

after the March 29 elections; there is a warrant for his

arrest for proclaiming that the MDC had won before official

results were announced. END NOTE.)

 

5. (C) According to Ncube, Mugabe in the past had believed

that Tsvangirai, in a GNU, should have the position of

vice-president, thereby limiting his power.   This was

understandably unacceptable to Tsvangirai. Ncube told us

Goche and Chinamasa as well as other ZANU-PF insiders, had

told him that Mugabe might now be agreeable to a “Kenyan”

type solution, whereby Mugabe would become a ceremonial

president and Tsvangirai would assume the position–under a

new or amended constitution–of prime minister.

 

6. (C) Ncube noted that an agreement would require

flexibility on the part of both Mugabe and Tsvangirai. He

stated less than two weeks ago Mugabe had told the South

Africans he hated Tsvangirai with a passion. Tsvangirai, on

the other hand, wanted nothing to do with a government that

included Mugabe. Yet, opined Ncube, a GNU that included both

was the only way forward. Mugabe was at a dead end with a

collapsed economy and an inoperable government. Tsvangirai

 

HARARE 00000500 002 OF 002

 

 

had to realize that even if he won the run-off election

Mugabe and ZANU-PF might well fail to recognize the result.

In fact, they might not even count the results. Both men now

had to make compromises. (NOTE: Ncube commented that an

election was impossible under current circumstances. In his

home base of Matabeleland, it was impossible to hold rallies

o organize. Those who wore MDC T-shirts or campaiged in

any way for the MDC were harassed, intimidted, and worse.

END NOTE.)

 

7. (C) We asked Nube how the MDC could join forces with a

party tat has been responsible for endless brutality against

its officials and supporters. Ncube respondedthat a GNU

might be akin to a pact with the devi and could be seen as

rewarding ZANU-PF for its erverse behavior. But it might be

the only way o stop the violence.

 

8. (C) Turning to the international community, Ncube thought

it had no role to play in GNU talks. This was a matter to be

resolved by Zimbabweans themselves. More complicated would

be the role of the U.S. and others in the event of a GNU.

Ncube realized that the international community would be

loathe to deal with a government that included Mugabe.

Nevertheless, argued Ncube, a GNU without western support

would be doomed to failure.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

9. (C) Tsvangirai has stated publicly and privately he wants

no part of a GNU in which Mugabe retains power. He continues

to campaign for the run-off election. (Tomorrow he starts a

tour of Zimbabwe in a large bus imported from South Africa.)

But it is increasingly obvious that ZANU-PF will not allow

itself to lose the election. If the current reign of

violence does not result in additional ZANU-PF voters and

fewer MDC voters for the June 27 election than in the March

29 election, then ZANU-PF is prepared to rig the results at

the polling stations, or perhaps–taking a page from

Kenya–simply announce it has won. Ncube may in fact be

right that the only solution is a GNU–whether formed before

or after the election. ZANU-PF knows it cannot govern with

an opposition that enjoys a parliamentary majority. And the

MDC knows it is unlikely it can gain the presidency in the

June 27 election and will have no alternative to negotiation

if it loses.

 

10. (C) Given the tortured history of ZANU-PF-MDC

negotiations, we have no idea at this point whether a GNU

agreement is probable or even possible at this time. We

suspect that ZANU-PF is negotiating now as a salve to SADC

and Mbeki, and would prefer to engage in serious negotiations

after it has won the election and feels that it is dealing

from a position of even greater strength.

 

11. (C) At this time, we don’t believe there is anything we

can do, either privately or publicly, to influence the GNU

negotiating process. What we can and should do is continue

to expose the violence and help in any way possible, through

the support of civil society and observers, to improve

conditions for the election, assuming that it will take place.

McGee

(28 VIEWS)

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