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Outlines of a deal- What Tsvangirai told McGee

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee five days before the signing of the Global Political Agreement that he had presented a proposal to President Robert Mugabe to create a Leadership Council of State.

The Council would be headed by Mugabe and would also include his two Vice Presidents, Tsvangirai, as Prime Minister, and Tsvangirai’s two deputy Prime Ministers.

It would be an advisory body with oversight over the cabinet but would not have veto power.

The Prime Minister would be required to submit decisions to the Council which could direct him to have the cabinet reconsider the decision.

Tsvangirai said he would be head of government under this structure with responsibility for directing cabinet.

He sold it to Mugabe by arguing that Mugabe would not want to be responsible for day-to-day operations of government.

Besides, Tsvangirai would report to Mugabe as President.

Mugabe was receptive and said he would consult with his advisors.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 08HARARE793, OUTLINES OF A DEAL

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE793

2008-09-10 08:16

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3415

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2275

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2395

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RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2449

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

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RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1544

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000793

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR G. GARLAND

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: 04/02/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: OUTLINES OF A DEAL

 

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

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) An upbeat Morgan Tsvangirai told the Ambassador early

this morning that he thought a breakthrough in ZANU-PF–MDC

negotiations had been achieved last night. On the

contentious issue of allocation of executive authority,

Tsvangirai said he had presented a proposal to Zimbabwean

president Robert Mugabe to create an advisory “Leadership

Council of State” (Council) to be chaired by Mugabe.

Tsvangirai, as prime minister, would be head of government

and chair cabinet. He would report to Mugabe as president.

Mugabe was amenable to the proposal and said he would confer

overnight with his advisors. END SUMMARY.

 

—————-

Council of State

—————-

 

2. (C) According to Tsvangirai, the Council would be headed

by Mugabe and would also include his two vice presidents,

Tsvangirai, as prime minister, and Tsvangirai’s two deputy

prime ministers. It would be an advisory body with oversight

over the cabinet. The prime minister would be required to

submit decisions to the Council which could direct him to

have the cabinet reconsider the decision. The Council,

however, would not have veto power.

 

3. (C) Tsvangirai said he would be head of government under

this structure with responsibility for directing cabinet. He

said he discussed the arrangement with Mugabe in a one-on-one

session. He sold it to Mugabe by arguing that Mugabe would

not want to be responsible for day-to-day operations of

government. Also, Tsvangirai would report to Mugabe as

president. Mugabe was receptive and said he would consult

with his advisors overnight. Tsvangirai subsequently briefed

South African president and mediator Thabo Mbeki who he said

was supportive. Tsvangirai asked Mbeki to help sell the deal

to Mugabe as the best way to begin to turn Zimbabwe around.

 

————————————-

Division of Ministries and Parliament

————————————-

 

4. (C) Tsvangirai stated that division between the parties

of the 31 ministries was still under discussion, but some

tentative agreements had been reached. ZANU-PF would control

defense, security (CIO), primary education, and land

redistribution. MDC would have responsibility for home

affairs (police), finance (which would name the Reserve Bank

governor), foreign affairs, local government, and media and

communications.

 

5. (C) Tsvangirai averred that with MDC control of

Parliament, the MDC would be able to drive the legislative

agenda. Priorities would be repeal of the presidential

powers act (under which the president when Parliament is not

sitting can issue decrees on any subject with the exception

of the budget and amendment of the constitution), repeal of

AIPPA, and repeal of POSA.

 

——————-

Transitional Period

——————-

 

6. (C) A transitional constitution would be implemented,

according to Tsvangirai and would have a life of 18 months.

During this period, a new constitution would be negotiated

 

HARARE 00000793 002 OF 002

 

 

and submitted to a referendum. At the end of the 18 month

period, the parties could agree to continue the interim

period. Alternatively, either party could opt out and

elections would be scheduled.

 

————

Other Issues

————

 

7. (C) Tsvangirai said other issues such as amnesty and the

removal of sanctions had not yet been discussed, but he

expected these could be easily resolved.

 

8. (C) With respect to the international community,

Tsvangirai said he expected that once an agreement was

reached, everyone would help. He acknowledged that it would

be appropriate for the international community to wait to see

concrete actions to implement an agreement before stepping

forward.

 

9. (C) Tsvangirai urged the USG to stay in the background

while negotiations continue and until there has been a

resolution.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

10. (C) Until now, ZANU-PF had insisted on maintaining the

balance of power and had maintained an agreement should be

based on power sharing and not power transfer. Tsvangirai’s

proposal would strip Mugabe of most of his power. Despite

Mugabe’s purported receptiveness to Tsvangirai’s proposal,

there is a healthy basis for skepticism that Mugabe and

ZANU-PF will ultimately accept the proposal since it

transfers the bulk of executive power to Tsvangirai.

Nevertheless, there seems to be momentum toward an agreement

and we would not be surprised to see one signed–perhaps

different in form than that suggested by Tsvangirai–today or

in the near future.

MCGEE

(4 VIEWS)

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