Coltart said the goal was to unseat ZANU-PF

Movement for Democratic Change legislator David Coltart told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell that though he favoured enacting a new constitution and then conducting internationally-supervised, free and fair elections, the ultimate goal was to unseat ZANU-PF in any way possible.

He had been asked by Dell whether constitutional reform was really essential or whether what mattered was who held power.

Coltart was briefing the ambassador on the turmoil in ZANU-PF which he said had resulted in a series of corruption scandals being exposed in Parliament.

The scandals included high-level corruption in the national bus company ZUPCO, the parastatal steel firm ZISCO, and the importation of substandard fertilizer.

Dell said what was encouraging was that the scandals were being exposed by parliamentary committees which were supported by the US-funded State University of New York (SUNY) programme.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 06HARARE1429, COLTART DISCUSSES OPPOSITION STRATEGY AMIDST

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE1429

2006-12-01 07:49

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001429

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/01/2016

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: COLTART DISCUSSES OPPOSITION STRATEGY AMIDST

ZANU-PF PANIC

 

 

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

 

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Summary

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1. (C) Pro-Senate MDC MP David Coltart on November 29 told

the Ambassador that ZANU-PF parliamentarians were in a state

of panic as public corruption allegations had become weapons

in the ongoing succession battle. The MP agreed with the

Ambassador that the GOZ had been weakened as a result of the

battle and the MDC needed to take advantage. To that end,

Coltart said reconciliation talks between the two MDC

factions were progressing and that the chances of forming a

coalition ahead of the next planned elections were good. End

Summary.

 

-------------------------

ZANU-PF Turning On Itself

-------------------------

 

2. (C) The silver lining to the MDC split, Coltart told the

Ambassador, was that it created a sense of security within

the ruling party, which allowed the underlying succession

tensions to boil to the surface. These tensions were clearly

visible in Parliament, where Coltart said the majority party

was in disarray. Allegations of high-level corruption in the

national bus company ZUPCO, the parastatal steel firm ZISCO,

and most recently the import of substandard fertilizer had

become the new tools of the succession battle, instilling

panic across the ruling party's ranks. Coltart opined that

the ongoing revelations of ministerial-level graft indicated

that the intra-ZANU-PF battles were still raging.

 

3. (C) Amidst this ruling party infighting, Coltart said

that former-Finance Minister Simba Makoni might emerge as a

compromise succession candidate. Vice President Joyce Mujuru

had not proven herself a worthy frontrunner and Rural Housing

Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa had failed to garner popular

support with his proxies Jonathan Moyo and Daniel Shumba.

Drawing parallels to the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev,

Coltart speculated that a Makoni presidency might undertake

reforms that would sweep the ZANU-PF system away, even though

Makoni himself might not survive a tumultuous transformation.

 

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Opposition Adapting Strategy

----------------------------

 

4. (C) Coltart agreed with the Ambassador's suggestion that

the democratic opposition rethink its strategies in light of

the heated ZANU-PF succession race. Civil disobedience was

still important to maintain pressure on the regime, but both

factions of the opposition needed to think about the end game

and plan for a ZANU-PF successor who will inevitably need to

reach out to the West for financial support to revive the

economy. The Ambassador asked whether constitutional reform

was really essential or whether that what matter was who

holds power. Coltart said he still favored first enacting a

new constitution and then conducting

internationally-supervised, free and fair elections, but

conceded the ultimate goal was to unseat ZANU-PF in any way

possible.

 

5. (C) Agreeing with the Ambassador's suggestion that

ZANU-PF relished a divided opposition, Coltart said that

reconciliation talks between the two MDC factions were

progressing. The two sides have already agreed to a code of

 

HARARE 00001429 002 OF 002

 

 

conduct and the negotiating teams met as recently as the past

weekend. Coltart anticipated that a reconciliation

commission likely would be established in January to address

intra-opposition violence conducted by all sides. The

commission would then pave the way for an opposition

coalition going into the next national election, anticipated

in 2008. Under this plan, the two factions would agree to an

electoral team and to split ministerial posts.

 

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Comment

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6. (C) As Coltart notes, the recent spate of corruption

allegations indicates that ZANU-PF is perhaps even more

factionalized than the opposition. Even more encouraging is

the role that the parliamentary committees, supported by the

USG-funded SUNY program, are having in exposing this graft;

for instance, a ruling party committee chairman recently

called for the impeachment of Industry Minister Obert Mpofu

for giving false testimony on the status of ZISCO and Speaker

of Parliament John Nkomo on November 30 allowed the

investigation to go forward. This succession-related carnage

within ZANU-PF creates real openings for the opposition,

which must now play its cards carefully lest a premature move

prompt the ruling party to circle the wagons and once again

focus its ire on regime opponents.

DELL

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