Inclusive government the only game in town

Four months after signing the Global Political Agreement, it was apparent that the formation of an inclusive government was the only game in town for the three major political parties in Zimbabwe otherwise the country would plunge into another Somalia.

The secretary general of the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change Welshman Ncube said he was a strong supporter of a power-sharing government, not because he necessarily believed it would be successful, but because it offered the only possibility out of Zimbabwe's desperate situation.

The alternative was to await the demise of ZANU-PF but he was convinced that ZANU-PF would never willingly relinquish power.

The probable outcome of a continuing political stalemate and imploding economy would be a disintegration of ZANU-PF into country-wide power centres presided over by the equivalent of Somali war lords.

Ncube said the MDC-T had no palatable choice. Without a viable Plan B, remaining outside government would give the MDC little prospect of assuming power and it would have to watch the country collapse and the people continue to suffer.

By joining government, MDC-T would make the unenviable decision to work with a party that held it in contempt, did not want to give up power, and was responsible for Zimbabwe's economic deterioration, myriad human rights violations, and a humanitarian crisis.

The only possibility of political and economic recovery was therefore an inclusive government.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE79, ZIMBABWE DEALING WITH OUTSTANDING ISSUES

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE79

2009-02-03 15:52

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

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INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2599

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2721

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1205

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1990

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2345

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2770

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5198

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1888

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 000079

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/03/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE DEALING WITH OUTSTANDING ISSUES

 

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

 

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SUMMARY

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1. (C) MDC-M secretary general Welshman Ncube believes the

power-sharing agreement is imperfect with questionable

chances of success, but failure to form an inclusive

government in his opinion could have resulted in an

increasingly anarchic situation. With all sides supporting

the SADC communique calling for MDC-T president Morgan

Tsvangirai to be sworn in on February 11, representatives

from the parties are now meeting to resolve outstanding

issues. SADC negotiators will discuss the issues of

governorships and the National Security Council. The Joint

Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) has already

met and will continue to discuss breaches of the July 22

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ZANU-PF and MDC and

of the September 15 agreement. These include media hate

speech and restrictions on independent media, and the status

of abductees. Ncube is skeptical that all issues, including

that of the abductees, can be resolved before February 11.

It is unclear what the MDC will do if they are not. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Ncube briefed polecon chief February 2 on the

power-sharing agreement and efforts to resolve outstanding

issues.

 

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

A Hobson's Choice

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

 

3. (C) Ncube stated that throughout SADC-sponsored

negotiations, he had been a strong supporter of a

power-sharing government, not because he necessarily believed

it would be successful, but because it offered the only

possibility out of Zimbabwe's desperate situation. The

alternative was to await the demise of ZANU-PF. He was

convinced that ZANU-PF would never willingly relinquish

power. The probable outcome of a continuing political

stalemate and imploding economy, Ncube told us, would be a

disintegration of ZANU-PF into country-wide power centers

presided over by the equivalent of Somali war lords.

 

4. (C) MDC-T had no palatable choice, in Ncube's opinion.

Without a viable Plan B, remaining outside of government

would have given the MDC little prospect of assuming power,

and it would have been in the position of wathing the

country collapse and the people continuing to suffer. By

joining government, MDC-T was making the unenviable decision

to work with a party that holds the MDC in contempt, does not

want to give up power, and has been responsible for

Zimbabwe's economic deterioration, myriad human rights

violations, and a humanitarian crisis. MDC-T had concluded,

as had he, that the only possibility of political and

economic recovery was an inclusive government.

 

5. (C) Even though he supports it, Ncube was skeptical the

new government would ultimately succeed. Amendment 19, which

encapsulates the September 15 agreement, had a number of

internal inconsistencies. There were skeptics in both

parties who were not interested in making the government

work. And skeptics in the international community would

Qwork. And skeptics in the international community would

withhold critical support. "It won't be easy," Ncube

concluded.

 

6. (C) Ncube was scornful of ZANU-PF. ZANU-PF, more than

anyone, needed an agreement to continue to survive as a

viable party and to function as part of a government

attempting to resuscitate the country. If ZANU-PF was

 

HARARE 00000079 002 OF 004

 

 

strategic, it would have attempted to demonstrate a paradigm

shift by ceasing its campaign of terror and easing up on

media hate speech. This would have earned it international

good will, and facilitated the formation of an inclusive

government. The ZANU-PF-orchestrated abductions, coming

during the negotiating period, were "incomprehensible." The

only explanation, opined Ncube, was that hawks in ZANU-PF

wanted to scuttle the possibility of an agreement.

 

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

Outstanding Issues

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

 

7. (C) Ncube told us that ZANU-PF, MDC-T, and MDC-M

negotiators would meet February 3 and 4 in South Africa to

discuss governorships and the National Security Council.

(NOTE: MDC-T issued a press release this afternoon stating

that ZANU-PF had claimed it was unready to proceed because it

had not received instructions from Zimbabwean president

Robert Mugabe who is in Addis Ababa for the AU Summit. The

MDC-T in the press release attacked ZANU-PF for backtracking

and questioned its good faith in forming a government. END

NOTE.) On governorships, there were three issues to resolve:

a formula for allocating the 10 provincial governorships

between parties, a method of creating vacancies in those

seats that would go to either MDC-T or MDC-M, and timing of

replacing designated ZANU-PF governors. ZANU-PF, according

to Ncube, wants the party that received the most votes in the

March 29 election in a particular province to have the

governorship for that province. This would result in 6

ZANU-PF governors, 3 MDC-T governors, and 1 MDC-M governor.

MDC-T wants to give the governorship to the party that had

won the most parliamentary seats in a particular province in

the March election. Under this formula, it would have 5

governors, ZANU-PF would have 4, and MDC-M would have 1.

MDC-M supports using the same formula as was used to

apportion ministers. This formula looks at the overall

strength of each party and aims to ensure a significant

presence for each party in government. This would result in

ZANU-PF and MDC-T each having 4 governors and MDC-M 2.

 

8. (C) To create vacancies for MDC governors to replace

ZANU-PF governors, ZANU-PF governors could be summarily

discharged, given a retirement package, or reassigned to

other positions. Ncube said ZANU-PF wanted to replace

governors when their terms expired; both MDCs wanted new

governors in place by February 13.

 

9. (C) Ncube told us that MDC-T had drafted a bill to

establish a National Security Council. Under the bill, the

Council would oversee operations and activities of the

security forces, including the Central Intelligence

Organization, the defense forces, the police, and the prison

service. Members would be the president and vice presidents,

the prime minister and deputy prime ministers, Home Affairs

and Defense ministers, chairperson of the Public Service

Commission, and three other ministers assigned by the

parties. Ncube expected no difficulty in reaching agreement

Qparties. Ncube expected no difficulty in reaching agreement

on a draft bill.

 

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

JOMIC and Breaches of the MOU and Agreement

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

 

10. (C) JOMIC was inaugurated by South African mediator

Frank Chikane on January 30. ZANU-PF members are Patrick

Chinamasa, Nicholas Goche, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Oppah

Muchinguri. MDC-T members are Elton Mangoma, Innocent

Chagonda, Elias Mudzuri, and Tabita Khumalo. MDC-M members

are Ncube, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Frank Chamunorwa,

and Edward Mkhosi. Chair of the Committee will rotate among

the three parties, Ncube will preside for the first month,

 

HARARE 00000079 003 OF 004

 

 

then Mangoma, then Goche.

 

11. (C) Ncube said JOMIC at its first meeting on January 30

discussed administrative details--procedures, funding, office

space, etc. JOMIC met again on February 2 and began to

address the substantive issues of media and abductions. It

will meet again on February 6 with journalists from the

government and independent newspapers to discuss hate speech

and media bias.

 

12. (C) On the issue of abductions, Ncube averred that there

was consensus within JOMIC to convince legal authorities to

release detainees who are now before the court on bail. The

three JOMIC chairs had agreed to speak to Patrick Chinamasa,

acting Minister of Justice, to request he encourage the

Attorney General to agree to bail for all such detainees.

For detained individuals who have not been brought to court,

JOMIC agreed to talk with both the Attorney General and

Commissioner of Police to seek their release from custody as

soon as possible.

 

13. (C) Ncube believed there would be a crisis of confidence

in the power-sharing agreement and prospective new government

if the issue of abductions and detainees was not dealt with

quickly. Absent sucess in talking with Chinamasa, the

Attorney General and Commissioner of Police, Ncube said JOMIC

would consider talking to Mugabe and, if necessary, SADC.

 

14. (C) MDC-T has alleged the reappointment of Reserve Bank

of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and appointment of Attorney

General Johannes Tomana were breaches of the MOU and

September 15 agreement. Ncube said Gono was willing to

resign; he was interested in a ministerial post, perhaps

foreign minister. But he thought Mugabe might resist

immediately reassigning Gono in order to retain negotiating

leverage on other issues. Tomana's situation was more

difficult since under the Constitution he could not be

involuntarily removed.

 

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

Leadup to February 11

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

 

15. (C) Ncube said he expected Amendment 19 to be passed by

Parliament on February 5. He was doubtful that all the

outstanding issues, including abductions and detainees, could

be resolved by February 11. Nevertheless, he counseled MDC-T

to avoid conditioning the swearing-in of Tsvangirai and

ministers on resolution of all these issues. An atmosphere

of collaboration was being established and ZANU-PF was wont

to react negatively to conditionality by claiming MDC-T is

acting in bad faith. Ncube was confident that outstanding

breaches would eventually be resolved.

 

16. (C) In the same vein, Ncube opined that Western

condemnation of ZANU-PF was counter-productive. ZANU-PF

wanted at all costs to avoid appearing to follow Western

dictates. Ncube advised a quiet approach in the near future

to allow the new government to take hold. (COMMENT: Ncube

is a general advocate of "quiet diplomacy." He expressed

displeasure at MDC-M president Arthur Mutambara's criticism

of the U.S. and other western countries, most recently in

Qof the U.S. and other western countries, most recently in

Davos, for interference in Zimbabwe's affairs. Ncube said he

and other MDC-M officials had advised Mutambara to lay off;

Ncube despairingly said he follows their advice for a few

days and then goes back to "default mode." END COMMENT.)

 

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COMMENT

-------

 

17. (C) Even Ncube who has been a prime exponent of a GNU is

 

HARARE 00000079 004 OF 004

 

 

skeptical about its chances of success. But for the moment

this is the only game in town, and there is little we can do

in the immediate future other than to watch events unfold.

The success of a GNU depends in large part on the good faith

of ZANU-PF (historically a commodity in very short supply)

and there are several markers - the outstanding issues - that

in the next 10 days or so will indicate ZANU-PF's intentions.

Primary among these markers is the fate of abductees.

Failure to release them soon will doom the government before

it begins. And even if they are released, that would be but

a first step on a long road.

 

18. (C) Tsvangirai at a diplomatic briefing on January 30

was asked what the MDC's position would be if outstanding

issues were not resolved by February 11. He sidestepped the

issue, and in private conversations MDC officials have

indicated they expect resolution of these matters by February

11. But if this is not the case, as Ncube suspects, the MDC

will have to make a decision. If Tsvangirai is inaugurated

with issues pending, particularly that of abductees, he will

appear to have been manipulated by ZANU-PF. And if he

insists on conditionality, he will be accused once again,

rightly or wrongly, of flip-flopping and obstructing the

formation of a GNU. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

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