Tsvangirai was upbeat about signing of GPA

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told United States ambassador James McGhee, two days after the signing of the Global Political Agreement, that President Robert Mugabe was committed to making the inclusive government a success but needed to “deal with his people”.

Tsvangirai's confidence that Mugabe was committed to the new government was in sharp contrast to the views of his secretary general Tendai Biti, who had vowed he would not be part of any government that included Mugabe.

Tsvangirai who sought the meeting with the ambassador said they were agreeing on most issues except the Ministry of Finance and he was prepared to “park that one” while reaching agreement on other portfolios.

He was planning a retreat for his minister in October to launch his 100-day plan and said he continued to need the assistance of his American advisor Melinda Ferris.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE837, TSVANGIRAI EXPLAINS NEXT STEPS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE837

2008-09-17 10:23

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

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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: 09/17/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI EXPLAINS NEXT STEPS

 

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

 

1. (C) Ambassador met briefly with Prime Minister Morgan

Tsvangirai at Tsvangirai's request on September 17. Though

clearly pressed for time, Tsvangirai was relaxed and

confident. In response to a question from Ambassador,

Tsvangirai said he was confident that Mugabe is committed to

making the inclusive government a success. He said that

delay in reaching agreement on a cabinet was due to Mugabe's

need to "deal with his people." While Mugabe has conceded

Home Affairs to the MDC-T, Finance remains under dispute.

Tsvangirai said he would suggest to Mugabe that they "park

that one" for now while reaching agreement on other

portfolios. Once other issues are resolved, Tsvangirai will

frankly point out to Mugabe that ZANU-PF has made a mess of

the economy and that no foreign aid will flow unless Finance

is granted to the MDC. He said he is confident Mugabe will

yield. (Comment: It is not evident that this will be

finalized on September 17, as press reports suggest. End

comment.)

 

2. (C) Tsvangirai explained how events would unfold over the

next few weeks. He plans over the coming weekend to pull

together his advisors, including a new government strategic

unit (GSU) composed of CEOs and other experts, his transition

team and the MDC government team, to finalize his

administration's 100-day plan, including determination of

benchmarks and a monitoring mechanism. Tsvangirai will push

to schedule swearing in of ministers early next week. Mugabe

will use his emergency powers to create the post of Prime

Minister and appoint Tsvangirai; Parliament will need to

validate this by passing a constitutional amendment within 90

days to establish the new governmental framework. Tsvangirai

plans to hold a ministerial retreat the first week of October

to present the 100-day plan before Parliament convenes.

Tsvangirai said he will not travel to New York for the UN

General Assembly, but instead plans to visit rural areas

around the country to see if food distribution is beginning.

 

3. (C) Tsvangirai told the Ambassador that he needed the

assistance of his personal advisor, Melinda Ferris, to

coordinate the 100-day strategy, and he requested USG

financial assistance for her to travel to Zimbabwe this week.

 

4. (C) Comment: Tsvangirai's confidence that Mugabe is

acting in good faith stands in sharp contrast to the views of

MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti (septel) and many other

informed observers. However, a confident, full-steam-ahead

approach represents the best strategy for trying to make a

success of this imperfect deal. While we would not bet on

it, we will hope that Tsvangirai's 100-day plan creates

momentum difficult for ZANU-PF to resist. At a minimum, the

front-loading of elements of the MDC's reform agenda will

provide early evidence of the prospects for real change in

Zimbabwe.

 

MCGEE

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