Biti told US officials MDC had no chance in the 2008 elections

The secretary-general of the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, Tendai Biti, who was regarded as Tsvangirai’s de facto number two, told United States embassy officials that his party had no chance of winning the 2008 elections because it did not have any money to campaign.

It did not even have the fuel to travel, he said.

He said the MDC was not just contesting an election against a political party but against the state with all its resources.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE781, TENDAI BITI ON SADC NEGOTIATIONS, ELECTIONS

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE781

2007-09-04 14:02

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXYZ0007

RR RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHSB #0781/01 2471402

ZNY CCCCC ZZH (CCY TEXT AD040201 MSI1706)

R 041402Z SEP 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1827

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1683

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1555

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1687

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0328

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0953

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1316

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1744

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4162

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1514

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2177

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0808

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1904

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000781

 

SIPDIS

 

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

 

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (TEXT)

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: TENDAI BITI ON SADC NEGOTIATIONS, ELECTIONS

Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Glenn Warren under 1.4 b/d

 

-------

Summary

-------

 

1. (C) Tendai Biti, MDC anti-Senate secretary-general,

believes substantial progress has been made in SADC-sponsored

negotiations toward a new constitution. Agreement on the

constitution, electoral reform, and repeal of repressive

legislation, however, is unlikely before March elections.

Any agreements reached now with ZANU-PF are viewed by the MDC

as stepping stones on the road to an eventual legitimate

government.

 

2. (C) According to Biti, the MDC split has been

"devastating" for the opposition. He and pro-Senate

secretary-general Welshman Ncube have agreed to meet with

 

SIPDIS

Brian Raftopolous in another effort to establish a coalition.

Biti expects the elections to be rigged and Mugabe to win.

While the MDC will campaign hard, it is hampered by lack of

cash to organize and campaign, particularly in the rural

areas. End Summary.

 

3. (SBU) Charge and polecon chief had meetings with Biti on

August 30 and August 31 respectively.

 

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

SADC Progress

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

 

4. (C) Biti said he and fellow MDC negotiator Welshman Ncube

had had numerous meetings with ZANU-PF negotiators Patrick

Chinimasa and Nicholas Goche, since the ZANU-PF team was a

no-show in South Africa in June. He praised the South

Africans, who he thought had pressured Chinimasa and Goche to

take the negotiations seriously.

 

5. (C) The subject of the negotiations until now, according

to Biti, had been a new constitution. They were using the

2003-2004 constitution, negotiated by Chinimasa and Ncube

(but rejected by their parties) as a basis for talks.

Agreement had been reached on a bill of rights, which Biti

deemed excellent; restricted powers of the executive;

separation of powers; provincial governance. Other agenda

items such as electoral reform, AIPPA and POSA, and the

climate of violence had not yet been addressed.

 

6. (C) An area of continuing disagreement, Biti said, was

proportional representation in parliamentary elections which

the MDC strongly supports as a way of diluting ZANU-PF

electoral strength and intimidation. (Note: With

proportional representation in Zimbabwe, voters could vote

anywhere in the province and would not be subject to pressure

from their local political leaders. Candidates would be

elected according to their percentage of votes in the

province rather than elected from a specific constiuency.

End Note.) He noted ironically that in opposing proportional

representation, Chinimasa and Goche had pointed to the U.S.

as having a well-functioning system that does not have

proportional representation.

 

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

ZANU-PF Strategy

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

 

7. (C) We posited that an agreement on constitutional and

 

 

 

 

8. (C) As negotiations continued, ZANU-PF had asked the MDC

negotiators to co-sponsor a revised Amendment 18 that would

have provisions agreeable to had a number of provisions

anathema to the MDC. Knowing that Amendment 18 would be

passed, however, with or without MDC support, Biti said the

MDC might not actively oppose it. The Amendment did have a

couple of good provisions, including transferring authority

to delimit parliamentary districts from the widely-detested

Registrar of Voters to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

(ZEC) which, although not presently independent, was not as

biased as the Registrar.

 

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

What's in it for the MDC

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

 

9. (C) Biti said he was "priviledged" to be negotiating a

new constitution and democratic reform and called it an

"historic" moment. He doubted the task would be accomplished

before the March elections, but said this was part of a

process. After elections, which he assumed would be rigged

and would result in Mugabe's reelection, the MDC would

continue to negotiate for a new constitution, and for legal

and electoral reforms. The goal would be a free and fair

election, as soon as possible, under the new constitution.

To the extent the government resisted, the opposition would

have to consider how to apply pressure, including a return to

the streets.

 

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

On the MDC Split and Elections

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

 

10. (C) Biti termed the failure of the two MDC factions to

agree on a coaltion "devastating." Some supporters had begun

to view the MDC cynically, and lack of electoral unity would

hurt the MDC in Matabeleland. The relationship between Biti

and Ncube, although they continued to negotiate together, had

become strained. There was a ray of hope--Biti and Ncube had

agreed to meet in South Africa with Brian Raftopoulos to once

again explore an electoral coaltion. (Note. Raftopolous, a

former University of Zimbabwe professor and long-time MDC

advisor, is now with Solidarity Peace Trust in South Africa.

He has made previous efforts to negotiate an end to the MDC

split. End Note.)

 

11. (C) Apart from the MDC split, Biti was pessimistic about

the MDC's electoral chances. He acknowledged the importance

of the rural areas, traditionally won in elections by

ZANU-PF. He said the MDC had insufficient resources to

organize and campaign in rural Zimbabwe--at a basic level it

didn't even have the fuel to travel. He emphasized that the

MDC was contesting the election not just against a political

party, but against the State with all its resources.

 

-------

Comment

-------

 

 

12. (C) With a demonstrably unlevel electoral playing field,

and with continued government repression, the MDC had

considered, according to Biti, boycotting the elections.

Most Members of Parliament were not agreeable as it would

have meant losing the emoluments of their offices. But by

participating in the SADC process and contesting the

election, the MDC runs the risk of SADC, and perhaps the

wider international community, declaring a ZANU-PF win

legitimate. Given that the MDC is going to take this risk,

it is important the party go all out in organizing and

campaigning in order to expose the unfairness of the

electoral process in the likely event of a loss.

 

 

DHANANI

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Add comment


Security code
Refresh