Chamisa said Biti wanted to become Deputy Prime Minister

Movement for Democratic Change spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said party secretary-general Tendai Biti had said a deal with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front to set up an inclusive government was dead because he was disappointed that he would not be appointed deputy Prime Minister.

Chamisa told United States embassy officials that the MDC believed it could best shape the electoral environment, including drafting of a new constitution, through participation in a power-sharing government.

When asked about Biti’s statement that a deal with ZANU-PF was essentially dead, Chamisa said that the MDC National Council had taken a position in favour of a power-sharing government as long as preconditions were met, and that Biti did not speak for the MDC.

He said that Biti was disappointed that after personally negotiating an agreement with ZANU-PF, it was made clear that he would not become a deputy prime minister, the post that he wanted.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE6, MDC SPOKESPERSON CHAMISA ON NEGOTIATIONS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE6

2009-01-02 09:04

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3879

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

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RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1140

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RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2271

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2696

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5124

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000006

 

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

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/02/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MDC SPOKESPERSON CHAMISA ON NEGOTIATIONS

 

REF: 08 HARARE 1146

 

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (d)

 

1.

. (C) According to MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa, the

MDC's goal is new elections through which it can take over

complete control of government. Chamisa told polecon chief

December 31 the MDC believes it can best shape the electoral

environment, including drafting of a new constitution,

through participation in a power-sharing government. The MDC

will therefore continue to participate in negotiations. It

will, however, insist on resolution of outstanding issues.

These include first and foremost an equitable distribution of

ministries, although the MDC will agree to share leadership

of Home Affairs. Other outstanding issues are division of

governorships, appointment of ambassadors and permanent

secretaries, and composition and function of the national

security council. Finally, the MDC wants the recent

appointments of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and

Attorney General Johannes Tomana rescinded, and a sunset

clause on a power-sharing government so that there is a

deadline for new elections.

 

2. (C) We asked Chamisa about MDC secretary-general Tendai

Biti's comments that a deal with ZANU-PF was essentially

dead. Chamisa responded that the MDC National Council had

taken a position in favor of a power-sharing government as

long as preconditions were met, and that Biti did not speak

for the MDC. He noted that Biti was disappointed that after

personally negotiating an agreement with ZANU-PF, it was made

clear that he would not become a deputy prime minister, the

post that he wanted. Chamisa acknowledged that ZANU-PF might

very well not agree to the MDC's positions on outstanding

issues, in which case the MDC would not enter government.

Chamisa thought that Zimbabwean president Mugabe wanted an

agreement, but that others within ZANU-PF, particularly

Emmerson Mnangagwa, were adamantly opposed.

 

3. (C) Noting that Mugabe had sent a letter to MDC faction

heads Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara inviting them to

join the government, Chamisa argued Mugabe was not the head

of a legally constituted government and therefore had no

right to issue such an invitation. He said that Tsvangirai

had written Mugabe and South African president Motlanthe to

propose a meeting between him and Mugabe to discuss the

outstanding issues as well as the negotiating atmosphere,

including the recent spate of abductions

 

-------

COMMENT

-------

 

4. (C) Tsvangirai is now in South Africa and we understand

has begun meetings with the South African mediation team.

There will undoubtedly be pressure from South Africa on both

ZANU-PF and the MDC to reach an agreement. Two key near-term

events are the MDC leadership strategy conference in South

Africa next week, and, if it takes place, a meeting between

Mugabe and Tsvangirai. An Embassy contact close to ZANU-PF

told us that Mugabe will be in the Far East until the middle

of January; a meeting between the principals would have to

await his return.

 

5. (C) The MDC is faced with two largely unsatisfactory

choices. It can remain outside of government and attempt to

pressure the government as the desperate situation in the

country continues. But Mugabe appears resolute in

withstanding pressure and remaining in power. Or the MDC can

join the government with knowledge that ZANU-PF will attempt

to maintain the reigns of power and marginalize the MDC. For

now, the MDC appears to be opting for the latter, believing

 

HARARE 00000006 002 OF 002

 

 

that as part of government it can best try to address the

humanitarian crisis and begin to prepare for elections. It

has made specific demands regarding outstanding issues and

has placed the ball in ZANU-PF's court.

 

6. (C) Still unresolved is the fate of about 40 individuals,

a number of them MDC officials, who have been abducted by

government security forces during the last two months. On

December 19, Tsvangirai said the MDC would suspend

negotiations if the abductees were not released or charged in

court by January 1. 18 have now been brought to court and

hearings are taking place. But there is no word on the rest.

END COMMENT.

 

DHANANI

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