Was Tsvangirai taken for a ride by Mugabe?

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee that Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Robert Mugabe had agreed to concede defeat after the 2008 elections but wanted an additional six months in office which the MDC rejected.

Tsvangirai, who requested the meeting with McGee, said the parties had agreed on 1 April 2008 that Mugabe and Tsvangirai would meet in the morning before a concession speech by Mugabe and a later victory speech by Tsvangirai.

ZANU-PF negotiators, however, failed to contact the MDC on 2 April about the meeting. Tsvangirai later heard from an individual whom he described as a high-level ZANU-PF insider that Mugabe had rejected the agreement. ZANU-PF was returning to Plan A--a runoff.

An embassy business contact with excellent ZANU-PF contacts said the Zimbabwe Election Commission would declare Tsvangirai the winner of the March 29 election with about 48 percent of the vote with Mugabe winning about 43 percent.

The contact said Mugabe and his inner circle had agreed that Mugabe would step down but Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Defence Chief Constantine Chiwenga had convinced Mugabe to reverse course and contest a runoff election.

A committee to oversee the runoff election had been set up. It would be chaired by Didymus Mutasa (Minister of State Security) and would also include Nicholas Goche (Minister of Labour), Elliot Manyika (ZANU-PF commissar), and Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Gono was preparing to raise US$200 million through the sale of diamonds in London for the run- off.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE267, SITUATION REPORT: TSVANGIRAI DISCUSSES RUNOFF WITH

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE267

2008-04-02 17:22

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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DE RUEHSB #0267/01 0931722

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 021722Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2671

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1867

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1990

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0563

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1267

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1624

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2046

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4477

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1117

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000267

 

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

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2018

TAGS: PREL PGOV ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: SITUATION REPORT: TSVANGIRAI DISCUSSES RUNOFF WITH

AMBASSADOR

 

REF: HARARE 254

 

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

 

1. (C) MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai requested a meeting

with the Ambassador after the MDC briefing (Septel) on

election results. Tsvangirai explained that yesterday the

MDC had negotiated with emissaries of President Robert Mugabe

and had reached a tentative deal. Mugabe had agreed to

concede defeat. He wanted an additional six months in office

which the MDC had rejected. He also wanted a government of

national unity. Tsvangirai said the MDC was not opposed in

principle to this; the MDC had always preached

reconciliation. The MDC had requested a list of 10 names to

consider for government positions. The parties agreed that

Mugabe and Tsvangirai would meet in the morning before a

concession speech by Mugabe and a later victory speech by

Tsvangirai. ZANU-PF negotiators failed today to contact the

 

SIPDIS

MDC about the meeting. According to Tsvangirai, he later

heard from an individual whom he described as a high-level

ZANU-PF insider that Mugabe had rejected the agreement.

ZANU-PF was returning to Plan A--a runoff.

 

2. (C) Tsvangirai also told the Ambassador he had received

information that ZANU-PF would allege that a runoff election

within 21 days, as required by the Electoral Act, was not

logistically feasible. Mugabe, by presidential decree, would

set the runoff election 90 days from the date of the

election, March 29. Tsvangirai said he was concerned about

ZANU-PF violence and intimidation during the electoral

period, especially since the MDC, knowing it had strong

support in the urban areas, would focus campaigning in the

rural areas. Expressing strong concern about a 90-day

electoral period, Tsvangirai asked that the diplomatic

community support the 21-day period called for by the

Electoral Act.

 

3. (C) A business contact with excellent ZANU-PF contacts

confirmed to us today that the ruling party's plan was a

runoff election. He said the ZEC would declare Tsvangirai

the winner of the March 29 election with about 48 percent of

the vote, and with Mugabe winning about 43 percent.

According to our contact, Mugabe and his inner circle had

yesterday agreed that Mugabe would step down, as outlined by

Tsvangirai, but Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Defense

 

SIPDIS

Chief Constantine Chiwenga had convinced Mugabe to reverse

course and contest a runoff election. A committee to oversee

the runoff election had been set up. It would be chaired by

Didymus Mutasa (Minister of State Security) and would also

include Nicholas Goche (Minister of Labor), Elliot Manyika

(ZANU-PF commissar), and Emmerson Mnangagwa. Our contact

said the Central Intelligence Office (CIO) had informed him

that ZANU-PF would attempt to limit observers for the runoff

and limit the MDC's access to rural areas. He also believed

that Gono was preparing to raise USD 200 million through the

sale of diamonds in London.

 

4. (C) Harare remains calm. We expect that the announcement

of a runoff will be greeted with acceptance, if not

resignation, by most people. It will damper any short-term

prospects for violence.

 

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COMMENT

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5. (C) Mugabe and his inner circle have discussed several

scenarios during the last several days (Reftel) and as

recently as yesterday were discussing a deal whereby Mugabe

would step down. It appears probable they have settled on a

runoff. We note that a sub-headline in today's The Herald,

 

HARARE 00000267 002 OF 002

 

 

the government mouthpiece, stated "Presidential Poll Rerun

Expected."

 

6. (C) The question arises as to why ZANU-PF would not steal

the election outright, since it has obviously resorted to

fraud during the election process. Under the Electoral Act

as amended in January as a resulQof the SADC negotiations,

each polling station was required to post a form outside the

station with results of counting. The ZEC is required to

maintain custody of the originals, and it is logical to

believe that Mugabe's total vote, as revealed by the forms,

would be less than 50 percent and would approximate the 43

percent it appears the ZEC will ultimately declare he has

won.

 

7. (C) ZANU-PF appears to have suffered a stunning defeat.

We believe it will pull out all the stops to ensure that this

does not happen again in a runoff election. END COMMENT.

 

 

MCGEE

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