He said the plan was to stimulate disturbances that would lay the foundation for a larger national action, possible a stay-away.
The MDC's liaison committee would be chaired by national chairman Isaac Matongo and include youth chairperson Nelson Chamisa and women's chairperson Lucia Matibenga.
In its comment to Mudzingwa’s plan, the embassy said: “The government's violent suppression of urban masses and the MDC's difficulty in responding highlight a central democratic dilemma: How does a non-violent opposition intent on gaining power by legal and/or democratic means gain advantage over a violent ruling party indifferent to the suffering of its people and willing to use all means available to perpetuate its power?
“Compounding the conundrum for the MDC are internal tensions flowing from its failure to prepare adequately for the disappointment of another stolen election. The party's domestic and international stature may depend in large part on its ability to overcome internal squabbling and exploit the political opportunity presented it by the GOZ's brutal urban crackdown. “
Viewing cable 05HARARE774, MDC OFFICIAL ON PARTY TACTICS, INTERNAL TURMOIL
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
031010Z Jun 05
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000774
AF/S FOR D. MOZENA, B. NEULING
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2010
SUBJECT: MDC OFFICIAL ON PARTY TACTICS, INTERNAL TURMOIL
REF: HARARE 713
Classified By: Ambassador Charge d'Affaires, a.i. Eric T. Schultz under
Section 1.4 b/d
¶1. (C) SUMMARY: MDC Secretary for Presidential Affairs (and
principal aide to Party President Morgan Tsvangirai) Gandi
Mudzingwa on June 1 told poloff that the party was working
closely with civil society to foment protests over the GOZ
crackdown against the informal sector. Mudzingwa asserted
that the party planned to stimulate urban and rural
disturbances that would lay the foundation of a larger
national action ) possibly a "stay-away" ) within a few
weeks. He reported that a recent retreat in Botswana among
the party leadership had reduced intra-party tensions but
suggested that some friction likely remained. Finally, he
said Tsvangirai wanted to defer his planned visit to
Washington until late June ) early July ) after the MDC's
response to the GOZ's ongoing urban crackdown had taken more
tangible form. END SUMMARY.
Agitating with Civil Society
¶2. (C) According to Mudzingwa, party leaders had been
meeting with leaders of prominent civil society leaders
nearly daily for the past week to coordinate strategies in
response to the GOZ crackdown against "illegal structures."
A meeting later on June 1 was to have divided
responsibilities among the party, churches, students, and
NGOs such as the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
and Lovemore Makhuku's National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA). The MDC's liaison committee would be chaired by
National Chairman Isaac Matongo and include Youth Chairperson
Nelson Chamisa and Women's Chairperson Lucia Matibenga.
¶3. (C) The developing plan was to stimulate local
disturbances that appeared to be spontaneous, and not
associated with the party. The MDC would be rhetorically
supportive of such activity but not take responsibility for
it publicly. Although the party was &raising its profile,8
with Tsvangirai publicly touring most of the affected areas
on May 31, Mudzingwa asserted that overt involvement in
fomenting resistance would give the GOZ a pretext to arrest
the MDC leadership.
¶4. (C) Mudzingwa conceded that the party had yet to develop
a plan for reaching out to the many Zimbabweans displaced by
the crackdown. Most of these people had been apolitical but
now represented a potential asset for the MDC. The party,s
efforts to tap into them would likely be decentralized, with
local leaders empowered to reach out to the displaced from
both inside and outside MDC structures. He predicted that up
to 500,000 Zimbabweans would be displaced by GOZ efforts
within the next three months.
Urban and Rural Fronts Leading to National Action
¶5. (C) Mudzingwa said MDC efforts would revolve principally
around existing community anger in urban areas. In addition,
an element within the party (including him) wanted to agitate
in rural areas, principally around the issue of food. Rural
activities were already underway, including in incidents not
widely reported. A well-publicized incident in Filabusi had
involved the arrest (and subsequent release) of more than 100
women who had demonstrated in front of the local chief's
residence, demanding food when local GMB personnel denied it
to them because they were from an MDC area. The MDC had
played a behind-the-scenes role in this incident. In an
incident not reported in the media, MDC-affiliated youths in
Buhera had overcome the GMB's efforts to withhold food from
them ) with police backing and even encouraging the youths,
according to Mudzingwa. He added that there were other
similar unreported incidents, but internal divisions over
tactics had kept the MDC from aggressively publicizing them.
¶6. (C) Mudzingwa asserted that rural disturbances would keep
authorities stretched thinner and open up more opportunities
in the cities. Initial plans called for urban and rural
disturbances to continue, laying the foundation for some
national action ) a possible stay-away, for instance )
called for publicly by the MDC and its civil society allies.
¶7. (C) As for timing, Mudzingwa predicted that snowballing
urban and rural actions would culminate in a national action
in about three weeks ) late June. He said MDC-civil society
discussions originally contemplated national action on June
8-9 but deferred it because "the people were not ready."
Final dates would hinge on the developing GOZ and public
response to continued rapid economic decline. In the
meantime, the MDC would continue to publicly press wedge
issues, such as food, jobs, prices, water, transport. It
would also push for more international attention and write a
letter to the UN, although Mudzingwa was vague on what such a
letter would seek.
Internal Tensions Ease, Remain Unresolved
¶8. (C) Elaborating on reported internal party strife,
Mudzingwa said that a recent IRI-arranged retreat in Botswana
had done much to reduce tensions among the party leadership.
It had clarified boundaries of responsibility, with the
President responsible for vision, the National Chairman for
structures, and the Secretary General for operations and
administration. In addition, frayed relationships,
resentments, and inefficiencies had been exposed and
addressed somewhat. One positive outcome of the retreat was
that leaders recognized that there had to be some tolerance
for failure, but that all ultimately had to be accountable
for their performance.
¶9. (C) Mudzingwa complained, however, that unspecified
members were allowing recriminations over the election to
distract the party from the growing national crisis. Instead
of recognizing the election as stolen, they wanted to
apportion blame within the organization and use the results
to advance personal interest at the expense of others. He
then proceeded to castigate Secretary-General Welshman Ncube
for allegedly setting up a parallel Matabeleland command
center during the election, and issuing public messages that
had not been coordinated with the rest of the leadership.
¶10. (C) Mudzingwa confirmed that the party had expelled 14
in connection with the recent occupation of its Harvest House
Headquarters (reftel) and was in the midst of hearings to
uncover the involvement of others. (N.B. Mudzingwa is among
those rumored to have been involved, ostensibly to reduce the
influence of the party's "intellectual" wing, with which
Ncube is associated.) He lamented that internal issues were
distracting the party from their national struggle and the
developing national crisis, which offered potential important
opportunities. The party would have to refocus or become
irrelevant, he concluded.
Tsvangirai Trip to Washington
¶11. (C) Mudzingwa said that Tsvangirai would likely defer
plans to visit Washington until between June 22 and July 15,
by which time the party will have made substantive progress
in its alliance with civil society to stimulate more
organized protests. He asked that the USG be flexible and
undertook to convey to us a more definite proposal once MDC
response to the crackdown had progressed further and the
party had more to say about MDC plans. He also urged that
the USG and the EU coordinate closely with the MDC before
engaging the regime constructively on anything ) he
expressed special concern that the EU and/or some of its
member states may be moving ahead quietly in rehabilitating
relations with the GOZ.
¶12. (C) The government's violent suppression of urban masses
and the MDC's difficulty in responding highlight a central
democratic dilemma: How does a non-violent opposition intent
on gaining power by legal and/or democratic means gain
advantage over a violent ruling party indifferent to the
suffering of its people and willing to use all means
available to perpetuate its power? Compounding the conundrum
for the MDC are internal tensions flowing from its failure to
prepare adequately for the disappointment of another stolen
election. The party's domestic and international stature may
depend in large part on its ability to overcome internal
squabbling and exploit the political opportunity presented it
by the GOZ's brutal urban crackdown.