What Obert Gutu said about Tsvangirai

The Deputy Minister of Justice Obert Gutu said the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change Morgan Tsvangirai was humble and tolerant, not vindictive like Robert Mugabe. These qualities in large part accounted for his widespread popularity.

However, he added, that Tsvangirai was indecisive and inconsistent. Gutu pointed out that a couple of weeks before his conversation with United States embassy officials Tsvangirai had said that Zimbabwe would not be ready for elections in the near-term because of the residue of 2008 election violence and the inadequacy of institutions. But at Davos the week before, Tsvangirai said he would press for elections in 2011.

Gutu said Tsvangirai had a tendency to listen to the wrong people. He pointed to Ian Makone, Tsvangirai's chief of staff, and Makone's wife, Theresa, who at the time was Minister of Public Works. He opined that neither was a good strategist, and that the Office of the Prime Minister was weak due to Ian Makone's lack of leadership.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 10HARARE67, AN MDC SENATORS'S VIEW OF TSVANGIRAI AND THE MDC

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

10HARARE67

2010-02-02 09:49

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3291

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3402

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1825

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2659

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0008

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0090

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2562

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000067

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR BRIAN WALCH

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/02/2020

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: AN MDC SENATORS'S VIEW OF TSVANGIRAI AND THE MDC

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CHARLES A. RAY FOR REASONS 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

1. (C) MDC Senator Obert Gutu shared his views January 30 on

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC-T, and the current

political situation. Gutu knows Tsvangirai, Minister of

Finance Tendai Biti, and other top MDC-T officials well, but

he is not an MDC-T insider. He is from Masvingo. His

constituency in the Senate covers approximately the same

Harare areas as does Biti's in the House of Assembly.

2. (C) Asked about Tsvangirai's qualities as a leader, Gutu

said the prime minister was humble and tolerant, not

vindictive like Robert Mugabe. These qualities in large part

accounted for his widespread popularity. On the negative

side, he was indecisive and inconsistent. Gutu pointed out

that a couple of weeks ago, Tsvangirai had said Zimbabwe

would not be ready for elections in the near-term because of

the residue of 2008 election violence and the inadequacy of

institutions. But at Davos last week, Tsvangirai said he

would press for elections in 2011. Gutu also stated that

Tsvangirai had a tendency to listen to the wrong people. He

pointed to Ian Makone, Tsvangirai's chief of staff, and

Makone's wife, Theresa, who is the Minister of Public Works.

He opined that neither was a good strategist, and that the

Office of the Prime Minister was weak due to Ian Makone's

lack of leadership.

3. (C) We asked Gutu why the MDC-T had not taken a strong

public stance on the Marange diamond fields where it appears

ZANU-PF insiders are illegally profiting. Gutu said the

situation was troubling, but he was not part of MDC-T

strategy on the issue. He said MDC-T parliamentarians were

furious when MDC-T Deputy Minister of Mines Murisi Zwizwai,

at Kimberley Process meetings in Namibia, denied violence at

Marange and had demanded his dismissal. Tsvangirai,

according to Gutu, promised to speak with Zwizwai and the

matter was dropped. Gutu noted that Zwizwai and Tsvangirai

are cousins and said this was another example of friendship

getting in the way of governing.

4. (C) MDC-T as a party, according to Gutu, is weak. Its

most capable leaders are in government, and the party has

been neglected. Many experienced MDC-T members declined to

run for Parliament in the March 2008 elections fearing that

their candidacies would be futile and perhaps dangerous.

Those who ended up running and winning in many cases were

inexperienced and unqualified.

5. (C) Gutu said he was aware of allegations of corruption

within the MDC-T. He had no knowledge of corrupt ministers,

but said local councils were a concern. Many councilors had

been elected for the first time in March 2008 and were trying

to help themselves to the spoils of office.

6. (C) With regard to the constitutional process, Gutu said

that local traditional chiefs had been co-opted by ZANU-PF

and were using food distribution and agricultural inputs to

secure support for ZANU-PF positions when parliamentary

outreach teams visit their areas. He said the World Food

Qoutreach teams visit their areas. He said the World Food

Program and other donor organizations had made food

distributions in December. But people were still hungry and

ZANU-PF had food and agricultural inputs such as fertilizer

to entice them to meetings to secure their support in the

constitutional process. Gutu speculated ZANU-PF had obtained

money for food and inputs from the sale of Marange diamonds.

7. (C) Gutu said there were divisions within the MDC-T on

whether to push for early elections. Some of the leadership

was frustrated with progress on the Global Political

Agreement and wanted an early election strategy. But many

MPs, elected for the first time, were reluctant to stand for

reelection before necessary. Gutu said he was concerned

about early elections since the ZANU-PF machinery of violence

was in place and could be turned on at any time.

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

COMMENT and BIO NOTE

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

 

8. (C) Gutu's comments about the MDC-T ring true; he perhaps

feels free to make them as he is not an MDC-T insider. Gutu

is a successful lawyer (University of Zimbabwe law school)

 

HARARE 00000067 002 OF 002

 

 

who first entered politics when he ran for Senate in March

2008. He 47 years old and is married with four daughters.

The eldest graduated from Florida International University

last year. One is a university student in Brisbane, one is

studying in Cape Town, and the youngest is in high school in

Harare. END COMMENT AND BIO NOTE.

 

RAY

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