in Stories

Ten Mutambara MPs were ready to defect- Bennett

The treasurer of the Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, Roy Bennett, told United States embassy officials in Pretoria that 10 Members of Parliament from the Mutambara faction were ready to defect to the Tsvangirai faction just two months before the 2008 elections.

Bennett described it as “return(ing) to the fold”.

He said faction leader Arthur Mutambara, his secretary general Welshman Ncube and treasurer Fletcher Dulini-Ncube were pressing the MPs not to rejoin the Tsvangirai faction.

Ncube and Mutambara wanted a coalition and not reunification.

Mutambara had repeatedly told embassy officials in Harare that he was prepared to work with Tsvangirai.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08PRETORIA38, MDC’S BENNETT HOPEFUL ON ANC CHANGES

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

08PRETORIA38

2008-01-08 14:47

2011-08-30 01:44

SECRET

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO6976

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #0038/01 0081447

ZNY SSSSS ZZH

R 081447Z JAN 08

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3099

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 5205

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 9479

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 000038

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/07/2018

TAGS: PREL SF ZI

SUBJECT: MDC’S BENNETT HOPEFUL ON ANC CHANGES

 

REF: A. TRENKLE-WARREN EMAIL OF 12/21/2007

 

B. 07 PRETORIA 4261 (NOTAL)

C. 07 PRETORIA 3486 AND PREVIOUS

 

PRETORIA 00000038 001.2 OF 002

 

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(

b) and (d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. The MDC is hopeful that the election of

Jacob Zuma as ANC President will lead to changes in South

Africa’s policy toward Zimbabwe, according to MDC Treasurer

Roy Bennett. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai recently met with

South African Community Party (SACP) leader Blade Nzimande, a

key Zuma ally, who expressed sympathy for the MDC position

and promised to arrange a meeting with Tsvangirai and Zuma.

Nzimande also alleged that the USG funded Thabo Mbeki’s ANC

campaign. Bennett is struggling to raise funds for the MDC,

but hopes that planned rallies in Zimbabwe and upcoming

elections will refocus attention on Zimbabwe and the MDC. We

do not expect any immediate changes in South Africa’s policy

toward Zimbabwe, but might see a shift over the medium to

longer-term. Many Zuma allies, including Nzimande, are

sympathetic to the MDC and will push for a new SAG approach

to Zimbabwe. The MDC is also becoming more effective in

lobbying their cause in South Africa. END SUMMARY.

 

———————-

Upbeat on ANC Election

———————-

 

2. (C) Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Treasurer Roy

Bennett told PolOff January 4 that he was cautiously

optimistic that South Africa’s policy toward Zimbabwe would

“change for the better” under newly-elected ANC leader Jacob

Zuma. Bennett noted that Zuma and his key allies do not

“carry the same baggage” on Zimbabwe as Mbeki’s team.

Bennett hoped, for example, that the ANC would send a

separate team to observe the Zimbabwean elections, and that

the ANC observation mission would include individuals from

the trade union federation COSATU and the South African

Community Party (SACP), both of which have been critical of

Mugabe. (NOTE: Contrary to Bennett’s hopes, Zuma defended

Mbeki’s policy of “quiet diplomacy” in Zimbabwe in his

December 20 press remarks (ref A). END NOTE.)

 

3. (C) MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai recently met with SACP

General Secretary and Zuma ally Blade Nzimande, accompanied

by MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti and Bennett. According

to Bennett, Nzimande asked for an update on the South

African-led facilitation and expressed sympathy for the MDC

position. Nzimande said he would arrange a meeting between

Zuma and Tsvangirai.

 

———————————-

Nzimande Told MDC USG Funded Mbeki

———————————-

 

4. (S/NF) Nzimande told Tsvangirai that the United States

funded Thabo Mbeki’s ANC reelection campaign, claiming that

the United States did not want Jacob Zuma to become South

Africa’s president. Nzimande seemed very confident in his

statement, even when questioned by Bennett on why the U.S.

Government would take such a position. Bennett did not

believe the allegation. (NOTE: Post heard the same report

via Strive Masiyiwa, who had spoken with Tsvangirai (ref B).

As noted in ref B, the ridiculous allegation about USG

funding for Mbeki is evidence of the strong distrust of the

United States among Zuma’s leftist allies. END NOTE.)

 

———————

Fundraising Difficult

———————

 

5. (C) Bennett admitted that the MDC has had difficulty

raising funds to cover its operations and campaign strategy.

The USD 1 million that Bennett raised from a group of donors

QThe USD 1 million that Bennett raised from a group of donors

(ref C) has been spent, mostly on MDC vehicles for each

province, travel, retreats, training for Tsvangirai’s

personal security unit, and ongoing operations at Harvest

House. Bennett was optimistic that planned MDC rallies in

Zimbabwe over the next few weeks, culminating in a march in

Harare at the end of January, would refocus international

attention on the MDC. The upcoming elections would also make

fundraising easier, Bennett claimed.

 

6. (S/NF) Asked about efforts to raise funds among the

 

PRETORIA 00000038 002.2 OF 002

 

 

Zimbabwean diaspora in South Africa, Bennett said it has been

“very challenging.” He said that Zimbabwean businessman

Strive Masiyiwa (strictly protect) has promised the party USD

25,000 as an initial contribution, but the money has not yet

“hit the MDC account.” Tsvangirai and Bennett speak

regularly with Masiyiwa, who is providing advice.

 

———————-

Political Developments

———————-

 

7. (C) Bennett commented on other political developments in

Zimbabwe:

 

— Bennett made contradictory statements on the MDC threat to

boycott the elections, saying the threat is “serious,” but

stressing that “the people want to vote.” Bennett believes

the election will take place in March.

 

— Nothing has happened on the South African-led SADC

facilitation since the December 16 meeting between Mbeki and

the MDC leaders, according to Bennett. Bennett was not aware

of future planned meetings, and was generally pessimistic on

prospects for a positive outcome from the facilitation.

 

— “Rumors are swirling” about the possible creation of a

“third way” political force, Bennett said, to be led by

former GOZ minister Simba Makoni. Ibbo Mandaza, the Mujurus,

and possibly Welshman Ncube are reportedly involved in the

initiative.

 

— Talks with the pro-Senate MDC faction on unification are

advanced, with as many as ten pro-Senate MPs ready to “return

to the fold,” Bennett claimed. He said that Welshman Ncube,

Arthur Mutambara, and Fletcher Dulini-Ncube are pressing the

MPs not to rejoin the Tsvangirai faction. Ncube and

Mutambara want a coalition, not reunification. Bennett noted

that the Mutambara faction is “nervous” about the changes in

South Africa, since they are closely connected to the “Mbeki

team.”

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

8. (C) We are not as optimistic as Bennett that the election

of Zuma will result in any immediate changes in South

Africa’s foreign policy toward Zimbabwe. However, several

newly-elected ANC leaders and Zuma allies, including the

SACP’s Nzimande, have sharply criticized Mbeki’s Zimbabwe

policy and will push for a new SAG approach. In addition,

the MDC, in part because of Treasurer Bennett’s presence in

Johannesburg, is beginning to play the South African

political game more effectively, lobbying key players and

reaching out to the influential Zimbabwean business diaspora.

Therefore, we may begin to see policy changes over the

medium to long-term, especially if the GOZ cracks down on the

MDC (as in March 2007) or when a new South African President

takes office in 2009.

BOST

(3 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment