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The four scenarios that the MDC faced

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai told diplomats on 21 November 2000 that his party was considering four scenarios for its role in Zimbabwe.

The first was to wait for the 2002 presidential elections. The problem with this was that people were impatient and wanted change. Tsvangirai also questioned who would underwrite the government for the next 18 months while it destroyed the economy.

The second was an accelerated constitutional process leading to early elections. Tsvangirai argued that this was a legitimate option because President Robert Mugabe had lost his mandate to rule.

The third was mass action. The question was when it would occur and whether it could plunge Zimbabwe into chaos. Tsvangirai said he wanted a peaceful mass action but the government was likely to respond with force.

The fourth scenario was mass action with government repression. Tsvangirai told the diplomats that he was concerned that any mass action would be met by severe police and military repression possibly leading to martial law. But he did not believe this scenario would happen because the police and military in Zimbabwe respected the constitutional role of civilian control.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE6564, TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS DIPLOMATIC CORPS ON MDC

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE6564

2000-11-22 16:02

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4748

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06564 01 OF 03 221603Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 INL-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00

EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-02

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /011W

——————A2C363 221613Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7681

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 006564

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD – DWELLER, AND AFR/SA – CPALMA,

NNEWMAN

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06564 01 OF 03 221603Z

 

PASS USTR – ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/10

TAGS: PGOV PINR PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS DIPLOMATIC CORPS ON MDC

VIEWS; SAYS DECISION ON A MASS ACTION WILL BE MADE

NOVEMBER 24

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS 1.5

(B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: ON NOVEMBER 21, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI,

PRESIDENT OF THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC

CHANGE (MDC), BRIEFED THE HARARE DIPLOMATIC CORPS ON THE

MDC VIEW OF THE SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE IN THE CONTEXT OF

AN EU-SADC CONFERENCE TO BE HELD IN BOTSWANA NOVEMBER 24

TO DECEMBER 1. TSVANGIRAI SAID IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR

SADC, THE EU, AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO DEAL

WITH ZIMBABWE’S CRISIS WITH FORESIGHT. THE MDC LEADER

STATED THAT HE IS NOT SEEKING INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

SUPPORT FOR THE MDC, BUT SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC

PRINCIPLES IN ZIMBABWE. TSVANGIRAI STATED THAT THE MDC

HAD TRIED TO WORK TOGETHER WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF

ZIMBABWE (GOZ) AND THE RULING ZANU-PF IN PARLIAMENT

SINCE THE JUNE ELECTIONS, BUT HAD BEEN CONSISTENTLY MET

WITH HOSTILITY AND VINDICTIVENESS. HE OUTLINED FOUR

FUTURE SCENARIOS OF DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS HE AND HIS

PARTY ARE CONSIDERING: 1) WAITING FOR THE 2002

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, 2) EARLY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS,

3) MASS ACTION WITH NO GOVERNMENT REPRESSION, AND 4)

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06564 01 OF 03 221603Z

MASS ACTION RESULTING IN POLICE AND MILITARY REPRESSION

THAT COULD LEAD TO MARTIAL LAW. TSVANGIRAI SAID THE MDC

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE HAD MADE A DECISION ON THE QUESTION

OF MASS ACTION, AND THE PARTY COUNCIL WILL MEET NOVEMBER

24 TO VOTE WHETHER OR NOT TO ACCEPT THE NATIONAL

EXECUTIVE’S DECISION. END SUMMARY.

 

——————————————— ——-

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS THE HARARE DIPLOMATIC CORPS

——————————————— ——-

 

2. (C) ECONOFF ATTENDED A NOVEMBER 21 BRIEFING BY THE

MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI FOR THE HARARE

DIPLOMATIC CORPS. THE BRIEFING WAS WELL ATTENDED BY

REPRESENTATIVES FROM ALL THE MAJOR DONOR COUNTRIES.

TSVANGIRAI SAID THE PURPOSE OF THE BRIEFING WAS TO SHARE

 

SIPDIS

THE MDC’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE CRISIS IN ZIMBABWE PRIOR TO

AN EU-SADC CONFERENCE IN BOTSWANA FROM NOVEMBER 24 TO

DECEMBER 1. HE STATED THAT THE FRENCH AMBASSADOR HAD

WANTED THE MDC INVITED TO THE CONFERENCE, BUT THAT THE

GOVERNMENT OF BOTSWANA HAD VETOED THIS DECISION AS

“UNDEMOCRATIC.” (NOTE: TSVANGIRAI DID NOT SAY WHAT

COUNTRY THE FRENCH AMBASSADOR WAS ACCREDITED TO, AND

ECONOFF WAS NOT ABLE TO GET A CLARIFICATION ON THIS.

END NOTE.)

 

—————————————

THE ROLE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

—————————————

 

3. (C) TSVANGIRAI SAID THE MDC IS NOT SEEKING THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 06564 01 OF 03 221603Z

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY’S SUPPORT FOR THE PARTY. WHAT

IS CRITICAL IS THAT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SUPPORTS

HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES IN ZIMBABWE.

WHEN ASKED WHAT HAD BEEN HIS GOAL IN MEETING WITH NELSON

MANDELA A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, TSVANGIRAI STATED IT WAS

TWO-FOLD: FIRST, MANDELA HAS TREMENDOUS INFLUENCE AND

CLOUT IN THE REGION, AND COULD COMMUNICATE TO THE

GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA THE IMPORTANCE OF REVIEWING

ITS POSITION ON THE CRISIS IN ZIMBABWE; AND SECOND, TO

GIVE ASSURANCE THAT AN MDC GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT SEEK

RETRIBUTION AGAINST PRESIDENT MUGABE. HE STATED THAT HE

WAS NOT ASKING THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, OR MANDELA,

TO APPLY PRESSURE TO THE GOZ, BUT RATHER TO BRING REASON

TO BEAR.

 

——————————–

DEALING WITH ZANU-PF AND THE GOZ

——————————–

 

4. (C) TSVANGIRAI STATED THAT THE MDC HAD TRIED (AFTER

THE JUNE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS) TO WORK WITH THE GOZ

AND ZANU-PF IN PARLIAMENT ON ISSUES OF COMMON CONCERN,

SUCH AS THE ECONOMY AND LAND REFORM, BUT FOUND THE GOZ

AND ZANU-PF VINDICTIVE AND UNWILLING TO WORK WITH THE

OPPOSITION PARTY. THE MDC LEADER EXPLAINED THAT ZANU-PF

IS UNWILLING TO ACCEPT THAT PUBLIC OPINION IN MUCH OF

THE COUNTRY IS AGAINST THEM, AND IT IS WILLING TO USE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4750

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06564 02 OF 03 221604Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00

FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01

OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00

STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-02   DRL-02

G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /011W

——————A2C377 221613Z /38

P 221602Z NOV 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7682

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 006564

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD – DWELLER, AND AFR/SA – CPALMA,

NNEWMAN

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06564 02 OF 03 221604Z

 

PASS USTR – ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/10

TAGS: PGOV PINR PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS DIPLOMATIC CORPS ON MDC

VIEWS; SAYS DECISION ON A MASS ACTION WILL BE MADE

NOVEMBER 24

 

VIOLENCE TO STAY IN POWER. TSVANGIRAI SAID THIS IS

EXEMPLIFIED BY THE PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE OCCURRING IN

MARONDERA WEST, WHERE A BY-ELECTION FOR A SEAT IN

PARLIAMENT WILL BE HELD ON NOVEMBER 25 AND 26. HE WAS

SCHEDULED TO SPEAK AT AN MDC RALLY IN MARONDERA ON

NOVEMBER 17, BUT CANCELLED WHEN IT BECAME CLEAR THAT WAR

VETERANS AND ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS WOULD RESORT TO VIOLENCE

TO DISRUPT THE RALLY.

(NOTE: A VIOLENT ALTERCATION

BETWEEN ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS AND MDC SUPPORTERS IN

MARONDERA STILL OCCURRED ON NOVEMBER 17, AND AN INNOCENT

BYSTANDER WAS SHOT DEAD IN AN EXCHANGE OF GUNFIRE. END

NOTE). TSVANGIRAI STATED IT WAS CLEAR THERE CAN BE NO

PEACEFUL FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN THIS ENVIRONMENT,

AND THAT THE MDC WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED INTO

WITHDRAWING FROM THIS OR OTHER ELECTIONS IN THE FUTURE.

 

————————-

THE FOUR FUTURE SCENARIOS

————————-

 

5. (C) TSVANGIRAI TOLD HIS AUDIENCE THAT THE MDC WAS NOW

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06564 02 OF 03 221604Z

CONSIDERING FOUR FUTURE SCENARIOS FOR ITS ROLE IN

ZIMBABWE’S FUTURE:

 

1) WAIT FOR THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

 

THE PROBLEM WITH THIS STRATEGY IS THAT PEOPLE ARE

IMPATIENT AND WANT CHANGE NOW. HE ALSO QUESTIONED

WHO WAS GOING TO UNDERWRITE THE GOZ FOR THE NEXT 18

MONTHS WHILE IT DESTROYS THE ECONOMY.

 

2) AN ACCELERATED CONSTITUTIONAL PROCESS LEADING TO

EARLY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

 

HE SAID THIS WAS A LEGITIMATE OPTION BECAUSE

PRESIDENT MUGABE HAS LOST HIS MANDATE TO RULE,

AND WHY SHOULD THE PEOPLE WAIT 18 MONTHS FOR A

CHANGE WHEN THE COUNTRY CANNOT AFFORD IT.

 

3) A MASS ACTION.

 

THE QUESTIONS ARE WHEN WILL IT OCCUR, AND WILL

IT PLUNGE ZIMBABWE INTO CHAOS? HE STATED THAT HE

WANTED ANY MASS ACTION TO BE PEACEFUL AND WITHIN

THE LAW, AND THAT THE GOZ WILL NOT RESPOND WITH

FORCE AGAINST A PEACEFUL MASS ACTION.

 

4) A MASS ACTION WITH GOZ REPRESSION.

 

TSVANGIRAI TOLD THE GROUP THAT HE WAS CONCERNED

THAT A MASS ACTION WOULD BE MET BY SEVERE POLICE

AND MILITARY REPRESSION, POSSIBLY EVEN LEADING TO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 06564 02 OF 03 221604Z

MARTIAL LAW. HE DID NOT BELIEVE THIS SCENARIO

WOULD HAPPEN, BECAUSE THE POLICE AND MILITARY IN

ZIMBABWE RESPECT THE CONSTITUTIONAL ROLE OF

CIVILIAN CONTROL.

 

————————————

MDC TO LEAD MASS ACTION IN DECEMBER?

————————————

 

6. (C) AFTER LAYING OUT THESE SCENARIOS, TSVANGIRAI TOLD

THE GATHERING THAT THE MDC NATIONAL EXECUTIVE HAD MADE A

DECISION REGARDING WHETHER TO CALL FOR A MASS ACTION.

(COMMENT: TSVANGIRAI WAS DELIBERATELY VAGUE ON WHAT THE

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE HAD DECIDED. END COMMENT.) THE

PARTY COUNCIL, REPRESENTING THE MDC’S 12 PROVINCES, WILL

MEET NOVEMBER 24 TO VOTE ON WHETHER OR NOT TO ACCEPT THE

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE’S DECISION. (NOTE: THE MDC DIVIDES

ZIMBABWE INTO 12 “PROVINCES” FOR REPRESENTATION ON ITS

PARTY COUNCIL, WHICH IS THE SUPREME DECISION-MAKING BODY

OF THE MDC. THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE ACTS ON THE

COUNCIL’S BEHALF WHEN IT IS NOT IN SESSION. THE COUNCIL

MEETS INFREQUENTLY AND ONLY TO MAKE IMPORTANT DECISIONS.

END NOTE.)

 

7. (C) COMMENT: WHILE WE HAVE STRONGLY COUNSELED

TSVANGIRAI AND THE MDC LEADERSHIP REGARDING THE RISKS OF

 

SIPDIS

CALLING FOR MARCHES OR DEMONSTRATIONS THAT COULD LEAD TO

FURTHER BLOODSHED AND REPRESSION, TSVANGIRAI’S BRIEFING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4751

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06564 03 OF 03 221604Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 INL-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00

EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-02

DRL-02 G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /011W

——————A2C385 221613Z /38

P 221602Z NOV 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7683

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 006564

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD – DWELLER, AND AFR/SA – CPALMA,

NNEWMAN

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06564 03 OF 03 221604Z

 

PASS USTR – ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/22/10

TAGS: PGOV PINR PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS DIPLOMATIC CORPS ON MDC

VIEWS; SAYS DECISION ON A MASS ACTION WILL BE MADE

NOVEMBER 24

 

INDICATED THAT THE MDC IS STILL SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING

SOME FORM OF MASS ACTION IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE,

PERHAPS TO COINCIDE WITH THE ZANU-PF PARTY CONGRESS IN

DECEMBER. HOWEVER, TSVANGIRAI CLEARLY DID NOT WANT TO

PUT ALL HIS CARDS ON THE TABLE BY REVEALING THE NATIONAL

EXECUTIVE’S DECISION, POSSIBLY IN CASE THE PARTY COUNCIL

TURNS DOWN ITS RECOMMENDATION ON THE FORM THE MASS

ACTION SHOULD TAKE. END COMMENT.

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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