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Tsvangirai called for pressure for reform

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai called for international pressure on the Zimbabwean government for political reform saying without this there would be chaos in the country.

He said that without international pressure to force President Robert Mugabe’s government to adhere to Southern African Development Community guidelines for free and fair elections, the outcome of the 2005 elections would have a predetermined outcome, one that would not be favourable to the MDC.

Tsvangirai urged SADC, the Africa Union and the international community not to wait until there were “dead bodies” on the streets.

He said that implementation of SADC norms was necessary to legitimise the March 2005 polls and to pre-empt conflict that might lead to feelings of “helplessness”, “despondency” and “adventurism”.

The United States embassy said that Tsvangirai call to the international community spoke to the MDC’s weakness and growing frustration at home.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 04HARARE401, MDC PRESIDENT APPEALS TO INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE401

2004-03-04 15:31

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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000401

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER, D. TEITELBAUM

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

DS/OP/AF

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2014

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PINR ASEC EAID ZI MDC

SUBJECT: MDC PRESIDENT APPEALS TO INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

TO KEEP THE PRESSURE ON

 

Classified By: Political Officer Audu Besmer for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On March 3, MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai

briefed some 30 Harare-based diplomats on the MDC’s

perception of the crisis in Zimbabwe, the status of

interparty talks, and the party’s strategy for upcoming

elections. He appealed to the international community to

continue pressure on the Mugabe regime especially to adhere

to SADC norms for the March 2005 parliamentary elections.

END SUMMARY.

 

2. (SBU) Tsvangirai said that Zimbabwe’s health and education

systems were deteriorating, its food deficit was continuing,

government food aid was politicized, and violence was still

being perpetrated on MDC supporters. He said that the

limited informal constitutional talks between representatives

of the MDC and ZANU-PF had not progressed to formal

negotiations. Tsvangirai reiterated that a negotiated

settlement of the political situation was necessary. He

spoke positively of Mbeki’s efforts, but emphasized that they

had not yet achieved the desired result. Tsvangirai said the

party would be preparing for the upcoming general

parliamentary elections in March 2005 or whenever the GOZ

might call them. He said that the current electoral

conditions would, however, produce a “predetermined outcome”,

i.e. one unfavorable to the MDC.

 

3. (SBU) The MDC President urged the international community,

especially SADC countries, to pressure the GOZ to adhere to

SADC electoral norms to ensure a legitimate outcome.

Tsvangirai said that the party wanted to participate in the

 

SIPDIS

elections, but would reserve a decision to boycott. He also

urged that the international community not relax its travel

bans or other sanctions. Tsvangirai recognized that

Mauritius was due to assume chairmanship of SADC in August

2004 and he hoped that under its leadership SADC might be

more sympathetic to MDC goals.

 

4. (SBU) Tsvangirai cautioned that without international

pressure for a political resolution and electoral reforms,

chaos might result. Tsvangirai urged SADC, the Africa Union

(AU), and the international community not to wait until there

were “dead bodies” in the streets. He said that

implementation of SADC norms was necessary to legitimize the

March 2005 polls and to preempt conflict that might lead to

feelings of “helplessness”, “despondency” and “adventurism”.

(Comment: We took adventurism to mean violence against the

regime. End Comment.)

 

5. (SBU) Tsvangirai said that the party would soon appeal to

the UN Secretary General to send a “Human Rights Commission”

to Zimbabwe, while acknowledging that sympathetic African

states have thwarted Zimbabwe-related resolutions in UNHRC

generally. (Comment: We took this to mean a UN Special

Rapporteur. End comment.) He also speculated about the

possible utility of UN Security Council action on Zimbabwe,

but gave no further detail.

 

6. (SBU) MDC Shadow Minister of Agriculture Renson Gasela

relayed that he had traveled around the country recently and

observed dismal prospects for this year’s harvest. He said

that only 40 percent of seed and inputs had been made

available to communal farmers and that the country could at

best expect a harvest of 40 percent of normal. (Note: This

figure is lower than that offered by FEWSNET and other

technical experts. End Note.) Gasela said he would issue a

full report of his findings within 2 weeks. Consistent with

reports from other Embassy sources Gasela said the GOZ does

not intend to request donor food again this year. He pointed

out that this would leave the GOZ’s Grain Marketing Board

(GMB) with a monopoly on food distribution going into the

parliamentary elections in March — a circumstance it would

exploit to manipulate the electorate, as it had in the past.

 

7. (C) A Botswana diplomat told Poloffs after the briefing

that he did not see SADC altering its group position on

Zimbabwe or discussing Zimbabwe’s election standards at any

upcoming SADC meeting. The diplomat listed several SADC

countries which might be sympathetic to the MDC and political

reform in Zimbabwe, such as Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius,

Mozambique, and Angola. He suggested Tanzania might be

persuadable, but Namibia and Zambia were firmly alongside the

GOZ. He said the DRC might go either way, but would like

best to ignore the Zimbabwe issue. Lesotho and Swaziland

would likely go along with whatever stance South Africa took.

He noted that SADC had never pressed a member on elections

and in any event, members’ relations with South Africa and

respective domestic political considerations would override

any inclination to press Zimbabwe on elections.

Comment:

——–

 

8. (C) Urging the international community to assist in

electoral reform in the run-up to the March 2005 polls speaks

to the MDC’s weakness and growing frustration at home. That

reform of the election environment will take a considerable

commitment of time and resources fuels the MDC’s urgency.

The MDC has been unable to elicit any signal that ZANU-PF

would consider electoral reform or the direct negotiations

that would probably have to drive it. Having recently

withdrawn its solicitation of UN electoral assistance, the

GOZ will be unresponsive to Tsvangirai’s vague UN appeals

unless pressed mightily from abroad.

SULLIVAN

 

(4 VIEWS)

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