Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai scored a major victory when the break-away faction from his party only managed to field 26 candidates out of the 50 required for the Senate elections in 2005.
Nineteen of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front candidates were unopposed.
Fifteen of the MDC candidates were from Matebeleland. The other 11 candidates were not nominated by MDC provincial structures.
Tsvangirai had called on his party to boycott the elections, overruling a decision by the party’s executive council which had voted 33 for and 31 against participating.
Most of the leaders from Matebeleland including vice-president Gibson Sibanda and secretary-general Welshman Ncube opposed Tsvangirai’s decision saying he was being dictatorial.
Viewing cable 05HARARE1467, FAUX-MDC CANDIDATES THROW HATS INTO SENATE RING
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 001467
AF/S FOR B. NEULING
SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2015
SUBJECT: FAUX-MDC CANDIDATES THROW HATS INTO SENATE RING
Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d
¶1. (C) At Monday’s nomination court hearings, 26 individuals
registered as MDC candidates for the Senate elections on
November 26. As expected, MDC leaders in the three
Matabeleland provinces went forward with contesting the
election, accounting for 15 of the candidates. However, the
other eleven candidates were not nominated by MDC provincial
structures and appear to be opportunists seeking a Senatorial
paycheck. MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai’s call for a
boycott appears therefore to have largely carried the day.
ZANU-PF candidates were the sole nominees in 19 of the 50
districts and were thus declared victors by the Zimbabwean
Election Commission (ZEC). End Summary.
&MDC Candidates8: Ndebeles and Has-Beens or Wanna Bes
¶2. (C) The fierce intra-party debate over participation in
the Senate moved to another level on Monday when 26
individuals registered with the nomination court as MDC
candidates. As expected, the provincial leaders in Bulawayo
and Matabeleland North and South presented 5 candidates each.
The other eleven candidates appear to have nominated
themselves and represent a grab bag of minor party
functionaries, failed candidates for past parliamentary
elections, average Joes who appear to have come forward on a
lark, and even some (former?) ZANU-PF members. In one case,
the provincial chairman of Mashonaland East, his spokesman,
and another provincial member registered for seats in Harare,
undoubtedly hoping to capitalize on the party,s urban
strength and secure a Senatorial paycheck.
¶3. (C) An official with the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network (ZESN), a nonpartisan group that monitored the
nomination courts, told post on Tuesday that the process for
registering MDC candidates was confusing and subject to
abuse. The MDC party structures, which in the past had
vetted candidates, was absent in all but the Ndebele
provinces. Suggesting the ad hoc nature of the nomination
process, ZESN reported that one would-be MDC candidate was
disqualified when he failed to produce any identification.
Tsvangirai Winning the Intra-Party Debate
¶4. (C) Tsvangirai appears to have convinced nine of the
twelve MDC party structures not to participate in the
elections. Tsvangirai aide Ghandi Mudzingwa told us the MDC
President was undaunted by the emergence of the 26 MDC
candidates, including 11 outside of Mtabeleland, whom
Tsvangirai had dismissed as rogue elements. According to
Mudzingwa, the opposition leader,s strategy remained
unchanged: he continues to campaign against the Senate, while
telling his opponents within the party leadership that his
door remains open should they choose to talk. (N.B. Post
understands that respected academic Brian Raftopolous will
mediate a meeting of the MDC,s &top 68 as early as
Thursday, which would mark their first confirmed meeting
since October 12 when Tsvangirai overturned the Executive
Council decision in favor of contesting.)
¶5. (C) Laying the groundwork for a boycott campaign in
contested seats, Tsvangirai,s spokesman on Tuesday
distributed a statement from the MDC secretary for Harare
province (emailed by post to AF/S) denouncing &political
adventurers8 supporting the &ZANU-PF and CIO Senate
project.8 The statement also called on Harare voters to
reject &invaders8 who were &bussed in from Mashonaland
East,8 a reference to that province,s MDC chairman and
spokesman. Tsvangirai,s aides have also painted the 26
candidates as not being the “real MDC” fueling speculation
that they could be expelled.
ZANU-PF Expands Patronage Machine
¶6. (C) The ruling party put forward candidates in all 50
contested Senatorial seats (though without the usual party
primary ) a source of controversy within ZANU-PF that has
been largely overshadowed by the MDC in-fighting). In 19
districts, the ZANU-PF candidate was the sole nominee and was
duly declared Senator-elect by ZEC officials present at the
courts. ZANU-PF largely put forward a list of political
pensioners, many of whom are members of the &old guard8 who
lost in past elections. The ZANU-PF nominees confirm earlier
assessments that the ruling party reinvented the Senate as a
patronage machine. A variety of independents and third party
members, chiefly &also rans8 in past elections, also
stepped forward to contest seats.
Gutu North By-Election: The Forgotten Race
¶7. (C) Amidst the fervor surrounding the Senate debate, the
MDC and ZANU-PF nominated their candidates for the
parliamentary by-election in Gutu North to replace
late-Minister Tungamirai, who died in August. The opposition
candidate is Crispa Musoni, who lost to Tungamirai in the
last election. Meanwhile, the ruling party nominated
businessman Lovemore Matuke, who came in second to Tungamirai
in the ZANU-PF primary for the seat. Some war veterans have
apparently questioned Musoni,s credentials, but the ruling
party has a long track record of by-election successes,
largely the result of applying national resources to a local
campaign and thus tilting the playing field even more in its
¶8. (C) Tsvangirai appears to have largely carried the day.
The MDC structures in nine of the party,s 12 provinces sided
with his boycott stance. Even in the three Ndebele
provinces, it remains to be seen how deep the support for the
decision to participate runs. That said, the next few weeks
promise to be tricky for both Tsvangirai and his rivals in
the MDC. The challenge for Tsvangirai will be how to
campaign for a boycott without actually campaigning against
MDC candidates. For his rivals, the challenges are even
deeper. They need to demonstrate that they have a reason
beyond self-interest for contesting the elections and will
have to win without the support of the party or its