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Tsvangirai comes out of hiding

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai scolded the media for sensationalising his going into hiding at the Dutch embassy rather than focusing on the continuing brutalisation of Zimbabweans at the hands of the government-sanctioned ZANU-PF youth and war veterans.

Addressing a press conference at his residence on 25 June, two days before the presidential elections runoff, Tsvangirai said elections were not a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis and called for a transitional period that would take into consideration the results of the 29 March elections, which he won.

Tsvangirai went into hiding at the Dutch embassy on 22 June.

He outlined four actions that were needed to restore the normal functioning of the country and create an environment conducive to political dialogue:

  • All violence must stop, and all instruments of violence must be disbanded, including unofficial roadblocks and detention camps. War veterans and youth militias must go home;
  • The humanitarian crisis must be addressed immediately. NGOs and the World Food Programme need access to the entire country to provide humanitarian assistance to people who are starving and dying;
  • All Members of Parliament and the Senate who were elected on March 29 must be sworn in to office;
  • All political prisoners and elected officials must be freed. In particular, Tsvangirai called for the release of MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti and 2 000 MDC polling agents who have been arrested.

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE548, TSVANGIRAI CALLS FOR AU, SADC INTERVENTION

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

08HARARE548

2008-06-26 14:03

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3894

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0548/01 1781403

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 261403Z JUN 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3085

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2087

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2207

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0749

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1484

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1842

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2263

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4694

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1353

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000548

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/26/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI CALLS FOR AU, SADC INTERVENTION

 

REF: HARARE 532

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4(d).

 

——

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) In a press conference at his residence on June 25,

MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai called for African Union (AU)

and Southern African Development Community (SADC)

intervention in establishing a “transition period” in

Zimbabwe that will take into account the results of the March

29 election. Tsvangirai called for an immediate end to the

violence and the release of all political prisoners,

particularly MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti. He also

scolded the media for sensationalizing his having sought

refuge in the Dutch chancery when it should be focusing on

the continuing violence and brutalization of Zimbabweans.

Tsvangirai’s statement reinforced his continuing effort to

bring in African mediators other than South African president

Thabo Mbeki but did not offer any concrete proposals for a

transitional government or a government of national unity.

END SUMMARY.

 

——————————

Tsvangirai comes out of hiding

——————————

 

2. (SBU) In his first public appearance since taking refuge

at the Dutch chancery on Sunday June 22, the MDC presidential

candidate held a press conference in his front yard on the

afternoon of Wednesday June 25. Tsvangirai appeared defiant

and in good health as he repeated his decision to pull out of

the Friday June 27 run-off election. He declared that any

election held on Friday would not be recognized by the

international community, which had rallied in support of

Zimbabwe in the form of the UN Security Council resolution

condemning the recent violence. Tsvangirai scolded the media

for “sensationalizing” his stay at the Dutch embassy rather

than focusing on the continuing brutalization of Zimbabweans

at the hands of the government-sanctioned ZANU-PF youth and

war veterans.

 

————————————

Actions needed to return to “normal”

————————————

 

3. (SBU) Tsvangirai outlined four actions needed to restore

the normal functioning of the country and create an

environment conducive to political dialogue: (1) All

violence must stop, and all instruments of violence must be

disbanded, including unofficial roadblocks and detention

camps. War veterans and youth militias must go home. (2)

The humanitarian crisis must be addressed immediately. NGOs

and the World Food Programme need access to the entire

country to provide humanitarian assistance to people who are

starving and dying. (NOTE: The number of displaced people in

Harare has risen dramatically in recent days. At least 200

people have approached the embassy seeking shelter and food

in the last three days. More details to come via septel.

END NOTE.) (3) All Members of Parliament and the Senate who

were elected on March 29 must be sworn in to office. (4) All

political prisoners and elected officials must be freed. In

particular, Tsvangirai called for the release of MDC

secretary-general Tendai Biti and 2,000 MDC polling agents

who have been arrested.

 

———————————–

Calls on AU, SADC to help negotiate

———————————–

 

 

HARARE 00000548 002 OF 002

 

 

4. (U) Tsvangirai called on the AU and SADC to manage what

he termed a “transitional process” that would take into

account the will of the people that was expressed in the

March 29 election. This period would allow the country to

heal, but must reflect the people’s will. He said he had

asked African heads of state to discuss a solution this

weekend at their conference in Egypt. Tsvangirai further

stated that it was time for action, not for “talking about

talks”, and that no discussion could move forward without

Tendai Biti’s release from prison (Reftel). Asked about

South African President Mbeki’s absence from the SADC troika

meeting in Swaziland, Tsvangirai was dismissive and “couldn’t

explain” his absence.

 

——————————-

“An election is not a solution”

——————————-

 

5. (U) Tsvangirai confirmed that he had spoken with numerous

African leaders including Presidents Mwanawasa of Zambia,

Wade of Senegal, Kikwete of Tanzania, and several foreign

ministers who supported his proposal as a possible solution.

He said that a negotiated agreement, not an election, was the

only way out of the current crisis. On his proposal for

peacekeepers, Tsvangirai rhetorically asked what other option

there was when there were armed groups brutalizing people and

no one was stopping it. He clarified that he had not called

for military intervention as reported in the press, but that

he hoped the UN would consider sending peacekeepers as one

possible solution.

 

——————————-

Willing to negotiate, but when?

——————————-

 

6. (U) Tsvangirai said he was willing to negotiate “this

side of June 27″. This contrasts with Mugabe’s reported

statements in The Herald, the government mouthpiece, that

Mugabe was willing to negotiate “after” the June 27 election.

Reporters pressed Tsvangirai for details on what his

“transition period” would entail, but he declined to offer

any details, saying that they would have to be negotiated.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) Tsvangirai continues to reach out to other African

leaders to press Mugabe into some form of transition that

would lead to an MDC-led government. However, it is unclear

when, where, how, and in what form such an agreement would be

developed. African leaders have been more outspoken in

recent days, but it does not appear they are making any

headway with an increasingly defiant and stubborn Mugabe.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced it had rejected

Tsvangirai’s withdrawal and that the election was moving

forward no matter what. Tsvangirai’s anger was clear during

the press conference, but concrete solutions to the growing

crisis remain elusive. END COMMENT.

 

McGee

(18 VIEWS)

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