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Tsvangirai confronted Mugabe

Facing strong criticism from his party for being too conciliatory, Prime Minister and Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai delivered a hard-hitting speech, directed at ZANU-PF, at the party’s 10th anniversary celebration in Bulawayo.

Two days later, he challenged President Robert Mugabe on his failure to comply with the Global Political Agreement.

Tsvangirai had been told by his national council and the standing committee that he was failing to exercise strong leadership and was acting too conciliatory toward Mugabe.

They urged him to be more assertive, particularly with respect to the GPA.

Tsvangirai told an estimated 35 000 people in Bulawayo:”For the past seven months we in the MDC have shown respect, conciliation and understanding to ZANU-PF and what have we got in return? Nothing! They continue to act with arrogance, forgetting that it was they who lost the March election and that they are only in this agreement as we formed this government for the well-being of the people of Zimbabwe. They continue to violate the law, persecute our people, spread the language of hate, invade productive farms, ignore our international treaties and continue to loot our national resources. This must stop now…”

Tsvangirai confronted Mugabe the following day with his failure to comply with the GPA, told him that future meetings between the two would serve no purpose if they did not result in progress, and indicated the MDC would review its place in government.

Mugabe is reported to have been taken aback and requested another meeting with Tsvangirai at which he promised to review the names for the Media Commission.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE736, TSVANGIRAI SPEAKS OUT, CONFRONTS MUGABE

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

Classification

Origin

09HARARE736

2009-09-16 14:16

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7083

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0736/01 2591416

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 161416Z SEP 09 ZDK

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4902

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3029

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3144

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1573

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2407

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2776

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3192

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5637

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2320

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000736

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/16/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI SPEAKS OUT, CONFRONTS MUGABE

 

Classified By: CDA Donald Petterson for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Facing strong crticism from his party for being too

conciliatory, Prime Minister and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai

delivered a hard-hitting speech, directed at ZANU-PF, at the

MDC’s 10th anniversary celebration on September 13 in

Bulawayo. Two days later, in a short and tense meeting with

President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai challenged Mugabe on his

failure to comply with the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Meanwhile, ZANU-PF has raised the level of rhetoric against

the MDC by alleging that it is establishing a donor-funded

parallel government and that it is colluding with the West on

the issue of sanctions. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Tsvangirai met last week with the MDC national

council, the executive committee (comprised of about 20 top

officials), and the standing committee (comprised of about 10

top advisers) and heard the same message: Despite having won

the election, he was failing to exercise strong leadership

and was acting too conciliatory toward Mugabe. (NOTE:

Privately, we have heard the same observations from ZANU-PF

reformers and MDC-M officials. END NOTE.) They urged him to

be more assertive, particularly with respect to the GPA. In

its meeting, the national council resolved to consult the MDC

rank and file on the “sustainability and worthiness” of the

GPA.

 

3. (U) Apparently in response, Tsvangirai delivered a

hard-hitting speech in Bulawayo on September 13 in

celebration of the MDC’s 10th anniversary. He told an

estimated 35,000 people, inter alia: “For the past seven

months we in the MDC have shown respect, conciliation and

understanding to ZANU-PF and what have we got in return?

Nothing. They continue to act with arrogance, forgetting

that it was they who lost the March election and that they

are only in this agreement as we formed this government for

the well-being of the people of Zimbabwe. They continue to

violate the law, persecute our people, spread the language of

hate, invade productive farms, ignore our international

treaties and continue to loot our national resources. This

must stop now…”

 

4. (C) On September 14, according to several MDC sources,

Tsvangirai had his weekly one-on-one meeting with Mugabe. In

the tense, 15-minute meeting, Tsvangirai confronted Mugabe

with his failure to comply with the GPA, told him that future

meetings between the two would serve no purpose if they did

not result in progress, and indicated the MDC would review

its place in government. Taken aback, Mugabe requested

another meeting with Tsvangirai at which he promised to

review the names for the Media Commission. (NOTE:

Parliament has furnished a list of names to Mugabe for

appointment to the Media Commission which is the body that

will be responsible for licensing newspapers and accrediting

journalists. Mugabe has been sitting on the list. END

NOTE.) This meeting is now scheduled for September 17.

QNOTE.) This meeting is now scheduled for September 17.

 

5. (C) In the past week, ZANU-PF, through ZANU-PF-controlled

media, has raised the level of rhetoric against the MDC. Led

by former Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo (who has

reapplied for ZANU-PF membership after leaving the party in

2005 and becoming a ZANU-PF critic), ZANU-PF has alleged that

the MDC, with funding from the World Bank and donors, is

paying large salaries to individuals within the Office of the

Prime Minister to form a “parallel government.” ZANU-PF has

also focused on the issue of sanctions. It has asserted, as

it has long done, that sanctions are responsible for

Zimbabwe’s economic predicament, and has gone on to castigate

 

HARARE 00000736 002 OF 002

 

 

the MDC for not moving to remove them. The lead headline in

“The Herald” of September 15 read: “MDC-T wants sanctions to

stay.”

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

6. (C) Tsvangirai’s strategy — until now — was to get

along with Mugabe, hope for incremental progress on political

issues, and build the MDC in anticipation of future elections

which he was confident of winning. During his June tour of

the U.S. and Europe, and in more recent conversations, he

focused on the positive accomplishments of the GPA and

minimized ZANU-PF intransigence. A restive party, however,

has forced him to change course. His remarks in Bulawayo —

his strongest public remarks since the inception of the GPA

— and his confrontation with Mugabe indicate a new approach.

How Mugabe reacts is unclear; Tsvangirai’s advisers expect

some progress, perhaps appointment of governors (which Mugabe

had agreed to, before backing away), but this will continue

to be a hard slog.

 

7. (C) ZANU-PF’s heightened rhetoric appears to be an effort

to counter the MDC’s valid claim that Mugabe has failed to

comply with the GPA. This underscores the importance of a

more open media environment to expose Jonathan Moyo and the

ZANU-PF propaganda machine. END COMMENT.

 

PETTERSON

(33 VIEWS)

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