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Tsvangirai criticises US for focussing on DRC and not Zimbabwe

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai criticised the United States for what he perceived to be its emphasis on engaging President Robert Mugabe on the Democratic Republic of Congo crisis at the expense of domestic problems in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai had just lost five supporters due to violence and was sure that the violence would escalate as elections which were scheduled for June 2000 approached.

Tsvangirai himself had been urged by his party to travel out of the country on public relations trips but this was really to ensure his safety.

But despite the violence the MDC was confident it was going to win the elections and saw Mugabe as almost obsolete. It was focused on working out an amnesty deal for key military figures to forestall more violence.

Its supporters had also put the party under pressure to take a more defensive posture and it was moving in that direction.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 00HARARE2237, AMBASSADOR/TSVANGIRAI MEETING: MDC URGING

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE2237

2000-04-26 13:58

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.

 

261358Z Apr 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4670

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02237 01 OF 03 261354Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 INL-01

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

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

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

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

SP-00   IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00

DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /014W

——————501930 261354Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5866

INFO AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

AMEMBASSY LONDON

NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 002237

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF A/S SUSAN RICE, AF/S RENDER, BOOTH, GURNEY

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/26/00

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PINR KDEM PINS ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR/TSVANGIRAI MEETING: MDC URGING

RESTRAINT IN FACE OF ESCALATING ELECTION VIOLENCE, BUT

INCHING TOWARDS A DEFENSIVE STRATEGY

 

REF: HARARE 1970

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER MAKILA JAMES, REASONS

1.5 B/D.

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: IN THE RUN-UP TO THE PARLIAMENTARY

ELECTION, THE MDC IS CONFRONTING INCREASING POLITICAL

VIOLENCE FROM ZANU-PF, WHICH HAS LEFT FIVE OF THE

OPPOSITION PARTY’S SUPPORTERS DEAD AND HUNDREDS OF RURAL

AND URBAN BACKERS INJURED. NEVERTHELESS, MDC PRESIDENT

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI BELIEVES THE ELECTION WILL LIKELY GO

FORWARD IN JUNE. THE OPPOSITION PARTY SAYS IT IS

STRONGLY URGING RESTRAINT AMONG ITS MEMBERS AND BELIEVES

IT WILL STILL TAKE A MAJORITY OF THE PARLIAMENTARY

SEATS. THE MDC, HOWEVER, IS UNDER PRESSURE FROM ITS

MEMBERSHIP TO TAKE A MORE DEFENSIVE POSTURE AND HAS

RECENTLY HINTED THAT IT IS MOVING IN THAT DIRECTION. A

CONFLICT BETWEEN LONDON’S LABOR AND CONSERVATIVE PARTIES

IS BLOCKING A COHERENT RESPONSE TO ZIMBABWE’S DOMESTIC

PROBLEMS OR SUPPORT FOR THE MDC, ACCORDING TO

TSVANGIRAI. THE MDC PRESIDENT CRITICIZED THE U.S. FOR

 

SIPDIS

WHAT HE PERCEIVED TO BE OUR EMPHASIS ON ENGAGING MUGABE

ON THE DROC CRISIS AT THE EXPENSE OF PRESSING HIM ON THE

COUNTRY’S DOMESTIC PROBLEMS. THE MDC SEES MUGABE AS

ALMOST OBSOLETE AND IS FOCUSED ON WORKING OUT AN AMNESTY

DEAL FOR KEY MILITARY FIGURES TO FORESTALL MORE

VIOLENCE. SOUTH AFRICA IS UNABLE TO INFLUENCE MUGABE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02237 01 OF 03 261354Z

BECAUSE OF PRESIDENT MBEKI’S JUNIOR POSITION, ALTHOUGH

THE FAILURE TO DO SO IS INVITING ECONOMIC DISASTER FOR

PRETORIA, THE MDC LEADER ASSERTED. THE MDC SEEKS

CONTINUED U.S. INSISTENCE ON THE GOVERNMENT’S RESPECT

FOR THE RULE OF LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS. END SUMMARY.

 

POLITICAL VIOLENCE ESCALATING

—————————–

 

2. (C) MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE PRESIDENT (MDC),

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, ACCOMPANIED BY LOCAL BUSINESSMAN AND

MDC OFFICIAL CLIVE PUZEY, CALLED ON AMBASSADOR MCDONALD

ON APRIL 25 TO DISCUSS THE ESCALATING POLITICAL VIOLENCE

IN ZIMBABWE. IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS SUCH VIOLENCE HAS

GONE FROM PHYSICAL ATTACKS AND GENERAL INTIMIDATION OF

VOTERS, TO MURDERS OF BLACK FARM WORKERS, WHITE

COMMERCIAL FARMERS, AND OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS. A TOTAL

OF FIVE MDC SUPPORTERS HAVE BEEN KILLED IN POLITICAL

VIOLENCE TO DATE, MOST RECENTLY THREE BACKERS WERE

BEATEN TO DEATH IN HARARE, SHAMVA, AND ANOTHER PERI-

URBAN AREA, THE MDC LEADER INFORMED. TSVANGIRAI

BELIEVES THE FARM VIOLENCE HAS BEEN ORCHESTRATED TO

SHIFT THE FOCUS FROM ZANU-PF’S LIKELY ELECTORAL DEFEAT

TO THE EMOTIONAL LAND REFORM ISSUE.

 

3. (C) OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS TSVANGIRAI PREDICTS THE

POLITICAL VIOLENCE WILL INCREASE. HE STATED THAT THE

FEARED “FIFTH BRIGADE” ARMY MEMBERS, WHO WERE

RESPONSIBLE FOR THE “GUKURUHUNDI” MASSACRES IN

MATABELELAND AND THE MIDLANDS IN THE EARLY 1980’S, HAVE

AGAIN BEEN UNLEASHED ON THE CIVILIANS IN THOSE PARTS OF

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04        HARARE 02237 01 OF 03 261354Z

THE COUNTRY, AND POSSIBLY ELSEWHERE. PUZEY ENVISIONS A

RETURN TO THE DAYS WHEN THE COUNTRY LIVED IN TERROR

BECAUSE OF THE DEGREE AND SEVERITY OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE

THAT RESULTED IN “TRAINLOADS” OF VICTIMS BEING

TRANSPORTED FOR BURIALS BY THEIR FAMILIES. THE VIOLENCE

THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS ORGANIZING AND/OR CONDONING IS

DESIGNED TO CREATE TERROR, ERODE MDC SUPPORT AND ENSURE

THE RULING PARTY OF AN ELECTORAL VICTORY IN ITS

HISTORICALLY LOYAL RURAL AREAS WHOSE SUPPORT IS NOW IN

DOUBT. IN SEPARATE MEETINGS, MDC SUPPORTERS HAVE

DOWNPLAYED THE LIKELIHOOD OF MUGABE DECLARING A “STATE

OF EMERGENCY,” AS THE RULING PARTY’S STRATEGY SEEMS MORE

FOCUSED ON GUARANTEEING AN ELECTORAL VICTORY TO

 

(5 VIEWS)

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