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Tsvangirai feared joint management for fear of joint failure

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was against a transition with shared authority because he was afraid that joint management could yield joint failure.

He preferred a 6-12 months transition under the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, followed by internationally monitored elections.

This was nine years ago, but Tsvangirai entered into a government with shared authority in 2009.

The transition is now more than three years old but no one wants any elections.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 03HARARE2287, OPPOSITION LEADER ON OBASANJO VISIT, POLITICAL

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE2287

2003-11-24 14:54

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 HARARE 002287

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. DELISI, M. RAYNOR

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

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/24/2013

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI MDC

SUBJECT: OPPOSITION LEADER ON OBASANJO VISIT, POLITICAL

STALEMATE

 

REF: HARARE 2256

 

Classified By: Political Officer Win Dayton under Section 1.5(b)(d)

 

1. (C) Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on November 21

confirmed to Ambassador Sullivan the essential details

related by associates to the Embassy last week (reftel) of

his meetings with Nigerian President Obasanjo on November 17.

He clarified that Obasanjo had said that Mugabe indicated

agreement to meet Tsvangirai personally, but only at an

unspecified time after consultation with his party.

Stressing its potential importance, Tsvangirai suggested that

a face-to-face meeting could have a psychological impact on

Mugabe and his party, and noted the utility of having it done

in the presence of a credible African leader, such as

Obasanjo, to keep Mugabe honest. Even if Mugabe came to the

meeting without good will, he thought it possible to get an

agreement that the national crisis required the two sides to

work together toward a solution, which could get the ball

rolling. Addressing options for a transition, Tsvangirai

emphasized his preference for a 6-12 month period under

ZANU-PF rule, followed by internationally monitored

elections. He was vague on a transition under shared

authority, noting that “joint management” risked yielding

“joint failure”.

 

2. (C) Tsvangirai told Obasanjo that democratic space was

actually shrinking in Zimbabwe and emphasized that none of

the five conditions laid down by the Commonwealth had seen

any progress. Confidence-building measures, such as

re-opening The Daily News, would be important to build

credibility. He confirmed that Obasanjo had been vague about

CHOGM, not even mentioning it until Tsvangirai raised it

first. Tsvangirai saw Obasanjo’s objective for the trip as

“due diligence” — going the extra mile to justify whatever

course he took on Zimbabwe’s invitation trying to keep

Zimbabwe from casting a shadow over his CHOGM. Tsvangirai

attributed Mugabe’s theatrics over CHOGM to possible “false

assurances” from Namibian President Nujoma over his prospects

of being invited. At the end of the day, Obasanjo told

Tsvangirai that he would continue to press for a meeting to

 

SIPDIS

take place, following up with a letter to Mugabe shortly.

 

3. (C) COMMENT: Tsvangirai’s emphasis on a face-to-face

meeting with Mugabe reflects his conviction, shared by most

here, that Mugabe’s approval is the most significant sine qua

non for talks to commence. He probably has few illusions

that Mugabe would agree to a peronal encounter, which, as

Tsvangirai suggests, could put into motion events beyond his

 

SIPDIS

control. In any event, the government’s media propaganda

machine seems quite prepared to make political hay for the

ruling party no matter what Obasanjo decides to do with

Zimbabwe’s CHOGM invitation.

SULLIVAN

 

(3 VIEWS)

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