Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he was frustrated because the Movement for Democratic Change’s commitment to the Global Political Agreement had been met with nothing on the part of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front but provocative actions.
But he added that though his supporters were also frustrated by President Robert Mugabe’s failure to implement the GPA, they did not like to return to the violence and disruption of 2008.
Tsvangirai said some of the provocative actions or inaction from ZANU-PF were the hate speech in newspapers, prosecution of MDC MPs, a mostly stalled constitutional process, a stalled national healing process, and the failure to appoint governors and Roy Bennett as deputy minister of agriculture.
He admitted that he did not know what the MDC would do if Mugabe continued to fail to implement the GPA but Mugabe did not want the government to collapse, in his opinion.
He also asked for further assistance from the United States for his office saying the first six months’ assistance was coming to an end. He asked if the US could consider extending the assistance for a year, or at the least for six months.
Viewing cable 09HARARE753, TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS CHARGE ON REFORM EFFORTS
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0753/01 2611133
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 181133Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4921
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3035
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3148
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1577
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2411
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2780
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3196
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5641
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2328
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000753
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: 06/17/2019
SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS CHARGE ON REFORM EFFORTS
REF: HARARE 736
Classified By: CDA Donald Petterson for reason 1.4 (b) and (d)
¶1. (C) Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told the Charge on
September 18 that MDC commitment to the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) has been met with nothing on the part of
ZANU-PF but provocative actions. He continues to push for
reforms, but is focused on constitutional reform which he
hopes will lead to timely elections. President Robert Mugabe
has agreed to a restruturing of the constitutional process,
which Tsvangirai hopes will put it back on track, but further
discussion on outstanding issues will await Mugabe’s return
from a 10-day trip to the UNGA and Venezuela. Tsvangirai
faces the dilemma that supporters throughout Zimbabwe are
impatient with GPA progress, but at the same time want to
avoid any actions (such as presumably an MDC withdrawal from
the government) that could result in a return to the violence
and disruption of last year. Tsvangirai took the opportunity
of the meeting to ask for renewed U.S. assistance to his
office. END SUMMARY
¶2. (SBU) The Charge met with Tsvangirai on September 18 at
Tsvangirai’s home office to discuss recent political events.
ZANU-PF is Stalling
¶3. (C) Tsvangirai told the Charge that ZANU-PF was
attempting to obstruct and delay the implementation of the
GPA. His speech in Bulawayo on September 13 (Reftel) to
celebrate the MDC’s 10th anniversary was meant to draw a
line. Tsvanirai lamented that the MDC had shown commitment
to the coalition government, but had obtained nothing in
return but provocative actions and inaction–hate speech in
newspapers, prosecution of MDC MPs, a mostly stalled
constitutional process, a stalled national healing process,
and the failure to appoint governors and Roy Bennett as
deputy minister of agriculture.
¶4. (C) Tsvangirai said he followed-up on commitments in his
Bulawayo speech with a meeting with Mugabe on September 13
(Reftel) in which he told Mugabe that until Mugabe reported
progress on GPA issues, the GPA was out of his (Tsvangirai’s)
hands and that he would go to the people.
¶5. (C) Striking a more pessimistic note than in the past,
Tsvangirai said the government “may” survive, but this
depends on implementation of the GPA. He intimated that full
implementation was not necessary, but did not elaborate on
how much compliance would be satisfactory.
¶6. (C) Tsvangirai said he, Mugabe, Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara and the GPA negotiators (Tendai Biti and
Elton Mangoma from MDC-T, Welshman Ncube and Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mashonga from MDC-M, and Nicolas Goche and
Patrick Chinamasa from ZANU-PF) met on September 17 as a
follow-up to the September 13 meeting. Tired of dealing with
GPA issues piecemeal, Tsvangirai said he had hoped to have a
discussion of all outstanding issues, but the meeting ended
Qdiscussion of all outstanding issues, but the meeting ended
up focusing on the constitution.
¶7. (C) According to Tsvangirai, several agreements were
HARARE 00000753 002 OF 003
–The executive and civil society should have clear roles in
the constitutional process. Accordingly, the three
principals and the three chairs of the Parliamentary Select
Committee on the Constitution (Douglas Mwanzora of MDC-T,
David Coltart of MDC-M, and Paul Mwangana of ZANU-PF) will
oversee the process. Operational oversight will be exercised
by a committee consisting of the three Select Committee
Chairs, the Minister of Constitutional Affairs (Eric
Matinenga), and the civil society chairs of the
All-Stakeholders Conference (Hope Sadza and P.M. Makarane).
Additionally, a secretariat will be established. (NOTE:
Tsvangirai commented that funding will be necessary for the
secretariat and for the process in general; noting that UNDP
had made a contribution, he asked that the U.S. consider
funding assistance. END NOTE.)
–The Kariba Draft will not be tabled as a draft constitution
but will serve as a reference point.
–There should be flexibility in timelines to accommodate the
overall timeline of a draft constitution within 18 months of
the inception of the new government as specified in the GPA.
For example, the GPA calls for a 90-day period for public
outreach and input. This is now 30 days behind schedule.
Tsvangirai suggested that since the constitution has been a
topic of discussion for the last 10 years, the 90-day period
could be shortened.
¶8. (C) Tsvangirai noted that it was impossible to make
progress on outstanding issues without the direct
intervention of Mugabe. The principals agreed, therefore, at
the September 17 meeting to postpone discussion on
outstanding issues until after Mugabe’s return from a 10 day
trip, beginning on September 19, to Venezuela and the UNGA.
¶9. (C) The Charge pushed Tsvangirai as to how he could have
any confidence that, in light of the experience with the GPA
and coalition government, Mugabe would implement the GPA.
Tsvangirai acknowledged that there was no reason to believe
ZANU-PF would change. Nevertheless, it was necessary to
continue pushing without undermining the ultimate objective
of elections. With regard to elections, Tsvangirai commented
that although some in ZANU-PF wanted to delay elections until
2013, he was committed to elections as soon as a referendum
on the constitution had taken place.
¶10. (C) Tsvangirai admitted he did not know what the MDC
would do if Mugabe continued to fail to implement the
GPA–this was hypothetical. Mugabe did not want the
government to collapse, in his opinion, but wanted it to
continue on his terms. Also, Mugabe was faced with the
difficulty of managing his party before its Congress in
¶11. (C) The next step for the MDC in the event of continued
ZANU-PF intransigence would be the SADC Troika, according to
Tsvangirai. He added that he had little faith in SADC.
¶12. (C) Tsvangirai implied that withdrawal from the
Q12. (C) Tsvangirai implied that withdrawal from the
government was an option if Mugabe continued to stonewall.
But he underscored that while many MDC supporters around the
country were frustrated with Mugabe’s failure to implement
the GPA and the lack of progress of the government, they were
loathe to return to the violence and disruption of last year
that they were afraid could result from an MDC withdrawal
HARARE 00000753 003 OF 003
A Note on By-Elections
¶13. (C) Tsvangirai observed that without an Electoral
Commission, it would be impossible to have by-elections in
the 15 or so constituencies that are now vacant. When to
hold elections might be an issue the principals would have to
deal with. (COMMENT: None of the three parties appears
eager to have by-elections. ZANU-PF and MDC-M know they
would fare poorly. MDC may be concerned that violence could
return at a time when people are just getting back to their
lives. END COMMENT.)
Assistance for the PM’s office
¶14. (C) With six months of U.S. assistance to the Office of
the Prime Minister concluding, Tsvangirai asked if we would
consider extending assistance for a year, or at the least for
six months. He commented that when assistance began, there
was an expectation of more progress in the government and
with the economy that would have obviated further need.
¶15. (C) Tsvangirai is in a difficult position. He is facing
pressure from his party to be more assertive in order to get
Mugabe to implement the GPA. But his only real leverage is to
leave the government. This may not be a viable option, at
least in the short term Many MDC supporters are enjoying
relative tranquility–and some economic improvement–after a
turbulent couple of years and are afraid of the possible
consequences of a dissolution of the government. For now, we
expect Tsvangirai to continue to push, with only minimal
concessions by Mugabe. If there is more meaningful
compliance with the GPA, it will likely come after the
ZANU-PF Congress in December.