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Tsvangirai listed “dealbreakers” to participate in run-off

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai set 16 conditions to participate in the presidential election run-off with five of them labelled as dealbreakers.

According to a cable by Wikileaks, Tsvangirai told a press conference in Pretoria on 10 May that he would participate in the elections but they had to be held no later than 24 May. The run-off was finally held on 27 June.

Tsvangirai had won the first round in the 29 March elections but had not won an outright majority in the disputed elections whose election results were announced more than a month after the elections.

MDC treasurer Roy Bennett was reported to be very optimistic about the run-off saying the elections would be run “in honour of the Zimbabwean people who are being tortured and killed.”

MDC Advisor Kathi Walther highlighted five of the conditions which she said where the “dealbreakers” to United States embassy officials:

  • International peacekeepers and international election monitors must be allowed in and given unfettered access to the entire country;
  • Domestic and international media must be permitted to cover the election without hindrance or interference;
  • All political violence must end immediately;
  • ZEC must be “reconstituted;”
  • The electoral process must be “demilitarized.”

Embassy officials said the last condition was not included in any press coverage.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08PRETORIA1006, MDC ANNOUNCES THEY WILL PARTICIPATE IN RUN-OFF

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08PRETORIA1006

2008-05-12 15:31

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO2005

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #1006/01 1331531

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 121531Z MAY 08

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4441

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE 3660

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 5597

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 9814

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 001006

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2017

TAGS: PREL PHUM KDEM SF ZI

SUBJECT: MDC ANNOUNCES THEY WILL PARTICIPATE IN RUN-OFF

 

REF: PRETORIA 997

 

PRETORIA 00001006 001.2 OF 002

 

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Don Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(b) and (d

).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. On 10 May, MDC Leader Morgan Tsvangirai

announced that the MDC would participate in a run-off and

that it must be held no later than 24 May. However, MDC

participation is on the condition that SADC peacekeepers be

allowed in to monitor the run-off, international election

observers are allowed full access to the electoral process,

that all political violence end; that ZEC be “reconstituted,”

that the electoral process be demilitarized, and that

domestic and international media be permitted to cover the

election without hindrance or interference. Tsvangirai said

that he would return to Zimbabwe by today, 12 May, but Post

has since learned he may go back later in the week, with his

return dependent on security concerns. MDC’s announcement

took place against additional negative media coverage of

Mbeki’s mediation attempts, with Mbeki appearing hand-in-hand

with Mugabe in Harare only the day before. The MDC’s

announcement and their refusal to speak to Mbeki, coupled

with Mbeki’s less than neutral comments last week, have

provoked public speculation about whether Mbeki can

effectively mediate. END SUMMARY.

 

————————-

MDC TO CONTEST IN RUN-OFF

————————-

 

2. (C) MDC Leader Morgan Tsvangirai on 10 May announced

during a press conference in Pretoria that the MDC will

participate in a run-off presidential election, but that the

run-off must be held no later than 24 May (which would fall

within 21 days of ZEC’s 02 May official announcement of the

29 March election). (NOTE: Only five days earlier on 05 May,

the MDC had announced it would publicize its decision whether

or not to participate in a run-off after the ZEC officially

set a run-off date. END NOTE) An upbeat MDC Treasurer Roy

Bennett told PolOff on 10 May that the run-off would be held

“in honor of the Zimbabwean people who are being tortured and

killed,” adding that “we just need to get this over with.”

 

3. (C) The MDC indicated their participation was contingent

on a list of 16 conditions being met. MDC Advisor Kathi

Walther (protect) subsequently highlighted five of these to

PolOff as being “dealbreakers:”

 

— International peacekeepers and international election

monitors must be allowed in and given unfettered access to

the entire country;

 

— Domestic and international media must be permitted to

cover the election without hindrance or interference;

 

— All political violence must end immediately;

 

— ZEC must be “reconstituted;”

 

— The electoral process must be “demilitarized.”

 

(NOTE: This last condition was mentioned to PolOff on 10 May

by both Walther and Bennett, but was not included in any

press coverage. END NOTE)

 

————————————-

TSVANGIRAI’S RETURN DELAYED YET AGAIN

————————————-

 

4. (C) Despite Tsvangirai’s claim during the press conference

that he would go back to Zimbabwe within two days, his return

has again been delayed as he continues to travel around the

region. According to IDASA analyst Sydney Masamvu,

Tsvangirai told him he would like to return to Harare on 14

May, but is still waiting for the “signal” that it is safe or

him to return. Tsvangirai also told Masamvu that his

meetings with Angolan President dos Santos on 11 May went

Qmeetings with Angolan President dos Santos on 11 May went

“surprisingly well.” Dos Santos gave Tsvangirai an hour of

his time (compared to only 20 minutes from Mozambican

President Guebuza on 09 May), promised in his capacity as

head of SADC’s security committee to send 500 peacekeepers to

monitor the election, and complained that Mugabe keeps

harping on the UK’s role in Zimbabwe’s past, as if only the

UK were the only colonizer on the continent. Masamvu also

 

PRETORIA 00001006 002.2 OF 002

 

 

said Tsvangirai will be going to Lesotho on 13 May for

meetings.

 

——————————–

PRESIDENT MBEKI TAKING A BEATING

——————————–

 

5. (SBU) The MDC’s press conference occurred against a

backdrop of very unfavorable coverage of President Mbeki’s

mediation efforts. On 09 May, President Mbeki flew to Harare

for closed-door sessions with President Mugabe. Again,

images of Mbeki smiling and walking hand-in-hand with Mugabe

dominated South African media. The MDC’s announcement also

coincided with a leadership summit of South Africa’s ruling

tri-partite alliance (ANC, Congress of South African Trade

Unions, and the South African Communist Party), where press

reports note that new ANC power brokers were all to eager to

point out Mbeki’s recent failures, including his mediation

attempts in the Zimbabwean crisis. Immediately before the

summit, the SACP central committee caucus called on Mbeki to

step down before next year’s election.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

6. (C) Though it is hard to gauge what is being done under

the auspices of Mbeki’s mediation attempts, many commentators

and analysts are beginning to question Mbeki’s ability to

deliver, with one editorial going so far as to label him

Mugabe’s “enabler.” PolOff was told by the Irish Ambassador

that Tsvangirai refused to speak to Mbeki again on Friday, 09

May, making it possible that Mbeki did not know about MDC’s

press conference or dealbreakers in advance. Previous public

statements indicate that Mbeki may not be sympathetic to the

MDC’s current demands. Mbeki said last week there is no need

for new outside observers, implying that anyone who thought

otherwise was racist (reftel). He also clarified a couple of

weeks ago that there was no “electoral crisis” in Zimbabwe,

suggesting he may not feel the ZEC needs to be

“reconstituted.” Last, the South African retired military

team currently investigating reports of violence was sent in

at the ANC’s insistence, not Mbeki’s (reftel). That said,

Post believes that the MDC’s demands will gain some traction.

Mugabe has repeatedly and effectively manipulated Mbeki for

years by making demands.

 

7. (C) There are many irons in the fire right now, with

high-level conversations taking place on a daily basis

throughout the region. In fact, the increasingly positive

and public role the ANC has played has changed the shape of

the debate in South Africa. However, it is not clear whether

it reflects a deep desire to support democracy in Zimbabwe,

or simply an opportunity to kick Mbeki while he is

politically vulnerable. We suspect it is a combination of

both. Unfortunately, these multiple efforts to find a

solution are not being channeled through or directed by any

one person, be it Mbeki or otherwise. Tsvangirai has refused

to speak to Mbeki, but is speaking ANC President Jacob Zuma.

Mbeki and his advisers are speaking to Mugabe, some ZANU-PF

members, and members of the Mutambara faction of the MDC,

which is not united with Tsvangirai’s faction. Moreover,

Tsvangirai also appears to be in regular contact with the

Presidents of Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, and Angola, but

it is unclear if these SADC leaders are engaging Mbeki,

Mugabe, or even other SADC members.

TEITELBAUM

(9 VIEWS)

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