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Tsvangirai met Gono to reassure him of his future before GPA

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai met central bank governor Gideon Gono to reassure him and security chiefs that there would be no witch hunt if a good political agreement was reached with the MDC.

Tsvangirai told this to United States ambassador James McGhee on 8 August 2008 after the ambassador had expressed concern that Gono and the security chiefs could prevent or undermine an agreement.

McGhee also asked Tsvangirai if the United States could help in any way.

Tsvangirai told McGhee that he had heard from several sources that the military was becoming more conciliatory.

The military had said over the years that it would not salute anyone without liberation credentials.

Tsvangirai said he had met with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono who had stated his preoccupation about his own future and that of the security chiefs.

He had reassured Gono that with a good agreement in place there would be no witch hunt.

He understood from Gono that this message was relayed to Defence Forces chief Constantine Chiwenga.

The MDC leader said that Gono had a close relationship with the security chiefs and that he would be a useful conduit to send a message about the benefits of supporting a good agreement as proposed by the MDC, and the consequences of not doing so.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE674, TSVANGIRAI DISCUSSES ENDGAME WITH AMBASSADOR

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE674

2008-08-08 12:33

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7510

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0674/01 2211233

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 081233Z AUG 08 ZDS LINE HIT

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3271

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2206

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2325

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0857

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1602

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1960

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2381

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4812

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1474

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000674

 

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (LINE HIT)

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR G. GARLAND

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI DISCUSSES ENDGAME WITH AMBASSADOR

 

REF: A. HARARE 669

B. HARARE 661

 

HARARE 00000674 001.2 OF 003

 

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) A confident Morgan Tsvangirai told the Ambassador

August 8 that he is unwavering in his position that

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe should not retain

executive power as part of a power-sharing agreement between

ZANU-PF and the MDC. Tsvangirai expects South African

president Thabo Mbeki to arrive in Harare Saturday, August 9

or Sunday, August 10 to facilitate a one-on-one meeting

between Mugabe and Tsvangirai on August 10. The principal

issue to be resolved, according to Tsvangirai, is his and

Mugabe’s respective roles and powers. If an agreement is

reached, Tsvangirai expects it to be signed sometime next

week. END SUMMARY.

 

—————–

Balance of Powers

—————–

 

2. (C) In the face of rumors, newspaper and online reports,

and concerns from Tsvangirai’s fellow MDC members that he was

prepared to cede some degree of executive power to Mugabe as

part of a ZANU-PF-MDC power-sharing agreement, the Ambassador

pointedly asked Tsvangirai what his position was. Tsvangirai

firmly reiterated (Ref B) that he would insist on full

executive powers for himself. What was important was that

the will of the people be observed. This meant he should be

fully in control of government and that a program of

political and economic reform should be undertaken. Mugabe

would be a ceremonial president with responsibilities such as

convening parliament and representing Zimbabwe

internationally as head of state; these responsibilities

should be clearly defined in the agreement.

 

3. (C) Those who argued for power-sharing between Mugabe and

Tsvangirai were defying reality, said Tsvangirai. Mugabe had

not won anything, while he (Tsvangirai) had won the March 29

election. In fact, Tsvangirai added, he was being

magnanimous in allowing Mugabe a position in government.

 

—————————-

The Security Chiefs and Gono

—————————-

 

4. (C) The Ambassador expressed concern to Tsvangirai that

the security chiefs could prevent or undermine an agreement

and asked if we could be helpful in any way. Tsvangirai

responded that he had heard from a number of sources that the

military was becoming more conciliatory. Further, he had met

with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono who had

stated his preoccupation about his own future and that of the

security chiefs. Tsvangirai said he had reassured Gono that

with a good agreement in place there would be no witch hunt;

he understood from Gono that this message was relayed to

Defense Forces chief Constantine Chiwenga.

 

5. (C) Tsvangirai said that Gono had a close relationship

with the security chiefs and that Gono would be a useful

conduit to send a message about the benefits of supporting a

good agreement as proposed by the MDC, and the consequences

of not doing so The Ambassador plans to meet with Gono later

today to make the point.

 

————————

Other Outstanding Issues

 

HARARE 00000674 002.2 OF 003

 

 

————————

 

6. (C) In addition to the executive power issue, Tsvangirai

told the Ambassador other unresolved–but more

tractable–issues included a transitional constitution, the

size of the cabinet and allocation of ministries, the

duration of the government, and the scope of amnesty.

 

7. (C) Although not an immediate topic of inter-party

discussions, we asked Tsvangirai his thoughts on the Reserve

Bank. He replied that an independent bank was essential, and

that there were a number of possibilities for governor,

including Leonard Tsunga, Gono’s predecessor, who spent the

last year at Trinity College in Connecticut.

 

————————–

Prospects for an Agreement

————————–

 

8. (C) Tsvangirai said that based upon his conversation with

Mugabe at the time of the signing of the Memorandum of

Understanding, and information he had received from Mugabe

confidantes, he thought Mugabe was ready to make the

necessary concessions, specifically to give up executive

power. Contrasted with earlier criticisms of Mbeki, he now

thought the South African president would be “helpful” in

pushing Mugabe to make these concessions.

 

———

Timetable

———

 

9. (C) Tsvangirai said he expected Mbeki to arrive in Harare

Saturday, August 9, or Sunday, August 10. He would help

define the issues to be discussed by the two principals on

Sunday and would minute specific agreements that were

reached. If an agreement was reached, it might be announced

on August 11, Heroes Day, while fine tuning would be carried

out by the negotiating teams. The agreement could be signed

later in the week in Harare, at the SADC Troika Summit in

Luanda on August 13, or at the SADC Summit in Durban on

August 16 when South Africa and Mbeki assume the reins of

SADC.

 

10. (C) We asked Tsvangirai if he would attend the Heroes

Day celebration if an agreement had been concluded. (NOTE:

Heroes Day and Independence Day are Zimbabwe’s two most

important holidays. END NOTE.) He said Heroes Day was a

national day and it would be “nice” to attend after years of

seeing the ceremonies used as a platform to bash him and the

MDC. But it might be premature and presumptuous to

participate before the MDC had approved the agreement and it

had been signed.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

11. (C) The Internet and media are full of rumors about the

details of an agreement and whether or not Mugabe will cede

all executive power. What is clear to us is that Tsvangirai

is firm in his conviction that he will not sign an agreement

that does not give him full executive power. What is much

less clear is whether Mugabe and ZANU-PF will accept, as

Tsvangirai believes they will, his position. Tsvangirai’s

leverage is the increasing international isolation of

Zimbabwe, declining support for Mugabe in the region, and the

crashing economy. He can walk away from the talks and let

Mugabe and ZANU-PF go down with the country. But it is still

difficult to believe that Mugabe, who has craftily defeated

numerous enemies over the years, will willingly give up all

power. END COMMENT.

 

HARARE 00000674 003.2 OF 003

 

 

 

MCGEE

(86 VIEWS)

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