Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray that although his party was pushing for the resignations of central bank governor Gideon Gono and attorney-general Johannes Tomana because their appointments were illegal, they preferred to see Tomana step down.
He said Gono was the lesser of the two evils. Tomana was incompetent and dangerous because he had selectively set out to prosecute MDC officials.
Tsvangirai also told Ray that the MDC was engaging in quiet negotiations with some of the securocrats. Their primary concerns were prosecution and financial security now that they were no longer supported by Gono.
Ray said, however, Tsvangirai was unclear on how he would deal with the security establishment in a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe other than to say some of the security establishment would have to be retained.
“This is a potentially troubling deficiency in Tsvangirai’s otherwise rational approach to governing this country. If he should prevail in elections and become the head of state, he will need to have a program for managing the military and police well in advance,” Ray commented.
Viewing cable 09HARARE959, AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH TSVANGIRAI
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/11/2019
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH TSVANGIRAI
REF: HARARE 955
Classified By: Ambassador Charles A. Ray for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d).
¶1. (SBU) The Ambassador called on Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai December 10, a day after presenting his
credentials to President Robert Mugabe (Ref). Tsvangirai
greeted the Ambassador by stating that he had arrived in
Zimbabwe at a defining moment in moving the transition
forward. The discussion focused on outstanding Global
Political Agreement (GPA) issues, sanctions, security sector
reform, and elections.
¶2. (C) Tsvangirai said progress on resolving outstanding
issues had been made with the help of South African President
Jacob Zuma’s mediation team. ZANU-PF, MDC-T, and MDC-M
negotiators would report to the principals — President
Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai, and Arthur Mutambara — on the
status of negotiations, and the principals would then meet on
¶3. (C) Tsvangirai addressed specific outstanding issues:
— MDC-T would not budge on its intention to make Roy Bennett
the deputy minister of agriculture. Resolution would await
the end of Bennett’s treason trial, set to resume on January
–Mugabe had acted illegitimately in appointing Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana after the Memorandum of Understanding signed
by the parties on September 15, 2008, which called for
consultation between Mugabe and Tsvangirai before making
appointments. But a solution to the stalemate over the two
officials would be political and decided by the principals.
Tsvangirai suspected the parties would agree that one of the
two step down — Mugabe’s choice. MDC-T would prefer to see
Tomana step down. Gono was the lesser of two evils. Tomana
was incompetent and dangerous — he had set out to
selectively prosecute MDC-T officials. Assuming agreement
was reached for Tomana to step down, MDC-T would seek an
additional agreement that Gono step down after a specified
time. (COMMENT: Tsvangirai and Gono are both Karanga from
the same village. Tsvangirai appears much more conciliatory
toward Gono than does Minister of Finance Tendai Biti. END
–An agreement had been reached on the appointment of MDC-T
and MDC-M governors.
–Media Commission members had been agreed to. Names had
been selected for the Human Rights and Electoral Commissions
but had not yet been reviewed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
¶4. (C) Tsvangirai said he hoped the principals would make a
statement on December 14 on agreements reached on outstanding
issues. If Mugabe was not prepared to join in, he and
Mutambara would consider their own statement on items agreed
¶5. (C) Turning to sanctions, Tsvangirai said that progress
should be rewarded. Assuming agreement on most outstanding
issues, the U.S. should remove non-personal sanctions and
ZDERA should be suspended while Congress considered its
permanent revocation. ZANU-PF had used sanctions to put
MDC-T on the defensive, according to Tsvangirai, and U.S.
(and presumably EU) action would remove the pressure.
¶6. (C) Tsvangirai noted that security reform was essential.
The MDC was engaging in quiet negotiations with some of the
QThe MDC was engaging in quiet negotiations with some of the
securocrats. Their primary concerns were prosecution and
financial security now that they were no longer supported by
Gono. Tsvangirai said he had talked to Zuma and other SADC
leaders about the security sector, but was unclear how he
would attempt to remove the securocrats. He was also unclear
on how he would deal with the security establishment in a
HARARE 00000959 002 OF 002
post-Mugabe Zimbabwe other than to say some of the security
establishment would have to be retained. (COMMENT: This is
a potentially troubling deficiency in Tsvangirai’s otherwise
rational approach to governing this country. If he should
prevail in elections and become the head of state, he will
need to have a program for managing the military and police
well in advance.)
¶7. (C) On elections, Tsvangirai said the constitutional
process was proceeding and that general elections could take
place in 2011.
¶8. (C) There were no surprises. We suspect that Tsvangirai
is overly optimistic on making an announcement on resolution
of outstanding issues next week, and on when elections will
be held. On security sector reform, he understands its
importance, particularly dealing with the securocrats, but we
have yet to see concrete evidence of discussions or
negotiations. END COMMENT.