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Tsvangirai said his first order of business was to replace Gono

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told diplomats six days before his swearing in that his first order of business would be to replace central bank governor Gideon Gono because he had become a liability who continued to violate laws.

He said the country was on its knees. Education, health and industrial capacity had collapsed.

With the Movement for Democratic Change in government there would be a change in direction and immediate change in the delivery of services.

He said that there were sceptics, both internally and externally, who did not believe the ZANU-PF-MDC marriage would last.

“It will last,” he averred.

Tsvangirai said he had just met President Robert Mugabe and had told him that he was responsible for Zimbabwe’s predicament and his cooperation was necessary to begin to turn the country around.

The United States embassy said while Tsvangirai had priorities and a plan, and believed that there was a collective will for the success of the new government, he was underestimating the obduracy of ZANU-PF.

“Early benchmarks as to whether this government has a chance will be whether Gono is replaced, whether there is repeal of repressive legislation, and whether the media environment is opened up,” the embassy said.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE91, TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS ON PLANS, CONCERNS

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE91

2009-02-06 09:09

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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DE RUEHSB #0091/01 0370909

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4003

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2604

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2726

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1210

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1995

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2351

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2775

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5203

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1896

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000091

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

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

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS ON PLANS, CONCERNS

 

REF: HARARE 85

 

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

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) A confident but realistic Morgan Tsvangirai briefed

OECD ambassadors in the late afternoon of February 5

immediately after a meeting with Zimbabwean president Robert

Mugabe and shortly after the House of Assembly had passed

Amendment 19 by a vote of 184-0. He left no doubt that he

will be sworn in on February 11, but was less certain that

all outstanding issues would be resolved by then. Most of

the briefing focused on his plans as prime minister. He

plans to initiate a 100-day plan at the beginning of March,

after consulting with ministers, auditing ministries, and

getting staff in place; priorities are restoring basic

freedoms, humanitarian support, and economic stabilization.

While acknowledging donor support would have to be based on

progress on political and economic reform, Tsvangirai also

said it was important to begin paying civil

servants–military, police, government workers, and

teachers–in forex as soon as possible. Tsvangirai said that

the MDC as part of government must “budget” for ZANU-PF

obstructionism, but he expressed confidence that there was a

“collective will” to make the government work. END SUMMARY.

 

——————

Outstanding Issues

——————

 

2. (C) Tsvangirai told the Ambassador earlier in the day

(Ref) that Amendment 19 would not be passed until early next

week to exert leverage to resolve other issues before then.

But he announced at the briefing that the Amendment had

passed the House of Assembly earlier in the day by a vote of

184-0. (COMMENT: We take the early passage as a clear

intention on Tsvangirai’s part to be sworn in on February 11,

regardless of the status of other issues. END COMMENT.)

 

3. (SBU) Tsvangirai reiterated (Ref) that the parties had

agreed to a 5-4-1 formula for allocation of governorships.

The party–ZANU-PF or MDC-T–that did not get 5 would be

entitled to an additional minister for state without

portfolio. He hoped there would be early agreement and that

the new governors could be sworn in on February 13 with

ministers.

 

4. (SBU) The National Security Bill will be presented to

Parliament today, according to Tsvangirai, with passage

expected on February 9.

 

5. (SBU) Discussing abductees, Tsvangirai said “they must be

released.” He added that the Joint Monitoring and

Implementation Committee (JOMIC) would meet on February 7 to

further discuss the issue. JOMIC had already agreed that all

detainees should be released.

 

———-

Priorities

———-

 

6. (SBU) Tsvangirai told the group that as prime minister he

had three priorities:

 

–Restoring freedoms and healing. This includes a process to

draft and enact a new constitution; legislative reform,

including repeal or amendment of repressive legislation; and

liberalizing the media.

 

 

HARARE 00000091 002 OF 003

 

 

–Humanitarian support. This includes education, health,

food distribution; and, above all, payments to civil

servants–military, police, teachers, and government

workers–in forex by March 1. Tsvangirai did not say where

forex payments would come from.

 

–Stabilization. The three parties must agree on how to

tackle fundamental economic problems, including

hyperinflation, in order to staunch the bleeding. There must

be consensus on a government that is transparent and honest

and a move away from a culture of entitlement (read ZANU-PF

officials) and impunity.

 

7. (SBU) Commenting that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)

governor Gideon Gono had become a “liability” who continues

to violate laws, Tsvangirai said that his first order of

business will be to replace Gono. He criticized the budget

presented to Parliament last week by Acting Minister of

Finance Patrick Chinamasa, particularly the classification of

diamonds, platinum, and minerals as “strategic reserve

assets” to be overseen by the RBZ. He said that the new MDC

finance minister would have to put forward a reasonable

three-month budget.

 

———————————-

Managing Expectations and Partners

———————————-

 

8. (SBU) The country is on its knees, stated Tsvangirai.

Education, health, and industrial capacity have collapsed.

With the MDC in government, Zimbabweans would expect a change

of direction and immediate improvement in the delivery of

services. There would not be an immediate turn around and it

would be up to him and his team to manage expectations.

Tsvangirai was confident that as the government moved

forward, people would realize it was on the right course.

 

9. (SBU) Tsvangirai said donor assistance would be

important. The MDC realized it would have to meet donor

benchmarks to earn confidence in order to receive assistance.

He noted there were skeptics, both internally and externally

who did not believe the ZANU-PF-MDC marriage would last. “It

will last,” he averred, but reiterated that the MDC would

have to earn trust.

 

10. (SBU) Tsvangirai continued that SADC and civil society

had important roles. SADC as the guarantor of the agreement

would have to ensure that the parties carried out their

commitments under the agreement. Civil society should

continue its role as an advocate for democratic reform and

should engage the government and MDC in robust debate on the

way forward.

 

———————–

“Budgeting” for ZANU-PF

———————–

 

11. (SBU) Turning to ZANU-PF and Mugabe, Tsvangirai said he

had just met with the Zimbabwean president. While not going

into detail about the meeting, he said he had told Mugabe

that he was responsible for Zimbabwe’s predicament and his

cooperation was necessary to begin to turn the country

around. He hoped Mugabe would realize that the government

should help the people, but he had to be realistic and

“budget” for ZANU-PF obstructionism. If ZANU-PF violated the

Q”budget” for ZANU-PF obstructionism. If ZANU-PF violated the

September 15 agreement and failed to act responsibly, MDC

would have to expose it in the Cabinet, Council of Ministers,

National Security Council, and to SADC and the world.

Recognizing potential problems, however, with ZANU-PF,

Tsvangirai believed there was a “collective will” to make the

government work.

 

 

HARARE 00000091 003 OF 003

 

 

12. (SBU) While ZANU-PF would maintain control of important

ministries; Tsvangirai explained that MDC would have deputy

ministers in the MFA, Defense, Local Government, Agriculture,

Women, and Justice. He joked that as long as targeted

sanctions were in place, the foreign minister would be unable

to travel to the U.S. or Europe, and this responsibility

would fall on the MDC deputy.

 

———

MDC Unity

———

 

13. (SBU) Tsvangirai maintained that the MDC was going into

government as a unified party. All the provinces and the

women’s and youth assemblies had been represented in the

National Council meeting where the decision was made.

Thousands of Zimbabweans were outside after the Council voted

and there was a collective sigh of relief. “What next,”

Tsvangirai rhetorically asked, “if we didn’t go into

government.” The MDC now had an opportunity to unlock

ZANU-PF’s grip on power.

 

—————————

100-Day Plan and the future

—————————

 

14. (SBU) The MDC is meeting this weekend to formulate a

100-day plan after it enters government. Tsvangirai expected

this to begin in March. In the interim, he said he would

hold a team-building retreat for ministers, audit ministries

to understand their capacity and problems, and put staff in

place.

 

15. (SBU) Tsvangirai said he expected the government to last

for two to two and a half years. At the end of this time,

there should be an environment for democracy and political

space. The ultimate goal was free and fair elections.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

16. (C) Tsvangirai was confident and measured in his

presentation. While he has priorities and a plan, and

believes there is a “collective will” for success of the new

government, he is, however, likely underestimating the

obduracy of ZANU-PF. Early benchmarks as to whether this

government has a chance will be whether Gono is replaced,

whether there is repeal of repressive legislation, and

whether the media environment is opened up.

 

17. (C) Tsvangirai highlighted his desire to achieve

stabilization by paying public servants in forex as early as

March. Left unsaid was his expectation, despite

acknowledging the MDC must earn donor confidence to receive

developmental aid, that donors would supply this forex.

There is tremendous sympathy for the MDC and a desire to help

it succeed. Our challenge is to adhere–and convince others

to adhere–to our principles of political and economic reform

long enough to ensure that the government is moving in the

right direction, but not so long as to hurt the government’s

chances of success should it measurably move in the right

direction. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

(9 VIEWS)

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