Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai told United States embassy officials that South African President Thabo Mbeki, President Robert Mugabe and the leader of the smaller faction of the MDC Arthur Mutambara had ganged up against him during the negotiations for a settlement.
He had not given in despite the tremendous pressure and the negotiations had stalled because Mugabe was not willing to cede executive power to him as Prime Minister and allow him to head the government.
Tsvangirai said the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front had conceded some ground and was willing to give him control of a number of ministries but not the security ministries.
He said that it was important that he be in control of the security ministries otherwise, Zimbabwe could find itself back in the same fix in the future with the securocrats running the country.
Tsvangirai had dispatched his deputy Thokozani Khupe first to Botswana and then to Tanzania to lobby the Southern African Development Community leaders ahead of a summit that was to discuss Zimbabwe.
Ed: Tsvangirai never got the security ministries and was forced to share Home Affairs. But three years down the line and after firing the first minister Giles Mutsekwa to replace him with Theresa Makone, the MDC is always complaining about its members being arrested on “trumped up charges” giving the impression that the ministry is totally controlled by ZANU-PF.
Viewing cable 08HARARE678, TSVANGIRAI ON COLLAPSED TALKS
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STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2018
SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI ON COLLAPSED TALKS
REF: A) HARARE 676 B) HARARE 674
Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)
¶1. (C) MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai told the Ambassador
August 12 that negotiations between ZANU-PF and the MDC had
stalled over the issue of power sharing. Specifically,
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe was unwilling to cede
executive power to Tsvangirai as prime minister and allow
Tsvangirai to be head of government. Tsvangirai said he
would take his case to the SADC Summit on August 16. He
would urge Botswanan president Ian Khama, who had threatened
to boycott the Summit to attend as well. (He did not think
Mugabe would attend.) Meanwhile, he and his lieutenants had
been contacting SADC summit leaders. His vice-president,
Thokozani Khupe had spoken to Botswananan president Ian Khama
and was now in Tanzania. He expected talks to resume after
the SADC Summit with, he hoped, additional pressure on Mugabe
¶2. (C) Tsvangirai said there had been ZANU-PF movement in
the talks. The ruling party was now willing to give
Tsvangirai control of a number of ministries–but not the
security ministries. He averred that it was important that
he be in control of the latter; otherwise, Zimbabwe could
find itself back in the same fix in the future with the
securocrats running the country. Mugabe had so far refused
to budge on this issue.
¶3. (C) The Ambassador asked Tsvangirai about news reports
that Arthur Mutambara had agreed to an alliance with ZANU-PF.
Tsvangirai said that South African president and mediator
Thabo Mbeki had presented a proposal the South Africans had
drafted for power sharing. The document was not a complete
agreement but focused only on the respective roles of Mugabe
and Tsvangirai. Both Mugabe and Mutambara signed; Tsvangirai
refused because it allocated him insufficient executive
power. He thought Mutambara should have been principled and
not signed; nevertheless, he did not indicate that an
alliance had been formed between Mugabe and Mutambara.
Separately, Mutambara denied to us that there was a deal
between him and Mugabe.
¶4. (C) On a related issue, Tsvangirai said he had talked to
the Chinese ambassador the previous evening and thought the
ambassador was supportive of the MDC position. According to
Tsvagnira, the ambassador said he had talked to Mugabe and
urged him to compromise and allow Tsvangirai a leadership
¶5. (C) COMMENT: Tsvangirai told us that Mugabe, Mbeki, and
Mutambara had ganged up on him during the negotiation process
and exerted tremendous pressure. He held his ground as he
consistently has told us he would, and he pledged to continue
to do so. SADC knows the issues and what is at stake, and
Tsvangirai will have an opportunity to convince them to exert
additional pressure on Mugabe. At this point, we should
assist him by continuing our outreach to SADC capitals. Our
support could be critical in this effort.
¶6. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: Mutambara is more of an irritant
to Tsvangirai than a real factor in the negotiations. His
recent actions (Ref B) indicate an effort to curry favor with
Mugabe, and his posture has made negotiations more difficult
for Tsvangirai. But Mutambara is more figurehead than leader
on top of a weak and relatively insubstantial party. His MDC
faction has 10 MPs. At least 6, and probably 8, will follow
Tsvangirai’s lead. END COMMENT.