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Tsvangirai said MDC would never play subordinate role to ZANU-PF

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee that his party would never play a subordinate role to the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

He said at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, there was agreement on a 36-month transition period and the establishment of the positions of head of state and head of government, but the actual roles and duties were left undefined.

Tsvangirai said ZANU-PF wanted Mugabe to retain executive authority but he could only accept Mugabe as a ceremonial authority with certain responsibilities, such as opening Parliament, but he was insistent that Mugabe could have no direct or indirect executive authority. 

Executive authority had to be with the MDC and the MDC would in no way play a subordinate role to ZANU-PF during the transition period.

McGee urged Tsvangirai to hold the course.

Tsvangirai promised to do so and urged the US not to ease its pressure on the government until an agreement along the lines he had described was in place and implemented. 

McGee said that the US was prepared to provide all types of assistance as soon as Tsvangirai was in place as leader of the government and enough time (two or three months) had passed to ascertain that ZANU-PF would not subvert the new transitional government.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE661, TSVANGIRAI TELLS AMBASSADOR TALKS ARE ON COURSE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE661

2008-08-05 16:56

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3977

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0661/01 2181656

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 051656Z AUG 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3257

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2199

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2318

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0850

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1595

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1953

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2374

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4805

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1464

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000661

 

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: 08/05/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI TELLS AMBASSADOR TALKS ARE ON COURSE

 

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

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1.  (C) MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai told the Ambassador

August 5, just after arriving from Johannesburg, that

ZANU-PF-MDC negotiations are on course.  Tsvangirai promised

that he will stand firm against an executive role for

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, although he could accept

a ceremonial role for Mugabe.  The respective roles of Mugabe

and Tsvangirai is the primary sticking point to be overcome

when South African president and SADC mediator Thabo Mbeki

travels to Harare later in the week, according to Tsvangirai,

but he was cautiously optimistic that Mugabe will cede power

and that an agreement will be achieved.

END SUMMARY.

 

———————————-

Tsvangirai Firm on Executive Power

———————————-

 

2.  (C) Tsvangirai said that at the time of the signing of

the Memorandum of Understanding, there was agreement on a

36-month transition and establishment of the positions of

head of state and head of government.  Actual

roles–responsibilities and duties–of each position were

left undefined and, according to Tsvangirai, definition of

roles was the last major sticking point to be resolved for an

agreement.

 

3.  (C) Tsvangirai said ZANU-PF wanted Mugabe to retain

executive authority.  Tsvangirai told the Ambassador he could

accept Mugabe as a ceremonial authority with certain

responsibilities, e.g. opening Parliament, but he was

insistent that Mugabe could have no direct or indirect

executive authority.  Executive authority, averred

Tsvangirai, must be with the MDC, and the MDC would in no way

play a subordinate role to ZANU-PF during the transition

period.

 

4.  (C) Tsvangirai observed that there was internal

disgruntlement within ZANU-PF, particularly on the part of

Emmerson Mnangagwa, regarding giving up executive authority

to the MDC.  Nevertheless, he thought Mugabe would fight

Mnangagwa and others.  He saw the handwriting on the wall and

wanted an honorable, if gradual, exit.

 

5.  (C) The Ambassador urged Tsvangirai to hold the course.

Tsvangirai promised to do so and urged the U.S. not to ease

its pressure on the government until an agreement along the

lines he had described was in place and implemented.  The

Ambassador noted that the U.S. was prepared to provide all

types of assistance as soon as Tsvangirai was in place as

leader of the government and enough time (two or three

months) had passed to ascertain that ZANU-PF would not

subvert the new transitional government.

 

—————

Security Forces

—————

 

6.  (C) The Ambassador queried Tsvangirai as to what steps

would be taken to neutralize the security forces.  Tsvangirai

said he would cut the umbilical cord between security chiefs

and the government by requiring them to disclose their

business interests.  Those who had conflicts of interest

because their interests were dependent on the government

would have to either divest or retire from government.  They

would be allowed to keep one farm.  Tsvangirai and his

government would watch them closely for two years.  His hope

 

HARARE 00000661  002 OF 002

 

 

was that the incentive to maintain their business interests

would encourage them to leave government.

 

7.  (C) The Joint Operations Command (JOC) would be

abolished, according to Tsvangirai.  A security council under

the leadership of the prime minister would be established.

 

——————–

The Mutambara Factor

——————–

 

8.  (C) Tsvangirai expressed some concern that Arthur

Mutambara was “playing ball” with Mugabe in order to increase

the number of ministries in the new government to provide

additional positions to ZANU-PF and Mutambara supporters.

Tsvangirai said he anticipated 10 ministries for ZANU-PF, 10

for the MDC, and 2 for Mutambara.  Any more would bloat the

government.  He thought he could control Mutambara since most

MPs elected on Mutambara’s ticket were now loyal to the

Tsvangirai MDC faction.

 

————

Other Issues

————

 

9.  (C) The composition of the new government was yet to be

determined.  Tsvangirai anticipated two deputy prime

ministers, one from ZANU-PF and one from the MDC.  Also to be

finalized were procedures and timetables for adopting a new

constitution, the issue of amnesty, and the selection and

roles of provincial governors.

 

10.  (C) The Ambassador inquired about the fate of Reserve

Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono in a new government.

Tsvangirai said Gono would have no place.  The new Ministry

of Finance would not accept him; furthermore the agreement

would call for an independent reserve bank.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

11.  (C) Tsvangirai is cautiously optimistic that a deal will

be done, possibly by this weekend.  He believes that Mbeki

now understands the situation and is encouraging Mugabe to do

the right thing.  Tsvangirai’s promise that he will stand on

principle and not allow ZANU-PF to retain executive authority

is encouraging.  We are hopeful, but given the history,

including the recent history, of Zimbabwe, we remain

suspicious of Mugabe and ZANU-PF.  We will view events

unfolding in the days and weeks ahead cautiously and

critically.  END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

 

(23 VIEWS)

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