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Tsvangirai said Mugabe needs me more than I need him

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he was not happy with the allocation of ministries in the inclusive government but he had agreed to join the government for the sake of the people.

He said the only way the Movement for Democratic Change could save the people was by joining the government.

Without a government of national unity, the country could experience unpredictable changes-even anarchy.

He said the primary goal of the MDC was to restore freedoms, heal the nation, and stabilize the economy.

Asked if he could trust his main rival President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai responded by asking whether Mugabe would have trusted Ian Smith in 1980.

“I don’t trust him fully, but he needs me more than I need him….he’s old and doesn’t trust his people-they’re corrupt and have lied to him,” Tsvangirai said.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE70, TSVANGIRAI TELLS AMBASSADOR MDC WILL ENTER

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE70

2009-01-29 13:11

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8008

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0070/01 0291311

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 291311Z JAN 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3975

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2586

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2708

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1195

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1977

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2332

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2757

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5185

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1875

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 000070

 

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: 10/28/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI TELLS AMBASSADOR MDC WILL ENTER

GOVERNMENT

 

REF: A) HARARE 59 B) PRETORIA 165 C) HARARE 55 D)

PRETORIA 164

 

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

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has decided the MDC

should enter government and will so recommend to the MDC

National Council on January 30. He expects the Council to

support his recommendation. With his inauguration as prime

minister scheduled for February 11, ZANU-PF negotiators will

meet in the next several days to discuss allocations of

governorships, composition and powers of the National

Security Council, and the fate of abductees. Tsvangirai

remains distrustful of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe,

but is “cautiously optimistic” a government of national unity

can work and help him obtain his objectives of “restoring

basic freedoms, healing the nation, and stabilizing the

economy.” END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Tsvangirai met with the Ambassador early on January

29. He returned to Zimbabwe on the evening of January 28

after meeting with Botswanan president Ian Khama earlier in

the day.

 

———————–

The Negotiating Process

———————–

 

3. (C) Tsvangirai described the January 26 SADC

Extraordinary Summit in Pretoria. SADC leaders, including

Mugabe, initially met for six hours; Tsvangirai was excluded.

He and Welshman Ncube, representing MDC-M, then were

included in the discussion. According to Tsvangirai, there

was a general consensus among the leaders, including Khama

and Zambia’s Banda who were the most sympathetic to the MDC,

that a government should be established as soon as possible.

The Summit then proceeded to examine outstanding issues

one-by-one to determine areas of agreement and disagreement,

and next steps to resolve disagreements.

 

–Amendment 19. There was agreement among the parties as to

the substance of the Amendment but disagreement as to

sequencing. ZANU-PF wanted the Amendment passed immediately,

while the MDC wanted all outstanding issues resolved before

passage of the Amendment. With the outlines of a deal in

place, the Amendment should be voted on next week.

 

–National Security Council. There was agreement among the

parties that the Council should be controlled by the leaders

in government of all parties and that legislation should be

drafted to effect this. Negotiators will meet today to

accomplish this. Legislation should be voted on next week.

 

–Provincial Governors. There was agreement among the

parties that governorships should be allocated among the

parties. Negotiators will meet today to determine a formula

for allocation. Naming of new governors will presumably be

done after the new government is formed.

 

–Breaches of the July 22 Memorandum of Understanding and the

September 15 agreement. This refers to recent violence and

abductions, and the appointments of Gideon Gono as Reserve

Bank of Zimbabwe governor and Johannes Tomana as Attorney

General. The parties agreed that representatives on the

Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JMIC)

contemplated by the September 15 agreement will be named and

will meet in the next several days to consider the issue of

 

HARARE 00000070 002 OF 004

 

 

violence and abductions. Appointments, including

ambassadors, permanent secretaries, and other high-ranking

officials, will be considered after formation of the new

government.

 

–Allocation of Ministries. Tsvangirai acknowledged to the

Ambassador that reallocation of ministries had been an

objective of the MDC. Nevertheless, SADC stuck to its

position, set out in a November 9 communique, that ZANU-PF

and MDC should share the Home Affairs ministry and that SADC

would not become involved in further discussions. The issue

will be reviewed by the parties six months after the

formation of the new government.

 

4. (C) We asked Tsvangirai about reports circulating in MDC

circles that Tsvangirai in a private meeting with Mugabe had

cut a silent deal with him that was then presented to SADC.

Tsvangirai categorically denied this. He said outstanding

issues were discussed. Mugabe refused to make concessions

and urged Tsvangirai to join government. Tsvangirai refused.

(Ref C)

 

——————-

The MDC Position…

——————-

 

5. (C) Noting that there had been confusion about the MDC

position after the Summit concluded (Ref B), Tsvangirai said

the MDC had objected to his exclusion from some of the

proceedings at which Mugage (as head of State) had been

present, and to the refusal of SADC to take up the issue of

allocation of ministries. These objections were reflected

in an MDC press statement (Ref C) Nevertheless, Tsvangirai

had told SADC that he supported the SADC position as

contained in the SADC Communique (Ref D) and as outlined in

Paragraph 3, supra.

 

6. (C) Tsvangirai noted he had told the SADC leaders that

his agreement was subject to ratification by the MDC National

Council. He told the Ambassador today he was confident the

Council would support him. He noted that he would be

inaugurated on February 11 and ministers sworn in on February

13. Observing that there were those in the MDC who opposed

entering government without outstanding issues being

completely resolved, he averred that there were differences

within the MDC based on principle. He was the leader and

would set the direction; he expected a united party going

forward.

 

7. (C) Tsvangirai stated he was still not happy with the

allocation of ministries. But the MDC had achieved success

on four of the five outstanding issues. He had agreed to the

deal “for the sake of the people.” The only way the MDC

could save the people was by joining government. Without a

government of national unity (GNU), the country could

experience unpredictable changes–even anarchy. His decision

was resonating well with “the people.” He commented there

had been a large and enthusiastic crowd to welcome him home

last night from South Africa. He concluded that he was

“cautiously optimistic” that a government of national unity

(GNU) could work.

 

———————

…and MDC Objectives

———————

 

8. (C) Primary MDC objectives in a GNU, stated Tsvangirai,

were to restore freedoms, heal the nation, and stabilize the

economy. He expected early action on beginning the

constitutional reform process and parliamentary reform (with

MDC control of Parliament), including the repeal of draconian

 

HARARE 00000070 003 OF 004

 

 

legislation such as the Access to Information and Protection

of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act

(POSA). He said he would travel around the country to

promote reform and facilitate humanitarian assistance.

 

———————————-

Dealing with Mugabe–Leap of Faith

———————————-

 

9. (C) The Ambassador asked Tsvangirai if he could trust

Mugabe. Tsvangirai responded by rhetorically asking whether

Mugabe would have trusted Ian Smith in 1980. He continued,

“I don’t trust him fully, but he needs me more than I need

him….he’s old and doesn’t trust his people-they’re corrupt

and have lied to him.” Tsvangirai added that the MDC had to

give him the benefit of the doubt. If Mugabe betrayed their

trust, the MDC could always leave government.

 

10. (C) Tsvangirai said he would meet with Mugabe on

February 2. He outlined for us his initial agenda. He will

stress the need to restore international relations and to

refrain from public condemnation of his opponents. He will

tell Mugabe he will not tolerate corruption. And he will

discuss a work plan to include an audit of all ministries so

that he can be informed about the government and understand

what the MDC is inheriting.

 

———————-

Violence and Abductees

———————-

 

11. (C) According to Tsvangirai, the issue of violence and

abductees was fundamental and had to be resolved now. The

JMIC would meet in the next couple of days to discuss it.

SADC was also helping. He expected a quick release of those

now in custody.

 

————————————–

Developmental Assistance and Sanctions

————————————–

 

12. (C) Tsvangirai acknowledged that ZANU-PF would exert

pressure on the MDC to approach the West for developmental

assistance and to lift sanctions. He said decisions on these

issues were matters of policy to be decided by the U.S. and

others–not by the GOZ or MDC. Zimbabwe would have to earn

the confidence of the world in order for positive decisions

to be made.

 

———–

Gideon Gono

———–

 

13. (C) The appointments of Gideon Gono (RBZ) and Johannes

Tomana (Attorney General) were, according to Tsvangirai,

breaches of the MOU and September 15 agreement. For

constitutional reasons, he believed it would be impossible to

remove Tomana. As for Gono, “he has to go.” But Tsvangirai

refused to say how or when this would occur.

 

———————————–

Tsvangirai’s Meeting with Ian Khama

———————————–

 

14. (C) In his meeting with Khama yesterday, Tsangirai said

he thanked him for taking a firm position within SADC and

helping to configure the debate on the Zimbabwean issue. He

viewed Khama as a dynamic, young leader in contrast to the

mostly old and hardened leaders of other SADC countries. He

urged Khama to convince his SADC colleagues to closely

monitor the implementation of the GNU.

 

HARARE 00000070 004 OF 004

 

 

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

15. (C) The MDC decision to enter government at this time is

in one sense disappointing in that escalating economic

pressures, particularly the lack of forex and the inability

to pay military and police salaries, and sustained

international pressure were having an effect on the Mugabe

regime. But there have been unfulfilled predictions for

years of the imminent fall of Mugabe. Tsvangirai made a

calculated decision Mugabe would cling to power and that

inclusion in government offered at least the possibility of

attaining MDC objectives. The absence of a good MDC Plan B

no doubt contributed to this decision.

 

16. (C) We should not lose sight of how far the MDC has come

in the last year. In March, for the first time in a

presidential election, an opposition candidate won more votes

than Mugabe. For the first time, there is a working

opposition majority in Parliament and for the first time

there is an opposition Speaker of Parliament. Tsvangirai

will be prime minister, the first time an opposition party

has held a significant position in government. The MDC will

control important ministries. And Amendment 19 will

circumscribe the powers of the president and set the country

on a path of constitutional reform.

 

17. (C) All this said, the success of a GNU also depends on

the good will of ZANU-PF and Mugabe. And good will, since

the September 15 agreement, has been sorely lacking as

ZANU-PF continued to engage in politically-motivated

abductions and torture. We remain distrustful of Mugabe and

his cohorts, and will watch in the days ahead for signs of

good will and change, including the proximate release of

abductees and an end to violence, ZANU-PF rhetoric, and,

after the government is formed, the replacement of Gideon

Gono. Finally, if ZANU-PF does permit political space, will

inexperienced MDC officials be able to carry out Tsvangirai’s

ambitious agenda, and, after years outside government, will

they be coopted by ZANU-PF and/or corrupted by the

perquisites of government? END COMMENT.

MCGEE

(5 VIEWS)

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