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Tsvangirai said Mugabe was using GPA to maintain ZANU-PF control

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray that progress on the implementation of the outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement was slow because President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front had adopted a new tactic in their agenda- reciprocity. What this meant, he said, was that Mugabe was asking: “What’s in this for us?

“If MDC gets governorships, Mugabe asks, why can’t the sanctions against ZANU-PF be lifted?”

Tsvangirai said that it seemed Mugabe planned to use the governors as a trade-off against sanctions.

He said he had repeatedly told Mugabe that MDC had no control over sanctions. But, he added, lack of any flexibility on the issue of sanctions posed a problem for him and his party.

Tsvangirai acknowledged that his public statements calling for easing of sanctions versus his private conversations saying they must be kept in place had caused problems.

He said that there had been tremendous progress in restoring confidence of the people in government but the principal challenge was how to quickly embark on reforms.

The implementation of the GPA had been too slow. ZANU-PF was using delay on the GPA to maintain control.

Negotiators had held 11 meetings. There had been some progress on issues of the media, land, and corruption, but none of this touched on the power tructure.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE1004, TSVANGIRAI ASKS THE WEST FOR HELP ON CHANGING THE

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Reference ID 

Created 

Classification

Origin

09HARARE1004

2009-12-24 08:26

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4931
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #1004/01 3580826
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 240826Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5262
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3230
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3341
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1765
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2599
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2968
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0029
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0031
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2502
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001004 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON, DAS PAGE, AND AF/S 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/24/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ASEC ZI
SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI ASKS THE WEST FOR HELP ON CHANGING THE 
STATUS QUO 
 
REF: HARARE 987 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR CHARLES A. RAY FOR REASONS 1.4 B,D 
 
1. (SBU) This cable includes an ACTION REQUEST, please see 
paragraph 8. 
 
2. (C) SUMMARY: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said that 
while there was tremendous progress in 2009 as compared to 
2008, Zimbabwe and its coalition government still faces 
challenges. Reforms must be implemented quickly, and there 
has been some progress, though none that affects the ZANU-PF 
power structure. Implementation of the Global Political 
Agreement (GPA) has been slow and Mugabe has been using delay 
to maintain control. In 2010 there must be some progress to 
show the people, but it will require actions by all parties, 
including the Western powers, to change the status quo. He 
expects the recently announced commissions to be installed in 
early 2010, and is satisfied with their makeup. ZANU-PF has 
implemented a strategy of reciprocity in the negotiations, 
using Western sanctions as a cudgel against MDC. He would 
like to see some quiet moves, provided there are acceptable 
benchmarks, to 'give' some modest reward for modest progress. 
 
3. (C) Ambassadors of the U.S., UK, French, and the 
Netherlands, and a representative of the EU were called to PM 
Tsvangirai's residence at 0730 on December 24 for an update 
briefing on the current discussions among the principals in 
the coalition government and a request from him for some 
flexibility on the part of the West on the issue of 
sanctions. He said that there has been tremendous progress 
in restoring confidence of the people in government in 2009 
as compared to 2008. The people generally endorse the 
government, but the future holds both opportunities and 
challenges. The principal challenge is how to quickly embark 
on reforms. There has been a little progress on that front, 
but not what was expected. Implementation of the GPA has 
been too slow, and he is not satisfied with it. ZANU-PF has 
been using delay on the GPA to maintain control. The 
negotiators have held 11 meetings up until the end of the 
year. On the issues of media, land, and corruption, there 
has been some progress, but none of it touches on the power 
structure. On the three stickiest issues, Gono, Tomana, and 
Bennett, there has been no progress. He is hopeful, however, 
that if some progress can be made on other issues, these too 
will be settled. 
 
4. (C) ZANU-PF seems to have introduced a new tactic in its 
agenda - reciprocity. What this means, he said, is that 
Mugabe is asking, "What's in this for us?" If MDC gets 
governorships, Mugabe asks, why can't the sanctions against 
ZANU-PF be lifted? Tsvangirai said that it seems that Mugabe 
plans to use the governors as a trade-off against sanctions. 
He said he has repeatedly told Mugabe that MDC has no control 
over sanctions. But, he added, lack of any flexibility on 
the issue of sanctions poses a problem for him and his party. 
 In this he assured us that Deputy Prime Minister Arthur 
Q In this he assured us that Deputy Prime Minister Arthur 
Mutambara is in full agreement with him. He also 
acknowledged that his public statements calling for easing of 
sanctions versus his private conversations saying they must 
be kept in place have caused problems. 
 
5. (C) Tsvangirai said the challenges for 2010 are: 
 
- Get the reforms moving on the constitutional process. 
- Open media space, national healing, and anti-corruption. 
- Prepare for elections in 2011. 
- Move from economic stability to growth. 
- Deal with human rights violations. 
 
He said the coalition government must expedite action in all 
these areas because, not only are Western governments 
watching, but the people of Zimbabwe will expect improvement. 
 He said Security Sector Reform will take center stage in 
 
HARARE 00001004 002 OF 002 
 
 
2010, using a multilateral approach involving all parties 
here and SADC. In early 2010, Tsvangirai and Mutambara will 
take the diplomatic lead on the sanctions issue. The 
question before us, Tsvangirai said, is how to start moving 
on rewarding progress without giving the impression we are 
rewarding lack of progress or bad behavior. We need to 
establish acceptable benchmarks of progress, and determine 
what each involved party needs to do to change the status 
quo. If necessary, he said, he and Mutambara can quietly 
meet with Western leadership to develop a plan on the issue 
of sanctions. He said that he and Mutambara have decided to 
take this issue out of the hands of the negotiators and 
handle it personally. What is needed is some kind of 
concrete roadmap that all can agree on, linking easing of 
sanctions with identifiable and quantifiable progress. 
 
6. (C) Tsvangirai wants to go to Mugabe after the 
negotiators deliver their final report on January 15, 2010, 
with some idea of what the Western position is on sanctions. 
He said that in order to change the status quo, all parties 
might have to take some risks, because maintaining the status 
quo only guarantees continued stalemate in the reform 
process. Economic recovery and democratic reform are the 
essential requirements in Zimbabwe right now. The 2011 
elections are a critical goal as well. Winning the election, 
he said, is not the problem, but a peaceful transfer of power 
is. The recently announced commissions will be installed 
early in 2010, he said, and he is satisfied with their 
makeup. The heads of the Media and Electoral Commissions are 
honest men who he believes will put the interests of the 
country first. His goal is to have the Electoral Commission 
hire its own staff and be independent. The key is to wrest 
control from the Securocrats. 
 
7. (C) On the subject of Mugabe himself, Tsvangirai said 
that in his recent meetings, though Mugabe seems mentally 
acute, he appears old and very tired. He comes to many 
meetings unbriefed and unaware of the content. It appears 
that he is being managed by hardliners. Tsvangirai said his 
goal now is to find a way to 'manage' Mugabe himself. One 
way, perhaps, would be to give him something to give his 
hardliners. Precisely what that something is, he said, is 
something he is still wrestling with. 
 
8. (C) COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST. We are skeptical of 
Mugabe's motives, and worried a bit at what appears to be 
naivete on Tsvangirai's part. However, we believe that in 
one area he is correct: changing the status quo here will 
require some risk taking on everyone's part. As we've 
previously discussed (reftel), we think it might be in USG 
interests to consider some form of incremental easing of 
non-personal sanctions, provided we see actual implementation 
of some of these reforms. Post would appreciate Washington's 
view on what would be acceptable benchmarks, and possible 
moves on our part. We also request guidance on what to tell 
Qmoves on our part. We also request guidance on what to tell 
Tsvangirai at our next meeting, which is expected early in 
the New Year. END COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST. 
 
RAY

 

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