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Tsvangirai said three quarters of the armed forces were with him

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai said although the military’s top brass was solidly behind President Robert Mugabe, three quarters of the armed forces were with the MDC.

Tsvangirai had been asked by United States embassy officials how the MDC would respond if Mugabe stole the 2002 presidential elections since he had publicly stated that he would never, ever allow the MDC to govern Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai said his party took Mugabe’s threat seriously because it would be naïve not to and realised that there was a difference between winning an election and winning power, so his party was trying to make sure that police and the military abide by the outcome of the election.

He claimed that this had borne fruit but the embassy officials doubted this.

“That the MDC is making a determined effort to cultivate the military reveals political maturity and savvy, but Tsvangirai’s claim that three-quarters of the armed forces support the MDC strikes us as a bit optimistic,” the embassy said.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE1798, MDC LEADER DISCUSSES ZANU-PF STRATEGY, SOUTH AFRICA, THE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE1798

2001-06-05 12:41

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

051241Z Jun 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO9070

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01798 01 OF 02 051323Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

USNW-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00

EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00

PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————F485EC 051323Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9028

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001798

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 06/04/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM MARR PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: MDC LEADER DISCUSSES ZANU-PF STRATEGY, SOUTH AFRICA, THE

ZIMBABWEAN MILITARY, AND SECRETARY POWELL’S REMARKS

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01798 01 OF 02 051323Z

REF: HARARE 1784

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING. REASONS: 1.5 (B)

AND (D).

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) PRESIDENT MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI TOLD CHARGE ON JUNE 4 THAT THE DEATHS THE PAST MONTH

 

SIPDIS

OF THREE ZANU-PF STALWARTS, THE LOSS OF THE MASVINGO MAYORAL

ELECTION, AND THE BACKLASH FROM THE WAR VETERANS’ “LABOR DISPUTE”

CAMPAIGN MIGHT LEAD THE RULING PARTY TO REASSESS ITS CAMPAIGN

TACTICS. THE MDC PRESIDENT PRAISED SECRETARY POWELL’S RECENT

REMARKS, SAYING THEY PUT ADDITIONAL PRESSURE ON SOUTH AFRICA TO

DO SOMETHING ABOUT ZIMBABWE. TSVANGIRAI SAID THE MDC ENJOYS GOOD

RELATIONS WITH SOUTH AFRICA AND THE ANC, BUT HE WAS CONCERNED

THAT DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE LEADER TONY LEON’S OUTSPOKENNESS

BOLSTERS MUGABE’S EFFORTS TO PORTRAY THE ZIMBABWEAN OPPOSITION

PARTY AS A FRONT FOR WHITE INTERESTS.   THE MDC TAKES SERIOUSLY

MUGABE’S THREAT “NEVER, EVER” TO ALLOW IT TO GOVERN ZIMBABWE AND

BELIEVES THREE-QUARTERS OF THE ARMED FORCES WILL SUPPORT IT IN

THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION EXPECTED IN 2002. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) CHARGE, ACCOMPANIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF, CALLED

BRIEFLY ON MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) PRESIDENT MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI ON JUNE 4. CHARGE INFORMED TSVANGIRAI THAT ASSISTANT

 

SIPDIS

SECRETARY KANSTEINER HAD RECENTLY BEEN CONFIRMED BY THE U.S.

 

SIPDIS

SENATE AND NOTED THAT WE WERE AWARE THAT TSVANGIRAI PLANNED TO

VISIT WASHINGTON FOR SEVERAL DAYS AT THE END OF JUNE — FOLLOWING

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01798 01 OF 02 051323Z

A TWO-WEEK LEADERSHIP SEMINAR AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY. HE

SUGGESTED THAT MEMBERS OF THE ADMINISTRATION WOULD BE INTERESTED

IN HEARING THE MDC PRESIDENT’S VIEWS.

 

DEATHS OF GEZI, MAHACHI, AND HUNZVI

———————————–

 

3. (C) ASKED HIS THOUGHTS ON THE LIKELY IMPACT OF THE DEATH OF

WAR VETERAN LEADER CHENJERAI “HITLER” HUNZVI, TSVANGIRAI REPLIED,

LOOKING SKYWARD, THAT “SOMEONE UP THERE WHERE ZANU-PF DOES NOT

HAVE A MONOPOLY ON POWER” MUST BE LOOKING AFTER ZIMBABWEANS.

THINGS ARE NOT GOING WELL FOR ZANU-PF, TSVANGIRAI ASSERTED.

DURING THE PAST MONTH, THE RULING PARTY HAS SUFFERED THE

DEVASTATING LOSS OF THREE FIGURES CRITICAL TO ITS TACTICS OF

VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION — THE MINISTER OF DEFENSE, THE

MINISTER OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, GENDER, AND EMPLOYMENT CREATION,

AND NOW HUNZVI. ZANU-PF’S LOSS TO THE MDC IN THE MASVINGO

MAYORAL ELECTION HAD BEEN EMBARRASSING FOR THE RULING PARTY. IN

ADDITION, THE RECENT EFFORT BY WAR VETERANS TO RESOLVE LABOR

DISPUTES HAD BACKFIRED BADLY FOR ZANU-PF, ALIENATING BOTH

ZIMBABWEAN VOTERS AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.   THE MDC

PRESIDENT SURMISED THAT THE RULING PARTY CONSEQUENTLY MIGHT BE

REASSESSING ITS STRATEGY AND COULD DECIDE TO TRY RUNNING A

“LEGITIMATE” CAMPAIGN IN THE BULAWAYO MAYORAL RACE SCHEDULED TO

TAKE PLACE JUNE 23-24. TSVANGIRAI INSISTED, HOWEVER, THAT SUCH A

TACTICAL CHANGE WOULD ACCOMPLISH LITTLE IN BULAWAYO, AS AN MDC

VICTORY THERE WAS ALL BUT A FOREGONE CONCLUSION.

 

SECRETARY POWELL’S REMARKS AND SOUTH AFRICA’S ROLE

 

SIPDIS

——————————————— —–

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01798 01 OF 02 051323Z

4. (C) THE MDC PRESIDENT SAID HE WAS PLEASED WITH SECRETARY

POWELL’S REMARKS ABOUT ZIMBABWE, DURING HIS VISIT TO PRETORIA,

AND THAT THEY HAD SENT A MESSAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE

THAT “MUGABE’S TIME IS UP.” HE BELIEVED POWELL’S COMMENTS WOULD

PUT PRESSURE ON OTHER COUNTRIES WITH MORE INFLUENCE IN ZIMBABWE

TO STEP UP THEIR EFFORTS TO EFFECT POSITIVE CHANGE, SOUTH AFRICA

IN PARTICULAR.

 

5. (C) ASKED TO DESCRIBE THE MDC’S RELATIONSHIP WITH ZIMBABWE’S

SOUTHERN NEIGHBOR, TSVANGIRAI PROVIDED AN UPBEAT ASSESSMENT,

INSISTING THAT THE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT (SAG) HAS “DEPARTED

COMPLETELY” FROM ITS ORIGINAL APPROACH. THE SAG, HE POINTED OUT,

IS BEING MUCH MORE CRITICAL OF PRESIDENT MUGABE AND HIS

GOVERNMENT, AND THE MDC ENJOYS POSITIVE TIES WITH THE SAG AND THE

ANC. TSVANGIRAI CONTINUED, HOWEVER, THAT PEOPLE LIKE DEMOCRATIC

ALLIANCE LEADER TONY LEON “DO NOT HELP MATTERS.” LEON ACTS AS IF

HE IS SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF THE MDC, A FACT WHICH PLAYS INTO

MUGABE’S ATTEMPTS TO PORTRAY ZIMBABWE’S PRINCIPAL OPPOSITION

PARTY AS MERELY A FRONT FOR WHITE INTERESTS. TSVANGIRAI WAS

PARTICULARLY UPSET ABOUT A QUESTION LEON RECENTLY POSED TO

PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI IN PARLIAMENT ABOUT LAND REFORM IN

ZIMBABWE, WHICH APPARENTLY FORCED THE SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT TO

ENDORSE THE GOZ’S FAST TRACK RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM.

 

WILL MUGABE ALLOW MDC TO TAKE POWER?

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO9067

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01798 02 OF 02 051323Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 USNW-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00

FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01

OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00

IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————F485D1 051323Z /38

P 051241Z JUN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9029

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 001798

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 06/04/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM MARR PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: MDC LEADER DISCUSSES ZANU-PF STRATEGY, SOUTH AFRICA, THE

ZIMBABWEAN MILITARY, AND SECRETARY POWELL’S REMARKS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01798 02 OF 02 051323Z

————————————

 

6. (C) POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF RECALLED PRESIDENT MUGABE’S

REMARK ON SEVERAL PUBLIC OCCASIONS THAT HE WOULD “NEVER, EVER”

ALLOW THE MDC TO GOVERN ZIMBABWE AND ASKED HOW THE MDC WOULD

RESPOND IF MUGABE STEALS NEXT YEAR’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

TSVANGIRAI RESPONDED THAT HIS PARTY TAKES MUGABE’S THREAT

 

SIPDIS

SERIOUSLY, AS IT WOULD BE NAIVE NOT TO, AND REALIZES THAT THERE

IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING AN ELECTION AND WINNING POWER.

THAT IS WHY HE AND OTHER SENIOR MDC OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN TRYING TO

ENSURE THAT THE POLICE AND MILITARY ABIDE BY THE OUTCOME OF THE

ELECTION, AN EFFORT WHICH HE CLAIMED HAD BORNE FRUIT. WHILE

ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THE MILITARY’S TOP BRASS RETAIN STRONG

LOYALTIES TO MUGABE, TSVANGIRAI ASSERTED THAT THREE-QUARTERS OF

THE ARMED FORCES ARE “WITH US.”

 

TSVANGIRAI’S COURT CASE

 

SIPDIS

———————–

 

7. (C) WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE CHARGES PENDING AGAINST HIM FOR

ALLEGEDLY INCITING VIOLENCE, TSVANGIRAI SEEMED GENUINELY

UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE POTENTIAL OUTCOMES. HE STATED THAT HE

THOUGHT HIS LEGAL TEAM SHOULD HAVE AGREED TO PROCEED IN THE HIGH

COURT, AS THE CHARGES WERE BASELESS AND THE CASE WOULD HAVE BEEN

DISMISSED ON THE MERITS. IN THE END, HOWEVER, TSVANGIRAI YIELDED

TO HIS LAWYERS, WHO MAINTAINED THAT THE BEST STRATEGY WAS FIRST

TO ASK THE SUPREME COURT TO RULE ON THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE

COLONIAL-ERA LAW UNDER WHICH HE HAS BEEN CHARGED.

 

COMMENT

——-

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01798 02 OF 02 051323Z

 

8. (C) TSVANGIRAI WAS CONFIDENT AND UPBEAT, BUT OBVIOUSLY

DISTRACTED BY HIS IMMINENT DEPARTURE FOR THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

IN DURBAN AND, SUBSEQUENTLY, FOR THE UNITED STATES. HE WAS

CLEARLY PLEASED ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF THE MDC’S RELATIONSHIP

WITH SOUTH AFRICA, AND THOUGHT THE PRIMARY VALUE OF SECRETARY

POWELL’S RECENT REMARKS WAS TO EXERT PRESSURE ON PRETORIA TO “DO

SOMETHING” TO STOP THE LAWLESSNESS AND STANCH THE ECONOMIC

BLEEDING TO THE NORTH. THE DEATHS OF GEZI, MAHACHI, AND HUNZVI

HAVE CAUSED SIGNIFICANT PARANOIA WITHIN THE RULING PARTY, BUT

THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT TSVANGIRAI’S SPECULATION THAT

ZANU-PF MIGHT AS A RESULT DECIDE TO JETTISON ITS TIME-TESTED

CAMPAIGN TACTICS OF VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION. INDEED,

INDICATIONS ARE THAT URBAN AND RURAL VIOLENCE WILL CONTINUE TO BE

ZANU-PF’S SIGNATURE TACTIC. THAT THE MDC IS MAKING A DETERMINED

EFFORT TO CULTIVATE THE MILITARY REVEALS POLITICAL MATURITY AND

SAVVY, BUT TSVANGIRAI’S CLAIM THAT THREE-QUARTERS OF THE ARMED

FORCES SUPPORT THE MDC STRIKES US AS A BIT OPTIMISTIC.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(3 VIEWS)

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