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Tsvangirai said ZANU-PF not to be trusted

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai said his party was under no illusion about the nature of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, but it was going to work with the party until it became clear that ZANU-PF was not complying with the expected agreement.

He said this in September 2007 as the two parties battled to reach agreement on constitutional Amendment 18 which was to pave the way for the 2008 elections.

Tsvangirai said the MDC reserved the right not to contest the elections if it could not do so under fair conditions.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 07HARARE882, TSVANGIRAI ON SADC MEDIATION PROCESS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE882

2007-09-28 10:06

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0743

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0882/01 2711006

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 281006Z SEP 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1941

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1719

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1593

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1723

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0360

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0995

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1352

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1780

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4198

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1551

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2213

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0844

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1940

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000882

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

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: 07/09/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI ON SADC MEDIATION PROCESS

 

REF: HARARE 881

 

Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Glenn Warren under 1.4 d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (U) In a diplomatic briefing on September 26, MDC

president Morgan Tsvangirai briefed on progress in the

SADC-Mbeki mediation and steps ahead. Elements of a new

constitution have been agreed upon. The parties are now

discussing a new electoral act, security laws, communication

laws, and the political environment. Sanctions will also be

considered. While ZANU-PF wants MDC cooperation in lifting

sanctions (understood to include lines of budget support and

balance of payment assistance), the MDC opposes resumption of

development assistance until free and fair elections have

taken place. Agreement between the MDC and ZANU-PF is

expected in October with elections to take place in June or

thereafter. End Summary.

 

 

2. (U) Agenda items established in May were 1)

constitutional issues; 2) the Electoral Act; 3) security laws

(Public Order and Security Act–POSA); communication laws

(Zimbabwe Broadcasting Authority (ZBA) and Access to

Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA); and the

political environment (violence, food politicization, role of

traditional leaders, sanctions, and pirate radios).

 

———————

Constitutional Issues

———————

 

3. (U) Tsvangirai, who has been holding briefings for a wide

array of allies and onlookers, told diplomats on September 26

that the Mbeki-mediated talks had achieved basic agreement on

constitutional issues, including a bill of rights. While the

MDC would have preferred a “people driven” constitution, it

had agreed to Amendment 18 as part of the negotiation

process; Amendment 18 would have passed without the MDC given

ZANU-PF’s parliamentary majority, and the MDC was able to win

some concessions in terms of amendments to the originally

proposed Amendment. (Note: These included elections of all

members of the House of Assembly vice a number of

presidential appointments, and removal of delimitation of

constituencies from the partisan Registrar’s office with

responsibility given to the Electoral Commission. End Note.)

The MDC had consulted civil society, but Tsvangirai admitted

that the civics involvement had been limited. Notably civil

society opposition to the agreement on constitutional issues

was not to substance, but to process.

 

—————-

Electoral Issues

—————-

 

4. (U) According to Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwe Electoral

Commission (ZEC) now in charge of delimitation and

registration, had the task of proving its independence.

Although its composition included an equal number of ZANU-PF

and MDC members, the chair was appointed by the president;

this was a matter of concern. A new registration process and

period was critical as there were at least a million

potential voters within Zimbabwe who were not registered.

 

 

HARARE 00000882 002 OF 003

 

 

5. (U) The MDC was insisting on voting by the Diaspora and

ZANU-PF was resisting. This could be a potential deal

breaker. (Comment: ZANU-PF will never agree to voting by

those who have resettled outside of Zimbabwe, but there are

numerous Zimbabweans living and working temporarily outside

the country, particularly in South Africa, who could

presumably be considered residents for purposes of Diaspora

voting. End Comment)

 

6. (U) Technical support for the ZEC would be critical. The

ZEC would now have to address delimitation and registration

and did not have the resources to do so in a comprehensive

and independent way.

 

7. (U) Elections most probably would not be held in March.

After an agreement, expected in October, a minimum six-month

cooling-off period would be necessary to introduce reforms

crucial to a free and fair election. The earliest elections

could take place would be June, and they would probably slide

past June.

 

———-

Next Steps

———-

 

8. (U) Tsvangirai said reform of POSA, to permit

unrestricted campaigning; and ZBA and AIPPA to permit

unrestricted access to the media, were next on the agenda.

Also of critical importance was amelioration of the political

environment, which was now characterized by violence,

intimidation of the opposition, food politicization, and the

politicization of traditional leaders which permitted ZANU-PF

to manipulate and control voting.

 

9. (U) Once agreement had been reached on these issues, a

timeline would be drawn for implementation. Elections would

be the last step in the timeline, giving time for the

opposition to organize and campaign in the new environment.

 

10. (U) International observers should be present not only

for the elections, but for a three-month period before the

elections to ensure an open environment and compliance with

the agreement.

 

————————

Sanctions and Assistance

————————

 

10. (U) Tsvangirai believed ZANU-PF was hoping that with an

agreement, the MDC would join in calling for the lifting of

sanctions to permit budget support and balance of payment

assistance. Although the economy was in desperate shape, the

MDC would opposed development assistance, including loans,

until an internationally supervised election had taken place.

Obviously, the longer elections were delayed, the more the

economy would deteriorate, but to permit assistance earlier

would be to throw ZANU-PF a lifeline and possibly permit it

to avoid fair elections. (Note: The European Commission

Head of Delegation suggested that with an agreement some

assistance could begin. Tsvangirai was adamant that it

should not. End Note.) Humanitarian assistance, particularly

food aid, would be welcome.

 

—————-

On the MDC Split

—————-

 

 

HARARE 00000882 003 OF 003

 

 

11. (U) Tsvangirai commented that both factions of the MDC

had worked well together in the negotiations. The increase

in the number of seats in Parliament created the possibility

of less friction between the factions and the possibility of

an electoral coalition in the future.

 

————————-

ZANU-PF not to be Trusted

————————-

 

12. (U) Tsvangirai insisted the MDC was under no illusion as

to the nature of the ruling party. Nevertheless, the MDC

would continue to work with ZANU-PF until it became clear

ZANU-PF was not complying with the expected agreement. The

MDC reserved the right not to contest the elections if it

could not do so under fair conditions.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

13. (C) Although there has been much skepticism about the

SADC process–and criticism of the MDC for the Amendment 18

agreement–we believe the MDC had little choice. Having been

battered by the government, it–and civil society–are weak.

The SADC initiative has created potential opportunity and an

agreement in October is likely. Rather than focus on

Amendment 18, we should focus on the entire agreement.

Further, as we continue to note, as important as the

agreement is its implementation in what the MDC hopes will be

an improved environment. Although the ZANU-PF record does

not bode well for an improved environment, including an end

to violence and a dismantling of the oppressive ZANU-PF

structure, ruling party internal turmoil (reftel) and the

crumbling economy offer some hope that it will comply with an

agreement.

DHANANI

 

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