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Tsvangirai said ZANU-PF still treated MDC as junior partner

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai said progress in forming an inclusive government was very slow because the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was still treating the MDC as a junior partner.

To complicate matters, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who was the chief negotiator, still treated ZANU-PF as the ruling party ignoring the fact that the MDC had won the March 2008 elections.

He said even the Southern African Development Community did not fully understand what the problem in Zimbabwe was. It was not about allocating ministries but genuine power-sharing.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE974, TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS AMBASSADOR ON SADC TROIKA

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE974

2008-10-28 16:08

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0974/01 3021608

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 281608Z OCT 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3629

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2389

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2509

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1013

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1785

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2140

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2565

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4993

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1658

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000974

 

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

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS AMBASSADOR ON SADC TROIKA

MEETING, REQUESTS ASSISTANCE

 

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

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) In an October 28 meeting with the Ambassador, MDC

leader Morgan Tsvangirai briefed on the SADC Troika meeting

which concluded in Harare in the early morning hours of the

28th. Tsvangirai expressed disappointment that SADC did not

understand that the issue is not about allocation of

ministries, but about a genuine sharing of power.

Nevertheless, he is pointing to the SADC Extraordinary Summit

within a couple of weeks. He asked U.S. assistance in

demarching SADC capitals about the importance of the Summit.

He also said it was important that AU regional leaders attend

since the AU is a guarantor of the September 15 agreement.

On sanctions, Tsvangirai said they had had their effect, and

a rollout of new sanctions was not important. The one

exception would be sanctions imposed against the Reserve Bank

of Zimbabwe–that could be a game changer.   END SUMMARY.

 

2. (U) This message contains an action request. See

paragraph 11.

 

—————————-

Troika Meeting Disappointing

—————————-

 

3. (C) Tsvangirai told the Ambassador that in its 13-hour

meeting with ZANU-PF and the MDC in Harare on October 27, the

SADC Troika (Organ on Politics, Defense, and Security)

directed its attention at control of the contentious ministry

of Home Affairs. They failed to understand, however, that

the issue was not about allocation of ministries, but

equitable distribution of ministries as a prerequisite for a

genuine power-sharing agreement. A silver lining, Tsvangirai

noted, was new South African president Motlanthe who seemed

to understand the larger issue, unlike his predecessor Thabo

Mbeki.

 

4. (C) Tsvangirai said progress in completing an agreement

was being made difficult by ZANU-PF. ZANU-PF had not made a

“paradigm shift” in its attitudes and actions. It continued

to treat the MDC as a junior partner and failed to exhibit

sincerity in the negotiating process. A symbolic example,

explained Tsvangirai, was its failure to give him a passport.

 

5. (C) Complicating matters, added Tsvangirai, was the

facilitator Mbeki. Throughout the negotiations, Mbeki had

always treated ZANU-PF as the ruling party, and had ignored

the fact that the MDC had won the March elections.

Therefore, Mbeki, as facilitator, had placed little pressure

on ZANU-PF.

 

————————-

SADC Extraordinary Summit

————————-

 

6. (C) Tsvangirai said the SADC Extraordinary Summit, as

recommended by the Troika after the breakdown of talks on

October 28, would take place within a couple of weeks,

probably in South Africa. SADC had no power, other than

moral suasion, but the MDC would direct its efforts toward

the Summit. To this end, he planned to visit Botswana, South

Africa, and possibly Tanzania next week (on an Emergency

Travel Document). Other MDC officials would fan out around

Africa. Tsvangirai averred it was important to have AU

regional leaders attend the Summit since the AU was a

guarantor of the September 15 agreement. He thought

 

HARARE 00000974 002 OF 003

 

 

Tanzanian president Kikwete, as head of the AU and president

of a SADC country, was key to making this happen.

 

7. (C) The Ambassador asked how the U.S. could be helpful.

Tsvangirai suggested the USG talk to each SADC head of state;

explain that the issue is not allocation of ministries, but

commitment of ZANU-PF to treat the MDC as equals in a genuine

power-sharing government; and emphasize that SADC’s

credibility is at stake.

 

———————–

Tsvangirai Holding Firm

———————–

 

8. (C) Perhaps realizing the error of his ways in signing an

incomplete agreement on September 15, Tsvangirai promised to

hold firm and not give in to either ZANU-PF or SADC and sign

a bad agreement. He noted he had been traveling in Zimbabwe

and that the Zimbabwean people, despite hardships, were

solidly behind him. He also joked that he had to deal with

“hawks” among his advisors who made any compromise difficult.

 

9. (C) The Ambassador expressed his support of Tsvangirai

and the MDC and acknowledged the humanitarian problems that

are so troubling to the MDC. He told Tsvangirai he intended

to personally request a letter from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

(RBZ) governor Gideon Gono to allow NGOs to use forex

throughout Zimbabwe, thus freeing up their assistance efforts.

 

———————

Sanctions for the RBZ

———————

 

10. (C) The Ambassador asked Tsvangirai if new sanctions

would hurt his negotiating position or if they would have an

effect on ZANU-PF and its willingness to negotiate.

Tsvangirai replied that sanctions had already had their

effect and that new sanctions were relatively unimportant.

The one exception, Tsvangirai emphasized, would be sanctions

on the RBZ which could have a devastating effect on ZANU-PF.

 

————–

Action Request

————–

 

11. (C) We suggest that the Department consider a demarche

to SADC heads of state to 1) Emphasize the importance of the

Extraordinary Summit and that SADC is uniquely positioned to

help resolve the Zimbabwean crisis; 2) Suggest that the AU,

as a guarantor of the agreement, be invited to attend; and 3)

Explain that the issue to be resolved is not mere allocation

of ministries, but genuine power-sharing that involves inter

alia an equitable distribution of ministries, sharing of

governorships, and agreement on a constitutional amendment

that will encapsulate the September 15 agreement and allow a

government to work.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

12. (C) Tsvangirai was less upbeat than when we have seen

him on recent occasions and he has predicted a deal would be

signed. We agree with him that ZANU-PF has not changed and

is not sincere about an agreement. While we cannot be

optimistic that SADC at its Summit will pressure Mugabe, SADC

is the only game in town at this time. Therefore, we should

discreetly encourage SADC and the AU to play more

constructive roles than they have in the past. In

particular, and following up on Tsvangirai’s comments, we

 

HARARE 00000974 003 OF 003

 

 

should to the extent possible reach out to Motlanthe.

 

MCGEE

 

(2 VIEWS)

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