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Tsvangirai told British land reform was least priority

The United States and British governments were so convinced that Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai would win the 2002 presidential elections that they were working on ways to bail out the MDC government, a month before the elections.

United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Joseph Sullivan at a meeting on 6 February with a British delegation that included the ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Donnelly said an MDC government would face a range of serious challenges and would require significant assistance from the international community, particularly in the short term.

Sullivan said the US government had done some thinking about how to respond quickly to a new MDC government’s most critical needs and asked whether the United Kingdom had engaged in a similar process.

Donnelly said the MDC had identified five priority areas for attention during the transition period: security, the economy, social rehabilitation, good governance, and land reform.

Donnelly said that Tsvangirai had told him that land reform was the least urgent of the five.

The elections were scheduled for 9 to 11 March.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE343, AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES ELECTION OBSERVATION, ELECTION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE343

2002-02-07 14:11

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.

 

071411Z Feb 02

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO8694

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00343 01 OF 02 071428Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 USNW-00 DODE-00 WHA-00

DS-00   EAP-00   VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01   VCE-00

NSAE-00 USIE-00 IIP-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00 SAS-00

/003W

——————637E05 071428Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0893

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY KINGSTON PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY

NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000343

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

PARIS FOR NEARY

LONDON FOR GURNEY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/12

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES ELECTION OBSERVATION, ELECTION

PROSPECTS AND POST-ELECTION PLANNING WITH BRITISH OFFICIALS

 

REF: HARARE 315

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF MATT HARRINGTON. REASONS:

1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. C) THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER TO ZIMBABWE, BRIAN DONNELLY,

JOINED BY FCO DIRECTOR FOR SOUTHERN AFRICA ANDREW POCOCK AND IAN

BAILEY FROM THE BRITISH CABINET OFFICE CALLED ON THE AMBASSADOR ON

FEBRUARY 6. THE AMBASSADOR WAS ACCOMPANIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF.

 

ELECTION OBSERVATION

——————–

 

2. (C) DONNELLY REPORTED THAT THE EU HAD BEEN GIVEN AN UNSIGNED

LETTER BY FOREIGN MINISTER MUDENGE ON FEBRUARY 5 INVITING THE EU

AND ACP TO SEND AN OBSERVER DELEGATION. HE SAID THE WORDING OF THE

INVITATION WAS STRANGE, SAYING “THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE WOULD

BE HONORED IF THE EU-ACP DELEGATION INCLUDED THE FOLLOWING NINE

COUNTRIES…” THE SIX EU MEMBERS NOT LISTED, DONNELLY SAID, WERE

THE UNITED KINGDOM, GERMANY, DENMARK, SWEDEN, FINLAND, AND THE

NETHERLANDS.   THE EU, POCOCK NOTED, NOW NEEDS TO DETERMINE WHETHER

THE LATTER SIX COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN DEFINITIVELY RULED OUT OR

WHETHER THE GOZ HAS SIMPLY EXPRESSED A PREFERENCE THAT THEY NOT

PARTICIPATE. POCOCK SAID HE ASSUMED THAT IMPOSITION OF TARGETED

SANCTIONS BY THE EU WOULD LIKELY PRECLUDE AN EU OBSERVER MISSION,

SO IT MIGHT MAKE MORE SENSE TO HOLD BACK ON A SANCTIONS DECISION AT

LEAST UNTIL THE FULL DELEGATION WAS IN PLACE. DONNELLY ADDED THAT

MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI HAD TOLD THEM THAT MORNING THAT

GETTING OBSERVERS ON THE GROUND SHOULD BE THE PRIMARY OBJECTIVE,

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00343 01 OF 02 071428Z

AND HAD URGED THE EU TO KEEP THE POSSIBILITY OF SANCTIONS PENDING

AND HANGING OVER THE GOZ FOR NOW. POCOCK SAID THE GERMANS AND THE

DANES ARE THE EU’S HARDLINERS ON ZIMBABWE AND ARE PUSHING FOR AN

IMMEDIATE IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS. (LATE ON FEBRUARY 6, DONNELLY

TOLD THE AMBASSADOR THAT THE EU RECEIVED THE FINAL, SIGNED VERSION

OF THE MUDENGE LETTER WHICH ADDS EXTRA SALT TO THE MIX BY INSISTING

THAT THE ACP HEAD THE EU DELEGATION. BRITISH HC TOLD THE

AMBASSADOR THAT THIS ADDED INSULT COULD SWING THE EU MINISTERIAL

MEETING OF FEB 8 AGAINST ACCEPTING SUCH AN OBSERVATION INVITATION

AND IN FAVOR OF SANCTIONS, SINCE GERMANY AND OTHERS WERE ALREADY

ARGUING IN FAVOR OF SANCTIONS.) THE AMBASSADOR REPORTED THAT MDC MP

DAVID COLTART HAD IMPRESSED UPON HIM THE DAY BEFORE THE IMPORTANCE

OF ENSURING THAT INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS BE PRESENT AT ALL 120

COUNTING CENTERS, AND THAT THEY BE DEPLOYED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE

TO TROUBLE SPOTS OF MOUNT DARWIN, BEITBRIDGE, AND GOKWE.

 

3. (C) AMBASSADOR SULLIVAN NOTED THAT A TEAM OF FOUR PEOPLE FROM

THE COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT HAD ARRIVED IN HARARE THE PREVIOUS DAY

AS THE ADVANCE PARTY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OBSERVER MISSION. WE HAD

BEEN TOLD BY JOHN SHEPPARD, THE LEADER OF THE ADVANCE GROUP, THAT

SIX OBSERVERS WOULD ARRIVE BY FEBRUARY 11 AND THAT THE ENTIRE

DELEGATION OF 30 OBSERVERS AND 15 SUPPORT STAFF WOULD BE IN PLACE

BY FEBRUARY 23. THE AMBASSADOR QUESTIONED WHETHER SUCH A

DELEGATION MIGHT BE TOO SMALL TO DO A COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT AND

ASKED WHETHER THE UK MIGHT ASSIST IN PROVIDING FUNDS TO BEEF UP THE

SIZE. POCOCK WAS NOT SURE, BUT REPORTED THAT THE COMMONWEALTH

SECRETARY-GENERAL HAD CIRCULATED A LETTER TO MEMBERS REQUESTING

 

SIPDIS

TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF 400,000 POUNDS TO FINANCE THE COSTS OF THE

OBSERVER DELEGATION. WHILE SOME EARLY COMMONWEALTH OBSERVERS ARE

ON THE GROUND, WE HEARD FROM THE NIGERIAN HC THAT THE ZIMBABWEANS

CONTINUE PLAYING FOR TIME, INSISTING THAT THE NIGERIAN MEMBER OF

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00343 01 OF 02 071428Z

THE OBSERVATION MISSION MAY NOT COME UNTIL THE LETTER OF INVITATION

IS RECEIVED IN COMMONWEALTH HEADQUARTERS, A DELIVERY WHICH IS

REGULARLY DELAYED,

 

MDC’S PROSPECTS

—————

 

4. (C) POCOCK SAID TSVANGIRAI SEEMED GENUINELY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT

HIS CHANCES OF UNSEATING PRESIDENT MUGABE. HE REPORTEDLY BELIEVES

THE MDC HAS GAINED SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT IN THE ZANU-PF STRONGHOLDS

OF MASHONALAND — PARTLY A PRODUCT OF INTENSIVE LOBBYING OF THE

TRADITIONAL LEADERS IN THAT REGION. TSVANGIRAI SAID HE THOUGHT THE

MDC COULD WIN AS MANY AS HALF THE VOTES IN MASHONALAND CENTRAL

PROVINCE AND IN THE LOW 40 PERCENT RANGE IN MASHONALAND EAST.

(NOTE: THOSE FIGURES ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE PREDICTIONS OF

TSVANGIRAI’S SPECIAL ADVISOR — SEE REFTEL. END NOTE.) CEPHAS

 

SIPDIS

MSIPA, GOVERNOR OF MIDLANDS PROVINCE, PREDICTED TO OUR

INTERLOCUTORS THAT THE MDC WOULD LIKELY WIN MIDLANDS. (COMMENT:

MSIPA’S PREDICTION IS REMARKABLE FOR TWO REASONS: THE GOVERNOR IS

A SENIOR OFFICAL IN ZANU-PF, AND THE RULING PARTY WON 62 PERCENT OF

THE VOTE IN MIDLANDS IN THE JUNE 2000 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. AN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6998

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00343 02 OF 02 071428Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   EVG-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00   DODE-00

WHA-00   DS-00   EAP-00   VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01

VCE-00   NSAE-00 USIE-00 IIP-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00

SAS-00     /003W

——————637E15 071428Z /38

P 071411Z FEB 02

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0894

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY KINGSTON PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY

NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000343

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

PARIS FOR NEARY

LONDON FOR GURNEY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/06/12

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES ELECTION OBSERVATION, ELECTION

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00343 02 OF 02 071428Z

PROSPECTS AND POST-ELECTION PLANNING WITH BRITISH OFFICIALS

 

MDC VICTORY IN THE PROVINCE LESS THAN TWO YEARS LATER WOULD BE A

SIGNIFICANT TURNAROUND. END COMMENT.)

 

5. (C) IN A SEPARATE MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR ON FEBRUARY 5,

COLTART, WHO HAS FREQUENTLY BEEN A PESSIMIST IN THE PAST, WAS QUITE

BUOYANT. HE NOTED THAT THE MDC NOW HAD THE LIST OF 6 MILLION

REGISTERED VOTERS, AN INCREASE OF MORE THAN 700,000 FROM TWO YEARS

AGO, THEREBY OBVIATING EARLIER FEARS THAT SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF

VOTERS HAD BEEN DISENFRANCHISED AND INDICATING A HIGH INTENTION TO

VOTE. COLTART STATED THAT THE SMALL NUMBER OF PEOPLE

DISENFRANCHISED FOR DUAL CITIZENSHIP WAS COMPARATIVELY

INSIGNIFICANT. THE MDC WAS UNDERTAKING TO DELIVER ITS CAMPAIGN

MATERIAL TO EACH OF THE SIX MILLION REGISTERED VOTERS.

 

INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE TO AN MDC GOVERNMENT

———————————————

 

6. WITH HIS BRITISH INTERLOCUTORS, THE AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT AN

MDC GOVERNMENT WOULD FACE A RANGE OF SERIOUS CHALLENGES AND WOULD

REQUIRE SIGNIFICANT ASSISTANCE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY,

PARTICULARLY IN THE SHORT-TERM. HE NOTED THAT THE USG HAS DONE

SOME THINKING ABOUT HOW WE CAN RESPOND QUICKLY TO A NEW MDC

GOVERNMENT’S MOST CRITICAL NEEDS AND ASKED WHETHER THE UK HAS

ENGAGED IN A SIMILAR PROCESS. DONNELLY NOTED THAT THE MDC HAS

IDENTIFIED FIVE PRIORITY AREAS FOR ATTENTION DURING THE TRANSITION

PERIOD: SECURITY; THE ECONOMY; SOCIAL REHABILITATION (INCLUDING

HIV/AIDS); GOOD GOVERNANCE (INCLUDING JUDICIAL REFORM, WALKING BACK

ZANU-PF’S MORE REPRESSIVE LEGISLATION, AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM);

AND LAND REFORM (ALTHOUGH THIS LATTER POINT, TSVANGIRAI TOLD

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00343 02 OF 02 071428Z

DONNELLY, IS THE LEAST URGENT OF THE FIVE). POCOCK SAID THE UK IS

LOOKING AT HOW IT COULD QUICKLY BOOST DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE “BACK

TO WHERE IT SHOULD BE.” IN ADDITION, THE UK IS PRESSING THE IFI’S

TO BE PREPARED TO RESPOND AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE AND THE EU TO BE

RESPONSIVE “UNDER THE COTONOU AGREEMENT.” (NOTE: PRESUMABLY THE

LATTER POINT REFERS TO A RESTORATION OF SIGNIFICANT ASSISTANCE

LEVELS AND TRADE PRIVILEGES. END NOTE.)

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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