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Tsvangirai told McGee inclusive government would work

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told United States ambassador James McGee that the inclusive government was going to work because he would not have joined it if he had “one iota of doubt” that it would not succeed.

He said this five days after assuming office adding that it was important to get past diversionary issues such as the continued detention of MDC and civil society activists and Roy Bennett.

Tsvangirai said he was going to press for their immediate release, even under stringent conditions, and allow the justice system to take its course.

McGee asked Tsvangirai to raise the case of detained USAID employee Frank Muchirahondo saying his continued detention had frightened other locally employed staff and could potentially impair the embassy United States’ ability to provide food assistance.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE129, AMBASSADOR CALLS ON PRIME MINISTER TSVANGIRAI

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE129

2009-02-17 15:13

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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AF/S FOR B.WALCH

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STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/17/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON PRIME MINISTER TSVANGIRAI

 

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

 

1. (C) The Ambassador today called on prime minister Morgan

Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai was accompanied by deputy prime

minister Arthur Mutambara, minister for state in the prime

minister’s office Gordon Moyo, and advisor Ian Makone.

Tsvangirai expressed the utmost confidence in the ability of

the new government to work; he stated he would not have

joined the government if he had “one iota of doubt” that it

would not succeed.

 

2. (C) Tsvangirai noted it was important to get past

diversionary issues such as the continuing detention of MDC

and civil society detainees and the detention of Roy Bennett

(septel). He said he would be discussing their situation

with the Joint Operation and Implementation Committee (JOMIC)

tomorrow, and would urge the immediate release of all

detainees. The justice system could be allowed to run its

course, but the object was immediate release, even if on

stringent bail conditions. In addition to meeting with

JOMIC, Tsvangirai said he would instruct the Minister of

Justice to instruct the Attorney General to support release.

 

3. (C) The Ambassador requested that Tsvangirai also raise

the case of detained USAID driver Frank Muchirahondo,

underscoring that he had been arrested on trumped-up charges

and that his continued detention, which had frightened other

Locally Employed Staff, could potentially impair our ability

to provide food assistance. Tsvangirai promised to raise the

issue.

 

4. (C) Turning to assistance, Tsvangirai acknowledged the

need for the new government to demonstrate progress before

receiving assistance, but also noted the need to demonstrate

to the Zimbabwean people that it was acting on their behalf.

Without disclosing the source, he said that today the GOZ had

paid members of the military R1000 and hoped to do the same

tomorrow with teachers. (COMMENT: The fact Tsvangirai

denoted payment in Rand would indicate the money came from

the South African government. END COMMENT.) The Ambassador

responded that the USG wanted to see the new government

survive and prosper. While we would continue to provide

humanitarian assistance, there was skepticism about technical

and developmental assistance to a government that included

Robert Mugabe as president. Such assistance would ultimately

be predicated on political and economic reform; important

first steps would be the immediate release of the detainees,

including Roy Bennett and Frank Muchirahondo. Tsvangirai

agreed these steps were necessary to begin to establish

credibility.

 

5. (C) Tsvangirai participated today in his first cabinet

meeting. He said he had “instructed” the foreign minister to

talk with the Ambassador, and to start thinking about

reengagement with the U.S. and EU countries. He commented

the new government was not ZANU-PF or MDC but was a new,

transitional government.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

6. (C) Tsvangirai is supremely confident the “all-inclusive”

Q6. (C) Tsvangirai is supremely confident the “all-inclusive”

government can work. He does not seem fazed by the continued

detention of his aides and supporters, or the arrest of Roy

Bennett immediately after his inauguration, treating these

events as part of a rear-guard process orchestrated by

ZANU-PF hawks; and expressing confidence that this will soon

be set right. There is a great desire by the international

community to help the new government, but continuing

detentions; disobeyed court orders e.g., refusing to allow

hospitalization for several detainees; and ZANU-PF efforts to

 

HARARE 00000129 002 OF 002

 

 

stack the cabinet with unagreed-upon ministers, do not

inspire the confidence that Tsvangirai readily admits is

necessary. The next few days will be important in

determining whether there is a basis for Tsvangirai’s

optimism.

 

MCGEE

(5 VIEWS)

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