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Tsvangirai tries to bridge political divide

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai highlighted the need for renewed international assistance in the form of food, medicine, electricity, fuel and financial investment in his inaugural speech at the signing of the Global Political Agreement in September 2008.

In an attempt to bridge the political divide, Tsvangirai carefully avoided blaming President Robert Mugabe or the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front directly for the country’s troubles and even quoted from Mugabe’s independence speech when he said: “We must turn our swords into ploughshares”.

According to United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee, Tsvangirai’s speech was in line with what he had told him the previous day that he had signed the GPA because of the dire and immediate plight facing Zimbabweans.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE833, MUGABE SPEECH DAMPENS EXCITEMENT OF SIGNING

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE833

2008-09-15 15:58

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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DE RUEHSB #0833/01 2591558

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 151558Z SEP 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3436

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2291

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2411

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0930

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1688

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2044

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2465

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4897

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1560

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000833

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR G. GARLAND

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: 09/15/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MUGABE SPEECH DAMPENS EXCITEMENT OF SIGNING

CEREMONY

 

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

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai

delivered contrasting speeches following today’s signing of a

power-sharing accord between ZANU-PF and the two MDC

opposition factions. Tsvangirai stressed the need for

governmental unity and immediate food and medical assistance

to Zimbabwe’s most desperate citizens, while Mugabe laid the

blame for Zimbabwe’s struggles on Britain and the U.S. and

heaped praise on South Africa’s Mbeki. The audience was

generally supportive of both, but booing could be heard

during some of Mugabe’s more outrageous statements. END

SUMMARY.

 

—————————————

Tsvangirai’s Speech Takes the High Road

—————————————

 

2. (SBU) Newly-anointed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

delivered a statesmanlike address to the assembled audience

of regional heads-of-state, party heavyweights, foreign

diplomats, and local press who bore witness to today’s

signing of a new power-sharing agreement between Mugabe’s

ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition MDC. Tsvangirai

delivered a well-crafted speech stressing the need for

governmental unity and service to Zimbabweans in need. He

highlighted the urgent need for renewed international

assistance in the form of food, medicine, electricity,

gasoline, and financial investment. This was consistent with

what he privately told the Ambassador yesterday when he

explained that his rationale for signing was the dire and

immediate plight facing Zimbabweans.

 

3. (SBU) In an attempt to bridge the political divide,

Tsvangirai was careful to avoid blaming Mugabe or ZANU-PF

directly for the country’s troubles and never raised the

issue of corruption or patronage. Magnanimously, he even

quoted from Mugabe’s independence speech at Lancaster House

in 1980 when he said, “We must turn our swords into

ploughshares.” Tsvangirai’s speech was well-received by the

audience.

 

4. (SBU) MDC faction leader Arthur Mutumbara also spoke of

the need for unity and service to the people of Zimbabwe,

before digressing into a near rant about the need for a

Zimbabwean economy based on advanced transformation and value

added, rather than primary materials.

 

 

———————————–

Mugabe’s Speech Took the Other Road

———————————–

 

5. (SBU) Mugabe’s speech seized on the opportunity to tell

Africa’s elite and the international audience that continued

British and American interference through sanctions and a

desire to control Zimbabwe’s natural resources brought about

the need for this political arrangement. He also was

effusive in his praise for the role played by South Africa’s

Thabo Mbeki as a mediator to the agreement. In contrast to

Tsvangirai’s concise 13 minute speech, Mugabe’s lasted 51

minutes. He shifted from the well-rehearsed–his lengthy

discussion of Zimbabwe’s early days of independence and call

for African unity–to the impromptu–his rail against a

British desire for “regime change.” Later in the speech he

charged the opposition with using violence during the

 

HARARE 00000833 002 OF 002

 

 

election, at which point loud boos could be heard. Mugabe

quickly backtracked and explained that he was refering to

Africa’s history of violent elections. Mbeki was clearly

uncomfortable during much of Mugabe’s speech, while

Tsvangirai looked down or rested his face in his hand.

 

6. (SBU) Of concern was that Mugabe addressed Tsvangirai as

“Mr. Tsvangirai” in contrast to the title of Prime Minister

that South African President Mbeki and Tanzanian President

Kikwete had used. Additionally, Mugabe spoke of the need for

the new ministers to rely on the experience of ZANU-PF

officials when assuming their new positions.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) Unlike Mugabe’s famous 1980 speech, his address today

didn’t seek to find common ground. More indicative of

Mugabe’s intentions, though, will be the still unannounced

division of ministries. We are hearing that ZANU-PF is still

fighting for all the most important ministries, including

defense, home affairs (police), and finance. Should that

happen, it would belie this deal’s branding as one of “power

sharing.” END COMMENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MCGEE

 

(16 VIEWS)

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