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Tsvangirai wanted MDC to come up with a unified slate of candidates

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai told United States embassy officials that he recognised the importance of the MDC presenting a united front so his goal was to present a unified slate of candidates at all levels in the 2008 elections, from president to Member of Parliament.

He said he did not want a coalition, but a unified party leading up to the elections.

Tsvangirai was planning to talk to his counterpart Arthur Mutambara and others to bring them back in the fold.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07PRETORIA4109, TSVANGIRAI FRUSTRATED BY LACK OF PROGRESS IN SADC

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07PRETORIA4109

2007-12-04 10:09

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO2963

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #4109/01 3381009

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 041009Z DEC 07

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2873

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 004109

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF C. THOMPSON, AF/S S. HILL

NSC FOR B. LEO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/03/2017

TAGS: PREL KDEM PHUM SF ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI FRUSTRATED BY LACK OF PROGRESS IN SADC

TALKS

 

REF: HARARE 1028

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Don Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(b)

and (d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is

increasingly frustrated by the slow pace of the

SADC-sponsored Zimbabwe talks, MDC President Morgan

Tsvangirai told visiting U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe. The

 

SIPDIS

MDC has made significant concessions, but received nothing in

return from ZANU-PF. Tsvangirai wrote to South African

President Mbeki threatening to pull out of the SADC talks

unless ZANU-PF takes “concrete” steps to demonstrate their

goodwill, such as ending the political violence and allowing

the MDC to hold rallies around the country. Tsvangirai also

said he understood the importance of MDC unity, and would be

reaching out to the other MDC faction in the coming week with

the goal of reuniting the party. The MDC threat to pull out

of the SADC process puts the South Africans in an awkward

spot, since they need the opposition to participate in the

2008 elections to legitimize the SADC facilitation process.

END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) At a December 01 lunch in Johannesburg, Movement for

Democratic Change (MDC) President Morgan Tsvangirai discussed

recent political developments with newly-accredited U.S.

Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee. MDC Treasurer Roy

Bennett and U.S.-based MDC advisor Melinda Farris joined the

lunch, as well as PolCounselor and PolOff (notetaker).

Tsvangirai warmly greeted Ambassador McGee and said he looked

 

SIPDIS

forward to close and frequent communication. This was the

first meeting between Ambassador and Tsvangirai, who was in

Johannesburg for a week-long MDC strategic retreat.

 

—————————

Disillusioned by SADC Talks

—————————

 

3. (C) Striking a much more pessimistic tone since his last

meeting with U.S. officials on November 15 (ref A),

Tsvangirai expressed his growing frustration with the South

 

SIPDIS

African-led SADC facilitation talks. The MDC has

consistently shown its good faith, including agreeing to

controversial Amendment 18, but ZANU-PF has not made any

“reciprocal” concessions. Most recently, the two parties

presented the South Africans with their respective written

outlines for a political agreement (copies given to

Ambassador). According to Tsvangirai, the ZANU-PF paper was

not serious. It read like an ideological rant, with no

effort to address the core negotiating issues.

 

4. (C) Following receipt of the ZANU-PF paper, Tsvangirai

wrote to President Mbeki to say that the MDC would be forced

to suspend their participation in the SADC talks unless

ZANU-PF provided some “concrete sign” of their commitment to

the facilitation process. Tsvangirai asked for a response by

December 4, prior to the December 5 MDC executive meeting in

Harare. Asked by Ambassador what the MDC would consider a

positive sign from ZANU-PF, Tsvangirai mentioned as examples:

 

— ending the state-sponsored violence against MDC officials;

— allowing the MDC to hold rallies in all parts of the

country;

— permitting truly independent newspapers to be printed; and

— agreeing to the distribution of food based on need, not

political affiliation.

 

Tsvangirai also noted the MDC’s concerns with the ongoing

 

SIPDIS

voter registration (which is only taking place in ZANU-PF

strongholds) and the lack of transparency and fairness in the

delimitation process.

 

5. (C) Tsvangirai met directly with President Mbeki two weeks

ago to outline his concerns about the SADC process, and again

Qago to outline his concerns about the SADC process, and again

with South African lead negotiator Minister for Local and

Provincial Government Sydney Mufamadi on December 1st.

Mufamadi agreed with many of Tsvangirai’s complaints, and

assured Tsvangirai that President Mbeki raised these same

points during his meeting with President Mugabe in Harare on

November 22 (although Mufamadi provided no details of

Mugabe’s response). Mufamadi also agreed with Tsvangirai

that it would be difficult to hold free and fair elections in

March 2008, given the number of reforms that had to be

implemented before then.

 

—————————————

Understand Challenge of Party Financing

 

PRETORIA 00004109 002 OF 002

 

 

—————————————

 

6. (C) Despite the MDC’s ongoing concerns about the prospects

for free and fair elections, Treasurer Bennett said the party

has put together a comprehensive plan for contesting and

financing the elections. Without specifying a specific

dollar amount (Note: Bennett has previously floated a figure

of USD 10 million (ref B)), Bennett and Tsvangirai suggested

several general areas that required financial support: the

presidential campaign, party activities (including voter

education and mobilization), logistics, and fraud detection

and prevention programs. Bennett suggested that the

Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe (IDAZIM),

a new South Africa-based non-governmental organization

(septel), may be useful vehicle for funding MDC-coordinated

electoral programs.

 

———————————

Recognize Importance of MDC Unity

———————————

 

7. (C) On the internal MDC divisions, Tsvangirai said he

recognized the importance of the MDC presenting a unified

front. Tsvangirai’s goal is for the MDC to present a unified

slate of candidates at all levels, from President to Member

of Parliament. He does not want a coalition, but rather a

unified party leading up to the elections. Over the next

week, Tsvangirai plans to reach out to MDC faction leader

Arthur Mutambara and others to bring them back in the fold.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

8. (C) The MDC’s threat to pull out of the SADC facilitation

puts the South Africans in an awkward spot. Mbeki needs the

MDC to participate in the 2008 elections — even if the SAG

wants/expects them to lose — to pursue their agenda of

“normalizing” the political and economic situation in

Zimbabwe. The South Africans continue to believe that

legitimizing a ZANU-PF government through elections where the

results are “uncontested” will accelerate Mugabe’s retirement

and put in place a “reformed” ZANU-PF regime — which Post

believes has always been Mbeki’s ultimate endgame in Zimbabwe.

 

9. (C) Mbeki also wants to show progress in Zimbabwe prior to

the December 8-9 EU summit in Lisbon, and perhaps even more

importantly, before the December 16-20 ANC presidential

elections. A Zimbabwe “victory” might have some limited

positive political benefit for Mbeki, but a breakdown of the

SADC facilitation would provide ammunition to rival Jacob

Zuma in a very tight race. As we suggested when the SADC

process began some eight months ago (ref C), Mugabe has

skillfully outplayed Mbeki over the years. With Mbeki in

trouble politically at home, Mugabe may be waiting to see how

the ANC elections play out before making his next move.

 

10. (U) This cable has been cleared by Ambassador McGee.

BOST

(14 VIEWS)

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