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Tsvangirai wanted to be President with Mugabe as Prime Minister

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai told members of the Southern African Development Community Troika in Sandton Johannesburg that he was not prepared to play second fiddle to President Robert Mugabe but would instead like to become President with Mugabe as Prime Minister.

This information was passed on to United States embassy officials by Sydney Masamvu who was a political analyst with IDASA but was one of the embassy contacts.

Though sympathetic to Tsvangirai, embassy officials felt that he was under tremendous pressure from SADC members to cave in.

“The longer Tsvangirai holds out, the higher the risk he will be seen (if not already) within SADC as the spoiler,” embassy officials said in a cable released by Wikileaks.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08PRETORIA1847, SADC SUMMIT CONCLUDES WITH NO ZIMBABWE RESOLUTION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08PRETORIA1847

2008-08-19 06:12

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO3963

PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #1847/01 2320612

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 190612Z AUG 08

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5457

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN PRIORITY 5943

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY 0099

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PRETORIA 001847

 

SIPDIS

 

C O R R E C T E D COPY (CHANGES MADE IN PARA 6)

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2018

TAGS: PREL SADC SF ZI

SUBJECT: SADC SUMMIT CONCLUDES WITH NO ZIMBABWE RESOLUTION

 

PRETORIA 00001847 001.4 OF 003

 

 

Classified By: Acting Deputy Chief of MIssion Donald Schenck. Reasons

1.4(b) and (d).

 

1. (C) Against a backdrop of high expectations, the Southern

African Development Community (SADC) ended its 28th annual

Heads of State and Government Summit in Sandton, South Africa

on 17 August with barely a mention of the Zimbabwe crisis.

Both the outgoing and incoming SADC Organ on Politics,

Defence, and Security Co-operation met on the sidelines

during and after the summit to try and reach a negotiated

settlement, but in the end failed to make any additional

headway. New developments included South Africa taking over

as the Chair of SADC, the Democratic Republic of Congo voted

in as next Chair in 2009, and Seychelles rejoining SADC after

withdrawing five years ago. As promised eight years ago, 12

of 15 SADC countries signed on to a “Free Trade Area,” with

promises of a customs union by 2012 and a common currency by

2018. END SUMMARY.

 

————————-

OUT WITH OLD, IN WITH NEW

————————-

 

2. (C) The Southern African Development Community (SADC) held

its 28th annual Heads of State and Government Summit in

Sandton, South Africa on 17 August. SADC now encompasses 15

members states, after Seychelles officially rejoined SADC

after a five-year hiatus. Seychelles President James Michel

explained that Seychelles withdrew from SADC after

“macroeconomic reforms forced us to reevaluate dues to

international forums,” making it sound as if they were

cutting down on magazine subscriptions. South Africa has

taken over as SADC Chair and it was announced that SADC

members agreed that the Democratic Republic of Congo will

take over as Chair from South Africa in 2009. The SADC Organ

on Politics, Defence, and Security Co-operation (often

referred to as SADC Troika) will consist of former Chair

Angola, current chair Swaziland, and future chair Mozambique

(which replaced Tanzania).

 

——————————————–

ZIMBABWE: THE INVISIBLE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

——————————————–

 

3. (C) During opening ceremonies on 16 August, SADC Heads of

State walked into the room two-by-two, with President Mbeki

and Robert Mugabe entering together. Robert Mugabe was

introduced as President of Zimbabwe and sat on stage with

other Heads of State, while MDC Leader Morgan Tsvangirai sat

in the audience with observers. Arthur Mutumbara was also

sitting in the observer section, but he and Tsvangirai never

publicly acknowledged each other. Mugabe often appeared

bored and seemed to be sleeping for large parts of Sunday’s

events. True to his word, Botswanan President Ian Khama

refused to attend the summit in protest of SADC’s recognition

of Mugabe as President. Numerous diplomats commented on how

surreal the event was given the lack of discussion on

Zimbabwe. A British diplomat noted the irony of invited

guests and heads of state eating a lavish meal on Saturday

evening and dancing away to Louis Armstrong’s “What a

Wonderful World,” giving the impression that all was well in

Zimbabwe.

 

4. (C) Zimbabwe was mentioned several times during the

summit, but mostly in passing. The strongest public

statement came from Zambia’s Foreign Minister Pande, who read

a statement on behalf of Zambian President Mwanawasa, calling

Qa statement on behalf of Zambian President Mwanawasa, calling

Mugabe’s reelection in the June poll a “blot on the culture

of democracy.” Both Mbeki and SADC Chair of NGOs also

mentioned that the democratic crisis in Zimbabwe must be

resolved, but both lumped the Zimbabwe crisis with the

electoral dispute in Lesotho, the constitutional dispute in

Malawi, and the “problems” in the Democratic Republic of

Congo. At the end of the summit, a somewhat

self-congratulatory communique was issued noting that the

“summit recognized that the region had managed to consolidate

peace and democracy in SADC,” and that “with regards to the

ongoing challenges in Zimbabwe, the summit noted the outcomes

of the Extraordinary Summit of the Organ held in the course

of the Summit (emailed to AF/S), and reaffirmed its

commitment to work with the people of Zimbabwe in order to

overcome the challenges they are facing.”

 

5. (C) After the summit, the SADC Troika gathered again to

discuss Zimbabwe, according to President Mbeki. According to

Sydney Masamvu (protect), Tsvangirai met with the Troika one

last time late on Sunday night and rejected their proposal

 

PRETORIA 00001847 002.4 OF 003

 

 

(NFI). Tsvangirai offered a counter-proposal in which he

would become President under the current deal and Mugabe

could become Prime Minister, but Mugabe refused, said

Masamvu. After the Troika realized progress was not to be

had, Mbeki spoke to the press, hailing the summit as “very

successful” and noted that SADC appealed to all parties to

sign any outstanding agreements and conclude negotiations

urgently to restore political stability. He also said that

it may be “necessary to reconvene Parliament to give effect

to the will of the people expressed in the parliamentary

elections held on March 29 2008″ while negotiations continue.

Journalists at the summit have heard that parliament may be

convened as early as next week, and believe such a move would

give Mugabe even more stature. (COMMENT: Section 9 of the

Memorandum of Understanding, which laid the groundrules for

the current round of talks, specifically states that parties

shall not take any decisions that have a bearing on the

agenda of the negotiations, including convening Parliament,

without all parties’ concensus. END COMMENT) Mbeki also

said that the SADC Troika will continue to meet with the

leaders of Zimbabwe to find a speedy solution, that he will

remain facilitator, and that SADC is still wary of outsiders

imposing any solutions on Zimbabwe.

 

———————————-

TSVANGIRAI DISSATISFIED WITH OFFER

———————————-

 

6. (C) In a press conference on 16 August, Tsvangirai made no

secret of his dissatisfaction with the deal proposed to him,

saying the two sides remain unable to agree on how power

would be divided between him and Mugabe. According to the

Associated Press which claims to have obtained a copy of

Tsvangirai’s talking points to SADC members, Tsvangirai and

Mugabe agreed to become prime minister and president

respectively. However, Tsvangirai envisions that the prime

minister must chair the cabinet and be responsible for the

formulation, execution, and administration of government

business, including appointing and dismissing his ministers.

Tsvangirai also allegedly proposed that the president have no

power to veto laws, but can remain commander in chief of

defense forces provided he acts on advice of prime minister.

In the end, Tsvangirai told the press that the current deal

on the table does not give him enough executive power to run

the government effectively and that he would prefer no deal

rather than a bad one. Press reports also note that the MDC

has asked for a clause stating that if one of the parties

pulled out of the government of national unity, elections

would be held within 90 days.

 

——————————-

SADC FREE TRADE AREA “LAUNCHED”

——————————-

 

7. (C) Twelve SADC nations set up a free trade area (FTA) in

an effort to bolster regional trade and economic integration

for a market of 247 million people and an economy worth more

than $430 billion. The bloc includes Botswana, Lesotho,

Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South

Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Angola,

Seychelles, and Democratic Republic of Congo have yet to sign

the agreement. According to SADC’s executive secretary,

Tomas Salomao, the FTA required a lot of compromise to be

QTomas Salomao, the FTA required a lot of compromise to be

made over a number of sensitive issues, including requiring

member states to relinquish some of their sovereignty. As of

January 2008, duties on 85 percent of their goods had been

abolished, meeting WTO’s definition of a free trade area.

The remaining 15 percent of trade shall be liberalized by

2012. All remaining tariffs are due to be scrapped by 2012,

at which time a customs union will be in place. They also

plan to have a monetary union by 2016, and a single common

currency by 2018. Press reports note that SAG officials have

already started meeting today to find ways of addressing

trade barriers, including lifting all visa requirements which

are said to hinder regional integration.

 

8. (C) Mbeki hailed the launch as a milestone, saying

regional economic cooperation and integration gives the

region’s countries the opportunity to pool their limited

resources and build an economic base to address challenges of

economic growth and development. However, numerous speakers

pointed out the challenges facing a FTA. Salomao counted low

productivity, low capacity, high unemployment levels, and low

volumes of trade within SADC, noting 90 percent of exports

consist of unprocessed goods, including minerals and

agricultural products, as weak spots. He also said that

SADC’s share of world trade is only one percent. Even Mbeki

 

PRETORIA 00001847 003.4 OF 003

 

 

also pointed out that trade liberalization will be difficult

as some of its member states have signed separate trade deals

(economic partnership agreements or EPAs) with the EU. In

his final closing, he said that EPA will have a profound —

even limiting — impact on the process of deepening

integration at the regional level. (COMMENT: Mbeki noted

that in April 2000, SADC decided to have a free trade zone

by 2008, making the “launch” appear more symbolic than real.

END NOTE)

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

9. (C) Despite Mbeki’s claim that the summit was a success,

media and international and diplomatic observers left the

summit palpably disappointed. For some reason, it was

commonly thought among international observers that a

conclusion would have to be reached before Mbeki took over as

SADC Chair since Mbeki “could” not be both Chair and report

to himself. That problem seems solved, with Mbeki reporting

his progress to the SADC Troika. Tsvangirai, however, must

be even more disappointed. After briefing SADC members on

the current state of play on Friday, Tsvangirai seemed

optimistic on Saturday, implying he had been encouraged.

However, in retrospect, SADC’s acceptance of Mugabe should

not have come at a surprise given past SADC summits and more

recently, the AU summit in Sharm-el-Shaik, where Mugabe also

was received as President.

 

10. (C) Tsvangirai is obviously under tremendous pressure

from SADC members to cave. The longer Tsvangirai holds out,

the higher the risk he will be seen (if not already) within

SADC as the spoiler. Mbeki’s final statements to the press

hint at this as they seem more directed at pressuring

Tsvangirai to sign the last outstanding agreements — as if

they were insignificant — rather than encouraging Mugabe to

cede authority. On a larger scale, this summit more than any

other shows that SADC members — save Botswana and Zambia —

will stick together in the face of external pressure.

BOST

(7 VIEWS)

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