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Tsvangirai was confident he would be driver of policy in GNU

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was confident that he would be the driver of policy in the new government of national unity because he was going to chair the Council of Ministers.

He told this to the United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGhee and the British ambassador to Zimbabwe Andrew Pocock three days before the signing of the Global Political Agreement which the leaders of the three key political parties had agreed to.

Tsvangirai said the Council of Ministers would formulate policy which it would pass to the cabinet for implementation.

President Robert Mugabe was going to chair the cabinet but was not a member of the Council of Ministers.

Because of this, Tsvangirai said he would be able to effect a fundamental change in the culture of government despite the admitted imperfections of this structure.

He said that the Council of Ministers would be the driver of policy, and that even ZANU-PF members of government would welcome the opportunity to discuss policy issues freely without President Mugabe in attendance.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE828, AN IMPERFECT DEAL BUT THE ONLY ONE ON OFFER

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE828

2008-09-12 10:28

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO1464

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0828/01 2561028

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 121028Z SEP 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3428

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2285

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2405

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0924

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1682

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2038

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2459

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4891

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1554

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000828

 

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: 09/12/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: AN IMPERFECT DEAL BUT THE ONLY ONE ON OFFER

 

REF: HARARE 793 AND PREV

 

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

 

1. (C) Summary: On September 11 Mbeki announced a deal was

reached in Zimbabwean power-sharing negotiations. On

Septeptember 12 Tsvangirai briefed Ambassador and UK

Ambassador Pocock on the deal. Tsvangirai was extremely

confident that his chairmanship of a newly-created Council of

Ministers will allow him to control government, despite

President Mugabe’s continued chairmanship of Cabinet.

Although the deal has serious deficiencies, it could

represent an opportunity for progress. The test will be to

see whether Tsvangirai manages to push through his agenda in

the next few weeks. End summary.

 

——–

THE DEAL

——–

 

2. (C) On September 11, Thabo Mbeki, SADC-appointed

Facilitator of Zimbabwe’s political negotiations, announced

that an agreement had been reached between President Robert

Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara. Mbeki said

the agreement would be formally signed on Monday after

further decisions were reached over the weekend concerning

the composition of an “inclusive government.”

 

3. (C) On September 12, an ebullient Tsvangirai briefed

Ambassador and UK Ambassador Pocock. The new government will

include two new bodies. In addition to the cabinet, there

will be a “Council of Ministers” that Tsvangirai will chair.

The Council of Ministers will formulate policy which it will

then pass to the Cabinet for implementation. It appears that

the Cabinet and Council will have similar composition, with

one significant exception: Mugabe and his Deputy Presidents

will not be members of the Council of Ministers. Mugabe will

chair the Cabinet, which is supposed to implement policy on

the basis of consensus. Tsvangirai will serve as Deputy

Chair of the Cabinet. The third organ will be a National

Security Council, which will include Tsvangirai, his two

Deputies, Mugabe, his two Deputies, and unspecified others,

presumably to include the Ministers of Defense and Home

Affairs.

 

4. (C) The government will include 31 Ministers (15 ZANU-PF,

13 MDC-T and 3 MDC-M) and 15 Deputy Ministers (8 ZANU-PF, 6

MDC-T and 1 MDC-M). Arthur Mutambara has been allocated one

of the two Deputy Prime Minister positions. Tsvangirai told

Ambassador that decisions on the division of Ministries will

be concluded over the wekend, but that he would insist on

MDC-M control of Home Affairs, which is in charge of the

police. Tsvangirai also indicated that he wants Finance,

Communications and Social Affairs, but focused on Home

Affairs as a “deal-breaker.”

 

5. (C) A 19th Amendment to the existing Zimbabwean

constitution will be enacted immediately to create this new

structure; an entirely new constitution will be agreed and

presented for ratification in 18 months. At that same time,

a decision will be reached on whether to allow the “inclusive

government” to fulfill a normal 5-year term, or whether to go

to new elections.

 

———————–

TSVANGIRAI’S CONFIDENCE

———————–

 

6. (C) Tsvangirai expressed confidence that he will be able

to effect a fundamental change in the culture of government

despite the admitted imperfections of this structure. He

 

HARARE 00000828 002 OF 003

 

 

said that the Council of Ministers would be the driver of

policy, and that even ZANU-PF members of government would

welcome the opportunity to discuss policy issues freely

without President Mugabe in attendance. Tsvangirai said that

his willingness to make the compromises necessary to conclude

this agreement was influenced by “the plight of the people,”

but admitted that implementation will be key. He also

expressed awareness that he would be held politically

responsible for government nonperformance in areas such as

lifing of sanctions and the swift turn around of the economy.

 

 

7. (C) Tsvangirai described the immediate priorities for the

government and for international assistance as:

–Provision of food to the hungry;

–Distribution of agricultural inputs in time for planting,

even if air lifting supplies is required;

–Assistance to social service providers, e.g. provision of

medicines to hospitals; and

–Assistance to reform (and downsize) the security services.

Additional priorities for the next few months include:

–Reform of the economy;

–Restoration of the rule of law; and

–Reintroduction of freedom of the press.

Tsvangirai said among the first measures he would seek would

be the conduct of a forensic audit of the reserve bank and a

National Security Council review of the functioning of the

Central Intelligence Organization.

 

—————————–

CAUTIOUS RESPONSE APPROPRIATE

—————————–

 

8. (C) Ambassador and Ambassador Pocock told Tsvangirai that

he should expect our governments to respond cautiously.

Tsvangirai said he fully understood that we would need to see

evidence of successful implementation, given our justified

distrust of Mugabe. Pocock told Tsvangirai that we would

seek to support him personally, but if he should strive to

demonstrate to the international community that he is in

control. Tsvangirai agreed. Ambassador and Pocock

reiterated our policy of reengagement only on the basis of

performance.

 

9. (C) Comment: Our initial impression is that this deal has

holes in it big enough to drive a tank through. Tsvangirai

said he had no idea what the attitude to this was of the JOC

(Joint Operations Command–the security force body that has

dominated government since March elections). The division of

Ministries has not yet been determined. And Tsvangirai was

unable to reconcile the notion that the cabinet would act by

consensus, yet Mugabe would not have a veto. Tsvangirai told

Ambassador that in his view, this deal leaves Mugabe with

only ceremonial powers. This is an odd perspective, since in

fact Mugabe remains both head of state and head of

government. (Mugabe may have already demonstrated a degree

of disdain. Tsvangirai and Mugabe were scheduled to meet at

11 am Friday to discuss government details; Mugabe postponed

the meeting.) In addition, Tsvangirai (not for the first

time) is failing to take into consideration the possibility

that at least some members of the Mutambara faction of the

MDC may not always align themselves with him.

 

Comment cont.: Nevertheless, this deal does provide

opportunities. Tsvangirai now has an opportunity to drive a

wedge between ZANU-PF hard-liners and moderates. If

Tsvangirai takes immediate steps to launch initiatives such

as an audit of the Reserve Bank or a review of the CIO

functions, we’ll have clear indications early on of whether

or not this represents a real change and how much power

Mugabe and his cronies have ceded. Post believes our best

 

HARARE 00000828 003 OF 003

 

 

policy to try to make this work remains our standing policy

of principles-based reengagement.

MCGEE

(5222 VIEWS)

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