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Tsvangirai was opposed to sanctions

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was opposed to the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe arguing that they would hurt ordinary Zimbabweans and not the intended target, a cable released by Wikileaks says.

The Movement for Democratic Change has repeatedly been accused of calling for sanctions and is supposed to spearhead the campaign to have them lifted.

According to a cable dispatched by the United States embassy in Harare on 5 March 2001, Tsvangirai urged diplomats to convince President Robert Mugabe to do the right thing because he was literally destroying the country.

He did not consider the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act that was being pushed by the United States as sanctions but as an incentive to persuade the government of Zimbabwe to reverse its damaging policies.

“The most effective approach for other nations is constructive engagement with the current government, not the imposition of sanctions, a step which the MDC does not advocate,” Tsvangirai told the diplomats.

In the question and answer session, Tsvangirai said he was opposed to sanctions for two reasons.

“Sanctions would hurt ordinary Zimbabweans, not the members of government at whom they would be targeted, and they would take a long time to reverse, even after an MDC government came into power.”

The sanctions are still in place three years after the MDC came into government.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE903, TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS HEADS OF DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE903

2001-03-05 12:43

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

051243Z Mar 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1711

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00903 01 OF 03 051245Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00

FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01

OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00

IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00

PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————CDADB0 051246Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8343

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000903

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 03/01/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS HEADS OF DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL IRVING. REASONS: 1.5

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00903 01 OF 03 051245Z

(B) AND (D).

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (U) IN HIS FIRST-EVER BRIEFING FOR THE HEADS OF

DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS, MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC)

PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI SAID ZIMBABWE IS IN A STATE OF

“TERMINAL PARALYSIS” DUE TO THE BREAKDOWN IN THE RULE OF

LAW AND INCREASE IN GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED HUMAN RIGHTS

ABUSES. TSVANGIRAI URGED THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO

ENGAGE CONSTRUCTIVELY WITH THE MUGABE GOVERNMENT IN

PRESSING IT TO REVERSE COURSE, NOT IMPOSE SANCTIONS, WHICH

WOULD HURT ONLY ORDINARY ZIMBABWEANS. IN THIS CONNECTION,

THE MDC PRESIDENT WAS CAREFUL TO NOTE HIS PARTY DID NOT

CONSIDER CONGRESS’S ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY BILL TO BE SANCTIONS

LEGISLATION, BUT RATHER AN INCENTIVE TO GOOD GOZ BEHAVIOR.

TSVANGIRAI EMPHASIZED THE MDC’S COMMITMENT TO EQUITABLE,

 

SIPDIS

LAWFUL LAND REFORM THAT IS BASED ON THE PRINCIPLES

IDENTIFIED BY THE 1998 DONORS’ CONFERENCE ON LAND.

TSVANGIRAI THOUGHT IT LIKELY THAT PRESIDENT MUGABE WOULD

 

SIPDIS

CALL AN EARLY ELECTION, BUT MASS ACTION WOULD BE

APPROPRIATE ONLY IF MUGABE STEALS THE ELECTION OR FINDS AN

EXCUSE NOT TO HOLD IT. THE MDC IS MORE COHESIVE THAN IT

WAS LAST JUNE AND IS REGAINING SOME POLITICAL MOMENTUM.

THE OPPOSITION PARTY IS FOCUSING BOTH ON WINNING THE

ELECTION AND ON DEVISING THE POLICIES IT WOULD IMPLEMENT IF

IT WINS. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (U) MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) PRESIDENT

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI BRIEFED HEADS OF DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS ON

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00903 01 OF 03 051245Z

MARCH 2 ON THE OPPOSITION PARTY’S POSITION ON RECENT

DEVELOPMENTS. HE WAS ACCOMPANIED BY SEKAI HOLLAND, THE

PARTY’S SECRETARY FOR INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS. CHARGE AND

POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF WERE IN ATTENDANCE. TSVANGIRAI

SPOKE FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES, THEN TOOK QUESTIONS.

 

3. (U) TSVANGIRAI EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT ZIMBABWE IS IN A

STATE OF “TERMINAL PARALYSIS,” DUE TO SEVERAL CRITICAL

FACTORS. FIRST WAS THE “ALARMING” BREAKDOWN IN THE RULE OF

LAW, EVIDENCED BY THE EMASCULATION OF THE POLICE AND WAR

VETERANS WREAKING HAVOC WITH ABSOLUTE IMPUNITY. THE

ESCALATING ATTACKS ON THE JUDICIARY ARE PARTICULARLY

DISTURBING, AS THE EXECUTION OF JUSTICE IS COMPROMISED IF

NOT EVEN JUDGES ARE SAFE.

 

4. (U) THE SECOND CRITICAL FACTOR WAS THE INCREASE IN

GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES. ELEMENTS OF THE

ARMY, FOR INSTANCE, HAVE BEEN SENT INTO TOWNSHIPS TO BEAT

PEOPLE INDISCRIMINATELY, WITHOUT CAUSE OR PROVOCATION. THE

MDC LEADERSHIP CONTINUES TO BE HARASSED, SUBJECTED BOTH TO

“FLIMSY” CHARGES UNDER AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAW (NB: THE LAW

AND ORDER MAINTENANCE ACT) ENACTED BY IAN SMITH TO WIELD

AGAINST AFRICAN NATIONALISTS, AND PHYSICAL INTIMIDATION,

EVIDENCED BY THE RECENT BEATINGS OF TWO MDC MPS. THE GOZ

IS TRYING TO MUZZLE THE INDEPENDENT PRESS, INDICATED BY THE

BOMBING OF THE DAILY NEWS PRINTING PRESS, THE RELUCTANCE TO

ISSUE OPERATING LICENSES TO PRIVATE RADIO BROADCASTERS, AND

THE ILLEGAL DEPORTATION OF FOREIGN JOURNALISTS. THE MDC’S

37 ELECTORAL CHALLENGES WERE PROCEEDING IN THE HIGH COURT –

– THREE HAVE BEEN HEARD SO FAR — AND WERE SHINING THE

SPOTLIGHT ON THE SERIOUS ABUSES WHICH HAD OCCURRED DURING

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00903 01 OF 03 051245Z

LAST JUNE’S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION. A COURT DECISION TO

SET ASIDE THE RESULTS IN SOME OF THE CONSTITUENCIES,

TSVANGIRAI OBSERVED, WOULD CHANGE THE EQUATION IN

 

SIPDIS

PARLIAMENT. THE BOTTOM LINE OF THE BREAKDOWN IN THE RULE

OF LAW AND TERRIBLE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IS THAT

ZIMBABWEANS HAVE LOST CONFIDENCE IN THE CURRENT

GOVERNMENT’S CAPACITY TO RUN THE COUNTRY’S AFFAIRS. THE

THIRD CRITICAL FACTOR WAS THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ECONOMY,

WHICH TSVANGIRAI PREDICTED COULD NOT LAST ANOTHER FIVE

MONTHS UNDER CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES.

 

5. (U) THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE, TSVANGIRAI SAID, NOW

HAS TWO OPTIONS. IT COULD CONTINUE ON ITS CURRENT

REPRESSIVE PATH, WHICH WOULD LEAD INEVITABLY TO ITS OWN

DOWNFALL, OR IT COULD REVERSE COURSE. THE INTERNATIONAL

COMMUNITY HAS A CRUCIAL ROLE TO PLAY IN CONVINCING THE

MUGABE GOVERNMENT TO DO THE RIGHT THING. THE MOST

EFFECTIVE APPROACH FOR OTHER NATIONS IS CONSTRUCTIVE

ENGAGEMENT WITH THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT, NOT THE IMPOSITION

OF SANCTIONS, A STEP WHICH THE MDC DOES NOT ADVOCATE.

TSVANGIRAI NOTED RECENT PRESS REPORTS THAT THE ZIMBABWE

 

SIPDIS

DEMOCRACY ACT (ZDA) MIGHT BE REVIVED SOON BY THE U.S.

CONGRESS. THE MDC, HE SAID, DOES NOT CONSIDER THE ZDA A

SANCTIONS BILL BUT AN “INCENTIVE” TO PERSUADE THE GOZ TO

REVERSE ITS DAMAGING POLICIES. CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1712

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00903 02 OF 03 051246Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00

FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00 AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01

OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00

IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00

PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————CDADB9 051246Z /38

P 051243Z MAR 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8344

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 000903

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 03/01/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS HEADS OF DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS

 

THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION, HE THOUGHT, WOULD HELP “KNOCK

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00903 02 OF 03 051246Z

SOME SENSE” INTO THE GOVERNMENT.

 

6. (U) TSVANGIRAI REJECTED CRITICISM THAT THE MDC DOES NOT

HAVE A POLICY ON LAND. HE INSISTED THAT THE OPPOSITION

PARTY IS COMMITTED TO EQUITABLE, LAWFUL LAND REFORM THAT

WILL GUARANTEE FOOD SECURITY AND PROTECT THE COUNTRY’S

ECONOMIC BASE. THE MDC OBJECTS TO THE METHODOLOGY OF THE

FAST TRACK RESETTLEMENT PLAN, WHICH HE CALLED “RUINOUS.”

THE PARTY CONTINUES TO MAINTAIN THAT ANY LAND REFORM POLICY

MUST BE BASED ON THE PRINCIPLES ENDORSED AT THE 1998 DONORS

CONFERENCE.

 

Q’S AND A’S

———–

 

7. (U) IN RESPONSE TO A NUMBER OF VARIED QUESTIONS FROM

THE ASSEMBLED DIPLOMATS, TSVANGIRAI MADE THE FOLLOWING

POINTS:

 

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

———————

 

8. (U) TSVANGIRAI THOUGHT IT LIKELY THAT PRESIDENT MUGABE

WILL CALL AN EARLY ELECTION. HE THOUGHT THE STATE OF THE

ECONOMY — AND ITS PROGNOSIS FOR RECOVERY — WOULD BE AN

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION FOR THE PRESIDENT IN MAKING THIS

CALL. ASKED WHY THE GOVERNMENT HAD CHARGED HIM RECENTLY

WITH INCITING VIOLENCE, THE MDC PRESIDENT SAID THE GOZ

ACTION CONSTITUTED “PURE HARASSMENT,” AND THAT IT HAD BEEN

HOLDING THE POTENTIAL CHARGE OVER HIS HEAD FOR ALMOST SIX

MONTHS. IF CONVICTED, HE WOULD BE SENTENCED TO A MINIMUM

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00903 02 OF 03 051246Z

OF SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON AND WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO RUN FOR

PRESIDENT. HE WOULD APPEAL A CONVICTION TO THE SUPREME

COURT, BUT FELT CONFIDENT THAT THE HIGH COURT WOULD DISMISS

THE CHARGE, AS SECTIONS OF THE LAW AND ORDER MAINTENANCE

ACT PREVIOUSLY HAVE BEEN DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL. THE

LOMA, HE POINTED OUT, IS BEING APPLIED SELECTIVELY, AS

PRESIDENT MUGABE AND OTHER SENIOR OFFICIALS IN HIS

GOVERNMENT HAVE MADE MUCH MORE “TREASONABLE” STATEMENTS.

SEKAI HOLLAND INTERJECTED THAT THE ARREST OR CONVICTION OF

TSVANGIRAI COULD BE THE SPARK THAT SENDS ANGRY ZIMBABWEANS

 

SIPDIS

INTO THE STREETS IN PROTEST, AND THE GOVERNMENT WAS WELL

AWARE OF THAT POSSIBILITY.

 

9. (U) ACCORDING TO TSVANGIRAI, THE MDC HAS POSTPONED MASS

ACTION, AS NOW IS NOT THE “RIGHT TIME.” THAT ASSESSMENT

MIGHT CHANGE, HOWEVER, IF THE GOVERNMENT STEALS THE

ELECTION OR AVOIDS HOLDING ONE BY DECLARING A STATE OF

EMERGENCY.

 

NEW CONSTITUTION?

—————–

 

10. (U) TSVANGIRAI EXPRESSED HIS SUPPORT FOR A NEW

CONSTITUTION, BUT THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO

ACCOMPLISH IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT. HE COMPARED THE

DILEMMA TO THE CHICKEN AND EGG CONUNDRUM, ASKING

RHETORICALLY WHETHER IT MADE MORE SENSE TO PUT A NEW BULB

IN A DEFECTIVE LAMP, OR TO REPLACE THE LAMP. HE THOUGHT

THE BEST WAY TO PROCEED WAS FIRST TO REPLACE THE CURRENT

GOVERNMENT WITH ONE WILLING TO ALLOW A CONSTRUCTIVE

CONSTITUTION-DRAFTING PROCESS TO MOVE FORWARD.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00903 02 OF 03 051246Z

 

RELATIONS WITH SOUTH AFRICA

—————————

 

11. (U) TSVANGIRAI’S RECENT MEETINGS IN SOUTH AFRICA WITH

ANC OFFICIALS REPRESENTED A SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE OF ATTITUDE

FROM THE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT. THE DISCUSSIONS HAD

PRODUCED A COMMON UNDERSTANDING THAT THE ANC-MDC DIALOGUE

SHOULD BE CONTINUED AT ALL LEVELS. “IT IS NOT TRUE THAT

PRESIDENT MBEKI CONDONES WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ZIMBABWE,” HE

STATED.

 

SANCTIONS

———

 

12. (U) ASKED TO CLARIFY HIS STATED OPPOSITION TO THE

IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS AGAINST THE GOZ, TSVANGIRAI

PROVIDED TWO REASONS. SANCTIONS WOULD HURT ORDINARY

ZIMBABWEANS, NOT THE MEMBERS OF GOVERNMENT AT WHOM THEY

WOULD BE TARGETED, AND THEY WOULD TAKE A LONG TIME TO

REVERSE, EVEN AFTER AN MDC GOVERNMENT CAME INTO POWER.

 

MDC THEN AND NOW

—————-

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1713

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00903 03 OF 03 051246Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00

FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01

OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00

IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00

PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————CDADC1 051246Z /38

P 051243Z MAR 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8345

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 000903

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 03/01/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS HEADS OF DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS

 

13. (U) TSVANGIRAI WAS ASKED TO ASSESS HOW THE MDC HAS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00903 03 OF 03 051246Z

EVOLVED SINCE THE JUNE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. HE SAID IT

WAS NATURAL THAT THE MDC WOULD FACE SOME INTERNAL PROBLEMS,

GIVEN THE BROAD-BASED NATURE OF THE PARTY MEMBERSHIP.

HOWEVER, HE BELIEVED THE PARTY WAS NOW MORE COHESIVE AND

WAS BEGINNING TO REGAIN MOMENTUM AS IT PREPARED FOR THE

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. THE MDC’S PRIMARY FOCUS IS WINNING

THE ELECTION, BUT THE PARTY IS ALSO PUTTING IN PLACE ITS

PLAN FOR GOVERNING. THE MDC’S PRIORITIES UPON TAKING

OFFICE WOULD BE RESTORING THE RULE OF LAW, REVITALIZING THE

ECONOMY, PUTTING THE LAND QUESTION BACK ON A “SANER PATH,”

AND REENGAGING WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

14. (C) TSVANGIRAI APPEARED CONFIDENT AND RELAXED, AND HE

HANDLED WITH EASE AND HUMOR THE MANY DIFFICULT QUESTIONS

ASKED OF HIM. THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME THE MDC PRESIDENT

HAS BRIEFED A GATHERING OF HEADS OF DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS,

BUT HE INTENDS THE MARCH 2 SESSION TO BE THE FIRST

INSTALLMENT IN A REGULAR SERIES OF SUCH GATHERINGS.

TSVANGIRAI SEEMS TO HAVE CONCLUDED THAT IT IS IN THE MDC’S

 

SIPDIS

INTEREST TO STEP UP ENGAGEMENT WITH THE INTERNATIONAL

COMMUNITY, PARTICULARLY AS MUGABE’S GOVERNMENT BECOMES

INCREASINGLY ISOLATED. HE ALSO APPEARS TO HAVE RECOGNIZED

THAT, AS THE ZIMBABWEAN FIGURE MOST LIKELY TO WIN A FREE

AND FAIR ELECTION, HE SHOULD WEIGH IN WITH THE

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ON THE IMPORTANT ISSUES OF THE DAY.

TSVANGIRAI’S REACHING OUT TO THE HEADS OF MISSION IS A

 

SIPDIS

POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT THAT SUGGESTS HE IS MATURING AS A

POLITICIAN.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00903 03 OF 03 051246Z

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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