in Stories

Tsvangirai was optimistic after meeting Mugabe for 90 minutes

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai met President Robert Mugabe alone for 90 minutes after the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement paving the way for negotiations and said the two agreed to have a transitional arrangement in which neither would be subordinate to the other.

Tsvangirai was given the chance to talk to Mugabe by South African President Thabo Mbeki, the mediator, who took the leader of the smaller faction of the MDC Arthur Mutambara away and urged Mugabe and Tsvangirai to talk.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai had met that day for the first time in 10 years.

Tsvangirai told Mugabe over dinner that all Zimbabweans respected the sacrifices of those who participated in the liberation struggle and would honour Mugabe’s legacy.

However, he noted that the undeniable current economic and political crisis required a response.

Tsvangirai said he and Mugabe then agreed that they should instruct their negotiators to craft an agreement that included a transition in no more than two years and provided roles for both principals in which neither was subordinate to the other, with separate heads of state and government.

Tsvangirai said he suggested that Mugabe could retire in two years, but Mugabe bristled, saying that would be up to his party.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE628, TSVANGIRAI OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SHARING POWER DURING A

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE628

2008-07-22 15:52

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3425

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0628/01 2041552

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 221552Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3209

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2172

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2291

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0823

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1568

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1926

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2347

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4778

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1437

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000628

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR GGARLAND

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: 07/22/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SHARING POWER DURING A

TRANSITION

 

REF: HARARE 625 AND PREV.

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Katherine Dhanani for reason: 1.4(d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: On July 22 MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai

briefed Charge on his July 21 meetings with Mugabe, Mbeki and

Mutambara. Tsvangirai said he and Mugabe met one-on-one for

90 minutes, agreeing to a transition of no more than two

years during which each would hold a position of equal

weight. He said negotiators would travel to South Africa

July 23 to begin talks, and he appeared optimistic that they

could succeed fairly quickly. Despite Tsvangirai’s optimism,

Post remains concerned that even if ZANU-PF commits to share

power on paper, it will not do so in practice. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Tsvangirai explained to Charge how events unfolded on

July 21. He said before the public signing of the MOU, the

four principals (Mbeki, Mutambara, Tsvangirai and Mugabe)

met. This was the first time Tsvangirai and Mugabe had met

in a decade. Tsvangirai reported that he raised the issue of

violence and that Mugabe responded defensively, claiming that

there had been no violence except in fanciful western media

reporting. Mugabe demanded evidence, and Tsvangirai and

Mugabe are supposed to meet on July 24 for Tsvangirai to

present evidence of violence. Following the signing of the

MOU and the subsequent press conference, Mbeki took Mutambara

away and urged Mugabe and Tsvangirai to talk. The two ate

dinner together while talking one-on-one for about 90

minutes.

 

3. (C) Tsvangirai said he told Mugabe over dinner that all

Zimbabweans respected the sacrifices of those who

participated in the liberation struggle and would honor

Mugabe’s legacy. However, he noted the undeniable current

economic and political crisis required a response. He once

again talked of violence, noting that Mugabe may not have

been aware, and said Mugabe responded that any violence was

in the past and now was the time to move forward. Tsvangirai

said he and Mugabe then agreed that they should instruct

their negotiators to craft an agreement that included a

transition in no more than two years and provided roles for

both principals in which neither was subordinate to the

other, with separate heads of state and government.

Tsvangirai said he suggested Mugabe could retire in two

years, but Mugabe bristled, saying that would be up to his

party.

 

4. (C) After dinner the four principals reassembled and

Tsvangirai briefed Mbeki and Mutambara on the agreement for

transition. All agreed that this should provide the

framework and that negotiators could work out detailed

arrangements. (COMMENT: Tsvangirai made no mention of the

division of power in cabinet. END COMMENT.) Negotiators

will travel to South Africa on July 23 and begin work.

 

5. (C) Tsvangirai said he had discussed new U.S. sanctions

with NSC Director and suggested the USG present them publicly

as a way to keep pressure on the negotiations, to be relaxed

if the negotiations bear fruit. Charge told Tsvangirai that

the USG and other donors would look critically at any

agreement reached; there would be no automatic reengagement.

She asked Tsvangirai if the re-opening of humanitarian space

had been part of the discussions on July 22. He said that he

planned to raise this on July 24 as one of three critical

issues, along with violence and ZANU-PF efforts to entice MDC

MPs to switch sides.

 

6. (C) Tsvangirai said he and other MDC leaders were hopeful

that a real breakthrough could be achieved. He noted that

during their one-on-one, Mugabe showed none of the bluster

and bravado he is known for. Charge commented that Mugabe’s

 

HARARE 00000628 002 OF 002

 

 

inner circle may be less conciliatory, and Tsvangirai

commented with some satisfaction that he understood many of

them were worried that Mugabe had sold them out during the

one-on-one.

 

7. (C) COMMENT: Tsvangirai’s hopefulness, and the good cheer

exhibited by other MDC leaders who were leaving Tsvangirai’s

residence as Charge arrived, suggest that there may be an

agreement reached in a matter of weeks in South Africa.

While Post may be somewhat more optimistic than we were

previously (reftel) about the prospects for an agreement, we

remain deeply skeptical about whether ZANU-PF is ready to

sacrifice the reins of power. END COMMENT.

 

Dhanani

 

(10 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment