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US ambassador gave Tsvangirai first task a week before he was sworn in

United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee told Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai that he was concerned about the continued detention of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) employee Frank Muchirahondo and if he was not released this would be the first issue that he would officially raise with Tsvangirai after he was sworn in.

Muchirahondo was accused of trying to assassinate Air Force Chief Perrence Shiri.

Muchirahondo had a bail hearing the day McGee met Tsvangirai, 5 February 2009, but he was denied bail after the state said he was a flight risk.

Tsvangirai was briefing the ambassador on the state of play in Zimbabwe.

He said the parties had agreed on the allocation of governorships on a 5-4-1 basis with the one governorship going to the smaller faction of the MDC.

The party that got four, between the larger faction of the MDC and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, would be given an additional ministerial post.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE85, TSVANGIRAI ON STATE OF PLAY IN ZIMBAWE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE85

2009-02-05 12:41

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3742

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0085 0361241

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 051241Z FEB 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3997

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2603

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2725

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1209

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1994

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2349

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2774

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5202

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1892

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000085

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI ON STATE OF PLAY IN ZIMBAWE

 

REF: HARARE 79

 

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

 

1. (C) Morgan Tsvangirai met with South African president

Motlanthe on February 5 in South Africa. ZANU-PF and MDC

negotiators also met yesterday in South Africa. Upon

Tsvangirai’s return to Harare today, he briefed the

Ambassador.

 

2. (C) Negotiators agreed that governorships would be

divided 5-4-1 with either ZANU-PF or MDC-T getting 5

governors and MDC-M getting 1. The party that gets 4 will be

entitled to an additional minister (minister of state without

portfolio). The principals will decide as to the final

allocation. There was no agreement on timing of

implementation. MDC-T and MDC-M proposed immediate

implementation, but Mugabe is opposed. Tsvangirai said

Motlanthe and SADC were supportive of the MDC position and he

expected the issue to be resolved by early next week.

 

3. (C) Amendment 19 will be introduced today. Contrary to

press reports, it will not be voted on today, according to

Tsvangirai, but on February 9 by which time the MDC expects

an agreement among the parties on the governorship issue.

 

4. (C) The parties have agreed on a draft National Security

Council bill. It will be introduced on February 9.

Tsvangirai expects it to be passed on February 10.

 

5. (C) On the vexing issue of abductees, Tsvangirai told us,

as had Welshman Ncube (Ref), that the Joint Monitoring and

Implementation Committee (JOMIC) had agreed that all those in

custody should be released immediately on bail. Tsvangirai

refused to say what he would do if they are not released by

the time of his scheduled inauguration; he was confident they

would be. He said he had discussed this with Motlanthe who

agreed they should be released forthwith.

 

6. (C) Tsvangirai expects to be inaugurated on February 11

in a public ceremony. Motlanthe told him that AU, SADC

representatives, and possibly the UN’s Ban Ki-Moon would

attend.

 

7. (C) The Ambassador expressed his concert about detained

USAID employee Frank Muchirahondo and told Tsvangirai that if

Muchirahondo is not released this will be the first issue he

will officially raise with him after he is sworn in.

(NOTE: Muchirahondo had a bail hearing today. The

prosecution opposed bail, alleging the weight of the

evidence, the gravity of the charge, and that Muchirahondo is

a flight risk because he was arrested crossing from Zimbabwe

to Mozambique. The magistrate will rule tomorrow. END NOTE.)

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

8. (C) All signs point to a February 11 inauguration, per

the SADC Communique. We believe detainees have not yet been

released because hard-liners within ZANU-PF, particularly

Emmerson Mnangagwa, are unhappy about Tsvangirai entering

into government and are fighting a rear-guard action against

implementation of the September 15 agreement. We’ll see if

Tsvangirai is correct that the abductees will be

released–his inauguration while they remain in custody would

send a terrible signal. END COMMENT.

Qsend a terrible signal. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

 

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