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.
Viewing cable 09HARARE85, TSVANGIRAI ON STATE OF PLAY IN ZIMBAWE
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
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1892
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000085
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
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
¶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
¶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.)
¶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.