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US embassy ruled out Tsvangirai victory

The United States embassy ruled out a Morgan Tsvangirai victory and a government of national unity in the 2008 elections arguing that President Robert Mugabe could announce himself the winner or the election would have no outright winner with a run-off most likely.

The embassy came out with four scenarios, three days after the elections, and analysed each scenario and what embassy staff were expected to do.

The first scenario was Mugabe declaring himself the winner. The embassy said although there was overwhelming evidence to the contrary, this was possible.

The second scenario was Tsvangirai being declared winner. The embassy said this was highly unlikely. In the event, it argued that there could be a military coup within 48 hours.

The third scenario was neither Mugabe nor Tsvangirai winning. The embassy said this was the most likely scenario.

The last scenario was the formation of a government of nation unity, which it ruled out.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE268, SITUATION REPORT: EAC DISCUSSES ZIMBABWE ELECTION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE268

2008-04-02 17:22

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO1464

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0268/01 0931722

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 021722Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2673

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000268

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/IP/ITA

AF/S

S/CT

CA

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2018

TAGS: ASEC AMGT CASC PREL ZI

SUBJECT: SITUATION REPORT: EAC DISCUSSES ZIMBABWE ELECTION

SCENARIOS

 

REF: A. HARARE 259 AND PREV

 

B. HARARE 233

C. HARARE 213

 

Classified By: JAMES D. MCGEE, AMBASSADOR, REASON 1.4 (A) (D) and (G)

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Harare EAC met on April 2 to discuss

scenarios that could ensue once election results are

announced. DCM chaired the meeting, which was attended by

RSO, RPOL, POL, PAS, CONS, AID, DAO, MGT, and CDC. The EAC

considered a runoff the most probable outcome at the moment,

but acknowledged continued uncertainty. The EAC reviewed

tripwires and reactions to various scenarios. The EAC

recommended to the Ambassador that the Embassy maintain its

current posture of conducting normal business while

maintaining heightened awareness. The Ambassador concurred.

END SUMMARY.

 

2. (SBU) RSO began the meeting by reviewing current security

precautions in effect. These include:

 

– RSO will continue its patrols of the city and high density

areas in order to provide an early warning of security force

deployments, large gatherings and other disturbances.

– Embassy employees should remain vigilant and continue to

have their radios on and with them at all times.

– Embassy employees should utilize extreme caution when

traveling locally, and should avoid and report any large

gatherings of people, police or other unusual activity or

disturbances.

– MREs and water have been moved from the warehouse and

staged at the assembly areas.

– All Embassy GOV,s will be kept fully fueled. Employees

were also instructed to keep their vehicles at least half

full.

– Embassy employees were reminded to continue to conserve

water.

– Employees were reminded to carry their diplomatic card

with them at all times.

– Clearance for non-official travel inside Zimbabwe will

continue to be on a case-by-case basis and cleared by the RSO

and Front Office.

– Post will continue to strictly review country clearance

requests.

 

The EAC agreed that these should be continued. RSO will

reissue the security notice advising employees to maintain

heightened vigilance.

 

3. (C) The EAC discussed three election scenarios, in each

case considering risks, timing, tripwires, precautions and

responses. In addition to the steps below, Post would issue

appropriate security notices and warden messages in each case.

 

SCENARIO I:

 

Despite the existence of compelling evidence to the contrary,

President Mugabe declares that he won the March 29 election.

The EAC considered this possible.

 

Risk A:

 

Opposition protests break out and security forces react,

provoking violence. Embassy employees or Amcits risk getting

caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

Timing: Spontaneous, greatest immediately after announcement.

 

Tripwires: Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announcement

of Mugabe victory, increased security force deployment, large

groups sighted in streets

 

Reaction: Upon learning of a ZEC announcement of Mugabe’s

victory, Embassy immediately cuts back to limited operations,

with essential functions continuing but other employees told

to stay at home. All employees are advised to stay home in

the evenings. Closure of CDC and Public Affairs Section,

which are on prime demonstration routes. RSO patrols and

provides further advice on security as incidents unfold.

Suspension of country clearance for TDY visitors.

 

Further considerations: The EAC would remain attentive to

how the situation develops and consider further steps, such

as drawdown, if the breakdown in order is sustained and

widespread.

 

 

HARARE 00000268 002 OF 003

 

 

Risk B:

 

Mugabe purges elements of ZANU-PF considered disloyal and

ZANU on ZANU violence breaks out. Embassy employees or

Amcits risk getting caught in the wrong place at the wrong

time.

 

Timing: Within weeks.

 

Tripwires: Open source reporting, intel.

 

Reaction: Heightened awareness, with other responses

depending on the situation. Such outbreaks are likely to be

localized but could escalate if those being purged are able

to muster support.

 

Risk C:

 

Mugabe blames Western interference for his near-defeat and

retaliates against Western Embassies and interests. Post

thinks it is highly unlikely that this would include

unleashing violent protests against Embassies or Western

companies, but cannot entirely rule it out.

 

Timing: Any time after consolidation of power–likely months.

 

Tripwires: Increasingly virulent anti-western rhetoric,

declarations that Western diplomats are PNG, reduced

cooperation on security and other matters.

 

Reaction: Depending on the situation, drawdown.

 

SCENARIO II:

 

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declares that Morgan

Tsvangirai won the March 29 election. The EAC considered

 

SIPDIS

this unlikely.

 

Risk:

 

Security forces mount a coup.

 

Timing: First 48 hours.

 

Tripwires: Unit movements, intel reporting.

 

Reaction: Standfast, temporarily suspend Embassy operations,

consider drawdown depending on developments.

 

Other risks: The EAC also considered the risk of violent

reactions to opposition celebrations or of ZANU-PF

retaliation against Western interests. Neither was thought

to pose a significant risk to Embassy employees or Amcits,

though all would be advised to use caution during the period

when celebrations occur.

 

SCENARIO III:

 

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declares that no candidate

won a majority and Tsvangirai and Mugabe will face each other

in a runoff. The EAC believes this is currently the most

likely scenario.

 

Risk A:

 

ZANU-PF employs violence and intimidation throughout the

country to assure itself of victory. Americans and Embassy

employees risk getting caught in the wrong place at the wrong

time.

 

Timing: 21 days or 90 days (SEPTEL).

 

Tripwires: Reports of violence from opposition activists and

NGOs, government refusal to accredit independent observers

for the runoff election.

 

Reactions: Evaluate all in-country travel; approve only if

mission critical or low risk. Screen country clearance

requests, deferring nonessential visits. Evaluate whether

and where Embassy election observers can safely deploy.

 

Risk B:

 

Mugabe blames Western interference for his near-defeat and

retaliates against Western Embassies and interests.

 

 

HARARE 00000268 003 OF 003

 

 

See above, Scenario I, Risk C.

 

Risk C:

 

Security forces mount a coup.

 

See above, Scenario II, Risk A.

 

Risk D:

 

ZANU on ZANU violence or MDC-ZANU clashes break out.

 

See above, Scenario I, Risk B.

 

SCENARIO IV:

 

A Government of National Unity is formed as a result of

negotiations and/or Mugabe’s resignation is negotiated. The

EAC considered this very unlikely.

 

Risk: The EAC considered that this scenario posed a low to

negligible risk.

 

4. (SBU) The EAC considered that pending an announcement by

the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Mission’s current

security posture is appropriate. The Ambassador concurred.

 

MCGEE

 

(4 VIEWS)

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