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Was the MDC thrown cabinet scraps?

The Movement for Democratic Change which almost upset the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front in its first national elections in 2000 by winning 57 seats against ZANU-PF’s 62 was likely to be given ministries that were window dressing or problematic if President Robert Mugabe decided to throw them “cabinet scraps”, former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Tom McDonald said.

This seems to be what happened nine years later when the MDC entered into an inclusive government with ZANU-PF. Two of the ministries the ambassador cited, Health and Education, were given to the MDC.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE3521, THE NEW ZIMBABWEAN PARLIAMENT: THE GLOVES

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE3521

2000-06-28 13:12

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.

 

281312Z Jun 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6691

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03521 01 OF 02 281310Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-01   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   DCP-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 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /012W

——————67EB5C 281311Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6461

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 003521

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/AID, DAA/AFR VERNE NEWTON, AND AFR/SA

CREINTSMA

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03521 01 OF 02 281310Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/27/10

TAGS: PGOV KDEM PINR PREL ZI US

SUBJECT: THE NEW ZIMBABWEAN PARLIAMENT: THE GLOVES

WILL BE OFF

 

REF: HARARE 3506

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS 1.5

(B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: ZIMBABWE HAS CHANGED FOREVER AS A RESULT

OF THE RECENT PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION THAT BROADENED

PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY IN THE COUNTRY. THE “LOSERS” IN

THIS ELECTION, THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC

CHANGE (MDC), WILL TAKE THEIR ELECTORAL GRIEVANCES TO

COURT, NOT THE STREET, THUS MINIMIZING THE POTENTIAL FOR

POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE. WE EXPECT IT WILL PLAY THE ROLE

OF VOCAL OPPOSITION IN PARLIAMENT AND ATTEMPT TO SHIFT

THE FOCUS OF THE DEBATE THERE TO THE COUNTRY’S

FOUNDERING ECONOMY. PRESIDENT MUGABE IS IN CRUSADE MODE

AND WILL LEAD HIS RADICALIZED PARTY IN SEARCH OF THE

HOLY GRAIL OF LAND REDISTRIBUTION. WE THINK HE VIEWS

THE MDC’S SHOWING IN THE POLLS AS A SETBACK FROM WHICH

HE MUST REGROUP WITH A VIEW TO RUNNING AGAIN IN 2002

AGAINST MORGAN TSVANGIRAI. END COMMENT.

 

2. (C) THE VOTERS HAVE SPOKEN IN ZIMBABWE AND ELECTED A

NEW PARLIAMENT WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED 57 SEATS FOR AN

OPPOSITION PARTY, THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE

(MDC). IN THE CONTEXT OF AFRICA IN GENERAL, THIS IS

QUITE A REMARKABLE FEAT. THOUGH THE MDC “LOST” BECAUSE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03521 01 OF 02 281310Z

IT GOT A FEWER NUMBER OF SEATS THAN ZANU-PF AT 62, IT

MAY ACTUALLY HAVE RECEIVED THE MAJORITY OF THE VOTES

CAST. WE DO NOT, AS A RESULT, EXPECT ITS FOLLOWERS TO

RESORT TO VIOLENCE IN PROTEST OF A STOLEN ELECTION.

RATHER, THE MDC IS SET TO CHALLENGE THE CONDUCT OF THE

ELECTION VIA RECOUNT DEMANDS AND PERHAPS COURT

CHALLENGES IN UP TO 20 CONSTITUENCIES. THE GROUNDS FOR

THE LEGAL CHALLENGES LIKELY WILL BE PRE-ELECTION AND

ELECTION DAY INTIMIDATION AND VIOLENCE, AND VOTERS’ ROLL

OR PROCEDURAL IRREGULARITIES THAT EFFECTIVELY

DISENFRANCHISED MANY INDIVIDUALS.

 

3. (C) THE ELECTION SWEPT OUT A NUMBER OF ZANU-PF

STALWARTS AND MEMBERS OF THE ZANU-PF POLITBURO, SUCH AS

HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER DUMISO DABENGWA, MINES ENVIRONMENT

AND TOURISM MINISTER S.K. MOYO, ZANU-PF WOMEN’S LEAGUE

PRESIDENT TENJIWE LESABE, JUSTICE LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS MINISTER EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, AND A

MODERATE LIKE MASVINGO PROVINCIAL CHAIRMAN DZIKAMAI

MAVHAIRE. IT SEATED THE HARD-LINERS IN THE PARTY, SUCH

AS MASHONALAND CENTRAL GOVERNOR BORDER GEZI; CHEN

CHIMUTENGWENDE, THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, POSTS AND

TELECOMMUNICATIONS; ZANU-PF SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION

DIDYMUS MUTASA; MINISTER OF STATE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

SYDNEY SEKERAMAYI; AND NATIONAL LIBERATION WAR VETERANS’

ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT CHENJERAI HITLER HUNZVI. THEY

REPRESENT REMOTE RURAL CONSTITUENCIES WHERE THE MDC HAD

FEWER POLLING AGENTS AND VOTER INTIMIDATION SEEMS TO

HAVE WORKED, IN ADDITION TO THE STRATEGIC PLACEMENT OF

POSTAL VOTES TO SWING KEY OUTCOMES, AS THEY WON BY

MARGINS THAT DID NOT CONFORM TO THE ESTABLISHED PATTERN.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03521 01 OF 02 281310Z

TOTALLY UNKNOWN NAMES OR INDIVIDUALS WHO PREVIOUSLY

NEVER DID VERY WELL WON MASSIVELY IN SUCH

CONSTITUENCIES. THE SIGNAL BEING SENT BY THESE

ELECTORAL VICTORIES IS THAT THE ZANU-PF PARTY IS

IDEOLOGICALLY POLARIZED, AND THAT THERE WILL BE NO ROOM

FOR INDEPENDENT BEHAVIOR OR DISSENT. THE HARD-LINE

RADICALS NOW HAVE THE UPPER HAND. IN OUR JUDGMENT

MUGABE WILL INTERPRET HAVING CLINCHED 62 SEATS THROUGH

THE FIRST-PAST-THE-POST METHOD AS A CLEAR VICTORY AND

WILL CONTINUE TO GOVERN IN MANNER AS RUTHLESS AS BEFORE.

 

4. (C) THE PRESIDENT’S IMMEDIATE NEXT STEPS WILL BE HIS

ANNOUNCEMENT OF HIS 30 PARLIAMENTARIAN APPOINTEES (EIGHT

ARE THE STANDING GOVERNORS, AND 10 OF THE APPOINTMENTS

ARE RESERVED FOR TRIBAL CHIEFS, LEAVING 12 PURELY

“POLITICAL” SLOTS TO BE FILLED BY THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE);

AND NAMING THE CABINET. A ZANU-PF CENTRAL COMMITTEE

MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY, JUNE 30, REPORTEDLY TO

DISCUSS THESE ISSUES. IN APPOINTING THE 12 PARLIAMENT

MEMBERS, WE EXPECT MUGABE TO RESUSCITATE SOME OF THE

ELECTION-LOSING FORMER POLITBURO STALWARTS AS EMERSON

MNANGAGWA, DUMISO DABENGWA AND MINISTER OF STATE FOR

GENDER AFFAIRS OPPAH MUCHINGURI. ON THE CABINET FRONT

WE EXPECT THAT IT WILL CONSIST MAINLY OF HARD-LINERS

FAITHFUL TO MUGABE’S ARTHRITIC MARXIST IDEOLOGY AND

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6696

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03521 02 OF 02 281311Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-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   STR-00   TRSE-00

USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00

NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————67EB66 281311Z /38

P 281312Z JUN 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6462

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 003521

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/AID, DAA/AFR VERNE NEWTON, AND AFR/SA

CREINTSMA

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03521 02 OF 02 281311Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/27/10

TAGS: PGOV KDEM PINR PREL ZI US

SUBJECT: THE NEW ZIMBABWEAN PARLIAMENT: THE GLOVES

WILL BE OFF

 

LOYAL, BEYOND QUESTION, TO THE OLD MAN AS WELL. IF,

CONTRARY TO PUBLIC PRONOUNCEMENTS BY MUGABE’S

SUBORDINATES, CABINET SCRAPS ARE THROWN TO THE MDC, THEY

LIKELY WILL BE POSITIONS HEADING MINISTRIES THAT ARE

WINDOW DRESSING OR THE MOST PROBLEMATIC, SUCH AS HEALTH

AND EDUCATION.

 

5. (C) ONE OF THE FIRST ISSUES ON WHICH THE NEW

PARLIAMENT, WHICH BY OUR READING OF THE CONSTITUTION

MUST CONVENE FOR ITS FIRST SESSION BY EARLY OCTOBER, IS

LIKELY TO CLASH IS LAND REDISTRIBUTION, AN ECONOMIC AND

EMOTIONAL HEAVYWEIGHT. THE ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT MADE IT

THE HALLMARK OF HIS PARTY’S ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN, AND

AMENDED A NUMBER OF STATUTES BY DECREE IN ORDER TO PUT

IN PLACE THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK TO BEGIN HIS REDISTRIBUTION

VENTURE. THE MDC LIKELY WILL DO EVERYTHING IT CAN TO

TRY TO BLOCK RATIFICATION OF THESE ACTIONS IN

PARLIAMENT. AND WE FULLY EXPECT MUGABE WILL RETURN TO

HIS DIVISIVE AND INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC, CHARACTERIZING

THE MDC AS A TOOL OF THE WHITES, EX-RHODESIANS, THE

BRITISH OR WHOMEVER.

 

6. (C) IN HIS CONCILIATORY SPEECH ACCEPTING THE

ELECTIONS RESULTS THE EVENING OF JUNE 27, PRESIDENT

MUGABE STATED HIS EXPECTATION THAT PARLIAMENT ” IS

CERTAINLY DESTINED TO PROVE LIVELY” THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03521 02 OF 02 281311Z

WE CONCUR; AND PREDICT THAT THE MDC WILL BE A VERY VOCAL

OPPOSITION, CALLING FOR ACCOUNTABILITY, COMMON SENSE AND

RATIONALITY FROM GOVERNMENT. THE MDC WILL ALSO ATTEMPT

TO RAISE THE ECONOMY TO BE THE FOCUS OF DEBATE IN

PARLIAMENT. OF COURSE, THE POWER TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT

ITS PARLOUS STATE WILL REST WITH MUGABE AND HIS

REPACKAGED GANG OF THIEVES.

 

7. (C) WE THINK MUGABE SEES THE MDC’S GAINS IN

PARLIAMENT NOT AS DEFEAT BUT A REBUFF FROM WHICH HE MUST

REGROUP, MUCH AS HE DID AFTER THE DEFEAT OF THE

CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM IN FEBRUARY. INSTEAD OF FOUR

MONTHS HE WILL HAVE NEARLY TWO YEARS TO LAY THE

GROUNDWORK FOR A SUCCESSFUL PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IN

2002, IN WHICH WE EXPECT HE WILL RUN AGAINST THE MDC’S

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI. MUGABE WILL BE IN FULL CRUSADE MODE,

LEADING THE RULING PARTY ON ITS QUEST FOR THE HOLY GRAIL

OF LAND REFORM. REINFORCING THE ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT IN

HIS SENSE THAT HE IS ABSOLUTELY ON THE CORRECT PATH IS

THE UNQUESTIONING ENDORSEMENT OF HIS FELLOW HEADS OF

STATE FROM THE REGION, PARTICULARLY SOUTH AFRICA’S THABO

MBEKI. SUCH SUPPORT WILL DO NOTHING TO ATTENUATE THE

PRICKLY MUGABE’S ARROGANCE AND USUAL TACTIC OF RAISING

THE STAKES AND SUSPENDING THE RULES TO GET WHAT HE

WANTS.

 

8. (C) THE GOOD NEWS, HOWEVER, IS THAT WE SENSE A

GENUINE DESIRE IN THE COUNTRY TO PUT THE RECENT,

DIABOLICAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN BEHIND ITSELF AND MOVE

FORWARD TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE TO ITS IMAGE, COHESIVENESS

AND ECONOMY. YES, ZIMBABWE IS CHANGED FOREVER AND

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03521 02 OF 02 281311Z

BROAD-BASED DEMOCRACY, AS WE ADVOCATE IT IN OUR MISSION

PROGRAM PLAN, HAS MADE A BRILLIANT SHOWING OVER THE JUNE

24-25 WEEKEND. WE BELIEVE OUR PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY

BUILDING PROGRAM THAT HAS BEEN FULLY OPERATIONAL SINCE

SEPTEMBER 1999 IS NOW MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER. WE LOOK

FORWARD TO HELPING ZIMBABWE SUSTAIN IT AND WELCOME IT

INTO THE FOLD OF THE COMMUNITY OF DEMOCRACIES.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(30 VIEWS)

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