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What the US planned to do if GPA failed

The United States, which was not happy with the Global Political Agreement signed by the three main political parties in Zimbabwe, had contingency plans in case the agreement failed which included recognising a government in exile.

It also planned to intensify sanctions on Zimbabwe and to press for internationally supervised elections.

Some of the proposed measures were:

  • Pressing SADC and the AU to press Mugabe: SADC and AU refusal to recognise the legitimacy of a Mugabe presidency and a ZANU-PF government that did not adhere to the framework of the September 15 agreement would be a critical first step.
  •  
  • Intensification of bilateral sanctions: With sanctions on parastatals the US had begun to move beyond narrowly targeted sanctions toward measures that affected the Zimbabwean economy.
  •  
  • UNSC resolutions and sanctions.
  •  
  • Elimination of elements of normal relations: The US could take such steps as discontinuing routine visa issuance in Harare, stopping support for cultural events, or reducing diplomatic presence in Harare.
  •  
  • Recognition of a government in exile.
  •  
  • Suspension of humanitarian assistance: Post believes this should not be considered except as a last resort.

Full cable:

Viewing cable 08HARARE960, PLANNING FOR FAILURE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE960

2008-10-23 15:36

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO2562

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0960/01 2971536

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 231536Z OCT 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3609

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2374

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2494

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1000

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1770

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2125

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2550

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4978

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1643

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000960

 

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

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/23/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID PHUM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: PLANNING FOR FAILURE

 

REF: A. HARARE 932

B. HARARE 947

 

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

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: While planning for reengagement with a

reformist government, the USG should also plan a response to

failure of political dialog. Efforts will be needed to force

the Mugabe regime to accept internationally supervised

elections; regional organizations will be required to show

greater resolve than they have in the past. END SUMMARY.

 

—————-

WHERE WE ARE NOW

—————-

 

2. (C) Since President Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur

Mutambara signed an agreement to form an “inclusive

government” on September 15, both the USG and the

international community have focused Zimbabwe policy on three

tasks: encouraging the implementation of the agreement in

such a way as to provide the MDC a significant share of

power; establishing common donor benchmarks and guidelines to

determine whether a new government meets the threshold for

donor reengagement; and planning for assistance to a new,

reformist Zimbabwean government. Our perception that a new

government formed under the September 15 agreement will be

far from perfect is implicit in this agenda. The decisions

we make about reengagement will be critical since the

reformers’ chances of determining policy will be strengthened

or weakened by our actions. Appropriately, this agenda is

the principal focus of the meeting in Ottawa on October 30.

 

—————–

WHAT IF IT FAILS?

—————–

 

3. (C) Post believes that, important as our current focus is,

the USG must also plan for alternative contingencies. The

unambiguous failure of the September 15 agreement is one

possible scenario which would offer both opportunities and

risks. This could occur in the veryshort term if

negotiations to allocate ministriescollapse. It could also

come about if, after moths of fruitless efforts to advance a

reform ageda as part of an “inclusive government,” the MDC

were to withdraw. Post believes that in the event of such a

failure the MDC would call for internationally supervised new

elections. (In fact, some within the MDC, and the Botswana

government, are already calling for new elections.)

 

4. (C) The international community’s response to such a

scenario involves two major challenges. First, it would be

necessary to overcome ZANU-PF rejection of internationally

supervised elections. Second, the human, financial and

material resources required to carry out electoral

observation would be significant.

 

—————————

WAYS TO PRESSURE THE REGIME

—————————

 

5. (C) If MDC leaders withdrew from the September 15

agreement, ZANU-PF’s preference would be to govern with the

participation of co-opted or compromised opposition

politicians. (Ref B describes one tactic of the regime’s

strategy to compromise MDC politicians.) The first order of

business for the international community would be to make

this alternative impractical. It is notable that since the

signing of the September 15 agreement Mugabe has behaved (and

been permitted to behave) as if his right to the presidency

is unassailable despite the fact that the implementation of

 

HARARE 00000960 002 OF 003

 

 

the agreement is incomplete. If the October 27 Southern

African Development Community (SADC) troika meeting does not

result in an agreement on allocation of ministries, Post

suggests that the USG and like-minded governments begin

immediately to press the point publicly and with regional

interlocutors that recognition of Mugabe as President of

Zimbabwe in the absence of implementation of the September 15

agreement is inappropriate, since all agreed that the June 27

elections were not a valid representation of the will of the

Zimbabwean people. With an unambiguous failure of the

agreement, we should press SADC and the African Union (AU) to

refuse Mugabe standing. While ostracism by the West has

become a badge of pride for ZANU-PF, legitimacy in Africa

matters to Mugabe. ZANU-PF did not steal the March 29

election through obvious fraud because it knew that such

blatant disregard for democracy would have sacrificed

legitimacy. Mugabe might again accept a new election as the

price of legitimacy.

 

6. (C) While Mugabe and ZANU-PF might accept an election,

they will resist at all costs a degree of international

supervision that would prohibit voter intimidation,

manipulation and fraud. The following are among measures

Post believes we should consider over the medium term to

exert pressure on the regime:

 

–Pressing SADC and the AU to press Mugabe: SADC and AU

refusal to recognize the legitimacy of a Mugabe presidency

and a ZANU-PF government that did not adhere to the framework

of the September 15 agreement would be a critical first step.

We should consider what leverage we have over these

institutions and whether we are prepared to use it.

 

–Intensification of bilateral sanctions: With sanctions on

parastatals we have begun to move beyond narrowly targeted

sanctions toward measures that affect the Zimbabwean economy.

If we are serious, we need to include critical institutions,

most notably the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

 

–UNSC resolutions and sanctions.

 

–Elimination of elements of normal relations: We could take

such steps as discontinuing routine visa issuance in Harare,

stopping support for cultural events, or reducing our

diplomatic presence in Harare.

 

–Recognition of a government in exile.

 

–Suspension of humanitarian assistance: Post believes this

should not be considered except as a last resort.

 

——————————————— —-

PLANNING FOR INTERNATIONALLY SUPERVISED ELECTIONS

——————————————— —-

 

7. (C) When pressing Mugabe to accept international

supervision, we will need to have a clear idea of the minimum

requirements for successful elections in Zimbabwe. We will

need to reach a consensus with the UN, the African Union and

SADC about the roles of regional and international

organizations. We will also need to identify resources to

support such an effort.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

8. (C) The continuum of possible scenarios in Zimbabwe

includes alternatives to the imperfect but acceptable outcome

that would prompt reengagement and complete collapse. An

“inclusive government” could muddle along for an extended

 

HARARE 00000960 003 OF 003

 

 

period without completely falling apart or reaching the

threshold for renewed international development assistance.

The MDC leadership could be co-opted into a status quo

policy. Either contingency would require a different policy

response.

 

9. (C) In some ways, an unambiguous failure will be the

easiest scenario for the U.S., the UK, and other Mugabe

regime critics: we will be able to respond with unambiguous

condemnation. But such a failure will be the hardest to

endure for the people of Zimbabwe. While the Mugabe regime’s

continuation in power as a rogue state would offend our

values, it would condemn millions of Zimbabweans to continued

deprivation of basic human rights, hunger and disease. END

COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

 

(4 VIEWS)

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