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Why Mugabe backed off

President Robert Mugabe backed off from announcing himself winner of the 2008 elections because of the large support for Movement for Democratic Change candidate Morgan Tsvangirai and pressure from the military and his own party.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was going to announce that Tsvangirai had won slightly less than 50 percent which would necessitate a run-off within 21 days.

United States embassy sources said the ZEC was going to announce that the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front had won most of the parliamentary seats, but would be a minority with the candidates allied to Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni gaining the majority of seats.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE249, HARARE CALM, RUNOFF LIKELY

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE249

2008-03-31 08:29

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8696

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0249 0910829

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 310829Z MAR 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2651

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1856

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1980

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0553

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1257

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1614

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2036

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4467

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1107

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000249

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

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: 03/31/2018

TAGS: PREL PGOV ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: HARARE CALM, RUNOFF LIKELY

 

REF: HARARE 247 AND PREVIOUS

 

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

 

1. (C) Two separate sources have told us that President

Robert Mugabe, who appeared ready to have himself declared

the victor yesterday, backed off in the face of large support

for MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai and pressure from the

military and within his party. It now appears that the

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will announce that

Tsvangirai has won slightly less than 50 percent of the vote

 

SIPDIS

and that Mugabe has won slightly over 40 percent. This would

result in a runoff to be held within 21 days. Our sources

also believe that the ZEC will announce that ZANU-PF has won

most of the parliamentary seats, but will be a minority with

candidates allied to Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni gaining the

majority share of seats.

 

2. (U) At about 6:30 am, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting

Corporation began coverage of the ZEC announcing the results

of House of Assembly races. Six results were announced; the

MDC won four and ZANU-PF won two. Coverage then stopped; we

do not know when it will recommence.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

3. (C) Harare and the rest of Zimbabwe appear calm. While

the result predicted by our sources is obviously rigged, it

should diffuse tensions that built up yesterday when it

appeared that Mugabe would steal an outright victory. We

will continue to monitor the vote as it comes in today. END

COMMENT.

MCGEE

(12 VIEWS)

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