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Why Tsvangirai will not allow inclusive government to collapse

The inclusive government which brought together the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front three years ago will not collapse because Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai views its failure as a personal failure.

“This government is going to limp on until kingdom come with no progress on democratic reform” until President Robert Mugabe dies or the people become restless enough to take action, which was highly unlikely, Tsvangirai’s former spokesman George Sibotshiwe told United States embassy officials.

He was talking about growing anger within the MDC over Tsvangirai’s failure to make progress on issues such as the disputed positions of central bank governor Gideon Gono and attorney general Johannes Tomana and Mugabe’s refusal to swear in Roy Bennett as deputy Minister of Agriculture.

Sibotshiwe said Tsvangirai was losing support and this could be worsened by the exodus of Zimbabweans into the diaspora yet the MDC was failing to promote the enfranchisement of Zimbabweans abroad.

Mugabe, on the other hand, was showing that he was in control of Zimbabwe and Tsvangirai had just been given power in theory, not in practice.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09PRETORIA1450, A DIASPORA PERSPECTIVE ON ZIMBABWE POLITICAL

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09PRETORIA1450

2009-07-17 15:36

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

P 171536Z JUL 09

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9081

INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY

AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG PRIORITY

NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L PRETORIA 001450

 

 

DEPT FOR AF/S – BISTAS AND AF/S – WALCHB

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/16/2019

TAGS: KDEM PGOV PREL ZANU SF ZM

SUBJECT: A DIASPORA PERSPECTIVE ON ZIMBABWE POLITICAL

DYNAMICS

 

Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Madeline Q. Seidenstricker.

Reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).

 

1. (C) Summary: In a meeting with Poloff on July 15, 2009,

George Sibotshiwe, former spokesman for Movement for

Democratic Change (MDC) President Morgan Tsvangirai and a

Zimbabwean national residing in South Africa, provided his

analysis of changing political dynamics in Zimbabwe. He said

Tsvangirai was under heavy criticism from some of the top MDC

leadership for lack of progress on outstanding issues. He

discussed the political strategy of President Robert Mugabe

and his ZANU-PF party to discredit Tsvangirai as an authority

in Zimbabwe. Sibotshiwe had no hope that SADC would

intervene to enforce compliance with the Global Political

Agreement to improve the political situation, but thought

SADC might be influenced to address the economic crisis,

which could be used to bring about results on the political

front. End summary.

 

————————–

TSVANGIRAI LOSING SUPPORT?

————————–

 

2. (C) Sibotshiwe worried that Tsvangirai could be losing

political support. He said participants at the MDC Caucus

meeting on July 13 were “very angry” with Tsvangirai for

failing to make progress on the outstanding issues, e.g.

positions of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney

General Johannes Tomana and swearing in of Agriculture Deputy

Minister-designate Roy Bennett and governors. He said

Tsvangirai is very defensive of the inclusive government

because if it failed, Tsvangirai would take it as a personal

failure. Sibotshiwe added, “This government is going to limp

on until kingdom come with no progress on democratic reform”

until President Robert Mugabe dies or the people become

restless enough to take acton, which he said was highly

unlikely. Sibotshiwe predicts that Tsvangirai will lose

30-35 percent of his votes by next June if emigration trends

continue at current rates. He criticized the MDC and

Tsvangirai specifically for failing to promote the

enfranchisement of the Zimbabwean diaspora in order to

capture those votes.

 

———————–

MUGABE STILL IN CONTROL

———————–

 

3. (C) Sibotshiwe perceives Mugabe’s storming out of the

meeting with Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson on the

margins of the African Union Summit as a strategy to

undermine Tsvangirai’s perceived authority days after

Tsvangirai met with President Obama and European leaders. In

Sibotshiwe’s view, Mugabe sent the message that regardless of

Tsvangirai’s standing on the international stage, he has no

control in Zimbabwe. He added, “Tsvangirai was given power

in theory by the Global Political Agreement, but not power in

practice.”

 

4. (C) Sibotshiwe also commented on ZANU-PF political

dynamics. He recently launched the African Democratic

Institute (ADI) with headquarters in Johannesburg and through

which he conducts democratic development activities in

Zimbabwe (more information septel). Through ADI’s work in

Matabeleland, Sibotshiwe learned that there has been a

genuine split in ZANU-PF. He said all of the ZANU-PF party

structures there had converted to ZAPU. He said this

occurred about 2 1/2 months ago when ZAPU re-emerged with an

active, although not strong, presence on the ground.

 

——————————————-

SADC DONE WITH POLITICAL CRISIS IN ZIMBABWE

——————————————-

 

5. (C) Sibotshiwe said his contacts in President Jacob Zuma’s

office told him they were waiting for South Africa’s term as

Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chair to expire

and let the next chair deal with Zimbabwe. Sibotshiwe said,

“SADC is not going to solve (the problems in Zimbabwe)”

because the region’s leaders think they have resolved the

political crisis. Sibotshiwe claimed that Tanzanian

President Jakaya Kikwete told him, “The problem is solved.”

He said South African officials had told top MDC leaders to

“deal with it” and compared negotiations with Mugabe to the

ANC’s negotiations with former South African President F.W.

de Klerk. Sibotshiwe does think, however, that SADC could be

convinced to get more involved in addressing the economic

crisis in Zimbabwe in order to bolster stability in the

region.

 

———————————————

SOUTH AFRICA POSSIBLY MORE HELPFUL UNDER ZUMA

———————————————

 

6. (C) Sibotshiwe suggested the U.S. engage with South Africa

on providing solutions to the economic crisis in Zimbabwe by

offering to tie specific assistance to specific benchmarks.

He believes South Africa under Zuma’s leadership may be

willing to broker a deal to get Mugabe’s cooperation.

Sibotshiwe said since Zuma came into power, the South African

Government (SAG) has been more responsive to his requests,

adding that his greatest success has come by channeling his

requests through the Congress of South African Trade Unions

(COSATU). For example, he said he complained to COSATU about

its and the SAG’s lack of action on illegal diamond mining.

Within days COSATU issued a statement on the subject and a

Kimberley Process group went to Zimbabwe to investigate,

which Sibotshiwe believes the SAG put in motion in response

to COSATU’s interventions. He lamented that MDC had

neglected COSATU and the relationship was “not good.” He

added that his dealings with COSATU were as an interested

individual, not representing MDC.

 

7. (C) Comment: Sibotshiwe has lost influence within the MDC

and is no longer in Tsvangirai’s inner circle. While he has

voiced strong criticism of Tsvangirai’s tactics in private,

his agenda is to promote democracy and not to undermine

Tsvangirai’s support. Sibotshiwe purposely has kept a low

profile in carrying out ADI activities, such as work with the

National Constitutional Assembly on the people-driven

constitutional process.

 

8. (C) Sibotshiwe is a good example of the interest level and

involvement of the Zimbabwe diaspora in what is happening on

the ground in their home country. While most diaspora in

South Africa do not have Sibotshiwe’s level of access to key

political players and resources, average Zimbabweans here are

observing events in Zimbabwe with great interest and take

every opportunity to comment via radio, newspapers, civil

society organizations and other venues. End comment.

 

CONNERS

(5 VIEWS)

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