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Winning an election is different from winning power- Tsvangirai

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai told the British more than a decade ago that winning an election was very different from winning power.

He told them this when he went into discussion about joining a government of national unity with President Robert Mugabe in 2001 adding that he was quite aware of the dangers of doping so.

Tsvangirai said that the country was in a deep crisis. ZANU-PF could not survive without repression and the MDC could not win by confronting that repression. It was therefore in the national interest that they embarked upon dialogue; but the onus was on ZANU-PF because ZANU-PF was on its knees economically, although it was still strong politically.

Tsvangirai said he was going to win the presidential election in 2002, but noted that winning the election would be very different from winning power.

Makes you wonder whether this is not exactly what happened in 2008!

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE760, BRITISH REPORT ON ZANU-PF OVERTURES TO THE MDC

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE760

2001-02-16 09:29

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.

 

160929Z Feb 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2707

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00760 01 OF 02 160929Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-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   L-00    VCE-00   AC-01

NSAE-00 OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00

P-00     SP-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 BBG-00   R-00     PMB-00

DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /007W

——————C68A50 160929Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8236

INFO NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000760

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X5

TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS ZI MDC ZANU PF

SUBJECT: BRITISH REPORT ON ZANU-PF OVERTURES TO THE MDC

CONFIDENTIAL

 

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00760 01 OF 02 160929Z

 

REF: HARARE 754

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR REASONS 1.5 B/D.

 

1. (C) ON FEBRUARY 16 THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION HERE SHARED WITH

US THE TEXT OF THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE SENT TO LONDON FEBRUARY 15

REPORTING ON MORGAN TSVANGIRAI’S OBSERVATIONS WITH RESPECT TO ZANU-PF

OVERTURES TO HIS PARTY.

 

2. (C) BEGIN TEXT:

 

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF OVERTURES TO TSVANGIRAI

 

SUMMARY

 

1. TSVANGIRAI OPENING DIALOGUE WITH GOVERNMENT; BUT NOT TALKING

ABOUT GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY. EARLY DAYS; NOT YET

DISCUSSED WITH MDC EXECUTIVE. SAYS HE IS AWARE OF THE DANGERS

BUT HAS TO RESPOND TO OVERTURES FROM GOZ IN THE INTERESTS OF

THE NATION.

 

DETAIL

 

2. ON 15 FEBRUARY SECOND SECRETARY LINDSAY CALLED ON MDC PRESIDENT TSVA

NGIRAI

TO DISCUSS INFORMATION WE HAD RECEIVED ABOUT OVERTURES

MADE BY ZANU-PF TO THE MDC. TSVANGIRAI SAID THAT THE COUNTRY WAS

IN A DEEP CRISIS; ZANU-PF COULD NOT SURVIVE WITHOUT REPRESSION AND

THE MDC COULD NOT WIN BY CONFRONTING THAT REPRESSION. IT WAS IN THE NA

TIONAL

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00760 01 OF 02 160929Z

INTEREST THAT THEY EMBARK UPON DIALOGUE; BUT THE ONUS WAS

ON ZANU-PF. HE ADDED THAT ZANU-PF WAS ON ITS KNEES ECONOMICALLY,

ALTHOUGH IT WAS STILL STRONG POLITICALLY.

 

3. TSVANGIRAI REITERATED HIS CONVICTION THAT HE WOULD WIN A

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 2002, BUT NOTED THAT WINNING THE ELECTION

WOULD BE VERY DIFFERENT FROM WINNING POWER. WE SHOULD NOT DISMISS

MUGABE’S RHETORIC WHEN HE SAYS THAT HE WOULD NEVER ALLOW TSVANGIRAI

TO BECOME PRESIDENT. THE MDC ALREADY HAD GOOD CONTACTS WITHIN THE

SECURITY FORCES BUT MUGABE HAS CREATED ALTERNATIVE MILITIAS WHICH

COULD VERY QUICKLY CREATE CHAOS. TSVANGIRAI SAID THAT MASS ACTION

WOULD ONLY BE LEGITIMATE IF HE WON THE ELECTION AND WAS NOT ALLOWED

TO ASSUME POWER. EVEN IF HE WAS ALLOWED TO TAKE POWER TSVANGIRAI

WONDERED WHAT WOULD BE LEFT OF THE COUNTRY IN FIFTEEN MONTHS TIME.

HE AGREED THAT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WOULD BE WILLING TO HELP

A GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO SENSIBLE PROGRAMMES OF ECONOMIC RECOVERY

AND REFORM BUT IT WOULD NOT HAPPEN ON THE FIRST DAY AND HE WOULD

NEED BREATHING SPACE.

 

4. FOR THESE REASONS TSVANGIRAI SAID IT WAS SENSIBLE TO HAVE

DISCUSSIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT. BUT THESE WERE AT AN EMBRYONIC

STAGE; THERE HAD BEEN A SERIES OF OVERTURES FROM ZANU-PF BUT NOTHING

CONCRETE. TSVANGIRAI MADE IT CLEAR THAT THE MDC WERE NOT INITIATING AN

YTHING, AND THEY WERE NOT NEGOTIATING. THEY HAD ALREADY SPECIFIED

THAT IF THEY WERE TO ENTER DISCUSSIONS IT WOULD BE AS AN INDEPENDENT

PARTY – EVERYONE KNEW HOW ZAPU HAD BEEN SWALLOWED UP BY ZANU-PF.

 

5. LINDSAY ASKED HOW WIDELY THIS HAD BEEN DISCUSSED WITHIN THE MDC.

TSVANGIRAI SAID THAT THE ONLY WAY TO PROCEED WAS THROUGH OPEN DEBATE

 

SIPDIS

IN THE EXECUTIVE, BUT THIS HAD NOT YET BEGUN. NOBODY WOULD BE FORCED

DOWN THIS ROUTE AND HE EXPECTED SOME VERY STRONG OPPOSITION FROM

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00760 01 OF 02 160929Z

WITHIN HIS PARTY – BUT HE WELCOMED SOME HEALTHY DEBATE. LINDSAY

ASKED WHETHER THEY BELIEVED THE OVERTURES TO BE GENUINE; ALL THE

RHETORIC AND ACTIONS FROM ZANU-PF OVER THE LAST SIX WEEKS INDICATED

A HARDENING OF THEIR POSITION AND INCREASING POLARISATION OF THE

POLITICAL LANDSCAPE. TSVANGIRAI CONCURRED, BUT SAID THAT THE MDC

HAD A NATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO EXPLORE ANY OPPORTUNITIES; THERE

HAD TO BE NATIONAL CONSENSUS OVER THE ISSUES OF RULE OF LAW, LAND

AND THE ECONOMY. THEY WOULD TEST THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE APPROACH

BY DEMANDING AN IMMEDIATE RETURN TO THE RULE OF LAW. HE WAS

EMPHATIC THAT HE WAS NOT THROWING A LIFELINE TO ZANU-PF.

 

6. ON 14 FEBRUARY CLIVE PUZEY, A PROMINENT WHITE BUSINESSMAN WHO

SUPPORTS THE MDC HAD BRIEFED US ABOUT THESE DEVELOPMENTS,

APPARENTLY WITH TSVANGIRAI’S BLESSING. HE WENT INTO MORE DETAIL

WITH A STORY ABOUT FINDING AN OFFSHORE LOCATION FOR SUBSTANTIVE DISCUSS

IONS,

USING THE VATICAN AS AN INTERMEDIARY, AND A

FAR-FETCHED SCHEME BY THE MDC TO FLATTER MUGABE ON HIS BIRTHDAY

(21 FEBRUARY). HE SAID THAT THE ULTIMATE AIM OF PARTICIPATING

IN THIS DIALOGUE WOULD BE TO EXPOSE THE DIVISIONS WITHIN ZANU-PF

AND TO ENSURE MUGABE’S DEMISE.

 

COMMENT

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2710

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00760 02 OF 02 160929Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-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   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00

NFAT-00 SAS-00     /006W

——————C68A58 160929Z /38

R 160929Z FEB 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8237

INFO NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000760

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X5

TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS ZI MDC ZANU PF

SUBJECT: BRITISH REPORT ON ZANU-PF OVERTURES TO THE MDC

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00760 02 OF 02 160929Z

 

7. TSVANGIRAI APPEARED CONFIDENT AND RELAXED DISCUSSING THIS

SUBJECT. HIS PERSONAL ADVISER GANDI MUDZINGWA WAS ALSO PRESENT

AND LATER TOLD LINDSAY THAT THERE WERE MANY PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY

FROM THE WHITE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, WHO THOUGHT THEY COULD BROKER

A DEAL BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES. THE MDC HAD TO SEE WHAT THEY

COULD OFFER, AND EXPLORE ALL AVENUES.

 

8. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT. IF THE OVERTURES FROM

ZANU-PF ARE GENUINE IT REVEALS A REAL CONCERN ABOUT THEIR

RE-ELECTION CHANCES. BUT WE THINK IT MORE LIKELY THAT THEY ARE

TRYING TO MANUFACTURE DIVISIONS WITHIN THE MDC. WE BELIEVE THAT

TSVANGIRAI UNDERESTIMATES THE DANGER THIS COULD POSE TO THE

 

SIPDIS

UNITY OF HIS PARTY, AND WE EMPHASISED TO HIM THE IMPORTANCE OF

WIDE INTERNAL CONSULTATION BEFORE EMBARKING UPON ANY SUBSTANTIVE DISCUS

SIONS.

HE DID CONCEDE THAT IT WAS NOT IN THE MDC’S

ELECTORAL INTEREST TO WORK TO IMPROVE THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY,

BUT REPEATED THAT IT WAS A NATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY. TSVANGIRAI

IS EITHER VERY NAIVE; DEEPLY IN THRALL TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

WHO ONLY SEE CHAOS AND BANKRUPTCY IF THE PRESENT IMPASSES

CONTINUES; OR PLAYING A MORE SUBTLE GAME TRYING TO FIND DIVISIONS

WITHIN ZANU-PF. WE THINK HE IS TRYING TO PURSUE BOTH OF THE

LATTER TWO OPTIONS.

 

ORIGINATOR: RICHARD LINDSAY, SECOND SECRETARY POLITICAL

 

LONGWORTH

 

END TEXT.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00760 02 OF 02 160929Z

3. (C) COMMENT: WE AGREE WITH THE BRITISH ASSESSMENT ABOUT

TSVANGIRAI’S POLITICAL NAIVETE AND ZANU-PF’S PROBABLE INTENTION

 

SIPDIS

OF SPLITTING THE MDC. ON THE OTHER HAND, SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT

EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, WHO INITIATED THE CONTACTS WITH THE MDC,

IS A SHREWD POLITICAL PLAYER. HE MAY BE EXPLORING ALTERNATIVES

TO THE CURRENT COURSE ON WHICH THE RULING PARTY IS TAKING THE

COUNTRY, WEIGHING THE OPTIONS FOR THE GOOD OF ZANU-PF AND, NOT

THE LEAST, HIMSELF AS PRESIDENT MUGABE’S HEIR APPARENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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