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ZANU-PF in the driver’s seat

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was in the driver’s seat and was going to win big either way- reflecting its calculation that most Southern African Development Community members would accept cosmetic reforms and a crushing victory for the party.

This was the view of a United States embassy official eight years ago after the Movement for Democratic Change announced that it would not be participating in the 2005 elections unless the government met certain conditions.

The conditions were:

  • An end to political violence;
  • Repeal of repressive laws such as the Public Order and Security Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the Broadcasting Act;
  • An end to government interference with MDC’s activities;
  • And access to the media by the opposition.

The embassy official said the MDC’s position was not new but many in the party believed that a boycott would play into ZANU-PF’s hands and destroy the MDC.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 04HARARE1444, OPPOSITION REITERATES TENTATIVE BOYCOTT OF

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE1444

2004-08-26 15:15

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 001444

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVELLE, D. TEITELBAUM

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL ZI MDC

SUBJECT: OPPOSITION REITERATES TENTATIVE BOYCOTT OF

ELECTIONS

 

1. (U) The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

announced August 25 that the party,s National Executive had

decided to suspend participation in elections. In a briefing

to the diplomatic corps the same day, MDC President Morgan

Tsvangirai said the GOZ,s proposed election reforms were not

 

SIPDIS

meaningful and that the following would be required for MDC

to consider participating in elections: an end to political

violence; repeal of repressive laws such as the Public Order

and Security Act, the Access to Information and Protection of

Privacy Act, and the Broadcasting Act; an end to government

interference with MDC,s activities; and access to the media

by the opposition. Tsvangirai added that the MDC applauded

the SADC protocol on election standards agreed upon in

Mauritius last week, but it was clear that the Government of

Zimbabwe did not intend to adhere to those principles.

 

2. (U) Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa, quoted in the

government-controlled Herald on August 26, said that MDC,s

decision was a move to avoid certain defeat in the March 2005

parliamentary elections. Chinamasa said he would present a

draft election reform bill to the Cabinet next week.

 

3. (SBU) COMMENT: The MDC,s position is not new but its

vocal reiteration at this time probably reflects the party,s

belief that, in the wake of Mauritius, regional attention is

at a high water mark. MDC is convinced that regional

pressure is key to forcing the GOZ to implement the

principles it agreed to at the SADC Summit. The practical

effect of the MDC,s decision is that it will not contest the

upcoming by-election in Seke–which it would likely have lost

in any event. Longer term, the party has yet to decide

whether it will contest the parliamentary elections if the

government fails to undertake real reform. The MDC would, of

course, lose such an election, but many in the party believe

that a boycott would play into ZANU-PF,s hands and destroy

the MDC. Still others argue for a boycott followed by a

campaign of civil disobedience to pressure the government.

For its part, the ZANU-PF leadership believes it is in the

driver,s seat and will win big either way–reflecting their

calculation that most SADC members will accept cosmetic

reforms and a crushing ZANU-PF victory. END COMMENT.

Schultz

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