The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front offered the Movement for Democratic Change 40 percent of the cabinet posts in government as well as one vice-presidency if it entered into a government of national unity.
The MDC had also to agree to the postponement of the 2002 presidential elections and not to prosecute senior ZANU-PF members for past misdeeds.
The offer, according to a cable released by Wikileaks, was made by Goodson Nguni on behalf of Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa who was also ZANU-PF secretary for administration, the fourth most powerful person in the party, to MDC advisor Clive Puzey.
Puzey told United States embassy officials that he had briefed party leader Morgan Tsvangirai about Nguni’s offer and the MDC had insisted that it would not accept the vice-presidency as this would tie a senior party figure in a powerless post.
The MDC would, however, insist on heading the economic policy ministries and home affairs.
The embassy said although Puzey had no good answer as to why ZANU-PF was sending out such a feeler, it found the offer a credible one.
“In our opinion, the ruling party is under strong pressure from the under-performing economy, the looming poor harvest, increasing international isolation, and an opposition that is reaping political capital from its mishaps,” the embassy said.
“It makes sense to take the bold stroke of bringing the opposition into the tent and give it impossibly difficult portfolios at which it would fail.
“In the minds of ZANU-PF strategists, the attacks in the foreign press would then cease and the donor community would open its purse to fund land reform and other development needs.
“Most importantly, Mugabe would remain in power and his cronies would enjoy protection from the law. The opposition party thus would be co-opted, discredited or neutralized.”
Viewing cable 01HARARE628, RULING PARTY PUTS OUT A FEELER TO THE
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
021114Z Feb 01
PAGE 01 HARARE 00628 021116Z
INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-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 IO-00 L-00 VCE-00
AC-01 NSAE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00
PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 SSO-00 STR-00 TRSE-00
USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-01 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00
——————BFBD1B 021117Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8165
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000628
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/02/10
SUBJECT: RULING PARTY PUTS OUT A FEELER TO THE
PAGE 02 HARARE 00628 021116Z
CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR
REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).
¶1. (C) MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) SENIOR
ADVISOR CLIVE PUZEY (PROTECT) INFORMED POLITICAL SECTION
CHIEF ON FEBRUARY 2 THAT OVER THE JANUARY 27-28 WEEKEND,
GOODSON NGUNI, REPORTEDLY A RELATIVE OF SPEAKER OF
PARLIAMENT AND SENIOR ZANU-PF POLITBURO MEMBER EMMERSON
MNANGAGWA, INVITED THE OPPOSITION PARTY TO ENTER
FORTHWITH INTO A GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY. ONLY
PUZEY AND NGUNI WERE PRESENT AT THE MEETING, BUT PUZEY
LATER BRIEFED MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI AND TWO
OTHER SENIOR OPPOSITION PARTY MEMBERS ON THE SUBSTANCE
OF THE DISCUSSION. ZANU-PF WAS PREPARED TO OFFER THE
MDC 40 PERCENT OF CABINET POSITIONS PLUS A VICE
PRESIDENCY, ACCORDING TO PUZEY. IN EXCHANGE, THE ZANU-
PF OFFICIAL REPORTEDLY WANTED THE MDC’S AGREEMENT
NEITHER TO HOLD A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 2002 NOR
PROSECUTE SENIOR ZANU-PF MEMBERS FOR PAST MISDEEDS.
PUZEY LISTENED, MADE NO COMMITMENTS AND SUBSEQUENTLY,
WITH TSVANGIRAI’S BLESSING, AGREED TO CONTINUE LOW
PROFILE MEETINGS OUTSIDE ZIMBABWE, PERHAPS IN LUSAKA.
¶2. (C) THE MDC’S THINKING ON THE OFFER WAS STILL
INCHOATE BUT THE PARTY HAS NOT DISMISSED IT OUT OF HAND,
PUZEY ALLOWED. HE SAID THE OPPOSITION PARTY WOULD
INSIST ON HEADING THE ECONOMIC POLICY MINISTRIES AND
HOME AFFAIRS, AND ON THEIR CABINET MINISTERS BEING ABLE
TO SPEAK FREELY. THE VICE PRESIDENCY IS OUT, HE STATED,
AS IT WOULD TIE UP A SENIOR MDC FIGURE IN A POWERLESS IF
PAGE 03 HARARE 00628 021116Z
PRESTIGIOUS POST, AND THE MDC LIKELY WOULD INSIST ON
GOING AHEAD WITH THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 2002.
PUZEY CLAIMED THAT FIVE ZANU-PF MINISTERS, INCLUDING
SIMBA MAKONI AND NKOSANA MOYO, WERE FED UP AND “ARE ON
BOARD WITH US.” THE MDC LEADERSHIP IS ALSO CONCERNED
THAT IT WILL BE UNABLE TO CONTAIN A WAVE OF VIOLENCE
THAT ITS ANGRY MEMBERS MIGHT START SPONTANEOUSLY,
POSSIBLY LEADING TO A DE FACTO CIVIL WAR. MOREOVER, OUR
INTERLOCUTOR SAID, EVEN IF THE MDC WINS THE 2002
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, ZANU-PF WOULD NOT ALLOW THE PARTY
TO ASSUME POWER. INSTEAD, PRESIDENT MUGABE ALMOST
CERTAINLY WOULD DECLARE MARTIAL LAW AND RULE BY DECREE.
¶3. (C) COMMENT: PUZEY HAD NO GOOD ANSWER AS TO WHY
ZANU-PF IS SENDING OUT SUCH A FEELER, ALTHOUGH WE FIND
THE OFFER A CREDIBLE ONE. IN OUR OPINION, THE RULING
PARTY IS UNDER STRONG PRESSURE FROM THE UNDER-PERFORMING
ECONOMY, THE LOOMING POOR HARVEST, INCREASING
INTERNATIONAL ISOLATION, AND AN OPPOSITION THAT IS
REAPING POLITICAL CAPITAL FROM ITS MISHAPS. IT MAKES
SENSE TO TAKE THE BOLD STROKE OF BRINGING THE OPPOSITION
INTO THE TENT AND GIVE IT IMPOSSIBLY DIFFICULT
PORTFOLIOS AT WHICH IT WOULD FAIL. IN THE MINDS OF
ZANU-PF STRATEGISTS, THE ATTACKS IN THE FOREIGN PRESS
WOULD THEN CEASE AND THE DONOR COMMUNITY WOULD OPEN ITS
PURSE TO FUND LAND REFORM AND OTHER DEVELOPMENT NEEDS.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, MUGABE WOULD REMAIN IN POWER AND HIS
CRONIES WOULD ENJOY PROTECTION FROM THE LAW. THE
OPPOSITION PARTY THUS WOULD BE CO-OPTED, DISCREDITED OR
PAGE 04 HARARE 00628 021116Z
¶4. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: AT THE MOMENT IT APPEARS THAT
THE GOVERNMENT HOLDS THE GUNS AND THE MDC THE POLITICAL
LEGITIMACY HERE. FOLLOWING THIS OFFER, WE IMAGINE THE
OPPOSITION FINDS ITSELF ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA.
SHOULD IT LEND ITS GOOD NAME TO THE GOVERNMENT IN THE
SEARCH FOR PEACE AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY, OR SHOULD IT
FIGHT FOR POWER ON ITS OWN TERMS IN WHAT COULD BE A
PYRRHIC VICTORY, GIVEN THE VIOLENCE THAT THE GOVERNMENT
CLEARLY IS PREPARED TO DEPLOY IN SUCH A CONTEST? END