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ZANU-PF requests suspension of talks with MDC

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front on 9 May 2002 requested the suspension of talks with the Movement for Democratic Change citing as one of the reasons the MDC’s challenge of the presidential elections which President Robert Mugabe had won in March.

The leader of the ZANU-PF negotiating team Patrick Chinamasa said his party believed that because of the legal challenge, “the judicial process must be allowed to run its course”.

He said that the talks should not resume until final resolution of the court case.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s special advisor Gandi Mudzingwa said the MDC would not press the ruling party to participate in talks, but would likely state publicly that its door was always open for negotiations should ZANU-PF wish to engage.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 02HARARE1136, ZANU-PF REQUESTS SUSPENSION OF PARTY TALKS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE1136

2002-05-10 11:38

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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001136

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AF DIRECTOR FRAZER

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/10/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF REQUESTS SUSPENSION OF PARTY TALKS

 

REF: A) HARARE 913 B) HARARE 907 C) HARARE 898 AND

 

PREVIOUS

 

Classified By: political section chief Matt Harrington.

Reasons: 1.5 (B) and (D).

 

1. (U) ZANU-PF has requested suspension of the talks with

the opposition MDC. In a letter dated May 9 (faxed to AF/S)

to the Nigerian and South African facilitators, the leader of

the ruling party’s negotiating team — Justice Minister

Patrick Chinamasa — cited several reasons for the request.

First and foremost, the MDC had filed a legal challenge of

the presidential election results.   ZANU-PF believed “the

judicial process must be allowed to run its course” and that

the talks should not resume until final resolution of the

court case. Chinamasa also accused the MDC of acting in bad

faith by placing “inflammatory newspaper adverts about the

ongoing talks and planting false stories in the media

alleging ZANU-PF violence.” Of course, no Chinamasa

rhetorical flourish would be complete without a finger of

blame pointed at the United Kingdom. In an apparent

reference to an anodyne comment by the British High

Commissioner expressing his support for the inter-party

talks, Chinamasa wrote “it is not in the interest of the

Dialogue for the MDC to use the British Government as a

divisive imperial voice in a dialogue that is supposed to be

among Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans and their country.”

 

2. (C) A South African diplomat told us that the

facilitators — Kgalema Motlanthe and Adebayo Adedeji — had

not yet arrived in Zimbabwe for next week’s round of talks.

However, the letters would be conveyed to them, and he

suspected they would consult with their respective bosses —

Presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo — to agree on an appropriate

reaction.

 

3. (C) Gandi Mudzingwa, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s

special advisor and a member of the party’s negotiating team,

was convoked by the South African and Nigerian High

Commissioners the morning of May 10, after the

state-controlled “The Herald” carried a front-page story

titled “Interparty Talks Shelved.” They told Mudzingwa that

they had received Chinamasa’s letter but had not read it (a

puzzling assertion since we got our copy of the letter from a

South African diplomat) and forwarded it to Motlanthe and

Adedeji. In the absence of any further official

communication, the MDC should assume that the facilitators

will arrive as scheduled on May 12 and that the talks will

begin as planned on May 13. Mudzingwa told us the MDC would

not press the ruling party to participate in talks, but would

likely state publicly that its door is always open for

negotiations, should ZANU-PF wish to engage.

 

4. (C) Comment: ZANU-PF was never enthusiastic about

participating in these talks, and has clearly seized on the

MDC’s legal challenge as a pretext — along with other flimsy

excuses — for withdrawing.   The ruling party was not

interested in discussing the legitimacy of Mugabe’s election

victory, and the suspension request suggests a fear it might

be forced to make unwanted concessions. ZANU-PF’s move will

certainly not strengthen the party’s standing with Presidents

Mbeki and Obasanjo, who have devoted significant personal

attention to Zimbabwe’s crisis. It will be interesting to

see whether the facilitators merely concur with Chinamasa’s

request, or whether they push back. For its part, the MDC,

which expected little from this forum, can now claim the high

moral ground and assume the mantle of magnanimity.

SULLIVAN

 

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