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Zvobgo planned to ditch Mugabe for Tsvangirai two weeks before elections

Masvingo Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front provincial supremo Eddison Zvobgo planned to ditch President Robert Mugabe and endorse Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai two weeks before the 2002 presidential elections in exchange for the post of Speaker of Parliament.

This is contained a diplomatic cable dispatched by the United States embassy in Harare on 5 February 2002 in which Tsvangirai said he had set up a transition committee to take over the government if he won the elections.

The elections were scheduled for 9 to 11 March.

The four-member transition committee was to be led by Ian Makone with other members being Brian Raftopolous, Rene Loewenson and Charles Hove.

Zimbabwean businessman Nigel Chanakira was to be appointed Finance Minister with MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube as Home Affairs Minister and David Coltart Justice Minister.

ZANU-PF Member of Parliament for Masvingo Eddison Zvobgo, a long-time ruling party stalwart but strong critic of President Robert Mugabe, was to be appointed Speaker of Parliament.

In exchange, Zvobgo — who remained very influential in the southern province of Masvingo — had undertaken to announce publicly two weeks before the election that he would not vote for Mugabe.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 02HARARE315, MDC PLANNING FOR TRANSITION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE315

2002-02-05 14:31

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.

 

051431Z Feb 02

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9550

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00315 01 OF 02 051446Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00   DINT-00 DODE-00

DOEE-00 DOTE-00 WHA-00   SRPP-00 DS-00   EAP-00   EB-00

EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00

LAB-01   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

SWCI-00   /007W

——————624E54 051447Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0875

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY KINGSTON PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY

NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000315

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

PARIS FOR NEARY

LONDON FOR GURNEY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/12

TAGS: PGOV PINR ZI MDC

SUBJECT: MDC PLANNING FOR TRANSITION

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF MATT HARRINGTON. REASONS:

1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) THE MDC HAS ESTABLISHED A FOUR-PERSON TEAM THAT IS QUIETLY

WORKING ON THE TRANSITION PERIOD, DRAWING UP AN ACTION PLAN FOR THE

FIRST 100 DAYS, AND DEVISING A LIST OF CANDIDATES FOR KEY

POSITIONS. IF ELECTED, MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI WOULD GIVE

THE FINANCE MINISTRY PORTFOLIO TO PROMINENT ZIMBABWEAN BUSINESSMAN

NIGEL CHANKIRA, WHILE MDC MP DAVID COLTART WOULD BE APPOINTED

JUSTICE MINISTER AND MDC SECRETARY-GENERAL WELSHMAN NCUBE HOME

AFFAIRS MINISTER. IN AN INTERESTING DEVELOPMENT, RULING PARTY

STALWART EDDISON ZVOBGO WOULD BE NAMED SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT IN

EXCHANGE FOR HIS ENDORSEMENT OF TSVANGIRAI TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE

ELECTION. TSVANGIRAI WOULD PREFER NOT TO DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT IF HE

WINS, BUT WOULD INSTEAD FOCUS ON THE 30 NON-ELECTED MPS, APPOINTING

HIS OWN PEOPLE TO 20 OF THOSE SLOTS AND EXPECTING THE REMAINING TEN

CHIEFS TO VOTE WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DAY. THE MDC BELIEVES IT

HAS MADE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN WINNING THE SUPPORT OF TRADITIONAL

LEADERS IN MASHONALAND CENTRAL AND MASHONALAND EAST — LONG A ZANU-

PF STRONGHOLD — AND BELIEVES IT CAN WIN 50 PERCENT OF THE VOTE IN

THE FORMER AND 42-43 PERCENT IN THE LATTER. THE LEVEL OF VIOLENCE

AGAINST MDC SUPPORTERS IS SUBSIDING IN MOST AREAS OF THE COUNTRY AS

THE GOZ ANTICIPATES THE ARRIVAL OF INTERNATIONAL ELECTION

OBSERVERS. END SUMMARY.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00315 01 OF 02 051446Z

 

MDC TRANSITION TEAM

——————-

 

2. (C) IN A FEBRUARY 5 CONVERSATION WITH POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF,

THE MDC PRESIDENT’S SPECIAL ADVISOR, GANDI MUDZINGWA, SAID THE MDC

HAS QUIETLY ESTABLISHED A FOUR-PERSON TRANSITION TEAM. THE GROUP

IS IDENTIFYING KEY ISSUES FOR THE OPPOSITION PARTY TO FOCUS ON

DURING THE TRANSITION PERIOD, DRAWING UP A 100-DAY ACTION PLAN, AND

DEVISING A LIST OF INDIVIDUALS WHO COULD SERVE IN IMPORTANT

POSITIONS. THE TEAM IS LED BY IAN MAKONI, A LEADING HARARE

BUSINESSMAN; BRIAN RAFTOPOULOS, A FELLOW AT THE UNIVERSITY OF

ZIMBABWE’S INSTITUTE OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES AND ONE OF THIS

COUNTRY’S MOST ASTUTE POLITICAL ANALYSTS; DR. RENEE LOWENSON, A

CONSULTANT WHO HAS WORKED WITH THE ZIMBABWE CONGRESS OF TRADE

UNIONS (ZCTU) FOR MORE THAN TEN YEARS AND WHO WAS “IMMENSELY”

HELPFUL IN SETTING UP THE MDC; AND DR. CHARLES HOVE, FORMERLY A

SENIOR OFFICIAL AT THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE NOW LECTURING IN

CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AT A SOUTH AFRICAN UNIVERSITY. MUDZINGWA WOULD

NOT BE DRAWN ON THE SUBSTANCE OF THE GROUP’S RECOMMENDATIONS TO

DATE, SAYING THEY ARE STILL VERY CLOSE HOLD.

 

MDC CABINET

———–

 

3. (C) ASKED WHETHER MDC PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI HAS IDENTIFIED

INDIVIDUALS TO SERVE IN HIS CABINET, MUDZINGWA SAID SEVERAL

DECISIONS HAD BEEN MADE. NIGEL CHANAKIRA, CHAIRMAN OF KINGDOM

FINANCIAL HOLDINGS — ZIMBABWE’S MOST SUCCESSFUL INDIGENOUS

MERCHANT BANK — HAD AGREED TO ACCEPT THE FINANCE PORTFOLIO. MDC

MP AND HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER DAVID COLTART WOULD BE APPOINTED JUSTICE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00315 01 OF 02 051446Z

MINISTER, WITH ONE IMPORTANT PROVISO.   COLTART HAS DONE A LOT OF

PREPARATORY WORK FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF A TRUTH AND JUSTICE

COMMISSION AND WAS DETERMINED TO SEEK RETRIBUTION AGAINST THOSE

RESPONSIBLE FOR ZIMBABWE’S CURRENT PLIGHT, ACCORDING TO MUDZINGWA.

TSVANGIRAI IS CONCERNED THAT HAVING A WHITE ZIMBABWEAN LEADING THIS

 

SIPDIS

EFFORT WOULD SEND ALL THE WRONG SIGNALS, SO HE HAS QUIETLY DECIDED

TO PLACE THE TRUTH AND JUSTICE COMMISSION UNDER PARLIAMENT’S

AUTHORITY. (N.B. PLEASE STRICTLY PROTECT THIS LATTER POINT.

TSVANGIRAI SHARED THIS INTENTION WITH MUDZINGWA IN CONFIDENCE AND

 

SIPDIS

HAS NOT YET HAD A CHANCE TO DISCUSS IT WITH COLTART.) WELSHMAN

NCUBE, THE MDC’S SECRETARY-GENERAL, A PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL

LAW AND ONE OF THE PARTY’S INTELLECTUAL HEAVYWEIGHTS, WOULD LIKELY

SERVE AS THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS.   ZANU-PF MP EDDISON ZVOBGO,

A LONGTIME RULING PARTY STALWART BUT STRONG CRITIC OF PRESIDENT

MUGABE, WOULD BE APPOINTED SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT. IN EXCHANGE,

ZVOBGO — WHO REMAINS VERY INFLUENTIAL IN THE SOUTHERN PROVINCE OF

MASVINGO — HAS UNDERTAKEN TO ANNOUNCE PUBLICLY TWO WEEKS BEFORE

THE ELECTION THAT HE WILL NOT VOTE FOR MUGABE, AND DECLARE THAT

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI IS THE CANDIDATE BEST ABLE TO RESTORE PEACE AND

PROSPERITY TO ZIMBABWE. (COMMENT: SUCH AN ENDORSEMENT COULD

ENSURE THAT MASVINGO — WHICH BOTH MAJOR PARTIES CONSIDER PIVOTAL

TO THE ELECTION OUTCOME AND WHOSE RESIDENTS ARE CURRENTLY EVENLY

SPLIT BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES — SWINGS FIRMLY INTO THE MDC CAMP.

END COMMENT.)

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9553

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00315 02 OF 02 051447Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00

DOTE-00 WHA-00   SRPP-00 DS-00   EAP-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   IRM-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00

/006W

——————624E61 051448Z /38

P 051431Z FEB 02

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0876

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY KINGSTON PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY

NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000315

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

PARIS FOR NEARY

LONDON FOR GURNEY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00315 02 OF 02 051447Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/12

TAGS: PGOV PINR ZI MDC

SUBJECT: MDC PLANNING FOR TRANSITION

 

NOT NECESSARY TO DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT

————————————

 

4. (C) ASKED WHETHER TSVANGIRAI WOULD DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT UPON

ASSUMING POWER, MUDZINGWA SAID SUCH A STEP WOULD BE UNNECESSARY.

HE NOTED THAT THE MDC CURRENTLY HOLDS 56 SEATS IN THE 150-SEAT

PARLIAMENT. INSTEAD OF CALLING A NEW ELECTION, TSVANGIRAI WOULD

FOCUS ON THE 30 UNELECTED SEATS. HE WOULD COUNT ON THE TEN CHIEFS

— WHO ARE SELECTED BY OTHER CHIEFS — TO SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT OF

THE DAY, WHILE REPLACING THE EIGHT GOVERNORS AND 12 NON-

CONSTITUENCY MEMBERS WHO ARE APPOINTED DIRECTLY BY THE PRESIDENT.

ADDING THOSE TWENTY SEATS TO THE 56 THE MDC ALREADY HOLDS WOULD

GIVE THE PARTY A RAZOR-THIN MAJORITY. IN ADDITION, THE PARTY WOULD

CONTINUE TO PRESS THE COURTS TO HEAR EXPEDITIOUSLY THE PENDING

LEGAL CHALLENGES OF ZANU-PF VICTORIES IN 28 CONSTITUENCIES IN THE

JUNE 2000 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. (COMMENT: AVOIDING THE

DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT WOULD ALLOW TSVANGIRAI TO PORTRAY HIMSELF

AS A NEW KIND OF LEADER COMMITTED TO REDUCING THE CONSIDERABLE

POWERS THAT HAVE ACCRUED TO THE ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENCY. ON THE

OTHER HAND, THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT THE TEN CHIEFS WOULD VOTE

WITH THE MDC, AND RELYING ON 76 MPS ALWAYS TO TOE THE PARTY LINE IS

RISKY. IT MIGHT ALSO BE DIFFICULT FOR AN MDC GOVERNMENT TO JUSTIFY

TO THE ZIMBABWEAN PUBLIC ALLOWING ZANU-PF MPS WHO EMPLOYED VIOLENCE

AND INTIMIDATION TO ENSURE THEIR OWN ELECTIONS — SUCH AS CHINHOYI

MP PHILIP CHIYANGWA AND MOUNT DARWIN SOUTH MP SAVIOUR “MIKE TYSON”

KASUKUWERE — TO RETAIN THEIR SEATS. END COMMENT.)

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00315 02 OF 02 051447Z

 

TRADITIONAL LEADERS SHIFTING THEIR ALLEGIANCES?

——————————————— —

 

5. (C) MUDZINGWA REPORTED THAT TSVANGIRAI HAS BEEN MEETING

DISCREETLY WITH TRADITIONAL LEADERS FROM MASHONALAND, LONG A RULING

PARTY STRONGHOLD. IN THE MOST RECENT GATHERING — IN HARARE THE

WEEK OF JANUARY 28 — A MAJORITY OF THE TRADITIONAL LEADERS FROM

MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE TOLD TSVANGIRAI THEY WOULD NOT VOTE

FOR MUGABE IN THE UPCOMING ELECTION OR TELL THEIR CONSTITUENTS TO

DO SO. THE INROADS TSVANGIRAI HAS MADE WITH TRADITIONAL LEADERS IN

A REGION THAT HAS BEEN DECLARED OFF-LIMITS TO THE OPPOSITION PARTY

— BY WAR VETERANS AND ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS — HAS BUOYED THE MDC’S

HOPES THAT IT CAN WIN APPROXIMATELY 50 PERCENT OF THE VOTE IN

MASHONALAND CENTRAL AND 42-43 PERCENT IN MASHONALAND EAST. ASKED

WHETHER HE WAS ALSO OPTIMISTIC ABOUT MASHONALAND WEST, MUDZINGWA

DEMURRED, SAYING THAT PROVINCE WAS MORE “PROBLEMATIC.” (COMMENT:

ZANU-PF HAS EXERTED CONSIDERABLE PRESSURE ON TRADITIONAL LEADERS —

WHO ARE ON THE GOVERNMENT PAYROLL — TO GET THEIR CONSTITUENTS TO

THE POLLING STATIONS ON ELECTION DAY. IF THE TRADITIONAL LEADERS

IN MASHONALAND CENTRAL MAKE GOOD ON THEIR PLEDGE — AND IF THE

SENTIMENTS THEY REPORTEDLY EXPRESSED TO TSVANGIRAI ARE SHARED BY A

GROWING NUMBER OF THEIR COUNTERPARTS IN OTHER REGIONS — MUGABE

COULD BE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE. THE MDC HAS CONSISTENTLY TOLD US THAT

IT NEEDS TO GET BETWEEN 30-40 PERCENT OF THE VOTE IN MASHONALAND TO

WIN. ANYTHING HIGHER THAN THAT WOULD LIKELY BE ICING ON THE CAKE.

END COMMENT.)

 

VIOLENCE SUBSIDING

——————

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00315 02 OF 02 051447Z

6. (C) MUDZINGWA TOLD US THAT THE LEVEL OF GOZ-SANCTIONED VIOLENCE

AGAINST MDC SUPPORTERS HAD BEGUN TO DECLINE NOTICEABLY IN MANY

AREAS OF THE COUNTRY, ALTHOUGH SERIOUS INCIDENTS CONTINUED TO

OCCUR. (NOTE: THE MDC IS STILL INVESTIGATING RECENT REPORTS OF THE

KILLING OF THREE OF ITS SUPPORTERS AND THE ABDUCTIONS OF FOUR

OTHERS, AND WILL RELEASE DETAILS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.) SUCH A

GENERAL DECLINE WAS PREDICTABLE, MUDZINGWA SAID, AS THE GOZ IS

BACKING OFF IN PREPARATION FOR THE ARRIVAL OF INTERNATIONAL

ELECTION OBSERVERS. HE ADDED THAT THE MDC INTENDS WITHIN THE NEXT

WEEK TO SET UP AN ELECTION COMMAND CENTER, ONE OF WHOSE FUNCTIONS

WILL BE TO INFORM OBSERVER DELEGATIONS AND RESIDENT DIPLOMATIC

MISSIONS QUICKLY OF INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE, INTIMIDATION, AND

ELECTORAL IRREGULARITIES.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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