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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01HARARE754
2001-02-15 12:09:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

MUGABE SAID TO BE BEHIND OVERTURE TO OPPOSITION

Tags:  PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI ZANU PF MDC 
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151209Z Feb 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8699

PAGE 01        HARARE  00754  01 OF 02  151209Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   AMAD-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    LAB-01   
      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    IRM-00   
      SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00  R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00  
      PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /010W
                  ------------------C60C21  151209Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8228
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000754 

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 02/14/11
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI ZANU PF MDC
SUBJECT: MUGABE SAID TO BE BEHIND OVERTURE TO OPPOSITION

REF: HARARE 628

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00754 01 OF 02 151209Z

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL IRVING. REASONS: 1.5
(B) AND (D).

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) PRESIDENT MUGABE IS BEHIND OVERTURES MADE TO THE
OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) IN LATE
JANUARY BY SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT EMMERSON MNANGAGWA,
ACCORDING TO A SENIOR MDC ADVISOR. THE SECRET CONTACTS ARE
CONTINUING BETWEEN ENVOYS FROM BOTH SIDES AND MIGHT LEAD TO
A MEETING BETWEEN MUGABE AND A SENIOR MDC REPRESENTATIVE
LATER THIS MONTH. WE SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT THE PRESIDENT
INTENDS TO GIVE ANY REAL POWER TO THE MDC BUT, RATHER, HIS
OFFER OF A GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY IS CERTAINLY
DESIGNED TO COOPT HIS OPPOSITION. MDC LEADER MORGAN
TSVANGIRAI IS LIKELY ENGAGING IN THIS DIALOGUE IN AN EFFORT

SIPDIS
TO AVOID FURTHER GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED BLOODSHED AND, WE
SUSPECT, IS ATTRACTED BY THE OPPORTUNITY FOR HIS PARTY TO
HAVE A VOICE IN DECIDING THE WAY FORWARD FOR ZIMBABWE.
TSVANGIRAI WILL HAVE A VERY TOUGH -- IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE --

SIPDIS
TASK CONVINCING MANY IN HIS PARTY'S OWN LEADERSHIP OF THE
VALUE OF JOINING HANDS WITH ZANU-PF, MANY OF WHOM BLAME
MUGABE PERSONALLY FOR ZIMBABWE'S SLIDE INTO POLITICAL AND
ECONOMIC TURMOIL. END SUMMARY.

ZANU-MDC SECRET TALKS CONTINUE


--------------------------





2. (C) WE REPORTED REFTEL THAT SPEAKER OF ZIMBABWE'S
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 00754 01 OF 02 151209Z
PARLIAMENT EMMERSON MNANGAGWA IN LATE JANUARY SENT FEELERS
TO THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC), PROPOSING THAT
THE OPPOSITION PARTY JOIN A GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY.
ALTHOUGH MDC LEADER MORGAN TSVANGIRAI CONSIDERED THE
DETAILS OF MNANGAGWA'S INITIAL OFFER UNACCEPTABLE, HE
AGREED TO CONTINUE THE SECRET DIALOGUE.



3. (C) ON FEBRUARY 14, MDC SENIOR ADVISOR CLIVE PUZEY
(PROTECT) TOLD CHARGE AND POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF THAT
CONTACTS HAVE CONTINUED SINCE HIS FEBRUARY 2 CONVERSATION
WITH US (REFTEL). ACCORDING TO PUZEY, IT IS NOW CLEAR THAT
PRESIDENT MUGABE HIMSELF IS BEHIND MNANGAGWA'S OFFER.
PUZEY REPORTED THAT THE PRESIDENT'S LONG-TIME CONFIDANT,
CATHOLIC PRIEST FATHER FIDELIS MUKONORI, S.J., HAD RECENTLY
MET WITH PUZEY ONE-ON-ONE. IN THAT MEETING, FIDELIS HAD
CLAIMED THAT MUGABE IS UNCERTAIN OF HIS CONTINUED HOLD ON
POWER, DISTRUSTS THOSE AROUND HIM, AND IS AWARE THAT, IF
DEVELOPMENTS HERE CONTINUE ON THEIR PRESENT COURSE,
ZIMBABWE IS FACING CERTAIN ECONOMIC DISASTER. ALL OF THESE
FACTORS, FIDELIS OSTENSIBLY SAID, HAD LED MUGABE TO MAKE
THE OVERTURE.



4. (C) PUZEY REPORTED THAT TSVANGIRAI, WITH WHOM HE HAD
SPOKEN THE PREVIOUS NIGHT, IS WILLING TO AGREE TO AN
AMNESTY FOR MUGABE AND THE PAYMENT OF A PENSION UPON THE
PRESIDENT'S DEPARTURE FROM OFFICE. TSVANGIRAI REPORTEDLY
TOLD PUZEY THAT HE IS INCLINED TO JOIN A GOVERNMENT OF
NATIONAL UNITY IF IT RESULTS IN RESTORATION OF THE RULE OF
LAW AND BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT ON THE WAY FORWARD FOR
ZIMBABWE. IF THOSE IMPORTANT GOALS ARE ACHIEVED,
TSVANGIRAI IS YOUNG AND WILLING TO WAIT ANOTHER FEW YEARS

SIPDIS
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 00754 01 OF 02 151209Z
FOR HIS SHOT AT THE PRESIDENCY. THE ALTERNATIVE TO
REACHING SOME SORT OF AGREEMENT, PUZEY INSISTED, IS
BLOODSHED ON A SCALE NEVER BEFORE SEEN IN ZIMBABWE, AS
MUGABE WILL UNLEASH INDISCRIMINATE KILLING IN A BRUTAL
EFFORT TO MAINTAIN HIS GRIP ON POWER.

CONTACTS VERY CLOSE-HOLD


--------------------------





5. (C) PUZEY SAID THAT ZANU-PF GO-BETWEEN GOODSON NGUNI
HAS ASKED HIM TO BRIEF THE BRITISH AND US ON THE STATUS OF
THESE TALKS, WHICH REMAINED VERY CLOSE-HOLD. HE NOTED
THAT, IN ADDITION TO HIMSELF, MUGABE, TSVANGIRAI, NGUNI,
AND FATHER FIDELIS, ONLY A SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE ARE AWARE
OF THE ONGOING CONTACTS BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES:
TSVANGIRAI'S ADVISOR GANDI MUDZINGWA, COMMERCIAL FARMERS

SIPDIS
UNION PRESIDENT TIM HENWOOD, AND STANBIC BANK MANAGING
DIRECTOR GREG BRACKENRIDGE.

NEXT STEPS


--------------------------





6. (C) PUZEY SAID HE AND NGUNI HAD AGREED THAT MORNING
THAT A SENIOR MDC REPRESENTATIVE SHOULD MEET WITH PRESIDENT
MUGABE TO AGREE ON NEXT STEPS. PUZEY AND NGUNI DECIDED TO

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ8700

PAGE 01 HARARE 00754 02 OF 02 151209Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-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 LAB-01
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 IRM-00
SSO-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00
PRM-01 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /010W


--------------------------

C60C2C 151209Z /38
O 151209Z FEB 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8229
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000754

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 02/14/11
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI ZANU PF MDC
SUBJECT: MUGABE SAID TO BE BEHIND OVERTURE TO OPPOSITION

PROCEED ACCORDING TO THE FOLLOWING ELABORATE SCENARIO,
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00754 02 OF 02 151209Z
WHICH PRESUMABLY PROVIDES COVER FOR A MUGABE MEETING WITH
THE MDC. PAUL NYATHI, AN MDC MP WHO IS WELL-RESPECTED
ACROSS THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM, WOULD BE ASKED TO PROPOSE ON
THE FLOOR OF PARLIAMENT THAT LEGISLATORS SING "HAPPY
BIRTHDAY" TO PRESIDENT MUGABE ON HIS BIRTHDAY FEBRUARY 21.
NYATHI WOULD FURTHER SUGGEST THAT A BIPARTISAN DELEGATION
OF MPS BE SENT TO DELIVER A BIRTHDAY CARD TO THE PRESIDENT.
ONCE AT STATE HOUSE, NYATHI WILL BE PULLED ASIDE BY FATHER
FIDELIS TO MEET ONE-ON-ONE WITH MUGABE, WHO REPORTEDLY IS
PREPARED TO PARTICIPATE IN SUCH A MEETING. THE PRESIDENT
AND NYATHI WOULD THEN DISCUSS THE ARRANGEMENTS FOR
PROCEEDING WITH FORMAL NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES,
INCLUDING AGREEING ON A VENUE OUTSIDE OF ZIMBABWE.

TOUGH SELL


--------------------------





7. (C) THE CHARGE COMMENTED THAT, IF NOT HANDLED
CAREFULLY, TSVANGIRAI'S NEGOTIATIONS WITH ZANU-PF COULD
TEAR APART THE MDC. COULD TSVANGIRAI CONVINCE THE MDC
LEADERSHIP AND GENERAL MEMBERSHIP TO JOIN A GOVERNMENT OF
NATIONAL UNITY? IT WOULD BE A TOUGH SELL, PUZEY
ACKNOWLEDGED. HE THOUGHT THAT MDC MPS DAVID COLTART, MIKE
AURET, SR., AND TRUDY STEVENSON WOULD BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
TO CONVINCE. IF THE TALKS ARE CONSTRUCTIVE AND RESULT IN A
MUTUALLY ACCEPTABLE AGREEMENT, THOUGH, PUZEY MUSED THAT
PAUL NYATHI COULD BE A KEY FIGURE IN BRINGING HIS FELLOW
MDC LEGISLATORS ALONG.

COMMENT


--------------------------


CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 00754 02 OF 02 151209Z



8. (C) THE ELABORATE ARRANGEMENTS FOR A MUGABE-NYATHI
MEETING AT STATE HOUSE ARE UNDERSTANDABLE, AS WE SUSPECT
BOTH SIDES ARE NERVOUS ABOUT KEEPING THEIR DISCUSSIONS
SECRET. A MORE DIFFICULT EXERCISE IS ANALYZING THE LIKELY

SIPDIS
MOTIVATIONS OF MUGABE AND TSVANGIRAI FOR ENGAGING IN THIS
DIALOGUE. MUGABE MUST RECOGNIZE THAT HE IS UNLIKELY TO WIN
A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION THAT IS FREE AND FAIR, BUT HE HAS
MADE ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT HE IS WILLING TO USE ANY AND ALL
METHODS TO WIN. AT THE SAME TIME, THE PRESIDENT REALIZES
THAT SUCH A VICTORY WOULD COME AT A VERY HIGH PRICE IN THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, AND HE MUST FIGURE IT IS WORTH
EXPLORING ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF HOLDING ON TO POWER. AS A
BRITISH DIPLOMAT REMARKED TO US, HOWEVER, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
IS LIVING IN A FANTASYLAND IF HE THINKS THAT MUGABE, IN
EXTENDING THIS APPARENT OLIVE BRANCH, INTENDS TO REACH A
GENUINE POWER-SHARING AGREEMENT WITH THE MDC. WE WOULD
WAGER THAT MUGABE'S OBJECTIVE IS TO COOPT HIS OPPOSITION
AND THAT, IF THE ATTEMPT IS UNSUCCESSFUL, HE WILL RESORT TO
HIS TIME-TESTED SUCCESSFUL TACTICS OF VIOLENCE AND
INTIMIDATION. NGUNI'S PUTATIVE REQUEST THAT PUZEY BRIEF
US AND THE BRITISH IS INTERESTING, AND SUGGESTS THAT MUGABE
WANTS TO SEND US A SIGNAL THAT HE IS TRYING TO BE
CONSTRUCTIVE.



9. (C) IN AGREEING TO ENGAGE IN THIS DIALOGUE, TSVANGIRAI
APPEARS TO BE MOTIVATED PRIMARILY BY A DESIRE TO AVOID
BLOODSHED HE BELIEVES WOULD OTHERWISE BE INEVITABLE AND TO
ELICIT RESTORATION OF THE RULE OF LAW. IN ADDITION, THE
OFFER OF 40 PERCENT OF CABINET SEATS MUST BE, ON THE
SURFACE, AN ATTRACTIVE OFFER FOR A PARTY THAT HAS BEEN
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 00754 02 OF 02 151209Z
UNABLE TO RESPOND TO ITS CONSTITUENTS' DEMANDS FOR CHANGE,
GIVEN ITS ABSENCE FROM THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. SINCE MUGABE
HAS MADE CLEAR THAT HE WILL NOT ALLOW THE MDC TO ASSUME
POWER EVEN IF IT WINS IN 2002, TSVANGIRAI MUST HAVE DECIDED
THAT IT IS AT LEAST WORTH SEEING WHAT THE PRESIDENT HAS TO
OFFER. THE MDC LEADER'S INCLINATION TO PROCEED WITH SECRET
TALKS, HOWEVER, POSES A SIGNIFICANT RISK TO THE COHESION OF
THE PARTY. AS PUZEY INTIMATED, MANY IN THE MDC LEADERSHIP
AND AMONG THE PARTY'S SUPPORTERS BLAME MUGABE PERSONALLY
FOR ZIMBABWE'S DESCENT INTO POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC TURMOIL
AND WOULD STRONGLY REJECT PARTICIPATION IN A GOVERNMENT OF
NATIONAL UNITY WITH A PRESIDENT THEY CONSIDER A WAR
CRIMINAL. BESIDES, MANY ZIMBABWEANS BELIEVE IT IS ONLY A
MATTER OF TIME UNTIL THE MDC ASSUMES POWER AND THAT ALL
THEY NEED TO DO IS WAIT FOR THE MUGABE-LED ZANU TO IMPLODE.
TSVANGIRAI, THEREFORE, MUST TREAD VERY CAREFULLY. END

SIPDIS
COMMENT.

IRVING

CONFIDENTIAL

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