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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01HARARE760 2001-02-16 09:29:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

BRITISH REPORT ON ZANU-PF OVERTURES TO THE MDC

Tags:   PGOV PINR PINS ZI MDC ZANU PF 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

160929Z Feb 01


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                  ------------------C68A50  160929Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8236
INFO NSC WASHDC
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000760 

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X5
TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS ZI MDC ZANU PF
SUBJECT: BRITISH REPORT ON ZANU-PF OVERTURES TO THE MDC
CONFIDENTIAL


PAGE 02 HARARE 00760 01 OF 02 160929Z

REF: HARARE 754

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR REASONS 1.5 B/D.



1. (C) ON FEBRUARY 16 THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION HERE SHARED WITH
US THE TEXT OF THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE SENT TO LONDON FEBRUARY 15
REPORTING ON MORGAN TSVANGIRAI'S OBSERVATIONS WITH RESPECT TO ZANU-PF
OVERTURES TO HIS PARTY.



2. (C) BEGIN TEXT:

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF OVERTURES TO TSVANGIRAI

SUMMARY



1. TSVANGIRAI OPENING DIALOGUE WITH GOVERNMENT; BUT NOT TALKING
ABOUT GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY. EARLY DAYS; NOT YET
DISCUSSED WITH MDC EXECUTIVE. SAYS HE IS AWARE OF THE DANGERS
BUT HAS TO RESPOND TO OVERTURES FROM GOZ IN THE INTERESTS OF
THE NATION.

DETAIL



2. ON 15 FEBRUARY SECOND SECRETARY LINDSAY CALLED ON MDC PRESIDENT TSVA
NGIRAI
TO DISCUSS INFORMATION WE HAD RECEIVED ABOUT OVERTURES
MADE BY ZANU-PF TO THE MDC. TSVANGIRAI SAID THAT THE COUNTRY WAS
IN A DEEP CRISIS; ZANU-PF COULD NOT SURVIVE WITHOUT REPRESSION AND
THE MDC COULD NOT WIN BY CONFRONTING THAT REPRESSION. IT WAS IN THE NA
TIONAL
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PAGE 03 HARARE 00760 01 OF 02 160929Z
INTEREST THAT THEY EMBARK UPON DIALOGUE; BUT THE ONUS WAS
ON ZANU-PF. HE ADDED THAT ZANU-PF WAS ON ITS KNEES ECONOMICALLY,
ALTHOUGH IT WAS STILL STRONG POLITICALLY.



3. TSVANGIRAI REITERATED HIS CONVICTION THAT HE WOULD WIN A
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 2002, BUT NOTED THAT WINNING THE ELECTION
WOULD BE VERY DIFFERENT FROM WINNING POWER. WE SHOULD NOT DISMISS
MUGABE'S RHETORIC WHEN HE SAYS THAT HE WOULD NEVER ALLOW TSVANGIRAI
TO BECOME PRESIDENT. THE MDC ALREADY HAD GOOD CONTACTS WITHIN THE
SECURITY FORCES BUT MUGABE HAS CREATED ALTERNATIVE MILITIAS WHICH
COULD VERY QUICKLY CREATE CHAOS. TSVANGIRAI SAID THAT MASS ACTION
WOULD ONLY BE LEGITIMATE IF HE WON THE ELECTION AND WAS NOT ALLOWED
TO ASSUME POWER. EVEN IF HE WAS ALLOWED TO TAKE POWER TSVANGIRAI
WONDERED WHAT WOULD BE LEFT OF THE COUNTRY IN FIFTEEN MONTHS TIME.
HE AGREED THAT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WOULD BE WILLING TO HELP
A GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO SENSIBLE PROGRAMMES OF ECONOMIC RECOVERY
AND REFORM BUT IT WOULD NOT HAPPEN ON THE FIRST DAY AND HE WOULD
NEED BREATHING SPACE.



4. FOR THESE REASONS TSVANGIRAI SAID IT WAS SENSIBLE TO HAVE
DISCUSSIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT. BUT THESE WERE AT AN EMBRYONIC
STAGE; THERE HAD BEEN A SERIES OF OVERTURES FROM ZANU-PF BUT NOTHING
CONCRETE. TSVANGIRAI MADE IT CLEAR THAT THE MDC WERE NOT INITIATING AN
YTHING, AND THEY WERE NOT NEGOTIATING. THEY HAD ALREADY SPECIFIED
THAT IF THEY WERE TO ENTER DISCUSSIONS IT WOULD BE AS AN INDEPENDENT
PARTY - EVERYONE KNEW HOW ZAPU HAD BEEN SWALLOWED UP BY ZANU-PF.



5. LINDSAY ASKED HOW WIDELY THIS HAD BEEN DISCUSSED WITHIN THE MDC.
TSVANGIRAI SAID THAT THE ONLY WAY TO PROCEED WAS THROUGH OPEN DEBATE

SIPDIS
IN THE EXECUTIVE, BUT THIS HAD NOT YET BEGUN. NOBODY WOULD BE FORCED
DOWN THIS ROUTE AND HE EXPECTED SOME VERY STRONG OPPOSITION FROM
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PAGE 04 HARARE 00760 01 OF 02 160929Z
WITHIN HIS PARTY - BUT HE WELCOMED SOME HEALTHY DEBATE. LINDSAY
ASKED WHETHER THEY BELIEVED THE OVERTURES TO BE GENUINE; ALL THE
RHETORIC AND ACTIONS FROM ZANU-PF OVER THE LAST SIX WEEKS INDICATED
A HARDENING OF THEIR POSITION AND INCREASING POLARISATION OF THE
POLITICAL LANDSCAPE. TSVANGIRAI CONCURRED, BUT SAID THAT THE MDC
HAD A NATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO EXPLORE ANY OPPORTUNITIES; THERE
HAD TO BE NATIONAL CONSENSUS OVER THE ISSUES OF RULE OF LAW, LAND
AND THE ECONOMY. THEY WOULD TEST THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE APPROACH
BY DEMANDING AN IMMEDIATE RETURN TO THE RULE OF LAW. HE WAS
EMPHATIC THAT HE WAS NOT THROWING A LIFELINE TO ZANU-PF.



6. ON 14 FEBRUARY CLIVE PUZEY, A PROMINENT WHITE BUSINESSMAN WHO
SUPPORTS THE MDC HAD BRIEFED US ABOUT THESE DEVELOPMENTS,
APPARENTLY WITH TSVANGIRAI'S BLESSING. HE WENT INTO MORE DETAIL
WITH A STORY ABOUT FINDING AN OFFSHORE LOCATION FOR SUBSTANTIVE DISCUSS
IONS,
USING THE VATICAN AS AN INTERMEDIARY, AND A
FAR-FETCHED SCHEME BY THE MDC TO FLATTER MUGABE ON HIS BIRTHDAY
(21 FEBRUARY). HE SAID THAT THE ULTIMATE AIM OF PARTICIPATING
IN THIS DIALOGUE WOULD BE TO EXPOSE THE DIVISIONS WITHIN ZANU-PF
AND TO ENSURE MUGABE'S DEMISE.

COMMENT

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SP-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02 G-00
NFAT-00 SAS-00 /006W


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

C68A58 160929Z /38
R 160929Z FEB 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8237
INFO NSC WASHDC
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000760

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X5
TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS ZI MDC ZANU PF
SUBJECT: BRITISH REPORT ON ZANU-PF OVERTURES TO THE MDC
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00760 02 OF 02 160929Z



7. TSVANGIRAI APPEARED CONFIDENT AND RELAXED DISCUSSING THIS
SUBJECT. HIS PERSONAL ADVISER GANDI MUDZINGWA WAS ALSO PRESENT
AND LATER TOLD LINDSAY THAT THERE WERE MANY PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY
FROM THE WHITE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, WHO THOUGHT THEY COULD BROKER
A DEAL BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES. THE MDC HAD TO SEE WHAT THEY
COULD OFFER, AND EXPLORE ALL AVENUES.



8. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT. IF THE OVERTURES FROM
ZANU-PF ARE GENUINE IT REVEALS A REAL CONCERN ABOUT THEIR
RE-ELECTION CHANCES. BUT WE THINK IT MORE LIKELY THAT THEY ARE
TRYING TO MANUFACTURE DIVISIONS WITHIN THE MDC. WE BELIEVE THAT
TSVANGIRAI UNDERESTIMATES THE DANGER THIS COULD POSE TO THE

SIPDIS
UNITY OF HIS PARTY, AND WE EMPHASISED TO HIM THE IMPORTANCE OF
WIDE INTERNAL CONSULTATION BEFORE EMBARKING UPON ANY SUBSTANTIVE DISCUS
SIONS.
HE DID CONCEDE THAT IT WAS NOT IN THE MDC'S
ELECTORAL INTEREST TO WORK TO IMPROVE THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY,
BUT REPEATED THAT IT WAS A NATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY. TSVANGIRAI
IS EITHER VERY NAIVE; DEEPLY IN THRALL TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
WHO ONLY SEE CHAOS AND BANKRUPTCY IF THE PRESENT IMPASSES
CONTINUES; OR PLAYING A MORE SUBTLE GAME TRYING TO FIND DIVISIONS
WITHIN ZANU-PF. WE THINK HE IS TRYING TO PURSUE BOTH OF THE
LATTER TWO OPTIONS.

ORIGINATOR: RICHARD LINDSAY, SECOND SECRETARY POLITICAL

LONGWORTH

END TEXT.

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PAGE 03 HARARE 00760 02 OF 02 160929Z


3. (C) COMMENT: WE AGREE WITH THE BRITISH ASSESSMENT ABOUT
TSVANGIRAI'S POLITICAL NAIVETE AND ZANU-PF'S PROBABLE INTENTION

SIPDIS
OF SPLITTING THE MDC. ON THE OTHER HAND, SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT
EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, WHO INITIATED THE CONTACTS WITH THE MDC,
IS A SHREWD POLITICAL PLAYER. HE MAY BE EXPLORING ALTERNATIVES
TO THE CURRENT COURSE ON WHICH THE RULING PARTY IS TAKING THE
COUNTRY, WEIGHING THE OPTIONS FOR THE GOOD OF ZANU-PF AND, NOT
THE LEAST, HIMSELF AS PRESIDENT MUGABE'S HEIR APPARENT.

IRVING

CONFIDENTIAL

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