US embassy cable - 00HARARE3521

THE NEW ZIMBABWEAN PARLIAMENT: THE GLOVES WILL BE OFF

Identifier: 00HARARE3521
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE3521 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-06-28 13:12:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV KDEM PINR PREL ZI US
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

281312Z Jun 00


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6691

PAGE 01        HARARE  03521  01 OF 02  281310Z 
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INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00  INL-01   DINT-00  
      DODE-00  DOTE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    EUR-00   FAAE-00  
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      L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    DCP-01   NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   
      OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    
      IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-01   
      DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /012W
                  ------------------67EB5C  281311Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6461
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 003521 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
PASS USAID FOR A/AID, DAA/AFR VERNE NEWTON, AND AFR/SA 
CREINTSMA 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  03521  01 OF 02  281310Z 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/27/10 
TAGS: PGOV, KDEM, PINR, PREL, ZI, US 
SUBJECT: THE NEW ZIMBABWEAN PARLIAMENT: THE GLOVES 
WILL BE OFF 
 
REF: HARARE 3506 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS 1.5 
(B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: ZIMBABWE HAS CHANGED FOREVER AS A RESULT 
OF THE RECENT PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION THAT BROADENED 
PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY IN THE COUNTRY.  THE "LOSERS" IN 
THIS ELECTION, THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC 
CHANGE (MDC), WILL TAKE THEIR ELECTORAL GRIEVANCES TO 
COURT, NOT THE STREET, THUS MINIMIZING THE POTENTIAL FOR 
POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE.  WE EXPECT IT WILL PLAY THE ROLE 
OF VOCAL OPPOSITION IN PARLIAMENT AND ATTEMPT TO SHIFT 
THE FOCUS OF THE DEBATE THERE TO THE COUNTRY'S 
FOUNDERING ECONOMY.  PRESIDENT MUGABE IS IN CRUSADE MODE 
AND WILL LEAD HIS RADICALIZED PARTY IN SEARCH OF THE 
HOLY GRAIL OF LAND REDISTRIBUTION.  WE THINK HE VIEWS 
THE MDC'S SHOWING IN THE POLLS AS A SETBACK FROM WHICH 
HE MUST REGROUP WITH A VIEW TO RUNNING AGAIN IN 2002 
AGAINST MORGAN TSVANGIRAI.  END COMMENT. 
 
2.  (C) THE VOTERS HAVE SPOKEN IN ZIMBABWE AND ELECTED A 
NEW PARLIAMENT WITH AN UNPRECEDENTED 57 SEATS FOR AN 
OPPOSITION PARTY, THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE 
(MDC).  IN THE CONTEXT OF AFRICA IN GENERAL, THIS IS 
QUITE A REMARKABLE FEAT.  THOUGH THE MDC "LOST" BECAUSE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  03521  01 OF 02  281310Z 
IT GOT A FEWER NUMBER OF SEATS THAN ZANU-PF AT 62, IT 
MAY ACTUALLY HAVE RECEIVED THE MAJORITY OF THE VOTES 
CAST.  WE DO NOT, AS A RESULT, EXPECT ITS FOLLOWERS TO 
RESORT TO VIOLENCE IN PROTEST OF A STOLEN ELECTION. 
RATHER, THE MDC IS SET TO CHALLENGE THE CONDUCT OF THE 
ELECTION VIA RECOUNT DEMANDS AND PERHAPS COURT 
CHALLENGES IN UP TO 20 CONSTITUENCIES.  THE GROUNDS FOR 
THE LEGAL CHALLENGES LIKELY WILL BE PRE-ELECTION AND 
ELECTION DAY INTIMIDATION AND VIOLENCE, AND VOTERS' ROLL 
OR PROCEDURAL IRREGULARITIES THAT EFFECTIVELY 
DISENFRANCHISED MANY INDIVIDUALS. 
 
3.  (C) THE ELECTION SWEPT OUT A NUMBER OF ZANU-PF 
STALWARTS AND MEMBERS OF THE ZANU-PF POLITBURO, SUCH AS 
HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER DUMISO DABENGWA, MINES ENVIRONMENT 
AND TOURISM MINISTER S.K. MOYO, ZANU-PF WOMEN'S LEAGUE 
PRESIDENT TENJIWE LESABE, JUSTICE LEGAL AND 
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS MINISTER EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, AND A 
MODERATE LIKE MASVINGO PROVINCIAL CHAIRMAN DZIKAMAI 
MAVHAIRE.  IT SEATED THE HARD-LINERS IN THE PARTY, SUCH 
AS MASHONALAND CENTRAL GOVERNOR BORDER GEZI; CHEN 
CHIMUTENGWENDE, THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, POSTS AND 
TELECOMMUNICATIONS; ZANU-PF SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION 
DIDYMUS MUTASA; MINISTER OF STATE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY 
SYDNEY SEKERAMAYI; AND NATIONAL LIBERATION WAR VETERANS' 
ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT CHENJERAI HITLER HUNZVI.  THEY 
REPRESENT REMOTE RURAL CONSTITUENCIES WHERE THE MDC HAD 
FEWER POLLING AGENTS AND VOTER INTIMIDATION SEEMS TO 
HAVE WORKED, IN ADDITION TO THE STRATEGIC PLACEMENT OF 
POSTAL VOTES TO SWING KEY OUTCOMES, AS THEY WON BY 
MARGINS THAT DID NOT CONFORM TO THE ESTABLISHED PATTERN. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  03521  01 OF 02  281310Z 
TOTALLY UNKNOWN NAMES OR INDIVIDUALS WHO PREVIOUSLY 
NEVER DID VERY WELL WON MASSIVELY IN SUCH 
CONSTITUENCIES.  THE SIGNAL BEING SENT BY THESE 
ELECTORAL VICTORIES IS THAT THE ZANU-PF PARTY IS 
IDEOLOGICALLY POLARIZED, AND THAT THERE WILL BE NO ROOM 
FOR INDEPENDENT BEHAVIOR OR DISSENT.  THE HARD-LINE 
RADICALS NOW HAVE THE UPPER HAND.  IN OUR JUDGMENT 
MUGABE WILL INTERPRET HAVING CLINCHED 62 SEATS THROUGH 
THE FIRST-PAST-THE-POST METHOD AS A CLEAR VICTORY AND 
WILL CONTINUE TO GOVERN IN MANNER AS RUTHLESS AS BEFORE. 
 
4.  (C) THE PRESIDENT'S IMMEDIATE NEXT STEPS WILL BE HIS 
ANNOUNCEMENT OF HIS 30 PARLIAMENTARIAN APPOINTEES (EIGHT 
ARE THE STANDING GOVERNORS, AND 10 OF THE APPOINTMENTS 
ARE RESERVED FOR TRIBAL CHIEFS, LEAVING 12 PURELY 
"POLITICAL" SLOTS TO BE FILLED BY THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE); 
AND NAMING THE CABINET.  A ZANU-PF CENTRAL COMMITTEE 
MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY, JUNE 30, REPORTEDLY TO 
DISCUSS THESE ISSUES.  IN APPOINTING THE 12 PARLIAMENT 
MEMBERS, WE EXPECT MUGABE TO RESUSCITATE SOME OF THE 
ELECTION-LOSING FORMER POLITBURO STALWARTS AS EMERSON 
MNANGAGWA, DUMISO DABENGWA AND MINISTER OF STATE FOR 
GENDER AFFAIRS OPPAH MUCHINGURI.  ON THE CABINET FRONT 
WE EXPECT THAT IT WILL CONSIST MAINLY OF HARD-LINERS 
FAITHFUL TO MUGABE'S ARTHRITIC MARXIST IDEOLOGY AND 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6696 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  03521  02 OF 02  281311Z 
ACTION AF-00 
 
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    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    STR-00   TRSE-00 
      USIE-00  R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00 
      NFAT-00  SAS-00     /010W 
                  ------------------67EB66  281311Z /38 
P 281312Z JUN 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6462 
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 003521 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
PASS USAID FOR A/AID, DAA/AFR VERNE NEWTON, AND AFR/SA 
CREINTSMA 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  03521  02 OF 02  281311Z 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/27/10 
TAGS: PGOV, KDEM, PINR, PREL, ZI, US 
SUBJECT: THE NEW ZIMBABWEAN PARLIAMENT: THE GLOVES 
WILL BE OFF 
 
LOYAL, BEYOND QUESTION, TO THE OLD MAN AS WELL.  IF, 
CONTRARY TO PUBLIC PRONOUNCEMENTS BY MUGABE'S 
SUBORDINATES, CABINET SCRAPS ARE THROWN TO THE MDC, THEY 
LIKELY WILL BE POSITIONS HEADING MINISTRIES THAT ARE 
WINDOW DRESSING OR THE MOST PROBLEMATIC, SUCH AS HEALTH 
AND EDUCATION. 
 
5.  (C) ONE OF THE FIRST ISSUES ON WHICH THE NEW 
PARLIAMENT, WHICH BY OUR READING OF THE CONSTITUTION 
MUST CONVENE FOR ITS FIRST SESSION BY EARLY OCTOBER, IS 
LIKELY TO CLASH IS LAND REDISTRIBUTION, AN ECONOMIC AND 
EMOTIONAL HEAVYWEIGHT.  THE ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT MADE IT 
THE HALLMARK OF HIS PARTY'S ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN, AND 
AMENDED A NUMBER OF STATUTES BY DECREE IN ORDER TO PUT 
IN PLACE THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK TO BEGIN HIS REDISTRIBUTION 
VENTURE.  THE MDC LIKELY WILL DO EVERYTHING IT CAN TO 
TRY TO BLOCK RATIFICATION OF THESE ACTIONS IN 
PARLIAMENT. AND WE FULLY EXPECT MUGABE WILL RETURN TO 
HIS DIVISIVE AND INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC, CHARACTERIZING 
THE MDC AS A TOOL OF THE WHITES, EX-RHODESIANS, THE 
BRITISH OR WHOMEVER. 
 
6.  (C) IN HIS CONCILIATORY SPEECH ACCEPTING THE 
ELECTIONS RESULTS THE EVENING OF JUNE 27, PRESIDENT 
MUGABE STATED HIS EXPECTATION THAT PARLIAMENT " IS 
CERTAINLY DESTINED TO PROVE LIVELY" THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  03521  02 OF 02  281311Z 
WE CONCUR; AND PREDICT THAT THE MDC WILL BE A VERY VOCAL 
OPPOSITION, CALLING FOR ACCOUNTABILITY, COMMON SENSE AND 
RATIONALITY FROM GOVERNMENT.  THE MDC WILL ALSO ATTEMPT 
TO RAISE THE ECONOMY TO BE THE FOCUS OF DEBATE IN 
PARLIAMENT.  OF COURSE, THE POWER TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT 
ITS PARLOUS STATE WILL REST WITH MUGABE AND HIS 
REPACKAGED GANG OF THIEVES. 
 
7.  (C) WE THINK MUGABE SEES THE MDC'S GAINS IN 
PARLIAMENT NOT AS DEFEAT BUT A REBUFF FROM WHICH HE MUST 
REGROUP, MUCH AS HE DID AFTER THE DEFEAT OF THE 
CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM IN FEBRUARY.  INSTEAD OF FOUR 
MONTHS HE WILL HAVE NEARLY TWO YEARS TO LAY THE 
GROUNDWORK FOR A SUCCESSFUL PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IN 
2002, IN WHICH WE EXPECT HE WILL RUN AGAINST THE MDC'S 
MORGAN TSVANGIRAI.  MUGABE WILL BE IN FULL CRUSADE MODE, 
LEADING THE RULING PARTY ON ITS QUEST FOR THE HOLY GRAIL 
OF LAND REFORM.  REINFORCING THE ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT IN 
HIS SENSE THAT HE IS ABSOLUTELY ON THE CORRECT PATH IS 
THE UNQUESTIONING ENDORSEMENT OF HIS FELLOW HEADS OF 
STATE FROM THE REGION, PARTICULARLY SOUTH AFRICA'S THABO 
MBEKI.  SUCH SUPPORT WILL DO NOTHING TO ATTENUATE THE 
PRICKLY MUGABE'S ARROGANCE AND USUAL TACTIC OF RAISING 
THE STAKES AND SUSPENDING THE RULES TO GET WHAT HE 
WANTS. 
 
8.  (C) THE GOOD NEWS, HOWEVER, IS THAT WE SENSE A 
GENUINE DESIRE IN THE COUNTRY TO PUT THE RECENT, 
DIABOLICAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN BEHIND ITSELF AND MOVE 
FORWARD TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE TO ITS IMAGE, COHESIVENESS 
AND ECONOMY.  YES, ZIMBABWE IS CHANGED FOREVER AND 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  03521  02 OF 02  281311Z 
BROAD-BASED DEMOCRACY, AS WE ADVOCATE IT IN OUR MISSION 
PROGRAM PLAN, HAS MADE A BRILLIANT SHOWING OVER THE JUNE 
24-25 WEEKEND.  WE BELIEVE OUR PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY 
BUILDING PROGRAM THAT HAS BEEN FULLY OPERATIONAL SINCE 
SEPTEMBER 1999 IS NOW MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER.  WE LOOK 
FORWARD TO HELPING ZIMBABWE SUSTAIN IT AND WELCOME IT 
INTO THE FOLD OF THE COMMUNITY OF DEMOCRACIES. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 

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