WikiLeaks splashes out more on Zimbabwe
Posted: Friday, December 10, 2010

By Tendai Mugabe and Tichaona Zindoga
The Herald

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai contrived to publicly call for the lifting of the widely-discredited sanctions while privately urging the West to maintain them, according US classified cables released by the whistle-blowing WikiLeaks website.

A December 24, 2009 cable titled "Tsvangirai asks the West for help on changing the status quo" sent to Washington by US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Charles Ray, reveals that Mr Tsvangirai indicated he would employ the double-speak tactic to gain concessions from Zanu-PF.

He also told the US government that he was considering giving something to President Mugabe to give to Zanu PF "hardliners," to soften them.

The cable shows that Mr Tsvangirai felt frustrated by Zanu PF hardliners in his attempt at regime change.

"It appears he (President Mugabe) is being managed by hardliners. Tsvangirai said his goal now is to find a way to manage Mugabe himself. One way, perhaps, would be to give him something to give his hardliners. Precisely what that something is, he said, is something he is still wrestling with," wrote Ambassador Ray.

The cable from Mr Ray clearly reveals Mr Tsvangirai's double standards regarding the removal of illegal sanctions imposed on the country by Western countries.

Ambassador Ray said Mr Tsvangirai called for flexibility on the part of Western Governments on the issue of sanctions since Zanu-PF was insisting on reciprocity in the inter-party negotiations.

"Tsvangirai said that it seems that Mugabe plans to use the governors as a trade-off against sanctions. He said he has repeatedly told Mugabe that MDC has no control over sanctions. But, he added lack of any flexibility on the issue of sanctions poses a problem for him and his party.

"In this, he assured us that Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is in full agreement with him. He also acknowledged that his public statements calling for the easing of sanctions versus his private conversations saying they must be kept caused problems," reads part of the cable.

In this regard, Mr Tsvangirai is said to have called for the partial lifting of sanctions – "without giving the impression that we are rewarding lack of progress or bad behaviour."

"If necessary," Ambassador Ray reported Mr Tsvangirai as saying, "He (Tsvangirai) and Mutambara can quietly meet with Western leadership to develop a plan on the issue of sanctions."

The two had allegedly "decided to take the issue of sanctions out of the hands of negotiators and handle it personally" – taking the "diplomatic lead" on the issue.

This would entail a Western-approved roadmap for the easing of sanctions linked to "identifiable and quantifiable progress."

Mr Tsvangirai reportedly sought to present this to President Mugabe after the inter-party negotiators had delivered their final report on January 15, 2010.

On the other hand, the cable revealed, Mr Tsvangirai had said that his "goal now was to find a way to 'manage' (President) Mugabe himself."

In his comment, the diplomat said "it might be in the USG's (United States Government) interest to consider some form of incremental easing of non-personal sanctions, provided we see actual implementation of some of these reforms."

He requested guidance from his government on the conditions of easing sanctions and other "possible moves."

"We also request guidance on what to tell (PM) Tsvangirai at our next meeting, which is expected early in the New Year," wrote Ambassador Ray.

WikiLeaks also leaked a confidential memo from the US embassy in South Africa, entitled "Exiled Zimbabwean businessmen float Zimbabwe power-sharing idea".

In the dispatch, a group of unnamed businessmen in 2007 intimated that, with the help of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir or United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, President Mugabe could be persuaded to hand over executive power to a "technocratic Prime Minister" before leaving office in 2010.

Another one, from Ambassador Ray dated February 10 2010, featured an unnamed Zanu-PF member intimating that MDC-T was alienating its supporters because of corruption and that sanctions were hurting the economy.

The latest leaks of US cables on Zimbabwe are said to be part of around 3 000 secret communication that has been shuttled between the two countries as the US tries to effect illegal regime change in Zimbabwe.

Last week, WikiLeaks released cables that revealed Ame-rica's low opinion of the leaders of both MDC formations with Mr Tsvangirai being described as requiring "massive hand holding" should he ever come to power.

PM Tsvangirai was described as a "flawed figure", "indecisive" and of questionable judgment in selecting those around him and without executive ability.

Prof Mutambara was called a political "lightweight" attra-cted to anti-Western rhetoric, while Professor Welshman Ncube was said to be a "deeply divisive" person.

PM Tsvangirai has said he is not bothered by what is contained in the cables.

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