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Cablegate: Parliament Adjourns and Awaits Outcome

VZCZCXRO8160
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0980/01 3031427
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291427Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3633
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2392
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2512
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1016
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1788
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2143
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2568
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4996
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1661
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000980

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AF/S FOR B. WALCH
DRL FOR N. WILETT
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS
STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI
SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT ADJOURNS AND AWAITS OUTCOME

REF: HARARE 933

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) Both houses of Zimbabwe's parliament have now
adjourned as they await an agreement between ZANU-PF and the
MDC. The more influential House of Assembly will not sit
again until November 11, when it will take up a motion to
investigate political violence. Meanwhile, the prospect of
by-elections to fill six vacant seats has been raised by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). END SUMMARY.

------------------------
No Business and No Money
------------------------

2. (SBU) Zimbabwe's House of Assembly (HOA) has adjourned
until November 11 because in the absence of an implemented
power-sharing agreement, there is little parliamentary work
to be done (ref). The decision was agreed upon by both
ZANU-PF and MDC parliamentarians and follows the decision by
the upper house, the Senate, to adjourn until November 4.
Acting leader of government business, Emmerson
Mnangagwa--filling in for Patrick Chinamasa who was tied up
in negotiations--said that the HOA could resume activities
soner if an agreement was reached, though the failur of
SADC Troika-hosted talks on October 27 makesthat unlikely.

3. (SBU) Independent press repots have cited lack of funds
as another reason forParliament's adjournment. Parliament
is said tohave run out of funds for accommodation and
alloances for sitting MPs. MPs have been funding thei stay
in Harare out of their own pockets. (NOTE Parliament is a
notoriously under-funded institution, particularly in
comparison with governmentministries and national security
entities. END NOTE.)

4. (SBU) Before the HOA adjourned, Speaker Lovemore Moyo
overruled a ZANU-PF objection to a motion to set up a
committee to investigate violence leading up to the June 27
presidential run-off election. That motion is on the agenda
for November 11. There was also bipartisan support during
discussion of a motion to declare a national food emergency.

--------------------------
By-Elections a Possibility
--------------------------

5. (SBU) The government-run daily newspaper, The Herald,
reported on October 18 that the ZEC planned to fill the six
parliamentary vacancies--three in the Senate and three in the
HOA--by holding by-elections. This would be in contravention
of the signed power-sharing agreement of September 15 that
stipulates a 12 month moratorium on by-elections. However,
the agreement has no legal effect until encapsulated as
Amendment 19 to the Constitution and the ZEC has supported
the position that the Electoral Act requires by-elections to
be held 14 days after the president files official
notification of a vacancy. Mugabe has yet to file any
vacancy notice.

6. (SBU) Five of the vacancies are in constituencies that
were represented by ZANU-PF members, and these constituencies
can be expected to vote for ZANU-PF candidates in the future.
The sixth vacancy was created when Moyo became speaker. The
election, in Matabeleland South, will be hotly contested,
although MDC should prevail in a relatively fair election.
Moyo told us that as of now there is no evidence of ZANU-PF

HARARE 00000980 002 OF 002


campaigning or intimidation.

-------
COMMENT
-------

7. (SBU) While a by-election in Moyo's Matabeleland
constituency would be closely contested, a ZANU-PF victory
there would not give them legislative control as we expect a
majority of the MDC-M MPs to vote with MDC-T on substantive
issues. It would be however symbolically significant because
the MDC-T would relinquish to ZANU-PF its position as the
largest party in Parliament. END COMMENT.

MCGEE

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