Didymus Mutasa, considered to be the most senior Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front official from Manicaland, may have outsmarted Women’s League leader Oppah Muchinguri by getting her replaced as governor by Mike Nyambuya, according to a cable released by Wikileaks.
Mutasa and Muchinguri were reported to be squabbling over candidates who should be elected into the provincial executive at the time.
“Muchinguri’s dismissal suggests the ascendancy of the abrasive hard-liner Mutasa, who is widely reputed to be posturing for a vice-presidential slot, and Manicaland native and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa, who during campaign stumping for the August municipal elections admonished provincial party faithful for not being sufficiently loyal,” the cable says.
The cable also said the appointment of Nyambuya, an army major general conformed to the trend of growing military presence in political circles..
“While the specific rationale behind Nyambuya’s appointment are uncertain (aside from his close association with Chinamasa), the appointment of military figures generally can further two objectives for the ruling party.
“First, it mutes (though does not eliminate) objections from factions disappointed not to place one of their own in a particular job.
“In addition, it may serve to foster better relations between the party and the military — an increasingly disaffected institution that potentially poses the greatest threat to ruling party control,” the cable says.
Viewing cable 03HARARE2253, PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR SHUFFLE SHOWS SOME HEAT,
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
171420Z Nov 03
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002253
AF/S FOR S. DELISI, M. RAYNOR
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER, D. TEITELBAUM
LONDON FOR C. GURNEY
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2008
SUBJECT: PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR SHUFFLE SHOWS SOME HEAT,
Classified By: Political Officer Win Dayton under Section 1.5(b)(d)
¶1. (C) SUMMARY: The recent appointment of four new provincial
governors reflects factional infighting that so far appears
unlikely to yield any meaningful shift in government policy.
The appointments are part of an anticipated broader personnel
shake-up that will underscore President Mugabe’s full control
of the party but could hold potential implications for
factional balances of power and succession. The new
governors, one of whom is a general, are a mixed bag who all
can be expected to adhere strictly to the party line. END
¶2. (U) In early November, the GOZ announced the appointment
of new governors in Manicaland (Major General Michael
Nyambuya replacing Oppah Muchinguri), Mashonaland West
(Nelson Samkange replacing Peter Chanetsa), Matabeleland
South (Angeline Masuku filling the vacancy left by Stephen
Nkomo’s death in April), and Mashonaland Central (Ephraim
Masawi taking over for Elliott Manyika). David Karimanzira
of Mashonaland East, Josaya Hungwe of Masvingo, Cephas Msipa
of Midlands, and Obert Mpofu of Matabeleland North were
reappointed to their respective governor posts. All
appointments are scheduled to be for two years and take
effect December 1.
¶3. (C) The most interesting of the appointments appears to
have been in Manicaland, historically an anti-establishment
hotbed and home to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
ruling party “dissident” ex-Finance Minister Simba Makoni.
In recent weeks, independent press reported bitter feuding
between Muchinguri and Party External Relations Secretary and
senior politburo member Didymus Mutasa in the run-up to
December’s national conference. Muchinguri and Mutasa
reportedly were backing rival candidates in provincial party
elections. Muchinguri’s dismissal suggests the ascendancy of
the abrasive hard-liner Mutasa, who is widely reputed to be
posturing for a vice-presidential slot, and Manicaland
native and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs Patrick Chinamasa, who during campaign stumping for
the August municipal elections admonished provincial party
faithful for not being sufficiently loyal. Muchinguri, a
relative moderate, will retain her own politburo seat and may
yet exert influence on the provincial membership’s posture at
the the December national conference.
¶4. (C) The naming of General Nyambuya conforms to a trend of
growing military presence in political circles. While the
specific rationale behind Nyambuya’s appointment are
uncertain (aside from his close association with Chinamasa),
the appointment of military figures generally can further two
objectives for the ruling party. First, it mutes (though
does not eliminate) objections from factions disappointed not
to place one of their own in a particular job. In addition,
it may serve to foster better relations between the party and
the military — an increasingly disaffected institution that
potentially poses the greatest threat to ruling party
¶5. (C) Chanetsa and Manyika had been fingered publicly for
taking more than one farm in violation of the terms of the
government’s land reform program, but whether this was the
reason for their dismissal is unclear. The fact that Hungwe
and Mpofu, who retained their provincial governorships, also
were publicly revealed to have more than one farm suggests
there were other reasons. Chanetsa may have been axed in
part as a sop to South Africa, whose High Commissioner had
been detained and threatened by settlers while visiting a
Mash West farm owned by a South African. Manyika’s ouster
will allow him to devote more time to his portfolio as
Minister of Youth Development, Gender, and Employment.
¶6. (C) COMMENT: This tranche of personnel changes is
symptomatic of some ferment in the ruling party, with
factions and individuals jockeying for position against a
backdrop of possible leadership succession. A new experience
for the party, prospective succession (however far off) may
sharpen internecine frictions and heighten the
unpredictability of the situation. Nonetheless, all
intra-party maneuvering is undertaken in the context of
Mugabe’s continued make-or-break power throughout the party.
Indeed, the common denominator among this diverse group of
new governors is a presumed unswerving allegiance to the
ruling party and its leader. That new Mat South Governor
Masuku (who actually hails from Mat North) heard about her
appointment on the radio without being informed personally
highlights the unquestioned subordination of the individual
to the party interest.
¶7. (C) COMMENT (CONT’D): The government may try to project
personnel changes to the international community
(particularly Commonwealth interlocutors on the advent of the
December in Abuja) as precursors to meaningful political
reform. However, “political reform” in any form is not
likely to be discussed realistically within the ruling party
until it works out its own succession end game — an
uncertain exercise with no conclusion in sight. END COMMENT.
¶8. Bio notes on the new governors follow:
— (U) Major General Michael Nyambuya has been with the
Zimbabwe National Army for 23 years. Nyambuya began his
military career in the Zimbabwe African National Liberation
Army (the military wing of ZANU during the liberation
struggle). He served in the United Nations Angola
Verification Mission II (May 1991-February 1995) in Angola
for two years where he was Senior Liaison Officer to the
People,s Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA),
Deputy Chief Military Observer, and Acting Chief Military
Observer. Nyambuya also served in Somalia as the Deputy
Force Commander with the United Nations Operation in Somalia.
Nyambuya led UN peacekeeping forces in Angola and the
Zimbabwe troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Nyambuya holds a diploma in public administration from the
University of Zimbabwe.
(C) Nyambuya is a strong ZANU-PF supporter and is closely
linked to Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs
Patrick Chinamasa. According to a Chinamasa family friend,
Nyambuya offered Chinamasa the services of junior army
officers to help farm his wife,s newly acquired farm in
Manicaland. In return, Chinamasa ensured that Nyambuya
received a farm adjacent to the one that Mrs. Chinamasa
— (U) Nelson Samkange is the former chairman for Zimbabwe
Newspapers. A journalist by profession, Samkange attended the
University of Zimbabwe where he obtained a degree in
economics. He left the country in 1964 and was appointed a
tourism attach based in London after independence. He
returned home in 1985 and assumed the position of director of
marketing for the Zimbabwe Tourist Development Corporation.
He is related to President Mugabe.
— (SBU) Angeline Masuku is a former MP for Luveve
constituency, a high density suburb of Bulawayo, and is the
Secretary for the Disabled and Disadvantaged on the ZANU-PF
Politburo. A teacher by profession, she has a reputation for
being a strong advocate for women and children,s rights and
has cultivated a group of women active in informal banking
and other entrepreneurial activities. Masuku is reported to
be someone who works well with others.
(SBU) She was an active member of ZAPU in the 1960s.
Politically, she appears to have been overshadowed by the
memory of her late husband Lieutenant General Lookout Masuku,
who was one of the senior ZAPU officials. He was arrested in
the mid-1980s under trumped up treason charges and detained
together with former minister Dumiso Dabengwa for a few
years. He died under mysterious circumstances after being
released from prison and was declared a national hero.
— (U) Ephraim Masawi is a former MP for Mbare West. During
his term as MP, Masawi was actively involved in all issues
concerning his constituency. He is a strong youth activist,
a passion he shares with his predecessor Border Gezi.