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Gen Mujuru’s about turn

General Solomon Mujuru, who had been piling up pressure on President Robert Mugabe to step down and even gave him an ultimatum two weeks before the 2008 elections, suddenly turned around after the elections and gave no hint at all that he had had differences with Mugabe.  

According to a cable by United States ambassador James McGee who met Mujuru on 10 April, although embassy officials had reliable reports that Mujuru tried to move Mugabe out of the presidency and that he backed Simba Makoni in the presidential election, “Mujuru in this meeting gave no indication of a rift with Mugabe”. Instead, “he played the role of a senior ZANU-PF stalwart”.

The presidential election results had not been released but parliamentary elections, which saw the Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change win one more seat than Mugabe’s party had been announced.

According to the cable just released by Wikileaks, Mujuru even argued that there had been voter fraud which had worked against the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

The General was dodgy on whether Mugabe was willing to leave office if he was assured of a safe exit by the United States government but he was adamant that Mugabe would not leave on a promise to lift sanctions alone.

“Mujuru said Mugabe would not agree to this; sanctions had been imposed while Mugabe was president, he felt personally responsible, and his sense of honour required that they be removed while he was still president.”

He, however, refused to divulge under what conditions Mugabe might be willing to leave office saying the ambassador should ask him after a meeting the following week.

The ambassador said embassy officials had been trying “for several months” to arrange a meeting with Mujuru and had been told by intermediaries that Mujuru was reluctant to meet with them because of the sensitivity of the political situation.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE310, AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH GENERAL SOLOMON MUJURU

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE310

2008-04-10 11:42

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8535

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0310/01 1011142

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 101142Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2751

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1903

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2026

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0594

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1303

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1660

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2082

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4513

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1158

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000310

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

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: DECL: 04/10/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH GENERAL SOLOMON MUJURU

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: In a meeting with the Ambassador on April

10, General Solomon Mujuru gave no hint of his commonly-known

differences with President Robert Mugabe, and little

indication that Mugabe would consider stepping down. He

acknowledged that sanctions (understood to be targeted and

international financial institution (IFI) prohibitions on

lending to Zimbabwe) are a major irritant to Zimbabwean

officials. Mujuru suggested the best way to engage in

dialogue with a view toward political and economic reform and

normalization of relations between Zimbabwe and the West

would be through SADC. On the elections, he expected the

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to announce results

within the next couple of days. He maintained there had been

irregularities in vote tabulation, but blamed this on the ZEC

rather than the MDC. END SUMMARY.

 

—————————

A Mugabe Exit and Sanctions

—————————

 

2. (C) The Ambassador told Mujuru that transition was

important and that Mugabe should now become an elder

statesman. The U.S. was willing to assist; if Mugabe left

power, we would say the right things about Mugabe’s service

to his country, to the extent possible assist with his

safety, and lift sanctions against him. Mujuru asked whether

we would do the same for other government officials and

high-ranking military personnel. The Ambassador replied

affirmatively.

 

3. (C) Mujuru then expressed the hurt and indignity of

sanctions. He and others felt like they were in a cage

looking out, while the West was looking at them through a

window. The sanctions also hurt financially; Mujuru said he

had a relative that had over USD 7 million frozen in the U.S.

With the removal of sanctions, Mujuru said, anything could

be discussed. (COMMENT: Mujuru said he meant sanctions to

include both targeted sanctions and IFI restrictions on

support for Zimbabwe. It was clear from the tenor of his

remarks, however, that he and other officials were more

focused on targeted sanctions which tie up their assets and

prevent them from traveling to the West. END COMMENT.)

 

4. (C) The Ambassador queried as to whether Mugabe would

agree to leave office with a promise that sanctions would

then be lifted. Mujuru said Mugabe would not agree to this;

sanctions had been imposed while Mugabe was president, he

felt personally responsible, and his sense of honor required

that they be removed while he was still president.

 

5. (C) The Ambassador then asked Mujuru whether there were

any circumstances under which Mugabe would voluntarily leave

office. Mujuru responded that there was a meeting next week

(presumably including Mujuru and Mugabe) and the Ambassador

should ask him after that meeting.

 

—————————-

SADC Best Hope for Mediation

—————————-

 

6. (C) The Ambassador asked Mujuru whether statesmen such as

Kofi Annan or Colin Powell could play a useful role in

talking to Mugabe. Mujuru responded that while Mugabe had

respect for them and other elders, such as former Tanzanian

President Mkapa and former Mozambique President Chissano,

SADC would be the best possible mediator in trying to open a

dialogue on transition. Specifically, he said Tanzanian

President Kikwete, as head of the African Union, was well

placed. He believed that Mugabe would be disposed to listen

to SADC.

 

HARARE 00000310 002 OF 002

 

 

 

——————————————— —

On Elections and a Government of National Unity

——————————————— —

 

7. (C) Mujuru said that ZANU-PF would be amenable to a

government of national unity (GNU), but not one headed by

Tsvangirai. Mujuru said he had nothing against

 

SIPDIS

Tsvangirai–in fact he had met with him last week–but

 

SIPDIS

Tsvangirai was junior to Mugabe and others. (COMMENT:

 

SIPDIS

Mujuru seemed to be saying that any GNU would have to be

headed by ZANU-PF with the MDC and Tsvangirai as junior

partners. END COMMENT.)

 

8. (C) Mujuru averred that voter fraud to the detriment of

ZANU-PF had occurred during the election. He blamed it on

ZEC polling supervisors, however, and not the MDC. A recount

might be necessary. He suggested that in a runoff election

the Army should supervise voting as it was a professional and

independent body. The Ambassador commented that if the

integrity of the election process was the issue, independent

observers, for example from the Carter Center, could play an

important role. Mujuru agreed.

 

9. (C) The Ambassador noted that since the election we had

received reports of intimidation and violence in rural areas.

Mujuru called this a “lie.” Nobody had been hurt in the

election–“How can they say these things now.” He stated

there would be a runoff and it would be fair. He expected

the ZEC to release the results of the March 29 presidential

election within the next couple of days.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

10. (C) Although we have reliable reports that Mujuru tried

to move Mugabe out of the presidency late last year and that

he backed Simba Makoni in the presidential election, Mujuru

in this meeting gave no indication of a rift with Mugabe. He

played the role of a senior ZANU-PF stalwart. Nevertheless,

his suggestion that SADC become more directly involved was at

least an implicit recognition that a transition must occur

which would result in Mugabe leaving power.

 

11. (C) We have been trying for several months to arrange a

meeting with Mujuru and have been told by intermediaries that

Mujuru was reluctant to meet with us because of the

sensitivity of the political situation. This meeting was

facilitated by a business contact who told us that Mujuru

initially declined the meeting. Although the substance of

the meeting broke no new ground, the fact that he agreed to

the meeting, and said he would welcome future meetings, may

be an indication that he is genuinely interested in a

transition and feels that the U.S. can play a role.

Interestingly, he said it was appropriate to talk to the

Americans, but he would not talk to the British. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

(28 VIEWS)

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