in Stories

Gono and Grace discussed Mugabe’s future

Central Bank governor Gideon Gono discussed ways of getting President Robert Mugabe to retire with his wife Grace Mugabe because of his poor health, a cable released by Wikileaks says.

Gono, who was also reported to have presidential ambitions, said Mugabe was suffering from cancer and he had promised his doctor that he would step down after the 2008 elections.

Gono told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee that he had suggested to Mugabe that he retire from politics and concentrate on his memoirs but Mugabe was resistant because of uncertainty on who would succeed him.

“Trust had broken down between him and the Mujuru faction, there was corruption throughout the party, and there was no one he had confidence in as a successor,” the cable says. “Also, he viewed land reform as a legacy and wanted to ensure it would not be reversed.”

In his comment, the ambassador said Gono was close to Mugabe and was therefore a potentially useful interlocutor, both for information about Mugabe and as a conduit for “our message that assistance will come after reform”.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE88, RESERVE BANK GOVERNOR GONO ON MUGABE, ELECTIONS,

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE88

2008-01-31 13:29

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO6160

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0088/01 0311329

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 311329Z JAN 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2443

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1752

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1878

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0470

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1155

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1512

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1934

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4363

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1005

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000088

 

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: 01/31/2018

TAGS: PREL PGOV ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: RESERVE BANK GOVERNOR GONO ON MUGABE, ELECTIONS,

AND THE ECONOMY

 

REF: 07 HARARE 795

 

Classified By: Amb. James D. McGee for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) In a meeting with the Ambassador at the Reserve Bank

on January 30, Governor Gideon Gono told the Ambassador that

President Robert Mugabe was old and not well. Nevertheless,

Mugabe was reluctant to step down because of internal

problems within ZANU-PF and lack of an identifiable

successor. On the upcoming elections, Gono said Zimbabwe

was prepared; he provided materials to the Ambassador

indicating the Reserve Bank had expended USD 4.7 million on

logistics and materials. Finally, Gono portrayed himself as

the patron saint of Zimbabwe’s vulnerable. Acknowledging

Zimbabwe’s dire economic predicament, he said his inability

to right the economy was a result of lack of will on the part

of his political masters; despite this, he was doing what he

could to alleviate suffering. END SUMMARY.

 

—————–

Mugabe Hanging In

—————–

 

2. (C) Gono had previously told us (Reftel) that Mugabe was

suffering from cancer and had promised his doctor he would

step down after the election. Gono was not as specific in

this meeting. He acknowledged Mugabe was ill and said he

would be less active after the election. He mentioned he was

seeing Mugabe’s wife, Grace, later in the day to discuss the

president.

 

3. (C) Gono told the Ambassador he had suggested to Mugabe

that he retire from politics and concentrate on his memoirs.

Mugabe was resistant because of uncertainty of who and what

would succeed him. Trust had broken down between him and the

Mujuru faction, there was corruption throughout the party,

and there was no one he had confidence in as a successor.

Also, he viewed land reform as a legacy and wanted to ensure

it would not be reversed.

 

4. (C) Still on the topic of succession, Gono said that the

architects of a Simba Makoni presidency (presumably Ibbo

Mandaza and Jonathan Moyo) lacked credibility. Any successor

to Mugabe, Gono added, would need the support of the

military. He implied that nobody as yet had this.

 

——————————-

Zimbabwe Prepared for Elections

——————————-

 

5. (C) Reflecting Mugabe and ZANU-PF’s hope of gaining

legitimacy through the upcoming elections, Gono told the

Ambassador he viewed as essential a credible election

process, including the run-up to the election and the

election itself. He presented the Ambassador with documents

indicating the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had formulated a

USD 4.7 million budget in October for materials and

logistics. He said the Reserve Bank had honored the budget;

the documents reflected payments to a Chinese company for

ballot boxes (67,000), to a Swiss company for indelible ink,

to a Botswanan company for tents, to Zimbabwean companies for

sundry items (including 65 vehicles), and to the GOZ for

delimitation and registration.

 

———————

The Political Economy

———————

 

HARARE 00000088 002 OF 002

 

 

 

6. (C) Gono stated that the political environment accounted

for 75 percent of Zimbabwe’s economic challenges. He was

blamed for Zimbabwe’s economic woes–such as inflation, lack

of drugs, lack of fertilizer, and lack of consumer goods–but

the political climate, which was “not pleasing,” prevented

him from taking effective measures. Even the MDC’s

Tsvangirai and Ncube, who consulted with him from time to

 

SIPDIS

time, understood his problems and wanted him to continue as

Governor. Recognizing what the mismanaged economy was doing

to the average Zimbabwean, Gono said he was acting as a “Red

Cross” for the most vulnerable.

 

7. (C) Casting himself as a voice of reason amidst what he

perceived as a sclerotic ZANU-PF and a jejune MDC, Gono said

he had prevailed on Mugabe not to sign legislation passed by

Parliament that would have had detrimental effects on

Zimbabwe. These included an NGO bill that would have made it

more difficult for NGOs to operate and a mining bill that

required onerous indigenization and would have scared off

investors. He also pointed out that he had publicly opposed

the June price control program.

 

8. (C) Gono said he had told Mugabe there needed to be an

economic reality check after the election. His (Gono’s)

priorities included normalization of international relations,

including a lifting of sanctions; an economic package that

would be attractive to international investors; a

finalization of the land reform issues; attention to mining

and international investment in that sector, and an attack on

official corruption, particularly in high places.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

9. (C) Gono is close to Mugabe and therefore a potentially

useful interlocutor, both for information about Mugabe and as

a conduit for our message that assistance will come after

reform. Gono has had (and may still have) presidential

ambitions, and has been the object of attack, particularly

from within the Mujuru faction. He acknowledged that his

canceling of several previous meetings was because of fear of

being seen with the U.S. ambassador while intense ZANU-PF

infighting was occurring.

 

10. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: On the economy, Gono is obviously

correct that underlying problems are political. He is

disingenuous, however, in portraying himself as principled

and above the fray. He told the Ambassador he had argued for

a fair, non-racial land reform program, and he has stated on

other occasions that farm seizures should cease. But sources

within the Commercial Farmers Union have told us that

high-level Reserve Bank officials in the last few months have

claimed white-owned farms. And while Gono rails against

corruption, the Reserve Bank continues to selectively allow

ZANU-PF official access to forex at the official rate. END

COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

(34 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment