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How Mugabe outmanoeuvred Mujuru

Former army commander Solomon Mujuru was not given a chance when the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front met in March 2007 to decide on the elections and the presidential candidate for 2008.

 Reports said immediately after Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced a proposal for consolidated parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008, members of the central committee, led by the Women’s and Youth Leagues, began chanting and singing for Mugabe to be their presidential candidate.

 According to Wikileaks: “There was no discussion, no tabling of a motion, nor was there a formal vote. The party spokesperson announced after the meeting that the Central Committee had selected Mugabe as its standard bearer.”

 Mujuru had opposed Mugabe’s candidacy at the party’s annual conference in Goromonzi three months earlier but he was not given any chance at the central committee meeting.

 The United States embassy said that Mugabe had unquestionably once again demonstrated his political skills.

 “He successfully spun the SADC Summit to his advantage publicly, forcing the other leaders to either contradict him in public or go along with his version of the meeting. He played the Central Committee like a virtuoso, dividing his rivals and orchestrating the outcome he wanted. Mugabe has enhanced his position vis-a-vis his ZANU-PF rivals, especially the Mujurus,” the embassy said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE274, INSIDE LOOK AT ZANU-PF CENTRAL COMMITTEEQ,S

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

07HARARE274

2007-04-02 15:30

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO1974

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0274/01 0921530

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 021530Z APR 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1325

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1552

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1411

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1556

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0225

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0819

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1182

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1611

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4015

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1381

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2039

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0681

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1773

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000274

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E.LOKEN

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/09/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: INSIDE LOOK AT ZANU-PF CENTRAL COMMITTEEQ,S

ENDORSEMENT OF MUGABE FOR 2008

 

REF: HARARE 270

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) According to Embassy contacts, President Robert

Mugabe steamrolled the ZANU-PF Central Committee meeting on

March 30 and forced himself on the ruling party as its

candidate for the presidential election in 2008. However,

our sources emphasized that Mugabe’s peremptory actions have

only glossed over for now the serious rifts within ZANU-PF

and that party in-fighting is likely over the next several

months that could result in Mugabe stepping down or that

could weaken him if he does run. End Summary.

 

————————————-

Central Committee Meeting a Formality

————————————-

 

2. (C) According to Embassy sources with inside knowledge of

Friday’s ZANU-PF Central Committee meeting, Minister of

Justice Patrick Chinimasa introduced at the beginning of the

meeting a proposal for consolidated presidential and

parliamentary election in 2008. At that point, Central

Committee members, led by the Women’s League and Youth

League, began chanting and singing for Mugabe to be the

presidential candidate. There was no discussion, no tabling

of a motion, nor was there a formal vote. The party

spokesperson announced after the meeting that the Central

Committee had selected Mugabe as its standard bearer.

 

3. (C) Our sources told us that Mugabe and his inner circle

were well-prepared. As they had two days early at the

ZANU-PF Politburo meeting, they rammed through a

pre-determined agenda by assuring the presence and

preparation of their core supportersQ*the Youth and WomenQ,s

Leagues. Also of particularl importance was the overt

support of Emmerson Mnangagwa. With his faction holding the

line, opposition by Solomon Mujuru and his faction would have

been futile. However, the Central Committee action, our

sources emphasized, only glossed over for the moment the deep

fissures that remain within ZANU-PF, and opposition to Mugabe

is likely to continue within the party.

 

—————————

Central Committee Decisions

—————————

 

4. (C) The Central Committee considered several other

matters:

–A constitutional amendment was approved to shorten the term

of the president by one year-to five years-to make it

coterminous with the terms of parliamentarians.

–In the event of the president’s death or incapacitation, a

successor would be chosen by parliament.

–The Committee agreed to increase the size of the lower

house from 150 to 210 and the size of the Senate from 66 to

84. (Comment: This was obviously designed to increase

MugabeQ,s patronage as he jockeys to increase his support

within the party. End Comment).

–Parliamentarians argued that sitting members should not

have to contest their seats in primaries; this issue was

deferred.

 

HARARE 00000274 002 OF 002

 

 

–The Committee approved the holding of local elections three

months before the presidential and parliamentary elections.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

5. (C) Over the past week, Mugabe has unquestionably once

again demonstrated his immense political skills and in

typical fashion seized back the initiative with several bold

strokes that left everyone else outmaneuvered. He

successfully spun the SADC Summit to his advantage publicly,

forcing the other leaders to either contradict him in public

or go along with his version of the meeting. He played the

Central Committee like a virtuoso, dividing his rivals and

orchestrating the outcome he wanted. Mugabe has enhanced his

position vis-Q-vis his ZANU-PF rivals, especially the

Mujurus.

 

6. (C) That said, nothing has really changed with respect to

his regime’s growing weakness with the economy and the

succession issue looming in the background. We would agree

therefore that the intra-party in-fighting is likely to

continue and that should Mugabe actually run in 2008 he may

have a divided and badly weakened party behind him.

Moreover, with Mugable clearly able to manipulate the party

at will, his rivals may begin to look for other ways to

challenge him.

 

7. (C) All the more important then, we would argue, that

Tsvangirai and the MDC contest the elections regardless of

 

SIPDIS

whether there is a new constitution. Yes, ZANU-PF will

cheat, but a reinvigorated MDC could still win against a

divided ZANU-PF, hamstrung by its abysmal economic

performance. Mugabe’s weekend shenanigans have had at least

one positive effect: the path to elections next March as

well as the opponent are clear now, and both we and the

opposition need to now prepare ourselves as well as possible.

End Comment.

DELL

(15 VIEWS)

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