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Masamvu said Gen Mujuru was on war path to get rid of Mugabe

Idasa analyst Sydney Masamvu told United States embassy officials soon after the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front conference at Goromonzi in 2006 that Solomon Mujuru was on a war path to get President Robert Mugabe out of office.

Masamvu’s comments came after the conference had endorsed Mugabe as the party’s presidential candidate and had agreed to postpone elections to 2010. Mugabe’s term of office ended in 2008.

Other analysts quoted by embassy officials in the cable just released by Wikileaks like Eddie Zvobgo Jnr, however, believed that the battle would be confined to the politburo. He said Mujuru would not openly oppose Mugabe or take the issue to Parliament.

Embassy officials said comments that Mugabe had made after the conference gave the impression that he wanted to die in office.

Addressing a press conference after the conference Mugabe had said: “Who needs forever? God is there; I can’t live forever.”

Masamvu said there was a third faction in ZANU-PF that did not want Mugabe to go. These included First Lady Grace Mugabe, ZANU-PF Information Secretary Nathan Shamuyarira, National Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono “and many of the so-called securocrats in the Central Intelligence Organization”.

 

Full charge:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE1493, CONFERENCE PAVES WAY FOR EXTENDING MUGABE’S TERM,

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE1493

2006-12-21 07:15

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0777

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1493/01 3550715

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 210715Z DEC 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0954

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1425

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1280

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1429

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0147

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0690

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1055

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1483

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3876

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1252

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1905

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1645

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001493

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2016

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: CONFERENCE PAVES WAY FOR EXTENDING MUGABE’S TERM,

CONTINUED SUCCESSION BATTLES

 

REF: A. REF A: HARARE 1482

 

B. REF B: HARARE 1465

 

Classified By: Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Eric T. Schultz

under Section 1.5 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) In a well-scripted development, the December 14-17

ZANU-PF conference adopted a resolution recommending that the

ruling party unify the presidential and parliamentary

elections in 2010. The recommendation, which will require

amending the constitution in Parliament, must first be

approved by ZANU-PF’s Central Committee and Politburo.

Political insiders with whom we talked told us the

recommendation met significant resistance from ZANU-PF

members, especially those backing Vice President Joyce

Mujuru. The Mujurus are expected by our interlocutors to

mount a battle in the Politburo over the amendment with an

eye toward convincing Mugabe to step down well before 2010

elections in favor of Joyce Mujuru. They are, however,

unlikely to oppose in Parliament or publicly whatever

amendment ultimately emerges from the Politburo. In our

view, they will have a difficult time overcoming Mugabe’s

concerns for his personal safety and the corrupt interests of

his wife and inner circle in prolonging Mugabe’s hold on

power. The amendment should emerge from the Politburo in

late spring, and its wording, especially with respect to

succession, will give the clearest indication of the Mujurus’

success. End Summary.

 

—————————————

Conference Passes Pre-Cooked Resolution

—————————————

 

2. (C) As expected (ref B), the 4,000 delegates at the

ZANU-PF conference adopted without open debate a resolution

recommending that the elections be unified in 2010.

According to ruling party Central Committee member Morton

Malianga, the campaigning had been conducted before hand and

the adoption was a “done deal” before the conference even

kicked off.

 

3. (C) Malianga, Institute for Democracy in South Africa

(IDASA) analyst Sidney Masamvu, and ZANU-PF insiders Leo

Mugabe and Eddie Zvobgo Jr all separately told the Charge and

poloffs that the Conference resolution was the first step in

a process to postpone elections until 2010.   The resolution

now goes to the party’s Central Committee, which is likely to

rubber stamp the idea, and then on to the Politburo in

February or March for recommendations as to the

constitutional modalities for extension of the term.

Finally, a constitutional amendment is expected to be

introduced into Parliament by the middle of 2007.

 

——————

A Rocky Road Ahead

——————

 

4. (C) According to all of our interlocutors, passage of the

conference resolution was deeply unpopular with parts of

ZANU-PF. Many ZANU-PF members are fed up with the economic

collapse and want reengagement with the international

community. While respecting Mugabe’s past contributions they

believe he must go for things to improve. Nevertheless,

Mugabe orchestrated the conference to, at least for now,

 

HARARE 00001493 002 OF 003

 

 

sideline those who opposed his remaining in office.

 

5. (C) Masamvu noted that Solomon Mujuru, in particular, was

on a “war path” against Mugabe remaining in office, and that

the conference had appointed several of Mujuru’s underlings

to the Central Committee and to the Politburo. While the

Central Committee was likely to rubber stamp a presidential

term extension, Masamvu believed the battle would be joined

in the politburo.

 

6. (C) Zvobgo said that the “intelligent” option for ZANU-PF

would be for Mugabe step back sometime in 2008 and allow a

successor to govern for two years before facing the voters in

2010 as the incumbent. He confirmed that a struggle was

likely between Mugabe and those opposed to his remaining in

office indefinitely, principally the Mujurus, in the weeks

and months leading up to the Politburo meeting and in the

Politburo itself.

 

7. (C) Zvobgo said, and we would agree, that the Mujurus

would not take the struggle as far as the Parliament and

would not openly oppose Mugabe. He noted that the wording of

the constitutional amendment when it emerged from the

Politburo would provide important clues to the outcome of

power struggle going on behind the scenes. Elimination of

the constitution’s succession clause that requires an

election within 45 days after the president resigns or dies

would indicate, according to Zvogbo, that Mugabe was

potentially willing to appoint a successor and stand down

before 2010. Leaving the constitution in tact, however,

would suggest that Mugabe intended to soldier on and remain

in office, perhaps even beyond 2010.

 

—————————————-

Mugabe Trying To Hold On ) To Bitter End

—————————————-

 

8. (C) Despite pressure on him to leave in 2008, our

contacts uniformly reported that Mugabe ) and perhaps

equally importantly, those around him ) desperately wanted

to hold on to power. Lending support to this view, Mugabe

told journalists after the conference, “Who needs forever?

God is there; I can’t live forever.” Many observers took

these comments to mean that Mugabe, who turns 83 in February,

intends to die in office.

 

9. (C) University of Zimbabwe political science professor

John Makumbe told polchief on December 19 that Mugabe’s

concerns for his personal security were paramount in the

leader’s decision-making process. While Makumbe did not rule

out the possibility that Mujuru could force Mugabe to make a

deal involving his stepping down, he said these concerns made

it highly unlikely. A successor would likely have to

consolidate power at Mugabe’s expense, a fact that Mugabe

surely knows.

 

10. (C) Adding to these comments, Masamvu said that a third

faction of ZANU-PF, including First Lady Grace Mugabe,

ZANU-PF Information Secretary Nathan Shamuyarira, National

Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, Reserve Bank Governor

Gideon Gono, and many of the so-called securecrats in the

Central Intelligence Organization, had concluded their own

interest would best be served if Mugabe continued in office.

As the IMF recently observed (ref A), many insiders continued

to belly up to state coffers for personal enrichment and any

change to the status quos would jeopardize their pocket books.

 

——-

 

HARARE 00001493 003 OF 003

 

 

Comment

——-

 

11. (C) Mugabe appears to have won this battle; the

conference endorsed a 2010 consolidated

presidential-parliamentary election, leaving the path open

for Mugabe to remain in office at least until 2010. However,

he has yet to cement his prize and Mujuru still has several

cards to play, especially in the Politburo, which will be the

key battle ground of the next six months. There are several

possible succession scenarios that could emerge in that time

frame and no shortage of potential successors, which we will

explore in depth via septel. However, this lack of clarity

plays into Mugabe’s hands if he is intent on maintaining

power as it will allow him to continue to set party factions

against one another in order to protect his hold on power.

That said, even if Mugabe dismisses the “intelligent option”

and attempts to press on beyond 2008 and 2010, he will still

have to deal with a collapsing economy and, as a result, his

increasing unpopularity both within ZANU-PF and in the

country as a whole.

SCHULTZ

(27 VIEWS)

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