The Movement for Democratic Change planned to offer amnesty to 10 of Zimbabwe’s top military leaders but this was not going to include police chief Augustine Chihuri because he was “hopeless”.
This was disclosed to United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Tom McDonald by businessman Clive Puzey who led an MDC delegation that met McDonald on 10 April 2000.
Puzey said the MDC planned to carry out the negotiations through former army commander Solomon Mujuru who was then in hospital in South Africa where he was being treated for complications arising from HIV/AIDS.
Puzey said he was going to ask South African vice-President Jacob Zuma to approach Mujuru on his behalf because Zuma owed him a favour.
Some of the top military officers that the MDC wanted to include in their amnesty package were Defence Forces Chief Vitalis Zvinavashe, Air Force chief Perrence Shiri, Army boss Constantine Chiwenga, General Mashingaidze and Air Marshal Josiah Tungamirai.
Puzey described Chihuri as “hopeless,” and saw no need to offer him amnesty.
Although the MDC did not believe in granting pre-emptive amnesties, it thought it prudent to extend this olive branch to the “people with the guns” in order to mitigate, if not completely eliminate, the wave of politically-inspired violence.
Puzey told McDonald that the MDC, which was less than six months old at the time, expected to win 90 seats in parliament.
It was not clear whether the amnesty plan was an idea of the MDC or whether it had been suggested to the MDC by the United States embassy.
Viewing cable 00HARARE1970, MDC TO OFFER AMNESTY TO KEY MILITARY FIGURES
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
111646Z Apr 00
PAGE 01 HARARE 01970 121839Z
INFO LOG-00 AID-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 EB-00 EUR-01
VC-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 L-00 AC-01
NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00
ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 SS-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 T-00
USIE-00 PMB-00 PRM-01 DRL-02 G-00 SAS-00 /010W
——————4AF219 121839Z /49
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5721
INFO AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001970
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/11/10
SUBJECT: MDC TO OFFER AMNESTY TO KEY MILITARY FIGURES
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS 1.5
¶1. (C) A SMALL DEPUTATION OF MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC
CHANGE (MDC) MEMBERS LED BY HARARE BUSINESSMAN CLIVE
PUZEY CALLED ON AMBASSADOR MCDONALD APRIL 10 TO INFORM
HIM OF A PLAN TO OFFER AN AMNESTY DEAL TO APPROXIMATELY
PAGE 02 HARARE 01970 121839Z
TEN OF ZIMBABWE’S TOP MILITARY LEADERS. THE MDC HAD
IDENTIFIED FORMER ZIMBABWE ARMY CHIEF SOLOMON MUJURU AS
THE INDIVIDUAL WITH WHOM TO NEGOTIATE, AS THEY SAW HIM
AS BEST PLACED TO SELL THE DEAL. PUZEY SAID THAT MUJURU
WAS CURRENTLY HOSPITALIZED IN SOUTH AFRICA, WHERE HE IS
BEING TREATED FOR COMPLICATIONS ARISING FROM HIV/AIDS.
THE ZIMBABWEAN BUSINESSMAN SAID THAT SOUTH AFRICAN VICE
PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA OWED HIM A FAVOR AND HE WOULD CALL
IT IN, ASKING THE FORMER UMKHONTO WE SIZWE OFFICER TO
APPROACH MUJURU AS A MILITARY MAN AND LAY OUT THE DEAL.
¶2. (C) THE MDC REASONS THAT ALL THE VIOLENCE AND
UNCERTAINTY SURROUNDING THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
CAMPAIGN IS DUE TO THE FACT THAT CERTAIN TOP MILITARY
LEADERS FEEL INSECURE ABOUT THEIR FATES SHOULD THE MDC
WIN A MAJORITY OF THE VOTES. THESE INDIVIDUALS INCLUDE
CHIEF OF THE DEFENSE FORCES VITALIS ZVINAVASHE, AIR
FORCE CHIEF PERENCE SHIRI, ARMY CHIEF CONSTANTINE
CHIWENGA, GENERAL MASHINGAIDZE AND AIR MARSHAL JOSIAH
TUNGAMIRAYI. PUZEY DESCRIBED POLICE COMMISSIONER
AUGUSTINE CHIHURI AS “HOPELESS,” AND SAW NO NEED TO
OFFER HIM AMNESTY. ALTHOUGH THE MDC DID NOT BELIEVE IN
GRANTING PRE-EMPTIVE AMNESTIES, IT THOUGHT IT PRUDENT TO
EXTEND THIS OLIVE BRANCH TO THE “PEOPLE WITH THE GUNS”
IN ORDER TO MITIGATE, IF NOT COMPLETELY ELIMINATE, THE
CURRENT WAVE OF POLITICALLY-INSPIRED VIOLENCE.
¶3. (C) PUZEY TOLD AMBASSADOR MCDONALD THAT THE MDC
EXPECTED TO WIN 90 SEATS IN PARLIAMENT AND NEEDED
IMPARTIAL MONITORS TO BEGIN TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD.
HE NOTED THAT INTIMIDATION WAS VERY POWERFUL AND THAT
PAGE 03 HARARE 01970 121839Z
THE ELECTION ALMOST CERTAINLY WOULD BE RIGGED. WHILE 99
PERCENT OF THE MDC’S MEMBERSHIP ACCEPTED THE PRINCIPLE
OF LAW AND ORDER, THE PARTY LEADERSHIP WAS HAVING
DIFFICULTY KEEPING THE LID ON THE FORMER’S ANGER. THE
MDC ALSO WORRIED ABOUT THE PERSONAL SECURITY OF ITS
LEADER, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, AND MONITORED NERVOUSLY THE
MOVEMENTS OF ANTHONY WHITE, A FORMER SELOUS SCOUT TURNED
HIT MAN TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER, CURRENTLY RESIDING IN
BEIRA, MOZAMBIQUE. THE PARTY THOUGHT THAT IT WAS BEST
FOR TSVANGIRAI TO LEAVE ZIMBABWE FOR A TIME, AND WOULD
BE SENDING HIM TO ENGLAND AND THE UNITED STATES ON A
PUBLIC RELATIONS AND FUND RAISING TRIP. PUZEY TOLD THE
AMBASSADOR THAT TSVANGIRAI WOULD TAKE THE MESSAGE TO ALL
WITH WHOM HE MET THAT THE MDC WAS COMMITTED TO TAKING
THE MORAL HIGH ROAD AND PLAYING THE GAME AS CLEANLY AS
¶4. (C) COMMENT: WHILE AN EXCITABLE CHARACTER, PUZEY HAS
REPORTED RELIABLY ON MDC PLANS AND THINKING. WE THINK
THAT THE AMNESTY OFFER IS ON THE MONEY, AND IS A
SUGGESTION THAT WE OURSELVES MIGHT HAVE MADE TO THE MDC.
WE HOPE THE OFFER IS ACCEPTABLE TO THE INTERMEDIARY, AND
THAT HE IN TURN IS A SUCCESSFUL SALESMAN. PUZEY’S
PREDICTION OF A MDC SUPER MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT STRIKES
US AS EXCESSIVELY SANGUINE, BUT THESE ARE UNPRECEDENTED
TIMES AND WE HESITATE TO RULE OUT SUCH A POSSIBILITY.
PAGE 04 HARARE 01970 121839Z