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Mugabe wants reform but he has no control

President Robert Mugabe wants reform but he has no power to enforce the reforms and is heavily influenced by people like Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, according to Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi.

Mzembi who accompanied Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on as trip to the United States and Europe in 2009 said he had had a candid discussion with Mugabe after the trip and had told him that ZANU-PF was becoming ossified and that the survival of the party depended on newer and younger leadership.

“Mugabe responded by saying that a number of ZANU-PF elders were resisting change; they did not realize or accept that ZANU-PF had not won the election and that compromise was therefore necessary,” a cable released by Wikileaks says.

When asked why, if Mugabe appeared to accept the case for reform, he didn’t take necessary steps, including compliance with the Global Political Agreement, Mzembi replied that he did not know if Mugabe had the power to enforce his will on these issues.

Despite his seeming openness to Mzembi, Mugabe was influenced by those with whom he had frequent contact such as Emmerson Mnangagwa and the service chiefs, Mzembi said.

United States embassy officials were baffled by Mugabe reaction:

“Mugabe’s position is ambiguous,” they said in a comment in the cable. “He bucked ZANU-PF hard-liners by entering into the GPA, but he is resistant to taking necessary steps to make the GPA work. This is probably due both to pressure from hard-liners and his own desire to perpetuate himself as the holder of the balance of power.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE544, ZANU-PF MINISTER BRIEFS ON WASHINGTON VISIT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE544

2009-07-02 09:41

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

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RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3044

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1476

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RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2674

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3092

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5535

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2222

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000544

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/02/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF MINISTER BRIEFS ON WASHINGTON VISIT

 

HARARE 00000544 001.3 OF 002

 

 

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

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Minister of Tourism Walter Mzembi (ZANU-PF)

briefed polecon chief on his recent visit to Washington as

part of a delegation headed by Prime Minister Morgan

Tsvangirai. Mzembi took away the clear message that reforms

and compliance with the Global Political Agreement (GPA) were

necessary for developmental assistance. Shortly after his

return, he briefed President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe asked

Mzembi, who is viewed as a reformer and has been the subject

of attacks by ZANU-PF hard-liners, to address the ZANU-PF

Politburo and make his case for reform. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) We met with Mzembi on July 1. He returned from a

21-day trip to the U.S. and Europe with Tsvangirai, Minister

of Economic Development Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and Minister of

Regional and International Cooperation Priscilla

Misihairabwi-Mashonga (MDC-M) a few days earlier.

 

3. (C) Mzembi told us that in virtually every meeting during

the trip, whether in the U.S. or Europe, the subject of

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono was raised. In

general, western interlocutors made clear dissatisfaction

with the slow pace of completing the provisions ofQ{VQbexpanded assistance.

 

4. (C) Mzembi was particularly enthusiastic about the

Washington phase of the trip and a range of meetings that

included Secretary Clinton (whom he described as extremely

gracious and interested in Zimbabwe), NGOs such as NDI and

IRI, and Senator John Kerry. He proudly showed us photos.

He lamented he had been excluded from the meeting with

President Obama. Obama was an “idol” and he had read both of

his books. Further, in Mzembi’s talks with reporters, the

focus of discussion was his absence from the White House

meeting rather than the substance of the trip.

 

5. (C) Mzembi said he briefed Mugabe on the trip soon after

his return. Mugabe’s first question was why Mzembi had not

been permitted into the meeting with Obama. Mzembi said he

told Mugabe he doubted Obama was aware of the decision — it

had probably been made by a staffer for political reasons.

 

6. (C) According to Mzembi, in his post-trip meeting he was

extremely candid with Mugabe. He relayed western concerns

about ZANU-PF obstruction of compliance with the GPA,

including Gono’s continuing role, and urged Mugabe to carry

out its terms. He told Mugabe that Tsvangirai had spoken

positively about Mugabe’s current role in government and his

partnership with Mugabe and that he (Mzembi) therefore

thought it inappropriate that Mugabe and ZANU-PF had been

publicly criticizing Tsvangirai and the trip. He also told

Mugabe that ZANU-PF was becoming ossified and that the

survival of the party depended on newer and younger

Qsurvival of the party depended on newer and younger

leadership.

 

7. (C) Mugabe responded by saying that a number of ZANU-PF

elders were resisting change; they did not realize or accept

that ZANU-PF had not won the election and that compromise was

therefore necessary. He asked Mzembi to address the next

meeting of the ZANU-PF Politburo and make his case for reform.

 

8. (C) We asked Mzembi why, if Mugabe appeared to accept the

case for reform, he didn’t take necessary steps, including

compliance with the GPA. Mzembi replied that: 1) he didn’t

know if Mugabe had the power to enforce his will on these

issues; and 2) despite his seeming openness to Mzembi, Mugabe

was influenced by those with whom he had frequent contact

such as Emmerson Mnangagwa and the service chiefs.

 

HARARE 00000544 002 OF 002

 

 

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

9. (C) Mugabe’s position is ambiguous. He bucked ZANU-PF

hard-liners by entering into the GPA, but he is resistant to

taking necessary steps to make the GPA work. This is

probably due both to pressure from hard-liners and his own

desire to perpetuate himself as the holder of the balance of

power. Mugabe is the key to additional reform; whether or

not he acts is dependent on reformers such as Mzembi (and now

Vice President Joice Mujuru) convincing him that it is in his

interest. END COMMENT.

 

 

 

MCGEE

(8 VIEWS)

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