Vice-President Joyce Mujuru was working behind the scenes with the Movement for Democratic Change, former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee said but added that it was not clear whether this was because of new found reformism or it was just a tactic against Emmerson Mnangagwa.
McGee’s comments are contained a diplomatic cable that he dispatched in 2009 shortly after meeting Mujuru on 17 June.
He said that apart from Mnangagwa, Mujuru also faced a challenge from Oppah Muchinguri who he said was allegedly a former mistress of President Robert Mugabe.
“Muchinguri is now head of the powerful ZANU-PF women’s league and (possibly with Mugabe’s backing) may attempt to dislodge Mujuru from her position as vice president at the ZANU-PF congress in December,“ he said.
Viewing cable 09HARARE500, AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH ZIM VICE PRESIDENT MUJURU
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2019
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH ZIM VICE PRESIDENT MUJURU
Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (b) and (d)
¶1. C) The Ambassador paid a courtesy call on Vice President
Joice Mujuru on June 17, his first meeting with her. Mujuru,
who was warm and engaged, expressed her support for the
transitional process and bemoaned hardliners in her party who
were attempting to sabotage it. She urged incremental
assistance to award the transitional government’s progress.
The Ambassador acknowledged that Zimbabwe has made progress
over the last year, but stressed that developmental
assistance was dependent on substantial compliance with the
Hague principles, particularly human rights and rule of law.
¶2. (C) Mujuru stated that while people (read the West)
wanted fast change in Zimbabwe, it was significant that the
MDC and ZANU-PF had come together in a unity government.
Incremental assistance was necessary as a reward for progress
and to move the country forward. There were those (she
implied within ZANU-PF) who were opposed to the transitional
government and would benefit from a descent into chaos. She
implored the Ambassador to give a chance to those who
¶3. (C) Seeking to portray herself as a reformer, Mujuru
noted she had fought in the liberation struggle for basic
human rights including freedom of speech and association.
She was critical of arbitrary arrests and detentions without
trial that continue to take place and emphasized she had
spoken out against post-election violence. Mujuru said that
the land reform process was a fait accompli, but that a land
audit should be done to correct mistakes and ensure the
equitable distribution of land. She added that President
Robert Mugabe had charged her with the responsibility of
accomplishing this, removing it from Vice President Joseph
Msika who is in failing health. (NOTE: Reports indicate
that the ageing Msika is in critical condition. END NOTE.)
¶4. (C) The Ambassador acknowledged progress, particularly
the fact that an inclusive government had been formed, but
said that compliance with the Hague principles, especially
human rights and the rule of law, was necessary for more
significant U.S. engagement. Mujuru said she understood —
Zimbabwe was not an ordinary country and therefore the world
expected more of it.
¶5. (C) Mujuru was warm and gracious and accepted the
Ambassador’s points. She did not bring up the issue of
sanctions. The only expressed difference during the meeting
was Mujuru’s argument that more assistance was justified
based on progress to date and in order for the government to
progress, and the Ambassador’s position that additional
reform was necessary to justify additional significant
¶6. (C) Mujuru has been llied behind the scenes with the MDC
and Tsvangirai, and, increasingly, more openly in Cabinet.
Qand Tsvangirai, and, increasingly, more openly in Cabinet.
Whether this is because of a new-found reformism or as a
tactic against Emmerson Mnangagwa in the struggle to succeed
Mugabe is unclear. Apart from Mnangagwa, she also faces a
challenge from Oppah Muchinguri, former Minister of Women’s
Affairs and allegedly a former mistress of Mugabe.
Muchinguri is now head of the powerful ZANU-PF women’s league
HARARE 00000500 002 OF 002
and (possibly with Mugabe’s backing) may attempt to dislodge
Mujuru from her position as vice president at the ZANU-PF
congress in December. END COMMENT.