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Mzembi said he admired the MDC

Masvingo legislator and Deputy Minister of Water Walter Mzembi said he admired the Movement for Democratic Change for its battles against the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

He told United States embassy officials that though he favoured reaching an agreement, he thought that the MDC, particularly secretary-general Tendai Biti, had been too public in its criticism of ZANU-PF and in announcing where it wanted to take the country.

This had scared many in ZANU-PF as they were paranoid about what could happen to them. A gentler, more conciliatory approach would be more productive.

While negotiations had been bogged down around who would control which ministry, Mzembi said what was most important was not which ministries the MDC controlled, but for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to negotiate firm control for the Prime Minister of all government ministries so that ministers could not go behind his back to Mugabe and other ZANU-PF officials.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE924, ZANU-PF INSIDER’S VIEW OF THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE924

2008-10-15 15:25

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO6331

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0924/01 2891525

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 151525Z OCT 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3564

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2355

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2473

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0983

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1751

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2106

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2527

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4959

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1622

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000924

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/15/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF INSIDER’S VIEW OF THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i. Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4

(d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) ZANU-PF deputy minister of water resources Walter

Mzembi discussed Zimbabwe’s current political situation with

polecon chief on October 15. While Mzembi broke no new

ground, he confirmed that ZANU-PF is split as to whether to

go forward with an agreement with MDC. President Robert

Mugabe supports an agreement, but he and others are concerned

that too much MDC power could result in investigations and

prosecutions of corrupt ZANU-PF officials. Mugabe is the

glue holding the party together and there is likely to be

little opposition to him from within the party in the short

term for fear of the party splitting apart. The most

progressive institution in the near term is likely to be

Parliament where cross-party alliances will try to push the

government forward. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Mzembi is a Member of Parliament (MP) from Masvingo

Province. He is considered a “young Turk” and as an

agribusinessman has advocated, from within ZANU-PF, for a

more free market economy. A member of the party Central

Committee, Mzembi is one of the few young ZANU-PF members

close to Mugabe, who relies on Mzembi as a source of

information about the situation in Zimbabwe. Mzembi has been

a U.S. Embassy interlocutor over the last several years. He

told us he was able to meet with us because he sells his

meetings with westerners to Mugabe as an opportunity to learn

what we are thinking.

 

—————————-

ZANU-PF Drags Feet on a Deal

—————————-

 

3. (C) Mzembi said the party was divided on whether to go

ahead with a power-sharing deal. Resistance came mainly from

those close to Mugabe, particularly the service chiefs. He

also thought that Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono was

“running scared.” He wanted a position in government,

probably as finance minister, but saw himself being left out

of an inclusive government.

 

4. (C) On October 13, Mzembi said he attended a meeting with

Mugabe and party insiders, including Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mugabe told the group they would not be in the position of

negotiating with the MDC had ZANU-PF members worked harder in

the March elections. Nevertheless, he now favored concluding

the agreement. According to Mzembi, discussion focused on

the finance ministry. Mugabe was inclined to let it go.

Opposition to this was based on the fact that MDC leadership

of finance–and also home affairs–would facilitate

investigation and prosecution of high level ZANU-PF

officials; some of those at the meeting wanted guarantees

they would be left alone.

 

5. (C) Mzembi said he himself favored reaching an agreement.

He thought the MDC, particularly Tendai Biti, had been too

public in its criticism of ZANU-PF and in announcing where it

wanted to take the country. He implied many in the ruling

party were paranoid about what could happen to them, and

stated that a gentler, more conciliatory approach would be

more productive. Mzembi admitted he admired the MDC for its

battles against ZANU-PF and for having come as far as a

position in government. What was most important now was not

which ministries the MDC controlled, but for MDC leader

Morgan Tsvangirai to negotiate firm control for the Prime

Minister of all government ministries so that ministers could

 

HARARE 00000924 002 OF 003

 

 

not go behind his back to Mugabe and other ZANU-PF officials.

 

———————

The Future of ZANU-PF

———————

 

6. (C) Mzembi told us that within ZANU-PF there are a number

of young reformers such as himself who would like to see

change. This must come gradually, however. He explained

that if he were to openly oppose ZANU-PF leadership, his

business interests would be crushed by the party. He also

pointed to Simba Makoni, who thought he could lead a

break-away group from ZANU-PF. People Makoni had counted on

had never come forward, leaving Makoni as a voice in the

wilderness.

 

7. (C) Mzembi opined that ZANU-PF leadership was old and

that Mugabe’s successor would be neither Mnangagwa nor the

Mujurus, but would come from the younger, reformist part of

the party. (He did not speculate on whom.) With a limited

number of ministries, there would be a large number of MPs

from both parties who would be disappointed at not receiving

cabinet posts. Eventually, there were likely to be alliances

across the aisle as these MPs from both parties challenged

their leadership, and this could lead to a realignment of the

parties.

 

8. (C) Mzembi said had been at recent meetings that included

Mugabe and Mnangagwa and he doubted there was a rift between

the two. He categorized as false reports that Mnangagwa had

been beaten at Mugabe’s behest and said these reports had

been spread by a faction of the CIO.

 

———————–

Parliament and Progress

———————–

 

9. (C) Mzembi told us he believed an agreement would be

completed between ZANU-PF and the MDC. The House of

Assembly, the lower house, began sitting yesterday and one of

the first items on its agenda would be adoption of Amendment

19, which would encapsulate the September 15 power-sharing

agreement. This would pressure the parties to complete a

deal, if one had not already been completed. Other

parliamentary priorities would be adoption of a budget and

drafting of a new constitution.

 

10. (C) Parliament would provide a good opportunity,

according to Mzembi, for ZANU-PF and MDC officials to meet,

discuss, and to work together. He had already had an

opportunity to talk about a ZANU-PF–MDC agreement with MDC

spokesman Nelson Chamisa and he looked forward to working

with other MDC MPs.

 

11. (C) We noted our hope that an equitable power-sharing

agreement would be reached and that a new government would

undertake political and economic reform that would ultimately

result in international reengagement. To that end, it would

be useful to meet now with ZANU-PF MPs, including those that

would have ministerial roles. Mzembi acknowledged that the

party looked askance at contacts with the West–party

officials generally considered such contact akin to criminal

activity–but thought that after a new government was formed

contacts would be tolerated, although probably not yet

welcomed.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

12. (C) Mzembi represents a reformist part of ZANU-PF that

 

HARARE 00000924 003 OF 003

 

 

is trying to move the party in the right direction to help

shape its future and that of the country. For now, however,

if an agreement is signed, it is likely that the old guard

will attempt to cling to power in order to continue to

benefit from patronage and to protect themselves from

prosecution. We continue to believe that the road forward

will be slow and bumpy. END COMMENT.

 

DHANANI

 

(8 VIEWS)

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