Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Zimbabwe Wilberforce Juta told United States embassy officials in 2003 that there was increasing support for the national chairman of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front John Nkomo to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
He said choosing a Ndebele as an interim leader would avoid contests among Shona contenders but this would clearly have to be an interim status because a Ndebele would not be accepted as a long-term leader of the party.
Juta also commented that ZANU-PF continued to regard transition as an internal ZANU-PF matter and to regard the Movement for Democratic Change merely as a side matter to be accommodated.
Viewing cable 03HARARE1293, NIGERIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER DISCOURAGED ON ZIMBABWE
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
251143Z Jun 03
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001293
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/25/2013
SUBJECT: NIGERIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER DISCOURAGED ON ZIMBABWE
REF: ABUJA 1047
Classified By: Joseph G. Sullivan for reasons 1.5b/d
1.(C) Nigerian High Commissioner Wilberforce Juta portrayed
the stalemate in Zimbabwe along lines similar to those of
reftel. Juta believed that President Mugabe had backed away
from agreements reached during the May visit of the
Presidents of Nigeria, South Africa and Malawi. He expressed
frustration that the efforts of his President were not being
reciprocated by the GOZ. He considered the GOZ economic
policies disastrous irredeemable without a political
solution. Juta believed that internal ZANU-PF rivalries and
ethnic considerations explained some of ZANU’s unwillingness
to make a transition or face a near-term election. According
to Juta, the Nigerian Government was discouraged about the
prospects for near-term resolution of the political crisis.
Nonetheless, he said that President Obasanjo continued to
maintain frequent contact with President Mbeki on Zimbabwe
and remained interested in a positive solution.
2.(C) With respect to internal ZANU-PF politics, HC Juta
thought there were increasing support for Party Chairman John
Nkomo as a successor to Mugabe. Choosing an Ndebele as an
interim leader would avoid contests among Shona contenders
and yet would clearly have interim status since an Ndebele
would not be accepted as a long-term leader of the party.
Juta also commented that ZANU-PF continued to regard
transition as an internal ZANU-PF matter and to regard the
MDC merely as a side matter to be accommodated.
¶3. (C) Comment: Juta has regularly been more critical of
President Mugabe and ZANU-PF to us than has been his
Government in Abuja. He will soon conclude his mission here
in Harare after five years.