Two former Zimbabwe African National Union- fighters Wilfred Mhanda and Nyasha Masiwa- told Western diplomats that it was wrong for the international community to think that all ZANU-PF officials were corrupt and bad.
Only six to 12 people in the party were direct beneficiaries of the looting that had taken place in Zimbabwe.
Mhanda and Masiwa were board members of the Zimbabwe Peace and Security Programme which was trying to look at the security sector reform.
Other members of the organisation were Jeremy Brickhill who fought with Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union and Bjorn Holmberg a consultant with SwedePeace, an organisation that supported ZPSP.
Mhanda and Masiwa said although only a small group was involved in corruption, the problem was how to deal with this small group because they occupied key leadership positions.
The rank and file all recognised that they were dealing with systemic failure, that freedom and democracy had not yet been realised in Zimbabwe, and that there was a need for overhaul of the political and governance framework to avoid Zimbabwe becoming a failed state.
There was need for a national body, which would include members of ZANU-PF, as well as civil society, to work together to resolve this issue.
People needed to focus not on who was at fault for the country’s current malaise, but on how to get out of it.
Viewing cable 09HARARE958, FORMER GUERRILLA FIGHTERS DISCUSS SECURITY REFORM
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0958/01 3450701
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 110701Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5205
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000958
AF/S FOR BRIAN WALCH
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/11/2019
SUBJECT: FORMER GUERRILLA FIGHTERS DISCUSS SECURITY REFORM
Classified By: AMBASSADOR CHARLES A. RAY FOR REASONS 1.4 B,D
¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Reform of the security sector is an
absolute prerequisite to solid political reform in Zimbabwe.
Former ZAPU and ZANU fighters who are not part of the current
government have formed an organization to highlight this
need. The reform process must have broad-based Zimbabwean
consensus and ownership, be inclusive of all stakeholders,
and be credible. It has to be actively pushed by South
Africa and other SADC members, and must have the support of
the international community. The U.S. role, as part of the
international community, must be carefully and discretely
managed. END SUMMARY.
¶2. (SBU) EU Delegation Head of Mission to Zimbabwe Xavier
Marchal, hosted a luncheon for EU, U.S., and Canadian COMs on
December 8, 2009, to discuss security sector reform. A
briefing was provided by members of the board of Zimbabwe
Peace and Security Program (ZPSP), who are former guerrilla
fighters in the war against the Ian Smith regime; Jeremy
Brickhill, a white Zimbabwean who fought with Joshua Nkomo’s
ZAPU; along with Wilfred Mhanda and Nyasha Masiwa, former
ZANU fighters, and Bjorn Holmberg, a senior consultant with
SwedePeace, a Swedish NGO that supports ZPSP.
¶3. (C) The ZPSP members say they have spoken to
representatives of all three parties in the coalition
government, to include the ZANU Minister of State Security,
as well as many senior military and police officials. They
said that no one has expressed any disagreement with their
view that there has been a betrayal of the principles they
fought for as young men, and that their legacy is in danger.
The two ZANU veterans pointed out that ZANU’s history is
suppression of debate and discussion, based probably on the
teachings of its Communist mentors. Unfortunately, they said,
no ZANU official is currently willing to agree with them
publicly. It is wrong of the international community to
think of all ZANU officials as corrupt or bad, they maintain,
as only 6 – 12 people in the party are direct beneficiaries
of the looting that has taken place in Zimbabwe. (COMMENT:
While there are a small number of people around Mugabe who
now control Zimbabwe, the number of ZANU-PF members who have
benefited from the deliberate mismanagement of the country is
much larger than 6-12. END COMMENT.) The problem, though,
is how do you deal with even that small number of people when
they occupy key leadership positions? The rank and file, and
here they are referring to enlisted personnel as well as
officers at brigadier and below, all recognize that we are
dealing with systemic failure, that freedom and democracy
have not yet been realized in Zimbabwe, and there is a need
for overhaul of the political and governance framework to
avoid Zimbabwe becoming a failed state. There needs to be a
national body, which perforce would include members of
ZANU-PF, as well as civil society, to work together to
resolve this issue. (COMMENT: That same thing could be said
for most of the issues facing Zimbabwe. END COMMENT.)
People need to focus not on who is at fault for the country’s
current malaise, but on how to get out of it.
¶4. (C) South Africa, and to a lesser extent the other
members of SADC, have a critical role to play in helping
achieve security sector reform, and with SA President Zuma
replacing Thabo Mbeki as lead on the issue, there is a chance
Qreplacing Thabo Mbeki as lead on the issue, there is a chance
that something can finally be done. Mbeki, they said, was
more interested in protecting commercial interests in
Zimbabwe, and was more unhelpful than helpful. Regional
partners have a stake in a stable Zimbabwe, and need to take
a more active role in encouraging all parties in Harare to
look for solutions to their problems. There is a role for
the international community, because such a program is
expensive and will require international funding.
¶5. (C) Regarding the Global Political Agreement (GPA),
they said that it is important to look at it as a process
that will take time, rather than trying to impose arbitrary
deadlines. The common people of Zimbabwe appreciate the
peace and stability the GPA has brought and don’t want to see
it fail. Politicians, on the other hand, of all parties,
want it to collapse because they each – from their different
perspectives – think they could use its failure to their
¶6. (SBU) Finally, they noted that it is extremely important
that donor programs be coordinated and coherent. Different
programs that might be working at cross purposes will surely
fail and further impede Zimbabwe’s progress toward political
HARARE 00000958 002 OF 002
¶7. (C) COMMENT: In a private conversation with the three
former guerrillas after the other ambassadors had left lunch,
ambassador discussed the U.S. role in security sector reform.
They felt that as the world’s superpower, our endorsement is
critical, but recognized that too blatant public involvement
by the USG could cause ZANU-PF hardliners to be suspicious of
the motives of the program, and reject it out of hand. We
need also to consider the impact sanctions might have on our
ability to support any program that has ZANU-PF
participation. What might be required is a waiver of the
limitations specifically to support such a program, provided
we are assured that funds will be used as intended.
Establishment of a trust fund might also be considered. That
way, all international donors would put money into one place,
and it could be disbursed by an office or activity that met
with donor approval. We also need to keep in mind that while
U.S. support is important, the program should not be seen as
U.S. dominated or originated. On this ride, we need to steel
ourselves to riding along in the back seat with map in hand
when our assistance is needed.
¶8. (C) ZPSP is focused on the military, rather than other
institutions such as the police or judiciary (although they
do recognize that these, as well as the prisons, must be
included in any program), and looks at security sector reform
as a long term process. The strength of ZPSP is the access
of Brickhill and others to high-level securocrats. But the
securocrats have so far mostly rejected the GPA and the new
government — to the extent that they have refused to
recognize Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and to
participate in regular meetings of the National Security
Council — and it is far from clear that they would buy into
a reform process that would likely undercut their positions
and power. END COMMENT.