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Robert Mugabe Wikileaks cables – Part Twenty-Five

President Robert Mugabe might not have the powers that people think he has or often parades to the public.

This is what Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said soon after the formation of the inclusive government when he told United States embassy officials that Mugabe wanted reform but had very little power over this.

Mzembi who had just been on a tour of the United States, among other countries with then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, told embassy officials that he had an “extremely candid” meeting with Mugabe on his return.

 He said he told Mugabe that ZANU-PF was becoming ossified and therefore needed newer and younger leadership for it to survive.

Mugabe is reported to have told him that it as the elders in ZANU-PF that were resisting change.

They did not even realise or accept that they had not won the 2008 elections and this was why they were in a government of national unity.

Mzembi told embassy officials that Mugabe asked him to address the politburo about these reforms that he was requesting.

Asked by embassy officials why, if Mugabe was interested in reforms, he did not implement them, Mzembi said he did not know whether Mugabe had the power to enforce his will on such issues.

He also said despite his seeming openness to him, Mugabe was influenced by those with whom he had frequent contact like Emmerson Mnangagwa and the service chiefs.

In its commentary, the embassy wrote: “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.”

Below are the first 500 Wikileaks cables on Mugabe- 126 more to go.

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