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Robert Mugabe Wikileaks cables – Part Twenty-Three

A war veteran said to have been an aide of former Vice-President Joshua Nkomo reportedly told the United States embassy in Harare that a group of five high-ranking military officials planned to overthrow President Robert Mugabe while he was away in Kampala attending a regional meeting.

This was more than a month after Mugabe had signed the global political agreement with the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change one led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the other by Arthur Mutambara.

Fred Mutanda, who was said to be a close contact of the US embassy said the officers were from the army artillery, infantry and the Air Force and included a general, a colonel and an air vice-marshal.

The plan was that the officers would allow Mugabe to leave the country on 21 October 2008 and then announce that he was not free to return to Harare.

They would place close supporters of Mugabe under house arrest and announce their actions on state radio and television.

Mutanda said the officers were not interested in taking over power but would hand it over to the Speaker of the House of Assembly and ask him to constitute a government.

At the time, the Speaker was MDC-T national chairman Lovemore Moyo.

Mutanda told embassy officials that he and two of the coup plotters had spoken with Chiwenga to gauge his feelings about the situation in Zimbabwe.

Although they did not reveal their plans to Chiwenga, Mutanda felt that he would not stand in the way of a coup.

Embassy officials said they had discreetly reached out to other contacts in an effort to corroborate Mutanda’s story but had received no confirmation.

“Mutanda is a war veteran and former aide-de-camp of Joshua Nkomo. He has excellent contacts within ZANU-PF and the military and his sharing of information with us in the past has generally been accurate. Therefore, we believe a coup has been discussed among high-ranking military officers. We also believe the plans are plausible,” embassy officials said.

Below are the first 460 Wikileaks cables on Mugabe- 166 more to go

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