Zvobgo says Mugabe is now a majority of one in ZANU-PF

Former Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Masvingo kingpin Eddison Zvobgo said President Robert Mugabe was more firmly in control of ZANU-PF after the December 2000 annual conference during which younger members of the party were elected to the politburo than he had ever been before.

“The party no longer acts as a check on the President’s powers,” Zvobgo said. “Instead the party is simply an instrument of the President. During the 1980s, the politburo was known to overrule Mugabe on policy matters, but now Mugabe is a ‘majority of one’ in the party. Anyone who wants to survive must please the president by saying what he thinks Mugabe wants to hear.”

Journalist Iden Wetherell said Mugabe had always been in charge of ZANUI-PF and would not allow anyone to usurp his power. He said Mugabe was in greater control of the party because every newcomer to the politburo was a product of Mugabe’s patronage machine.

Some of the young Turks that had been appointed to the politburo included Simba Makoni, Jonathan Moyo and Border Gezi.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE114, REJUVENATION OF ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY UNLIKELY

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE114

2001-01-08 16:03

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

081603Z Jan 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1849

 

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------------------B39B53 081603Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7958

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000114

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/08/01

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00114 01 OF 03 081603Z

TAGS: PGOV PINR ZI

SUBJECT: REJUVENATION OF ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY UNLIKELY

TO CARRY IT THROUGH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

 

REFS: A) HARARE 7266, B) HARARE 7134, C) HARARE 6658

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL IRVING FOR REASONS:

1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: ZIMBABWE'S RULING ZANU-PF HAS

REENERGIZED ITSELF AND WRESTED SOME OF THE POLITICAL

MOMENTUM FROM THE OPPOSITION MDC, BUT IT FACES AN UPHILL

BATTLE IN MAINTAINING ITS MOMENTUM THROUGH THE

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN EARLY 2002. ZANU-PF'S VICTORY

IN THE MARONDERA WEST BY-ELECTION, THE LAYING TO REST OF

RUMORS OF MUGABE'S RETIREMENT AT THE DECEMBER PARTY

CONGRESS, AND A NEW, YOUNGER POLITBURO HAVE BREATHED NEW

LIFE INTO A PARTY THAT RECENTLY APPEARED HEADED FOR THE

SCRAPHEAP. THE PARTY'S NEWFOUND SENSE OF PURPOSE,

HOWEVER, HAS NOT TRANSLATED INTO GREATER SUPPORT AMONG

EVERYDAY ZIMBABWEANS. THERE ARE SERIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT

THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE RULING PARTY'S TACTICS, AND

PRESIDENT MUGABE'S ABILITY TO WIN NEXT YEAR'S ELECTION

IS STILL VERY MUCH IN DOUBT. END SUMMARY.

 

---------------------

A REJUVENATED ZANU-PF

---------------------

 

2. (C) ALTHOUGH ZANU-PF'S LEVEL OF POPULAR SUPPORT HAS

NOT INCREASED IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS, RECENT EVENTS HAVE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00114 01 OF 03 081603Z

HELPED TO REENERGIZE PARTY FOLLOWERS, WHO, UNTIL

RECENTLY, SEEMED READY TO JUMP SHIP. ZANU-PF HELD ON TO

ITS MARONDERA WEST PARLIAMENTARY SEAT IN THE NOVEMBER

BY-ELECTION, ALBEIT ONLY AFTER WEEKS OF VIOLENT

INTIMIDATION OF THE LOCAL ELECTORATE (REF C). IN A WAY,

THE BY-ELECTION VALIDATED THE PARTY'S TACTICS, AND IT

SENT A MESSAGE TO THE PARTY LEADERSHIP THAT IT DOES HAVE

THE MEANS TO STAY IN POWER. A LOSS IN A TRADITIONAL

MASHONALAND STRONGHOLD WOULD HAVE BEEN DISASTROUS.

 

3. (C) DECEMBER'S ZANU-PF CONGRESS HELPED TO RALLY THE

PARTY FAITHFUL AROUND MUGABE'S LAND REFORM AGENDA AND

CONVINCE THEM THAT ZANU-PF STILL HAS A FUTURE (REF B).

MUGABE'S EMPHASIS ON THE FAST-TRACK LAND RESETTLEMENT

PROGRAM AND HIS OBVIOUS DESIRE TO KEEP ZANU-PF IN POWER

GAVE HARD-CORE PARTY MEMBERS A NEW SENSE OF PURPOSE.

THE CONGRESS ALSO DISPELLED THE CONFUSION AND

UNCERTAINTY ABOUT MUGABE'S INTENTION TO STAY AT THE

COUNTRY'S HELM--HE IS HERE TO STAY AND WILL BE THE

PARTY'S CANDIDATE FOR THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

THE APPOINTMENT OF A NEW, YOUNGER POLITBURO (REF A) WAS

A REBUKE OF THE PARTY'S OLD GUARD, ACCORDING TO IDEN

WETHERELL, EDITOR OF THE "ZIMBABWE INDEPENDENT." NOT

ONLY DID IT INFUSE NEW (BUT LOYAL) BLOOD INTO THE PARTY

LEADERSHIP, IT SIDELINED THE OLD GUARD THAT HAD FAILED

TO WIN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE PEOPLE, WETHERELL

BELIEVES. THE LIKES OF 36-YEAR-OLD YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

MINISTER BORDER GEZI AND INFORMATION MINISTER JONATHAN

MOYO DEFINITELY HAVE MORE ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM TO PUSH

THE PARTY'S AGENDA AND COW THE MDC.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00114 01 OF 03 081603Z

---------------------------

MUGABE IS FIRMLY IN CONTROL

---------------------------

 

4. EDDISON ZVOBGO, THE FORMER MINISTER WHO WAS

UNCEREMONIOUSLY DUMPED FROM THE POLITBURO (BUT IS STILL

A CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEMBER, AS WELL AS AN MP), TOLD US

THAT MUGABE IS MORE FIRMLY IN CONTROL OF ZANU-PF THAN HE

HAS EVER BEEN. THE PARTY NO LONGER ACTS AS A CHECK ON

THE PRESIDENT'S POWERS, ZVOBGO CONTINUED. INSTEAD, THE

PARTY IS SIMPLY AN INSTRUMENT OF THE PRESIDENT. DURING

THE 1980S, THE POLITBURO WAS KNOWN TO OVERRULE MUGABE ON

POLICY MATTERS, BUT NOW MUGABE IS A "MAJORITY OF ONE" IN

THE PARTY. ANYONE WHO WANTS TO SURVIVE MUST TRY TO

PLEASE THE PRESIDENT BY SAYING WHAT HE THINKS MUGABE

WANTS TO HEAR, ACCORDING TO ZVOBGO. THE FORMER MINISTER

DESCRIBED THIS REALITY AS "PATHETIC."

 

5. ACCORDING TO WETHERELL, MUGABE HAS ALWAYS BEEN IN

CHARGE OF ZANU-PF, AND HE SIMPLY WON'T ALLOW ANYONE TO

USURP HIS POWER. THE SO-CALLED "YOUNG TURKS"--NEWER,

REFORM-MINDED MEMBERS OF THE PARTY--ARE AS UNHAPPY AS

EVER, BUT JUST AS POWERLESS AS BEFORE. MUGABE IS IN

GREATER CONTROL OF THE PARTY BECAUSE, SAYS WETHERELL,

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1851

 

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------------------B39B6D 081604Z /38

O 081603Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7959

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 000114

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/08/01

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00114 02 OF 03 081603Z

TAGS: PGOV PINR ZI

SUBJECT: REJUVENATION OF ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY UNLIKELY

TO CARRY IT THROUGH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

 

EVERY NEWCOMER TO THE POLITBURO IS A PRODUCT OF MUGABE'S

PATRONAGE MACHINE, AND NONE HAVE AN INDEPENDENT POWER

BASE. FINANCE MINISTER SIMBA MAKONI, SOMETIMES TOUTED

AS A POTENTIAL SUCCESSOR TO MUGABE, HAS BEEN WEAKENED--

PARADOXICALLY--BY HIS APPOINTMENT TO THE POLITBURO

BECAUSE NOW HE IS COMPLETELY BEHOLDEN TO THE PRESIDENT

FOR HIS POSITION IN THE PARTY, WETHERELL STATED. AS FOR

SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, MUGABE BROUGHT

HIM BACK FROM POLITICAL OBLIVION TO SILENCE THE

OPPOSITION IN PARLIAMENT AND TO DEAL WITH MALCONTENTS IN

ZANU-PF. THE TWO NEED EACH OTHER, WETHERELL ASSERTED.

 

--------------------------------------------- ----

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AN UPHILL BATTLE FOR MUGABE

--------------------------------------------- ----

 

6. (C) DESPITE ZANU-PF'S APPARENT REVITALIZATION,

MUGABE FACES AN UPHILL BATTLE TO WIN A THIRD

PRESIDENTIAL TERM IN NEXT YEAR'S ELECTION. IN FACT, OUR

CONTACTS SAY THERE IS "NO WAY" HE CAN WIN. ZVOBGO TOLD

US THAT THE LEVEL OF VIOLENCE REQUIRED TO COW THE ENTIRE

ELECTORATE WOULD BE "UNACCEPTABLE," AND MUGABE CLEARLY

CANNOT RUN ON HIS RECORD GIVEN THE NEAR COLLAPSE OF THE

ECONOMY. BECAUSE THE PRESIDENTIAL VOTE IS A STRAIGHT

NATIONAL HEAD COUNT WITH NO RUN-OFFS (AS OPPOSED TO A

FIRST-PAST-THE-POST VOTE IN A DISTRICT-BY-DISTRICT

SYSTEM), TSVANGIRAI ONLY NEEDS ONE MORE VOTE THAN MUGABE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00114 02 OF 03 081603Z

TO BEAT HIM. THE URBAN AREAS, MATABELELAND AND

MANICALAND WILL GO SOLIDLY TO THE MDC, AND MIDLANDS WILL

BE SPLIT 50-50, ZVOBGO SAYS. MASHONALAND WILL STILL

VOTE LARGELY FOR ZANU-PF, ZVOBGO CONTENDS, LEAVING

MASVINGO AS SOMETHING OF A WILD CARD. HOWEVER, BY HIS

CALCULATION, A LARGE, PRO-MDC TURNOUT IN URBAN AREAS

WILL WIN THE DAY OVER LOW TURNOUTS IN THE TRADITIONAL

ZANU-PF RURAL AREAS. THE SMART MOVE FOR MUGABE, ZVOBGO

SAID, WOULD BE TO RESIGN IN OCTOBER THIS YEAR AND CALL A

SNAP ELECTION BEFORE THE ONSET OF THE RAINS. IF THE

ELECTION WERE HELD ON SCHEDULE, I.E. SHORTLY BEFORE

MUGABE'S TERM ENDS ON MARCH 31, 2002, MUGABE COULD BE

EVEN MORE UNPOPULAR IF HEAVY RAINS WIPED OUT A LOT OF

ROADS AND BRIDGES, AS THEY DID IN EARLY 2000, AND THE

GOVERNMENT DIDN'T HAVE THE MEANS TO RESPOND. THE MOVE

WOULD ALSO SURPRISE THE OPPOSITION AND GIVE THEM LESS

TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE ELECTION. ZVOBGO EVEN PROPOSED

THIS PLAN TO MUGABE, BUT THE PRESIDENT REJECTED IT OUT

OF HAND, HE SAID.

 

7. (C) WETHERELL WAS IN AGREEMENT THAT NO LEVEL OF

VIOLENCE CAN WIN THE ELECTION FOR MUGABE. THE PARTY

CAN'T RESORT TO WIDESPREAD RIGGING, EITHER, BECAUSE THE

ELECTION WILL BE CLOSELY MONITORED BY INTERNATIONAL

OBSERVERS. THE URBAN AREAS, MATABELELAND AND MANICALAND

STRONGLY BACK THE MDC, WHILE MASHONALAND BACKS ZANU-PF.

THAT LEAVES MIDLANDS AND MASVINGO PROVINCES AS KEY

BATTLEGROUNDS, THE EDITOR STATED. MUGABE WILL "GO FOR

BROKE" IN THESE AREAS AND MASHONALAND TO WIN THE

ELECTION. WETHERELL DID NOT HAVE ANY FIRM PREDICTIONS

ON WHAT THE MILITARY MIGHT DO, BUT HE DID NOT THINK IT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00114 02 OF 03 081603Z

WOULD "DO ANYTHING STUPID" TO KEEP MUGABE IN POWER.

 

-------------------------------

NOT ENOUGH YES MEN TO GO AROUND

-------------------------------

 

8. (C) COMMENT: A BUNCH OF ROOTLESS "YES MEN" NOW

COMPRISE THE LEADERSHIP OF ZANU-PF. THEY NEED MUGABE

MORE THAN EVER FOR THEIR LIVELIHOOD, AND HE NEEDS THEM

TO RUN THE DAY-TO-DAY BUSINESS OF THE STATE, MOBILIZE

THE MASSES, AND PROVIDE SUPPORT AFTER SETBACKS. MUGABE

APPEARS TO BE THE MAIN GUARANTOR OF ZANU-PF'S EXISTENCE,

ESPECIALLY IN THESE TIMES OF CRISIS. THE VIABILITY OF

THE PARTY, AS CURRENTLY STRUCTURED, IS NOT GUARANTEED IN

A POST-MUGABE ERA. MNANGAGWA APPEARS TO HAVE ENGINEERED

THE PROMOTION OF A NUMBER OF YOUNGER PARTY MEMBERS TO

ENSURE THAT THEY WOULD BE PERSONALLY LOYAL TO HIM IN A

POST-MUGABE SCENARIO.

 

9. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: DESPITE ZANU-PF'S INTERNAL

REJUVENATION AND RENEWED SENSE OF PURPOSE, IT IS STILL A

WIDELY UNPOPULAR PARTY AMONG ZIMBABWEANS AS A WHOLE.

THE NUMBER OF HARD-CORE ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS--THOSE LIKELY

BENEFITING DIRECTLY FROM ZANU-PF RULE--HAS SHRUNK TO

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1852

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00114 03 OF 03 081604Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01

OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00

SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02

G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /006W

------------------B39B73 081604Z /38

O 081603Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7960

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 000114

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/08/01

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00114 03 OF 03 081604Z

TAGS: PGOV PINR ZI

SUBJECT: REJUVENATION OF ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY UNLIKELY

TO CARRY IT THROUGH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

 

FEWER THAN 15 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION, ACCORDING TO

THE SOUTH AFRICA-BASED HELEN SUZMAN FOUNDATION. DESPITE

OUR CONTACTS' ASSERTION THAT MUGABE ESSENTIALLY HAS NO

CHANCE OF WINNING IN 2002, MUGABE IS STILL A MASTERFUL

POLITICAL MANIPULATOR. HE HAS BEEN WRITTEN OFF

COUNTLESS TIMES BEFORE, ONLY TO COME BACK MORE FIRMLY IN

CONTROL THAN EVER. NONETHELESS, OVER THE NEXT YEAR,

MUGABE AND ZANU-PF WILL FACE THEIR STRONGEST CHALLENGE

AS THEY ATTEMPT TO HOLD ONTO POWER. IT IS DIFFICULT TO

IMAGINE ZIMBABWE'S ECONOMY TURNING AROUND IN THE NEXT

YEAR TO THE EXTENT NECESSARY FOR ZANU-PF TO WIN TRUE

PUBLIC SUPPORT. ITS TACTIC OF SENDING IN THE SHOCK

TROOPS TO BEAT OPPOSITION SYMPATHIZERS INTO SUBMISSION

MAY WIN A FEW BY-ELECTIONS IN THE SHORT-TERM, BUT IS

UNLIKELY TO WIN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE PEOPLE IN

THE LONG-TERM. END COMMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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