Msipa told Dell that Gen Mujuru was no march for Mugabe

Former Midlands Provincial Governor Cephas Msipa told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell that though he felt that it was time for President Robert Mugabe to go, Mugabe would still prevail in any power struggle with former army commander General Solomon Mujuru.

He said Mujuru was perceived by most in the party as greedy and even most parliamentarians from Mashonaland East province, Mujuru's home, would ultimately side with Mugabe against Mujuru.

Msipa said most of the leaders in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front including Emmerson Mnangagwa were afraid to speak out on succession.

The governor, who himself was a dairy farmers, said the Midlands was the centre of Zimbabwe’s dairy farming industry. He said there were about 200 white-owned farms in the province before the land reform but now there were fewer than 40 but they still produced half of Zimbabwe’s milk.

Msipa said he had received instructions from State Security and Lands Minister Didymus Mutasa to get rid of the remaining white farmers in the Midlands but he did not like dispossessing people of their property and was going to talk to Mugabe, who he described as a close friend, about it.

 

Full cable:

 

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE183, ZANU-PF GOVERNOR MSIPA ON SUCCESSION, FARM

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE183

2007-03-09 10:03

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0803

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0183/01 0681003

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 091003Z MAR 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1211

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1501

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1359

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1505

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0181

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0767

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1131

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1560

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3960

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1328

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1984

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1722

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000183

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E.LOKEN

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/09/2012

TAGS: PGOV ECON PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF GOVERNOR MSIPA ON SUCCESSION, FARM

SEIZURES

 

REF: HARARE 1492

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

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Summary

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1. (C) Cephas Msipa, ZANU-PF governor of Midlands Province,

despairingly told polecon chief in a March 7 meeting in his

Gweru office he believed the present government was betraying

the liberation ideals of freedom and an end to poverty. He

described President Robert Mugabe as a close friend, but

thought that it was time for him to go so that political and

economic reforms could take place. Nevertheless, he thought

Mugabe retained enough power within the ruling party to win a

struggle with General Solomon Mujuru and extend his term

until 2010. Noting that Midlands Province produces half of

Zimbabwe's milk, Msipa also said he is fighting efforts of

Didymus Mutasa, Minister of National Security, Lands, Land

Reform, and Resettlement, to expropriate the remaining

white-owned dairy farms in the province which he believed

would decimate the dairy industry. End Summary.

 

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

Mugabe Ignorant of Economy

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

 

2. (C) Msipa repeatedly told us he was worried about

Zimbabwe's rapidly declining economy. He saw starvation all

around as he traveled throughout his province. The 76-year

old governor said that at Mugabe's birthday celebration, held

on February 24 in Gweru, he had told Mugabe that the

government's economic policies were crippling the country and

were responsible for skyrocketing inflation and increasing

poverty. Mugabe had been non-responsive. Msipa opined that

Mugabe did not appear to understand the economic situation

and was receiving poor advice. Noting that he had been part

of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle for freedom, to end

poverty, and to provide opportunity for all Zimbabweans,

Msipa lamented that the government was now subverting these

ideals.

 

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

On Succession

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

 

3. (C) Msipa described Mugabe as a good friend, dating from

their days in the liberations struggle. He thought, however,

that it was time for Mugabe to go. Zimbabwe needed fresh and

energetic leadership to tackle the economic crisis.

Nevertheless, Mugabe, whom he described as still "vigorous,"

had indicated to him at the birthday event that he intended

to push for an extension of his term and for harmonized

elections in 2010.

 

4. (C) Msipa acknowledged internal tensions with ZANU-PF and

the fact that a large number of the rank and file shared his

feeling that Mugabe should be replaced but were afraid to

oppose Mugabe. He mentioned he had spoken about succession

recently with his childhood friend, ZANU-PF faction leader

Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa admitted that party

members*himself included*were afraid to speak out.

 

5. (C) Msipa was well aware of the rift between Mugabe and

Solomon Mujuru. He noted they had sat near each other during

Mugage's birthday but did not acknowledge each other. He was

 

HARARE 00000183 002 OF 003

 

 

convinced that Mugabe would prevail in a power struggle.

Mujuru was perceived by most in the party as greedy and even

most parliamentarians from Mashonaland East province,

Mujuru's home, would ultimately side with Mugabe against

Mujuru. Msipa concluded that despite opposition from within

the party, Mugabe, who retained the support of the security

forces, still had the ability to impose his will on the party

and to accomplish his goals of a term extension and

harmonization of elections.

 

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

Expropriation of Farms

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

 

6. (C) Msipa explained that Midlands was the center of

Zimbabe's dairy farming industry.   Before land seizures

began, there had been about 200 white-owned farms in Midlands

province, but there were now fewer than 40. However, these

40 farmers produced about 50 percent of Zimbabwe's milk. A

dairy farmer himself, Msipa said dairy farming required

expertise and intensive capital investment. Eviction of the

remaining farmers, as intended by the Gazetted Land

(Consequential Provisions) Act signed into law on December 20

(Ref) would decimate the dairy industry. Recognizing the

effect land reform had had on the economy, he commented that

"This is a problem we created for ourselves."

 

7. (C) Msipa said he had spoken to Mugabe about the dairy

farm situation and the president was sympathetic to

forestalling further seizures. But on March 5, Mutasa had

visited Msipa and had instructed him to "get rid of" the

remaining whites in Midlands province. Msipa said he did not

like to dispossess people of their property*no matter their

color-and that further seizures would be devastating for

Midlands. He intended to appeal again to Mugabe and other

party leaders. He also commented that a number of war

veterans, now in possession of expropriated farms, had

visited him and spoken out against further seizures. They

argued that while the government had not provided farming

assistance*and had charged exorbitant prices for

equipment-the white farmers in their areas had been very

helpful with expertise and material inputs.

 

--------

Bio Note

--------

 

8. (U) Msipa assumed his present position in 1999. Born in

1931, he joined the National Democratic Party in 1961. He

was arrested in 1965 and remained in detention until 1970.

He was a founding member of the African National Congress and

was Secretary General for ZAPU. He previously served as

Minister of Water Resources, as Minister of State for

Enterprises and Indignisation in the President,s Office, and

as head of ZimTrade, a quasi-governmental organization

promoting international trade. He participated in the

International Visitor Program, and two of his children

studied in the U.S.

 

-------

Comment

-------

 

9. (C) Msipa may be overestimating the control Mugabe still

exercises within ZANU-PF and the security services. In fact,

as the former commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF),

Solomon Mujuru reportedly still wields great influence with

 

HARARE 00000183 003 OF 003

 

 

the military. In a showdown between Mugabe and Mujuru, the

loyalty of the military, and probably the CIO and police as

well, would be very much in question. More importantly

perhaps, Msipa,s own views about the need for Mugabe to step

down echo those of other senior ZANU-PF members with whom

we've talked recently and would seem to indicate that the

loyalty of the ruling party may also be in doubt.

DELL

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