- Category: Stories
- Published on Sunday, 03 February 2013 10:00
- Written by Charles Rukuni
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He told this to United States embassy officials on 20 March 2009. The officials described Mzembi as "young Turk", close to Mugabe, but who “at the same time was one of the few ZANU-PF officials who has been confident enough to speak openly with us without fear of repercussions from hardliners”.
Mzembi said neither Mnangagwa nor Mujuru could win an election against the MDC. “If ZANU-PF is to win the next election, it will need to divorce itself from the past and develop new, younger leadership,” he said.
Mzembi also said MDC ministers were weak in cabinet and reluctant to broach the discussion of major issues. The prominent exceptions were Minister of Finance Tendai Biti, Minister of Economic Development Elton Mangoma, and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/26/2019
SUBJECT: ZANU-PF INSIDER ON POLITICS
Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
ZANU-PF Minister of Tourism
¶1. (C) Walter Mzembi, ZANU-PF Minister of Tourism, spoke
with us on March 20. Mzembi is considered a "young Turk"
within the party. He is close to Mugabe, but at the same
time is one of the few ZANU-PF officials who has been
confident enough to speak openly with us without fear of
repercussions from hardliners. Following are Mzembi's
¶2. (C) Mugabe will not step down at the ZANU-PF conference
in December. He is aware of the divisions within the party
and is afraid the party will fall apart in his absence. He
will not support either Emmerson Mnangagwa or Joice Mujuru to
succeed him but is fostering a stalemate between the two with
the hope that a younger successor will emerge.
¶3. (C) Neither Mnangagwa nor Mujuru can win an election
against the MDC. If ZANU-PF is to win the next election, it
will need to divorce itself from the past and develop new,
younger leadership. It is unlikely elections will take place
in the next two years; ZANU-PF needs time to regroup and
settle the succession issue.
¶4. (C) ZANU-PF officials are fixated on the lifting of
sanctions; they need to understand, however, that the lifting
of sanctions will be a more complicated process than was
their imposition and should focus on other issues.
¶5. (C) MDC ministers have been weak in cabinet and reluctant
to broach the discussion of major issues. The prominent
exceptions are Minister of Finance Tendai Biti, Minister of
Economic Development Elton Mangoma, and Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara. (NOTE: Subsequent to this conversation,
the MDC directly tackled the land issue in Parliament
(Septel) END NOTE.)
¶6. (C) Tourism can be quickly turned around to begin
bringing in more badly-needed forex. Lifting of travel
advisories would be extremely important in accomplishing this.
¶7. (C) Continuing farm invasions are unfortunate and
unhelpful to tourism. The Ministers of Home Affairs should
take the lead in forestalling invasions and arresting those
who participate. The MDC now has a Home Affairs minister
(Giles Mutsekwa), but he has not yet been vocal on the land
¶8. (C) In August, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe
referred to his cabinet as "the worst in history."
Nevertheless, he recycled many members of that cabinet into
the current one. Mzembi and Minister of Environment Francis
Nhema are considered the only moderates, although a few
others, including Minister of Transportation and
Infrastructure Nicholas Goche and Vice President Joice
Mujuru, have signaled they may play, at least on some issues,
constructive roles. We have requested appointments with key
ZANU-PF ministers and will test ZANU-PF's professed
willingness to engage diplomatically.