Mzembi said Mugabe will not support Mnangagwa or Mujuru to succeed him

Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said President Robert Mugabe will not support Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa or Vice-President Joice Mujuru to succeed him but was fostering a stalemate between the two so that a younger successor could emerge.

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.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE258, ZANU-PF INSIDER ON POLITICS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE258

2009-03-26 09:58

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

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INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2725

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RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2895

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

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RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2014

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C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000258

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/26/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

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

observations:

 

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

invasion issue.

 

-------

COMMENT

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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.

 

DHANANI

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