Did Mutasa outsmart Oppah Muchinguri?

Didymus Mutasa, considered to be the most senior Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front official from Manicaland, may have outsmarted Women’s League leader Oppah Muchinguri by getting her replaced as governor by Mike Nyambuya, according to a cable released by Wikileaks.

Mutasa and Muchinguri were reported to be squabbling over candidates who should be elected into the provincial executive at the time.

“Muchinguri's dismissal suggests the ascendancy of the abrasive hard-liner Mutasa, who is widely reputed to be posturing for a vice-presidential slot, and Manicaland native and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa, who during campaign stumping for the August municipal elections admonished provincial party faithful for not being sufficiently loyal,” the cable says.

The cable also said the appointment of Nyambuya, an army major general conformed to the trend of growing military presence in political circles.. 

“While the specific rationale behind Nyambuya's appointment are uncertain (aside from his close association with Chinamasa), the appointment of military figures generally can further two objectives for the ruling party.

“First, it mutes (though does not eliminate) objections from factions disappointed not to place one of their own in a particular job.

“In addition, it may serve to foster better relations between the party and the military -- an increasingly disaffected institution that potentially poses the greatest threat to ruling party control,” the cable says.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE2253, PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR SHUFFLE SHOWS SOME HEAT,

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE2253

2003-11-17 14:20

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.

 

171420Z Nov 03

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002253

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. DELISI, M. RAYNOR

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER, D. TEITELBAUM

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2008

TAGS: PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR SHUFFLE SHOWS SOME HEAT,

LITTLE MOVEMENT

 

 

Classified By: Political Officer Win Dayton under Section 1.5(b)(d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: The recent appointment of four new provincial

governors reflects factional infighting that so far appears

unlikely to yield any meaningful shift in government policy.

The appointments are part of an anticipated broader personnel

shake-up that will underscore President Mugabe's full control

of the party but could hold potential implications for

factional balances of power and succession. The new

governors, one of whom is a general, are a mixed bag who all

can be expected to adhere strictly to the party line. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (U) In early November, the GOZ announced the appointment

of new governors in Manicaland (Major General Michael

Nyambuya replacing Oppah Muchinguri), Mashonaland West

(Nelson Samkange replacing Peter Chanetsa), Matabeleland

South (Angeline Masuku filling the vacancy left by Stephen

Nkomo's death in April), and Mashonaland Central (Ephraim

Masawi taking over for Elliott Manyika). David Karimanzira

of Mashonaland East, Josaya Hungwe of Masvingo, Cephas Msipa

of Midlands, and Obert Mpofu of Matabeleland North were

reappointed to their respective governor posts. All

appointments are scheduled to be for two years and take

effect December 1.

 

3. (C) The most interesting of the appointments appears to

have been in Manicaland, historically an anti-establishment

hotbed and home to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and

ruling party "dissident" ex-Finance Minister Simba Makoni.

In recent weeks, independent press reported bitter feuding

between Muchinguri and Party External Relations Secretary and

senior politburo member Didymus Mutasa in the run-up to

December's national conference. Muchinguri and Mutasa

reportedly were backing rival candidates in provincial party

elections. Muchinguri's dismissal suggests the ascendancy of

the abrasive hard-liner Mutasa, who is widely reputed to be

posturing for a vice-presidential slot, and Manicaland

native and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary

Affairs Patrick Chinamasa, who during campaign stumping for

the August municipal elections admonished provincial party

faithful for not being sufficiently loyal. Muchinguri, a

relative moderate, will retain her own politburo seat and may

yet exert influence on the provincial membership's posture at

the the December national conference.

 

4. (C) The naming of General Nyambuya conforms to a trend of

growing military presence in political circles. While the

specific rationale behind Nyambuya's appointment are

uncertain (aside from his close association with Chinamasa),

the appointment of military figures generally can further two

objectives for the ruling party. First, it mutes (though

does not eliminate) objections from factions disappointed not

to place one of their own in a particular job. In addition,

it may serve to foster better relations between the party and

the military -- an increasingly disaffected institution that

potentially poses the greatest threat to ruling party

control.

 

5. (C) Chanetsa and Manyika had been fingered publicly for

taking more than one farm in violation of the terms of the

government's land reform program, but whether this was the

reason for their dismissal is unclear. The fact that Hungwe

and Mpofu, who retained their provincial governorships, also

were publicly revealed to have more than one farm suggests

there were other reasons. Chanetsa may have been axed in

part as a sop to South Africa, whose High Commissioner had

been detained and threatened by settlers while visiting a

Mash West farm owned by a South African. Manyika's ouster

will allow him to devote more time to his portfolio as

Minister of Youth Development, Gender, and Employment.

 

6. (C) COMMENT: This tranche of personnel changes is

symptomatic of some ferment in the ruling party, with

factions and individuals jockeying for position against a

backdrop of possible leadership succession. A new experience

for the party, prospective succession (however far off) may

sharpen internecine frictions and heighten the

unpredictability of the situation. Nonetheless, all

intra-party maneuvering is undertaken in the context of

Mugabe's continued make-or-break power throughout the party.

Indeed, the common denominator among this diverse group of

new governors is a presumed unswerving allegiance to the

ruling party and its leader. That new Mat South Governor

Masuku (who actually hails from Mat North) heard about her

appointment on the radio without being informed personally

highlights the unquestioned subordination of the individual

to the party interest.

 

7. (C) COMMENT (CONT'D): The government may try to project

personnel changes to the international community

(particularly Commonwealth interlocutors on the advent of the

December in Abuja) as precursors to meaningful political

reform. However, "political reform" in any form is not

likely to be discussed realistically within the ruling party

until it works out its own succession end game -- an

uncertain exercise with no conclusion in sight. END COMMENT.

 

8. Bio notes on the new governors follow:

 

-- (U) Major General Michael Nyambuya has been with the

Zimbabwe National Army for 23 years. Nyambuya began his

military career in the Zimbabwe African National Liberation

Army (the military wing of ZANU during the liberation

struggle). He served in the United Nations Angola

Verification Mission II (May 1991-February 1995) in Angola

for two years where he was Senior Liaison Officer to the

People,s Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA),

Deputy Chief Military Observer, and Acting Chief Military

Observer. Nyambuya also served in Somalia as the Deputy

Force Commander with the United Nations Operation in Somalia.

Nyambuya led UN peacekeeping forces in Angola and the

Zimbabwe troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nyambuya holds a diploma in public administration from the

University of Zimbabwe.

 

(C) Nyambuya is a strong ZANU-PF supporter and is closely

linked to Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs

Patrick Chinamasa. According to a Chinamasa family friend,

Nyambuya offered Chinamasa the services of junior army

officers to help farm his wife,s newly acquired farm in

Manicaland. In return, Chinamasa ensured that Nyambuya

received a farm adjacent to the one that Mrs. Chinamasa

acquired.

 

-- (U) Nelson Samkange is the former chairman for Zimbabwe

Newspapers. A journalist by profession, Samkange attended the

University of Zimbabwe where he obtained a degree in

economics. He left the country in 1964 and was appointed a

tourism attach based in London after independence. He

returned home in 1985 and assumed the position of director of

marketing for the Zimbabwe Tourist Development Corporation.

He is related to President Mugabe.

 

-- (SBU) Angeline Masuku is a former MP for Luveve

constituency, a high density suburb of Bulawayo, and is the

Secretary for the Disabled and Disadvantaged on the ZANU-PF

 

SIPDIS

Politburo. A teacher by profession, she has a reputation for

being a strong advocate for women and children,s rights and

has cultivated a group of women active in informal banking

and other entrepreneurial activities. Masuku is reported to

be someone who works well with others.

 

(SBU) She was an active member of ZAPU in the 1960s.

Politically, she appears to have been overshadowed by the

memory of her late husband Lieutenant General Lookout Masuku,

who was one of the senior ZAPU officials. He was arrested in

the mid-1980s under trumped up treason charges and detained

together with former minister Dumiso Dabengwa for a few

years. He died under mysterious circumstances after being

released from prison and was declared a national hero.

 

-- (U) Ephraim Masawi is a former MP for Mbare West. During

his term as MP, Masawi was actively involved in all issues

concerning his constituency. He is a strong youth activist,

a passion he shares with his predecessor Border Gezi.

 

SULLIVAN

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