Mugabe’s priest

President Robert Mugabe’s personal priest Father Fidelis Mukonori told United States embassy officials in 2007 that he believed that it was now time for Mugabe to go but an exit would have been easier 10 or 15 years earlier.

“Now Mugabe is concerned about how he will spend the last years of his life should he leave politics and government,” a cable released by Wikileaks says. “We don't know whether Mugabe asks for advice or whether Fidelis gives it. Our impression is that they have discussions, as old friends.”

The cable was a personal look at who Father Mukonori was.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 07HARARE692, MUGABE'S PRIEST, FATHER FIDELIS MUKONORI

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE692

2007-08-03 09:05

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0264

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0692 2150905

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 030905Z AUG 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1754

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000692

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

INR/I FOR RODNEY HUFF

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2012

TAGS: PINR ZI

SUBJECT: MUGABE'S PRIEST, FATHER FIDELIS MUKONORI

 

REF: SECSTATE 80907

 

Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Glenn Warren under 1.4 (c)

 

1. (C) This message responds to a request for information

regarding Father Fidelis Mukonori. The Embassy meets with

Fidelis from time to time. We last saw him in July.

 

2. (C) Father Fidelis has ties with President Mugabe and

other senior ZANU-PF figures going back to the liberation

struggle in the 1970s. He is from Mashonaland East and, like

Mugabe, a Zezeru. He told us he was involved in brokering an

end to the ZANU-ZAPU conflict in Matabeleland in the early

1980s and was involved in putting together the Unity Accord

in 1987. He reportedly has served as a Mugabe emissary on

other occasions--to white farmers in 2000 and to Morgan

Tsvangirai in 2003 and 2006.

 

SIPDIS

 

3. (C) Fidelis now meets irregularly with Mugabe; the last

meeting was in March. At this point in time he does not

travel with Mugabe. We are unaware if he also meets with

Grace.

 

4. (C) Fidelis discusses the state of Zimbabwe with Mugabe.

He also discusses Mugabe's future. Fidelis believes it is

time (or past time) for Mugabe to go, but told us an exit

would have been easier 10 or 15 years ago. Now Mugabe is

concerned about how he will spend the last years of his life

should he leave politics and government. We don't know

whether Mugabe asks for advice or whether Fidelis gives it.

Our impression is that they have discussions, as old friends.

 

5. (C) We're unaware of past rifts and/or disagreements

between Mugabe and Fidelis.

 

6. (C) Fidelis does not have his own church; he is the

senior Jesuit in Zimbabwe.

 

7. (C) Fidelis keeps his political views to himself,

although as stated in para. 4, he believes Zimbabwe needs new

leadership. He travels throughout the country and is no

doubt aware of the economic situation. He intimated to us

that he agreed with the substance of the Bishop's pastoral

letter in April criticizing the government, but thought the

tone could have been less accusatory and more subtle.

Fidelis is on the board of St. George's College. Last year,

when the government attempted to cap school fees for private

institutions, he was not afraid to criticize and challenge

the Ministry of Education.

 

8. (C) Fidelis travels frequently. Within the last several

months, he has been in the U.S., Japan, and South Africa.

We're unaware of particular relationships with church

officials in South Africa.

 

9. (C) Fidelis regards himself as a conciliator and bridge

builder. He would like to see better relations between the

U.S. and Zimbabwe. We have explained U.S. policy to him,

including the prospect of U.S. assistance, and he has said he

would communicate this to Mugabe. At our meeting with him in

July he said he would soon seek a meeting with Mugabe to talk

about Mugabe's plans. We will follow up with Fidelis.

 

 

DHANANI

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