First Boyfriend released

That was the title of the diplomatic cable dispatched by the United States embassy in Harare on 26 August 2004, two days after the release of businessman James Makamba. All we can say is: No comment.

Full cable:

Viewing cable 04HARARE1435, FIRST BOYFRIEND" RELEASED

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE1435

2004-08-26 13:35

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.

 

261335Z Aug 04

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001435

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVELLE, D. TEITELBAUM

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/26/2009

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: "FIRST BOYFRIEND" RELEASED

 

 

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

 

1. (SBU) The GOZ released Politburo member and prominent

businessperson James Makamba from remand prison on August 24.

Makamba had been incarcerated since January on charges

relating to currency externalization, but was widely reputed

to have been put away for cuckolding the President. Regional

media coverage had been alluding increasingly to his putative

affair with the First Lady.

 

2. (C) Makamba family sources (Makamba is the uncle of an

FSN's spouse) confided that retired General and ZANU-PF

heavyweight Solomon Mujuru had weighed in heavily on

Makamba's behalf over the past few months. According to the

family, first Lady Grace also had called Makamba's wife

repeatedly to apologize of late. Makamba had been held in

apalling conditions in remand prison, forced to endure

repeated exercises while naked and other circumstances he was

unwilling to discuss. He had regular close contact with

prominent fellow inmates Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri

(characterized as a "suicide candidate") and recently

released safari magnate Emmanuel Fundira (also jailed for

currency externalization). The family is concerned that

Makamba may yet be re-arrested.

 

3. (C) COMMENT: The Makamba affair may not have played out

fully but already offers some lessons. First, the ruling

party can be even more heavy handed on its own than it is on

its critics -- Makamba and Kuruneri have been in jail far

longer than any opposition figure. The saga also indicates

the extent to which the ruling party is wrapped around the

axle over non-substantive personal rivalries -- Makamba's

fate has absorbed far more attention from the state media and

party's upper echelons than have many of the country's myriad

real policy challenges. It further indicates the publicly

invisible Mujuru's continuing influence, although the

objectives of its exercise in this case are unclear. And

although the media's growing flirtation with the lurid may

have impelled Mugabe's late lenience, the theme of

forgiveness and re-inclusion with diminished status is

consistent with Mugabe's rhetoric and -- depending on

political expedience -- historical behavior. And a lesson

last but not least: don't fuss with the First Lady.

Schultz

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