Mujuru camp sought US help to remove Mugabe

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front faction loyal to the late Solomon Mujuru was so desperate to get rid of President Robert Mugabe before the crucial extra-ordinary congress of 2007 that it sought help from the United States government.

This was the commentary of former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell after a meeting with one of Mujuru’s lieutenants, David Butau on 31 May 2007.

According to a diplomatic cable just released by Wikileaks, Dell said the meeting which Butau only scheduled hours before, “smacked of desperation”.

“The Mujuru camp has done everything it could to gain control of the ruling party structures in Masvingo and Bulawayo, while forestalling Mugabe's full endorsement at Central Committee, but the status quo still favours Mugabe,” he wrote.

“The meeting, which resembled more of a brainstorming session than a formal request for help, demonstrates that the Mujuru camp is running out of ideas and possible options. While Butau's comments regarding Mujuru's commitment to reform were certainly intended to influence, he's right that the next few months will be key. Unless this camp gets a shot in the arm soon, we're likely looking at several more years of Mugabe.”

Butau had told Dell that Mujuru had determined that he needed to act decisively within the next four to five months to unseat Mugabe.

If the Mujuru camp was not able to force Mugabe out by the time of the Extra-ordinary Congress expected in December it would be too late and Mugabe would by then solidify his candidature and with it the presidency.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE485, MUJURU LIEUTENANT PITCHES FOR USG SUPPORT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE485

2007-06-01 08:50

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1614

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1481

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RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1674

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4081

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1443

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2101

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

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RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1835

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000485

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/01/2017

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: MUJURU LIEUTENANT PITCHES FOR USG SUPPORT

 

REF: A. REF A: HARARE 448

 

B. REF B: HARARE 336

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher W. Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

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Summary

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1. (C) David Butau, ZANU-PF MP and member of the faction

allied to ex-military commander Solomon Mujuru, told poloff

on May 31 that Mujuru had determined that the time to unseat

President Robert Mugabe was now. Mujuru had flexed his

muscle and wrested control of the party structures in

Masvingo and Bulawayo, and his subordinates had begun to chip

away at Mugabe's key backers. Butau added that while

pressure on Mugabe was needed, the USG needed to quietly

weigh into this intra-party battle to help block Mugabe's bid

for another term. End Summary.

 

-----------------------------------

Mujuru Faction Assesses Time Is Now

-----------------------------------

 

2. (C) Ruling-party MP David Butau told poloff on May 31

that Mujuru had determined that he needed to act decisively

within the next four to five months to unseat Mugabe. If the

Mujuru camp was not able to force Mugabe out by the time of

the Extra-ordinary Congress expected in December (ref A), it

would be too late and Mugabe would by then solidify his

candidature and with it the presidency. Butau ) who is from

the same Shona ethnic sub-group as Vice President Joyce

Mujuru and reportedly employs one of the Mujuru daughters at

his investment company, Dande - noted that the Mujuru faction

had scored important victories in provincial party elections

in Masvingo and Bulawayo, adding to Mujuru's current support

in the three Mashonaland provinces.

 

3. (C) Adding to this sense of urgency, Butau outlined three

possible scenarios for the near term: 1) continued Mugabe

rule and economic decline that would be unsustainable; 2) a

reformed (read Mujuru-led) ZANU-PF coming to office that

would restore economic stability; or 3) a stalemate leading

to confrontation that would quickly entangle the

military/security forces and pit the Shona ethnic sub-groups

against each other. Butau contended that ZANU-PF was headed

for a train wreck, with one faction led by Mugabe determined

to stay in power at any cost and another faction led by

Mujuru desperate to save its business interests. Unless

Mujuru was able to gain the upper hand soon, Butau said that

the factional battles could spiral out of control. Asked

about the camp led by Rural Housing Minister and former heir

apparent Emmerson Mnangagwa, Butau said they were still

licking their wounds from a strong rebuke from Mugabe in late

2004 and had contented themselves with allying ) at least

temporarily ) with Mugabe in the hope that he would once

again turn his favor in their direction.

 

----------------------

Fierce Battles Ongoing

----------------------

 

4. (C) Despite attempts by the Mugabe faction to undermine

its intra-party opponents, Butau said the reformist element

of ZANU-PF was alive and well. Butau contended that the GOZ

decision to sever ties with a USG-funded parliamentary

support project (ref B) was ultimately an attempt to weaken

critical ZANU-PF MPs, such as himself, Walter Mzembi, and Leo

 

HARARE 00000485 002 OF 002

 

 

Mugabe - whom Butau added was out of favor with the

President.

 

5. (C) Instead of targeting Mugabe directly, Butau said the

Mujuru faction had decided to undermine his supporters,

chiefly Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, ZANU-PF Commissar

Elliot Manyika, Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, and Deputy

Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere. Noting that the on-going

economic crisis was crippling the pocketbooks of ruling party

insiders, Butau contended that the only way to confront

Mugabe's inner circle was on economic issues. To that end,

Butau ) who also chairs Parliament's Budget Committee )

noted that his Committee had recently taken Gono to task on

his failure to stabilize the economy. Specifically, the

faction wants to link its intra-party opponents to high-level

corruption, which they could then take to the military and

the party to convince those structures to rebuke Mugabe.

While Mujuru retained broad support within the military,

Butau stated that the military's professionalism ) which he

ascribed to Mujuru's leadership ) prevented them from

intervening without compelling reason.

 

------------------------------

Asks US Support For Reformists

------------------------------

 

6. (C) Butau asked poloff that the USG quietly support the

reformist element of ZANU-PF in this battle. While it was

important to maintain the heat on Mugabe and his circle,

Butau said US policy also had to cultivate contacts with

Mugabe's intra-party opponents, and not just those outside

the party. Poloff acknowledged that ZANU-PF was not

monolithic and noted that we continually sought more contact

with reform-minded ruling party members. Asked for specific

recommendations on how the USG should proceed, Butau was

initially at a loss but finally suggested that firm promises

of international financial support would help the Mujuru

faction erode Mugabe's support and ultimately usher in a

reformist government. Poloff replied that international

financial assistance was predicated on the GOZ undertaking

reforms, not the other way around.

 

-------

Comment

-------

 

7. (C) Poloff's meeting with Butau, which the MP scheduled

only hours before, smacked of desperation. The Mujuru camp

has done everything it could to gain control of the ruling

party structures in Masvingo and Bulawayo, while forestalling

Mugabe's full endorsement at Central Committee, but the

status quo still favors Mugabe. The meeting, which resembled

more of a brainstorming session than a formal request for

help, demonstrates that the Mujuru camp is running out of

ideas and possible options. While Butau's comments regarding

Mujuru's commitment to reform were certainly intended to

influence, he's right that the next few months will be key.

Unless this camp gets a shot in the arm soon, we're likely

looking at several more years of Mugabe.

DELL

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