Gen Mujuru told US its approach insulted Zimbabwe’s “manhood”

Former army commander the late General Solomon Mujuru told United States ambassador Christopher Dell five years ago that Washington’s approach to Zimbabwe was an attack on the government of Zimbabwe’s “manhood”.

"You cannot come into another man's house and tell him he has a problem with his family," he told Dell according to a diplomatic cable just released by Wikileaks.

The West, Mujuru said, needed to "find a way to tell us nicely" what the problems are. Mujuru met Dell on 25 August 2006.

Mujuru told Dell that Zimbabwe was open to dialogue with the United States but the targeted sanctions that Washington had imposed on Harare demonstrated that the West was not interested in real discussions.

He said the suspension of aid and financial and travel sanctions were evidence that the West only wanted to press Zimbabwe into submission.

"How can we talk if my hands are in chains?" Mujuru asked.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 06HARARE1064, SOLOMON MUJURU LASHES OUT AT US PRESSURE, BUT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE1064

2006-08-30 14:33

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO2225

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1064/01 2421433

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 301433Z AUG 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0537

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1303

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1153

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1307

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0068

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0568

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0933

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1361

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3735

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1130

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1772

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1518

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001064

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/30/2015

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: SOLOMON MUJURU LASHES OUT AT US PRESSURE, BUT

LEAVES DOOR OPEN

 

REF: REFTEL: HARARE 1056

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

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Summary

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1. (C) Retired general and ZANU-PF kingmaker Solomon Mujuru

told visiting staffdel and the Ambassador on August 25 that

the GOZ was open to dialogue, but that targeted sanctions

demonstrated that Western capitals were not interested in

real discussions. Saying that only the rural poor felt the

bite of sanctions, Mujuru said that the West's policy of

isolation merely insulted the dignity of regime leaders.

Despite the stale rhetoric, Mujuru conceded that the GOZ had

made some mistakes and left the door open for future

meetings. End Summary.

 

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

Sanctions Expose Sore Point

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

 

2. (C) Responding to the staffdel's question on what can be

done to establish dialogue, Mujuru said that the GOZ was "100

percent open" to talks, but that the US and other Western

governments were not willing to talk. Mujuru then launched

into the familiar history lesson of how Robert Mugabe had

preached reconciliation at independence only to be abandoned

by the British government. Mujuru pointed to aid suspensions

and financial and travel sanctions as evidence that the West

only wanted to press Zimbabwe into submission. "How can we

talk if my hands are in chains?" Mujuru asked.

 

3. (C) Although he initially claimed that sanctions were

impacting all Zimbabweans especially those in the rural

areas, Mujuru conceded that the leadership sanctions were

beginning to sting after the staffdel retorted that Western

governments maintained only targeted sanctions against regime

leaders. Demonstrating that even he was hurt by the

financial sanctions, Mujuru complained bitterly about a US$7

million line of credit he had arranged which had been frozen

by OFAC. Mujuru added that the targeted sanctions were

impacting other regime leaders and making them less eager to

engage.

 

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

US Approach Insults Regime's Honor

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

 

4. (C) Claiming that the GOZ was democratically elected and

respected the rights of opposition supporters, Mujuru said

that the GOZ did not understand what the USG wanted.

Repeated Western criticism was not working, according to

Mujuru. The Ambassador replied the USG believed that the GOZ

had lost its way since the 1980s, when the ruling party had

worked for the good of the people, and that Washington wanted

regime restoration, not regime change. Mujuru immediately

fell back on the line that this criticism was an "attack on

GOZ's manhood." "You can not come into another man's house

and tell him he has a problem with his family." The West

needed to "find a way to tell us nicely" what the problems

are. The Ambassador rejoined that he had been careful not to

say the USG was insisting on its own solutions for Zimbabwe,

but rather that the GOZ was not abiding by the standards that

it had set for itself years ago. Echoing these statements,

the staffdel told Mujuru that many in the United States, who

had once celebrated ZANU-PF's liberation legacy, now viewed

the regime as an oppressor. The Ambassador added that if

Mujuru was serious about wanting dialogue he could not

 

HARARE 00001064 002 OF 002

 

 

instinctively defend his machismo every time he heard

something he did not agree with.

 

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

Leaves Door Open

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

 

5. (C) Asked by the staffdel what steps the GOZ was willing

to take to reach out to the USG, Mujuru said he was open to

suggestions and asked that the USG put into writing the steps

that needed to be taken. Mujuru appeared to concede to the

Ambassador's point that the GOZ needed to reclaim its legacy

of the 1980s and stated that "we have all made mistakes."

Noting that he had historically had good relations with US

officials, Mujuru at the close of the meeting invited the

Ambassador to return in the future to continue the discussion.

 

--------

Bio Note

--------

 

6. (C) Although reported to have AIDS and to be an

alcoholic, Mujuru looked remarkably good and surprisingly

young for a man of 61 years. Contacts tell us that the

spotlight-averse retired General spends most of his time on

his farm in Beatrice, about an hour south of Harare, and that

his wife, Vice President Joyce Mujuru, is an infrequent

visitor. Nonetheless, the staffdel met the liberation war

hero at the Harare office headquarters of his far-flung

business empire. Suggestive of his influence, Mujuru said

that he often visited Mugabe unannounced by simply knocking

on the door and saying "it's me." Majuru has a high school

education and exhibited at the meeting a limited grasp of

complicated issues such as economic reform. Although he

spoke in English with the staffdel, he reportedly conducts

most business meetings in Shona and uses an interpreter.

 

-------

Comment

-------

 

7. (C) This was the first USG meeting with Mujuru in several

years. He apparently felt compelled to rehearse standard

GOZ/ZANU-PF lines on the causes of Zimbabwe's problems and

the reasons for its growing isolation, but thereafter seemed

to hint at a more flexible willingness to drop the posturing

and talk about real issues. Similarly, his prickly attack on

sanctions belies the GOZ's oft-repeated rhetoric that

targeted sanctions hurt only the little man, not the

leadership. End comment.

 

8. (U) The staffdel did not have an opportunity to clear

this cable before leaving Harare.

DELL

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