Military planned coup after signing of GPA!

A Zimbabwean businessman described as “a close embassy contact” told United States ambassador James McGee that five high ranking military officers were planning a coup shortly after the signing of the Global Political Agreement in 2008.

Fred Mutanda, who is said to be a former ZIPRA commander and chairman of the American Business Association of Zimbabwe, told McGee on 21 October 2008 that the coup was planned while President Robert Mugabe was away in Kampala.

He said the plan was to wait for Mugabe to leave that very day and then announce that he was not free to return to Zimbabwe. His close supporters would simultaneously be placed under house arrest.

He claimed that the coup plotters had discussed handing power to the Speaker of the House of Assembly. The Speaker at the time was Movement for Democratic Change chairman Lovemore Moyo.

Mutanda claimed that defence forces chief Constantine Chiwenga was aware of the plot and would not stand in the way.

Embassy officials felt however that although Mutanda had excellent contacts in ZANU-PF and the military a coup was very unlikely.

 

Full cable:

 

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE946, ZIMBABWE: REPORT OF PLANNED COUP ATTEMPT

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE946

2008-10-21 13:42

2011-08-30 01:44

SECRET

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXYZ0001

OO RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHSB #0946 2951342

ZNY SSSSS ZZH

O 211342Z OCT 08 ZDK

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3592

INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

S E C R E T HARARE 000946

 

SECRET NOFORN

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/21/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC MOPS ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: REPORT OF PLANNED COUP ATTEMPT

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

1. (S/NF) Fred Mutanda, a close Embassy contact and

prominent Harare businessman, told the Ambassador on October

21 that a group of about five high-ranking military officers

were planning a coup against Zimbabwean president Robert

Mugabe while he is in Kampala this week for a regional

economic conference. Mutanda said he had met with several of

the officers, who are from the Army artillery and infantry

and Air Force. Their plan was to wait until Mugabe leaves

Harare for Kampala on October 21, and then inform him he was

not free to return to Harare. The officers would

simultaneously place close Mugabe supporters under house

arrest and announce their actions on state television and

radio. Violence would be avoided. Mutanda emphasized the

officers were not interested in political power; they had

discussed handing power to the House of Assembly speaker and

asking him to constitute a government.

 

2. (S/NF) Mutanda believed that the officers, who hold the

ranks of general, colonel, and Air Force vice marshal, were

well-placed and could be expected to maintain control of

their service branches in the event of a coup. Opposition

could be expected primarily from Emmerson Mnangagwa, Gideon

Gono, and Defense Forces chief Constantine Chiwenga. Mutanda

said he and two of the coup plotters had spoken yesterday

with Chiwenga to gauge his feelings about the current

situation in Zimbabwe; they did not reveal their plans to

Chiwenga. Chiwenga, who admitted receiving patronage from

Gono, at the same time felt Gono and other politicians were

not doing enough to turn the country around. Mutanda opined

that Chiwenga would not stand in the way of a coup.

Likewise, Mutanda discounted the capacities of Mnangagwa and

Gono to resist military intervention.

 

3. (S/NF) Secrets are difficult to keep in Harare and we

have discreetly reached out to other contacts in an effort to

corroborate Mutanda. We have received no confirmation. We

note that according to Mutanda the only persons aware of the

plot other than he and the military officers involved are

officials of the U.S. Embassy and the UK Embassy with whom

Mutanda also spoke.

 

-------

COMMENT

-------

 

4. (S/NF) Mutanda is a war veteran and former aide-de-camp

of Joshua Nkomo. He has excellent contacts within ZANU-PF

and the military and his sharing of information with us in

the past has generally been accurate. Therefore, we believe

a coup has been discussed among high-ranking military

officers. We also believe the plans are plausible; we have

received reports for the last couple of years of disaffection

among the security forces, and it is not unreasonable to

believe that after a coup the military would fall into line.

Further, power in Zimbabwe is now maintained by a small

clique including Mugabe, Gono, and Mnangagwa. With Mugabe

out of the country, it is unlikely the others would be able

to hold out against a military coup.

 

5. (S/F) What we are much less certain about is whether

plans will be translated into action. Over the last two

years, there have been reports of possible military coups.

Nothing, obviously, has transpired. Despite widespread

discontent within the security forces and ZANU-PF, Mugabe and

his inner circle have managed to maintain power. This

compels a healthy skepticism that the military officers in

question will summon the courage to act now. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Add comment


Security code
Refresh