Gono said Mugabe has terminal cancer

The media has been awash with reports that President Robert Mugabe has terminal cancer and has less than two years to go, but he has already outlived his expected term in office and the first predicted date of death.

News about Mugabe’s health was leaked by central bank governor Gideon Gono to former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee in June 2007, three weeks before the presidential elections run-off.

Mugabe lost the first round to Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai necessitating a run- off but Tsvangirai pulled of out because of massive violence that accompanied the campaign for the run-off.

Gono told McGee on 4 June 2008 that Mugabe’s cancer had “metastasized”- spread through his body- and, according to doctors, he would die in three to five years.

Though he has been in and out of hospital of late, Mugabe had already survived the cancer for more than three years since Gono’s disclosure. 

In his comment to the news, McGee said given Mugabe's health, and the desire of many within his Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front that he step down because of the state of the economy, it was likely the latest date Mugabe would stay in office, assuming he won on June 27, was December 2009.

Mugabe won the election after Tsvangirai pulled out but did not step down at the 2009 party congress.

McGee repeated his earlier sentiments that Gono was trying to paint himself as the good guy “aware of the perfidious activity of ZANU-PF but not responsible for it”.

“We continue to hear reports, however, that Gono plays an integral role in the Joint Operation Command (JOC) responsible for running the country,”he wrote. 

”Furthermore, Gono as Governor of the RBZ, has been able to keep the economy running through his monetary machinations, including the printing of money. That said, he remains a useful contact to facilitate approaches to the GOZ in times of crisis,” he said.

Full cable:

Viewing cable 08HARARE492, AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH GIDEON GONO

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE492

2008-06-06 14:52

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

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ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 061452Z JUN 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2999

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2034

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2155

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSUTR] NK*{FISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1297

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000492

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/06/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH GIDEON GONO

 

REF: 07 HARARE 795

 

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

 

1. (C) Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

(RBZ), told the Ambassador on June 4 that President Robert

Mugabe has prostate cancer that has metastasized and,

according to doctors, will cause his death in three to five

years. According to Gono, Mugabe's doctor had recommended he

cut back on his activities. (NOTE: Gono told us last year

that Mugabe was ill and that his doctor had urged him to step

down immediately. Mugabe had told his doctor, according to

Gono, that he would leave office after the election (reftel).

END NOTE.)

 

2. (C) Gono acknowledged the ongoing violence and said he

was appalled. It was "brother against brother and sister

against sister" for political purposes. An uncle had even

been the victim of ZANU-PF thugs.

 

3. (C) Turning to the economy, Gono said the GOZ was rapidly

going broke. It was desperate for hard currency to pay its

expenses. His attempt to devalue by introducing the "willing

seller, willing buyer" mechanism was not working.

 

4. (C) The Ambassador raised the recently imposed

restrictions on CARE and other NGOs. Gono said the

government's rationale was based on its belief that NGOs were

distributing food on a political basis to garner MDC support,

and that NGO purchases of grain was driving up the price to

the detriment of the GOZ's Grain Marketing Board. The

Ambassador replied this was nonsense and stressed the

humanitarian crisis that could result from the GOZ's actions.

Gono promised to take up the matter with Minister of Labor

and Social Welfare Nicholas Goche or facilitate a meeting

between the Ambassador and Goche. (NOTE: On June 5, the day

after the Ambassador's meeting with Gono, Goche announced the

suspension of activities of all NGOs and PVOs. The

announcement was not restricted to organizations engaged in

humanitarian work. END NOTE.)

 

-------

COMMENT

-------

 

5. (C) Given Mugabe's health, and the desire of many within

ZANU-PF that he step down because of the state of the

economy, it is likely the latest date Mugabe will stay in

office, assuming he wins on June 27, is December 2009. This

is when ZANU-PF will hold its scheduled Congress to re-elect

officers. It is also quite possible that after a June win,

ZANU-PF will begin the succession game resulting in a

departure for Mugabe earlier than December 2009.

 

6. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: As always, Gono in his meeting

with the Ambassador attempted to portray himself above the

fray -- aware of the perfidious activity of ZANU-PF but not

responsible for it. We continue to hear reports, however,

that Gono plays an integral role in the Joint Operation

Command (JOC) responsible for running the country.

Furthermore, Gono as Governor of the RBZ, has been able to

keep the economy running through his monetary machinations,

including the printing of money. That said, he remains a

useful contact to facilitate approaches to the GOZ in times

of crisis, such as the detention of our diplomats on June 5

(septel). END COMMENT.

 

McGee

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