MDC tried to buy out service chiefs says Mangoma

Elton Mangoma, one of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s closest advisors, told the United States government in October last year that the Movement for Democratic Change intended to buy out Zimbabwe’s military and service chiefs by setting up a trust fund for them so that they could have something to fall back on because most of them had not made any meaningful investments.

This is revealed in the latest diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks. According to the cable, Mangoma, who was Minister of Economic Planning and Development at the time but is now Minister of Energy and Power Development, the service chiefs were the primary obstacle to political progress and reform.

“Unlike many ZANU-PF insiders who had stolen and invested wisely, these individuals had not become wealthy,” the cable says. “They feared economic pressures, as well as prosecution for their misdeeds, should political change result in their being forced from office. Therefore, they were resisting GPA progress that could ultimately result in fair elections.”

The cable says Mangoma asked for consideration of U.S. contribution to a "trust fund" that could be used to negotiate the service chiefs' retirement. He said he planned to approach the UK and Germany with the same request.

Full cable:

 

Friday, 30 October 2009, 07:29

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000865

SIPDIS

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR M. GAVIN

EO 12958 DECL: 10/30/2019

TAGS PGOV, PREL, PHUM, ASEC, ZI

SUBJECT: MDC FOCUSES ON SECURITY SECTOR, GONO

REF: A. HARARE 853 B. HARARE 863 C. PRETORIA 2136

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (b) and (d).

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SUMMARY

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1. (S) According to Elton Mangoma, MDC-T Minister of Economic Development and member of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's inner circle, the MDC would like the U.S. to contribute to a "trust fund" to buy off securocrats and move them into retirement. The MDC will also try to pressure Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono to resignXXXXXXXXXXXX. Finally, Mangoma believes an agreement will be reached ending the MDC's disengagement from ZANU-PF, but if not, the MDC will continue pursuing its long-term strategy of preparing for elections. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Pol/Econ chief met with Minister of Economic Development Elton Mangoma on October 29 at the Ministry. Mangoma is one of Tsvangirai's closest advisors and was one of the MDC-T negotiators of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

3. (S) Reiterating Tsvangirai's views (Refs A and C), Mangoma said that a primary obstacle to political progress and reform was the service chiefs. Unlike many ZANU-PF insiders who had stolen and invested wisely, these individuals had not become wealthy. They feared economic pressures, as well as prosecution for their misdeeds, should political change result in their being forced from office. Therefore, they were resisting GPA progress that could ultimately result in fair elections. Mangoma asked for consideration of U.S. contribution to a "trust fund" that could be used to negotiate the service chiefs' retirement. He said he planned to approach the UK and Germany with the same request.

4. XXXXXXXXXXXX

5. (C) Although doubtful about the ability of SADC to bring about a rapprochement between ZANU-PF and the MDC, Mangoma Qabout a rapprochement between ZANU-PF and the MDC, Mangoma was hopeful that the parties themselves could ultimately reach an agreement. Most ZANU-PF officials realized that the entry of the MDC into government had brought about stability and did not want to see the MDC withdraw. If an agreement was not reached, the MDC would consider next steps with the goal of eventually having elections.

HARARE 00000865 002 OF 002

6. (C) We posited there was a general perception among diplomats and in civil society that the MDC did not have a strategic vision and had disengaged without a Plan B in the event ZANU-PF did not compromise on outstanding issues. Mangoma disagreed; the West had continuously underestimated the MDC by focusing on specific events such as ZANU-PF's repressive actions of the last week (Septel) rather than the long-term process by which the MDC had managed to enter government and begun to set itself up to win the next elections. With regard to the events of the last week, Mangoma said bumps in the road were to be expected.

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COMMENT

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7. (C) The relative power of Mugabe vis-a-vis the service chiefs is a matter of debate. While no doubt there are hardliners, including the service chiefs, close to Mugabe who are pressuring him not to further implement the GPA, we continue to believe he could make concessions should he choose to do so. The current visit of the SADC Troika may give an indication if there is any ZANU-PF flexibility. We're skeptical and expect the current impasse -- and ZANU-PF repression -- will continue in the near term. END COMMENT.

DHANANI

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