The United States will maintain contact with Vice-President Joice Mujuru because she might become the next president if President Robert Mugabe leaves the scene before elections.
Donald Petterson, the charge d’affaires at the US embassy in Harare, said in a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks that although Joice and her husband had a reputation for corruption, she would likely be more amenable to political reform than Mugabe.
The cable dispatched on 24 September 2009 said: “It is an open secret that the Mujuru faction would like to see Mugabe go. Having failed to accomplish this at the last two ZANU-PF conferences, the vice-president, her husband Solomon Mujuru, and their allies, are not directly working against Mugabe, but are trying to build up their faction to position themselves for a succession battle in the future.”
“The Women’s League election (won by Olivia Muchena from the Mujuru faction) indicates that the Mujuru faction remains a strong force within ZANU-PF — as strong, if not stronger than the Mnangagwa faction — and Joice Mujuru is a strong candidate to succeed Mugabe.”
Viewing cable 09HARARE769, CHARGE’S MEETING WITH VICE-PRESIDENT MUJURU
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SUBJECT: CHARGE’S MEETING WITH VICE-PRESIDENT MUJURU
REF: HARARE 760
Classified By: CDA Donald Petterson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
¶1. (C) In a cordial meeting with the Charge, Vice-President
Joice Mujuru hewed to the ZANU-PF party line in defending the
progress of the inclusive government and in criticizing
sanctions. She stated a constitutional process was in place,
but that elections might not take place for some time.
Mujuru acknowledged problems with the implementation of the
land reform program and said she supported a land audit. She
contended that farm invasions and attempts to force
partnerships on conservancy owners were the acts of rogue
ZANU-PF officials and were not directed by high-level party
officers. Finally, she commented that ZANU-PF was for the
first time discussing succession publicly, as it looked
toward its December Congress. END SUMMARY.
¶2. (C) The Charge met with Mujuru in her home on September
¶23. Although disagreeing with U.S. policy, as explained by
the Charge, particularly with regard to sanctions and ZDERA,
Mujuru was cordial and pleasant throughout.
¶3. (C) The Charge began the meeting by stating that the U.S.
was not looking for regime change, but political reforms, and
that we would work with reformers from any political party.
After noting U.S. assistance to Zimbabwe, he discussed areas
of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that are not being
implemented. He also discussed the perception of Zimbabwe as
one of the worst places in the world to invest. Among the
causes of this was continuing farm invasions. A recent film
(Ref) demonstrated that it was not just white farm owners,
but black farm workers who had been devastated by the
takeover of farms. The Charge brought up in particular the
conservancy of Amcit Weldon Schenk in which the governor of
Masvingo Province now claims a 51 percent interest.
¶4. (C) Addressing first the constitutional process, Mujuru
said that it should be “people driven” and inclusive. The
effort to bring everyone into the process required travel,
consultation, and synthesizing feedback. This would require
time. The process was already behind schedule and, since
elections depended on a new constitution, it was uncertain
when they could take place.
¶5. (C) Mujuru opined that the main issues of the GPA had
already been dealt with. As to issues raised by the MDC:
the appointment of governors was not covered by the GPA, the
appointments of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono
and Attorney General Johannes Tomana were legal and any
dispute with regard to these should be resolved by the GPA
principals, and the appointment of Roy Bennett as Deputy
Agriculture Secretary should depend on the result of his
court case. With regard to the prosecution of MDC MPs,
Mujuru averred that Zimbabwe was governed by rule of law and
that these MPs’ cases should be resolved by the courts.
¶6. (C) On the issue of farm invasions and violence, Mujuru
Q6. (C) On the issue of farm invasions and violence, Mujuru
took great pains to state that as a Christian and a
liberation fighter who had fought for peace she would never
condone violence. ZANU-PF leadership was in Harare and did
not have control over people throughout Zimbabwe, some of
whom were hooligans or acting for political or personal gain.
Turning to Weldon Schenk, Mujuru said Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai had discussed the case the day before with her and
she had encouraged him to investigate further and report back
to her. Mujuru also admitted that land reform had been
poorly implemented and said she supported a land audit to
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¶7. (C) Not reacting to the Charge’s detailing of over USD
300 million assistance to Zimbabwe during the last year,
Mujuru said the U.S. should support the ordinary Zimbabwean
people in areas including health and agriculture. She
bemoaned sanctions (read ZDERA) which she claimed were
precluding Zimbabwe from getting credit.
¶8. (C) On a more positive and interesting note, Mujuru
discussed the ZANU-PF Women’s League elections last weekend
(Septel) and the upcoming ZANU-PF Congress. She remarked
that the vote for Women’s Commissar was contentious and was
resolved by secret ballot. (NOTE: Minister of Women’s
Affairs Olivia Muchena, allied to the Mujuru faction was the
winner. END NOTE.) Mujuru also told the Charge that Mugabe
had authorized a committee to study the succession issue and
report to the Politburo. This was the first time, she said,
that succession had been discussed openly. She commented
that the MDC had presented itself as a party of change, and
ZANU-PF was trying to follow this example.
¶9. (C) It is an open secret that the Mujuru faction would
like to see Mugabe go. Having failed to accomplish this at
the last two ZANU-PF conferences, the vice-president, her
husband Solomon Mujuru, and their allies, are not directly
working against Mugabe, but are trying to build up their
faction to position themselves for a succession battle in the
future. The Women’s League election indicates that the
Mujuru faction remains a strong force within ZANU-PF — as
strong, if not stronger than the Mnangagwa faction — and
Joice Mujuru is a strong candidate to succeed Mugabe.
¶10. (C) Sanctions, more specifically ZDERA, continue to be a
neuralgic point. ZANU-PF officials such as Mujuru have
decried ZDERA for so long as the cause of economic decline
that they appear impervious to logical argument. ZDERA is a
useful scapegoat for ZANU-PF-caused economic disaster. The
fact that ZDERA has frozen a significant amount in Solomon
Mujuru’s accounts is doubtless a contributing factor.
¶11. (C) While we broke no new ground with Mujuru, we will
maintain contact. She may well be the next president of
Zimbabwe if Mugabe leaves the scene before elections.
Notwithstanding her and her husband’s reputation for
corruption, she would likely be more amenable to political
reform than Mugabe. END COMMENT.