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US to work with Mai Mujuru as she might be next president

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.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE769, CHARGE’S MEETING WITH VICE-PRESIDENT MUJURU

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE769

2009-09-24 15:19

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3540

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0769/01 2671519

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 241519Z SEP 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4948

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3049

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3162

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1591

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2425

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2794

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3210

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5655

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 242

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000769

 

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

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/24/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON EAGR EAID ZI

SUBJECT: CHARGE’S MEETING WITH VICE-PRESIDENT MUJURU

 

REF: HARARE 760

 

Classified By: CDA Donald Petterson for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

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

 

HARARE 00000769 002 OF 002

 

 

correct problems.

 

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.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

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.

 

PETTERSON

(14 VIEWS)

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