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Zvobgo was sceptical about Mugabe stepping down

Eddison Zvobgo junior said although President Robert Mugabe had indicated that he would retire in 2008, he had no intention of stepping down and only did so to deflect pressure on him to get out of office.

Zvobgo was sceptical because Mugabe had made similar promises in the past but had not stepped down.

He said that ZANU-PF would be stronger in an election with another presidential candidate-assuming that the party remained united but without Mugabe as head, the party might fracture.

Mugabe and his internal opponents knew this, so unless there was a complete collapse of the economy, it was unlikely that Mugabe would be replaced as presidential candidate.

Zvobgo said many in ZANU-PF wanted Mugabe to leave the scene, but nobody was sufficiently courageous to force the issue. Therefore, the jockeying behind the scenes was directed at succession.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 07HARARE771, ZANU-PF INSIDER EDDIE ZVOGBO, JR. ON CURRENT

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

07HARARE771

2007-08-29 13:21

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3157

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0771/01 2411321

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 291321Z AUG 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1813

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1678

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1550

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1682

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0326

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0948

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1311

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1739

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4157

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1509

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2172

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0803

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1899

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000771

 

SIPDIS

 

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: 07/09/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF INSIDER EDDIE ZVOGBO, JR. ON CURRENT

SITUATION

 

Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Glenn Warren under 1.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) ZANU-PF politician and businessman Eddison Zvogbo,

Jr. believes President Robert Mugabe is on track to stand for

reelection next year. While many in ZANU-PF would like to

see Mugabe go sooner rather than later, internal ZANU-PF

opponents are afraid to directly challenge him and are

focused on succession. On elections, the SADC mediation is

unlikely to result in a leveling of the playing field; it is

not in ZANU-PF’s interest to make concessions. There is

growing dissatisfaction with ZANU-PF in the rural areas, but

the party’s governmental machinery and patronage should allow

it to maintain its traditional rural support. ZANU-PF is

concerned about the MDC, particularly in light of the failing

economy, but is buoyed by the MDC split. Western sanctions

are ineffective, except as against children of ZANU-PF

leders. End Summary.

 

2. (C) Polecon chief met wih Zvogbo on August 28. Zvogbo,

the namesake of he deceased ZANU-PF heavyweight and

prominent Muabe critic, is a Masvingo businessman. Althoughcritical of Mugabe

and the party, he has long-staning

business and political roots within ZANU-PF ad intends to

run for Parliament next year. He is allied with the Mujuru

faction.

 

—————

Mugabe on Track

—————

 

3. (C) Zvogbo told us that opposition to Mugabe within

ZANU-PF continues below the surface, particularly on the part

of the Mujuru faction. Many in ZANU-PF would like to see

Mugabe leave the scene, but nobody was sufficiently

courageous to force the issue. Therefore, the jockeying

behind the scenes was directed at succession.

 

4. (C) According to Zvogbo, Mugabe had let it be known

within the party that he intended to step down after next

year’s elections as a way of deflecting pressure to get him

to leave office before the elections. Zvogbo was skeptical

Mugabe would do so; he had made similar promises in the past.

 

5. (C) Confirming what has been reported in the media and

what others had told us, Zvogbo said Mugabe still had not

received official backing for his candidacy from ZANU-PF. A

party conference or congress in December would be designed to

provide this. Zvogbo opined that ZANU-PF would be stronger

in an election with another presidential candidate–assuming

a united party. But without Mugabe as head, the party might

fracture. Mugabe and his internal opponents knew this;

therefore, absent a complete collapse of the economy, it was

unlikely Mugabe would be replaced as presidential candidate.

 

————————————–

ZANU-PF Likely to Prevail in Elections

————————————–

 

6. (C) Zvogbo discounted the current SADC mediation. Noting

that an announced goal of the mediation was free and fair

elections, he rhetorically asked why ZANU-PF would want the

process to succeed.

 

HARARE 00000771 002 OF 002

 

 

 

7. (C) Zvogbo commented that ZANU-PF’s traditional rural

support had been weakened by the scarcity of goods resulting

from government-imposed price controls. Nevertheless, people

in rural areas, particularly Mashonaland, traditionally

looked to government as their benefactor. ZANU-PF candidates

would attempt to use governmental structures to provide food

and other necessities to the rural areas in advance of

elections to solidity ZANU-PF support. Through delimitation

of additional constituencies to be formed pursuant to

Constitutional Amendment 18, ZANU-PF expected to increase its

influence in these areas. (Note: The draft amendment would

increase lower house districts from 150 to 210, almost all in

rural areas. End Note)

 

8. (C) As an example of the patronage available to ZANU-PF

candidates, Zvogbo said that the Grain Marketing Board was

providing maize to him that he would personally deliver to

his prospective constituents in Masvingo. In light of the

scarcity of fuel and reduced public transportation, he was

also contemplating purchase of a bus to provide

transportation from Masvingo’s rural areas to the town of

Masvingo.

 

9. (C) Given the current economic crisis, ZANU-PF was

concerned about the upcoming elections even with its power to

mobilize voters in the rural areas. Therefore, the MDC’s

continued split was “manna from heaven.” ZANU-PF did regret,

however, that the Mutambara faction was not stronger. If the

two factions ultimately fielded rival candidates in the

elections, he thought ZANU-PF would make some gains in

Matabeleland.

 

10. (C) Parenthetically, Zvogbo noted that price controls

had been a disaster and that ZANU-PF had “shot itself in the

foot.” Anybody with a modicum of sense could have known what

the result would be, added Zvogbo. And almost everyone in

government knew what was necessary to turn the economy

around–and knew that sanctions had no effect on the economy.

 

——————-

Effect of Sanctions

——————-

 

10. (C) Zvogbo stated that financial sanctions had limited

effect on ZANU-PF targets. Those individuals with

businesses, with the support of the government patronage

system, were still doing well. Sanctions did bite hard when

imposed on children; ZANU-PF bigwigs were personally affected

when their offspring could not study in the West.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

11. (C) ZANU-PF has historically won elections–albeit

rigged–on the strength of its rural support. As of now, the

unanswered questions are whether the economy will deteriorate

to the extent that traditional ZANU-PF rural voters, despite

the GOZ’s electoral machinery, look to the MDC as a source of

salvation, and whether the MDC can organize in these areas.

End Comment.

DHANANI

 

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