In a typical misreading of President Robert Mugabe a Norwegian Foreign Affairs official with 15 years experience on Zimbabwe predicted that Mugabe would not stand for elections at the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front congress of 2009 because he was seeking a graceful exit.
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai even bought into the ploy.
But not only did Mugabe stand I 2009 but he served his full term and contested again in 2014, sacking his closest lieutenant, and seems poised to try again in 2019.
Mugabe has already been endorsed as the ZANU-PF presidential candidate for 2018.
Norway’s deputy director general for Southern and Western Africa in the Foreign Office, Kare Stormark, said Mugabe was looking for a graceful exit, on his own terms, that preserved his legacy.
He wanted to leave Zimbabwe “in the hands of a functioning unity government”, Stormark said in a cable dispatched just over a month after the swearing in of the inclusive government.
Mugabe, he said, was now aware that his time was up and was under tremendous pressure from South Africa to step down.
Stormark said that Mugabe was an “ascetic” who had facilitated the kleptocracy for his party and his family, not for himself.
“Mugabe, first and foremost, is concerned with his ‘legacy’ as an anti-colonialist, as odd as that may appear to Westerners who believe he subsequently destroyed his country,” he said.
But he said that Mugabe’s lieutenants were working on sabotaging the inclusive government because they were not interested in power sharing.
None of the predictions proved true as Mugabe continues to hang on to power and claims he does not have a suitable successor yet.
Below are the first 520 Wikileaks cables on Mugabe- 106 more to go.
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