Butau arranged Mai Mujuru’s secret meeting with US ambassador


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David Butau, a close associate of Vice-President Joice Mujuru, arranged a secret meeting between United States ambassador Charles Ray and Mrs Mujuru at which no security or foreign affairs officials were present.

The meeting was arranged when President Robert Mugabe was in Copenhagen attending the climate change summit.

Mrs Mujuru was acting President.

She agreed to the meeting but wanted to ensure that is was private and undisclosed.

Normally such meetings are arranged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who attend the meeting and also send a note-taker.

The meeting took place in an unfinished living room of an unoccupied house owned by Mujuru on the outskirts of Harare.

Butau was present.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE975, AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH VICE PRESIDENT MUJURU

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE975

2009-12-16 14:57

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7817

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0975/01 3501457

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 161457Z DEC 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5226

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3214

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3325

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1749

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2583

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2952

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0013

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0015

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000975

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

NSC FOR M. GAVIN

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

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/16/2019

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH VICE PRESIDENT MUJURU

 

REF: A. HARARE 959

B. HARARE 946

 

Classified By: Ambassador Charles A. Ray for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) In an informal and introductory meeting which

circumvented Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) protocol, the

Ambassador and Vice President Joice Mujuru discussed

sanctions, the Global Political Agreement (GPA), and ZANU-PF.

Mujuru hewed to the party line on sanctions, claiming that

sanctions on institutions were hurting ordinary Zimbabweans.

The Ambassador responded that the U.S. was looking for

progress on the GPA as a predicate to lifting these

sanctions. On the GPA, Mujuru maintained that ZANU-PF had

made significant concessions; the most critical outstanding

issue was sanctions. Without separating herself from

President Robert Mugabe, Mujuru said that new and younger

leadership was entering ZANU-PF and the party would gradually

evolve. The meeting was friendly and, at a minimum, opened

up a channel of communication. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) ZANU-PF government officials normally will not meet

with us unless a request has been made to the MFA. The MFA

then schedules the meeting and sends a notetaker. Through a

Mujuru advisor, David Butau, we requested an informal meeting

to better establish a relationship and facilitate an exchange

of views. Three days after the conclusion of the ZANU-PF

Congress, Mujuru agreed to a meeting, but it was only at the

last minute that logistics were arranged. Mujuru, who is

acting president while Mugabe is in Copenhagen for the United

Nations Climate Change Conference, wanted to ensure that the

meeting with the U.S. ambassador was private and undisclosed.

 

3. (C) The meeting took place in an unoccupied house owned

by Mujuru on the outskirts of Harare. The affluent and

powerful are not immune from frequent Harare power cuts, and

the neighborhood was dark. While the house had electricity,

irregular power had shorted most of the lights. We were met

by a Mujuru employee who led us through darkened grounds to

an unfurnished living room (except for chairs and a plasma

television) where Mujuru and Butau were waiting. The Vice

President had managed to shed all of her (presumably

CIO-infiltrated) security. She herself poured tea. The

meeting was friendly and respectful; at the end Mujuru said

she would like to meet again and continue the conversation.

 

4. (C) Not surprisingly, Mujuru began the discussion with

sanctions. She argued that while she and others were

targets, they were not hurt. Rather, ordinary Zimbabweans

were suffering as a result of sanctions on institutions such

as ZB Bank and Agribank, which had historically provided

loans to small businessmen and farmers. Now, because of

sanctions, they were illiquid and could not lend. The

Ambassador acknowledged that sanctions were an emotional and

pervasive issue. There might be a willingness in Washington

to look at non-personal sanctions, but this was not a

one-sided process. With progress on GPA issues, the U.S.

would consider responding. How did she see progress, the

Ambassador asked?

 

5. (C) Mujuru stated that the most critical GPA issue was

Q5. (C) Mujuru stated that the most critical GPA issue was

sanctions. ZANU-PF thought that by signing the GPA and

agreeing to a government with the MDC it had given more than

the MDC. The MDC had made a number of unhelpful

“pronouncements.” At various times, according to Mujuru, it

had urged Zimbabwe’s neighbors to withhold electricity and

fuel. It had asked western countries to maintain personal

sanctions. ZANU-PF officials, according to Mujuru, were

becoming “unsettled” and wanted to see MDC movement on

sanctions. (COMMENT: The Ambassador noted that the MDC

could not remove sanctions — this was up to western

governments — and Mujuru did not dispute this. But she

 

HARARE 00000975 002 OF 002

 

 

wanted the MDC to cease its “pronouncements.” We expect an

announcement on December 21 by the GPA principals on GPA

issues that have been resolved, probably commissions and the

appointment of governors, and it would not be surprising for

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at that time to suggest that

at least some non-personal sanctions be removed. END

COMMENT.)

 

6. (C) Mujuru continued that there was a distinction between

politics and government. While efforts were ongoing to

resolve political differences, the government was making

progress. A bill to limit the powers of the Reserve Bank of

Zimbabwe’s governor was close to passage, and Zimbabwe had

just signed a bilateral investment treaty with South Africa.

She pleaded for U.S. help to restore Zimbabwe’s economy.

 

7. (C) After commenting that the U.S. was providing

substantial assistance (food and medical) to the people of

Zimbabwe, the Ambassador replied that, sanctions or no

sanctions, Zimbabwe could begin to regrow its economy. This

would require restoring external and internal confidence —

investors needed to know there was security of contracts and

no excessive government interference in the economy. In

other words, businesses would accept economic risk, but it

was necessary to remove political risk.

 

8. (C) Turning to politics, Mujuru said the ZANU-PF old

guard was giving way to “young blood.” She noted that she

(55 years old) and new Party Chair Simon Khaya Moyo (64 years

old) are on the younger side and form one half of the ZANU-PF

presidium (along with Mugabe and new vice president John

Nkomo). The presidium would be together for five years.

Mujuru concluded, “Let’s work together.”

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

9. (C) While Mujuru is inculcated with ZANU-PF ideology,

evidenced by her views on sanctions, she and her husband,

General Solomon Mujuru, are business people who understand

that a friendlier and more stable business environment

requires political change. She also would like better

relations with the U.S. which she views as essential for

Zimbabwe’s economic growth. This no doubt motivated her

desire for a non-official meeting with the Ambassador

immediately after the ZANU-PF Congress. The fact that she

was impelled to have a clandestine meeting is reflective of

the power of Mugabe and hard-liners and the fear they

engender. It also shows the weakness of the party, in that

it will not tolerate its second highest ranking official

having a private meeting with the U.S. ambassador.

(Tsvangirai had no qualms about informally and openly meeting

the Ambassador. Ref A.)

 

10. (C) Because of her gender, Mujuru is an unlikely

successor to Mugabe (Ref B). But she occupies a prominent

position in ZANU-PF and will likely be part of the power

structure after Mugabe. We know from other sources that she

and her husband would like to see Mugabe move on. She was

cautious in her first meeting with the Ambassador, but we

will pursue the relationship both to gain insights into

ZANU-PF and to encourage reform efforts.

 

RAY

 

(126 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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