CIO keeps Mnangagwa a step ahead of his adversaries- Wikileaks


Some elements of the Central Intelligence Organisation were keeping Emmerson Mnangagwa, then Speaker of Parliament, a step ahead of his adversaries, Movement for Democratic Change senior officials Welshman Ncube and Paul Themba Nyathi told United States embassy officials.

Ncube was secretary general of the MDC before it split up while Themba Nyathi was the party spokesman.

The two said the growing factionalism within the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front was an offshoot of a concerted effort by former army commander Solomon Mujuru, former Finance Minister Simba Makoni and other members of an internal anti-corruption committee to bring down Mnangagwa.

Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi were also reported to be involved in the struggle against Mnangagwa.

Ncube said he had been told by an ally of Mnangagwa Joram Gumbo that once untouchable pro-Mnangagwa business elites were in detention and under torture in an attempt to implicate Mnangagwa in corruption.

“Ncube said that, thus far, pro-Mnangagwa elements within the CIO had tipped Mnangagwa off and kept him a step ahead of his adversaries. He said that the continued detention of Telecel Chairman James Makamba is only peripherally connected to this struggle — Grace Mugabe’s infidelity with Makamba was the root cause of Makamba’s plight,” the cable says.


Full cable:



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Reference ID






2004-04-05 14:45

2011-08-30 01:44


Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


051445Z Apr 04

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000580









E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/04/2009







B. B) HARARE 397

C. C) HARARE 188


Classified By: DCM REWHITEHEAD DUE TO 1.5 (B) AND (D).


1. (c) Comment. On April 2, the Ambassador and DCM met with

MDC Secretary General Welshman Ncube and MDC Spokesman Paul

Themba Nyathi to discuss, inter alia, South African

President Mbeki’s effort to broker interparty talks between

the MDC and ZANU-PF. Ncube detailed March 1 meetings with

Mbeki in South Africa, including proposed electoral calendars

and the possible motives for Mbeki’s premature public

statement that both sides have agreed on joint

parliamentary/presidential elections. The MDC officials

asserted that ZANU-PF factionalism is being driven by a well

orchestrated attempt to undercut the position of Speaker of

Parliament Emerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s heir apparent. They

admitted that MDC morale was low after the loss of the

Zengeza by-election, a result of the MDC’s internal

wrangling. Ncube called for a strategic approach to bring

African pressure to bear on Mugabe that would team Mbeki with

Presidents Mkapa and Chissano, an outcome that we also favor.

End comment.


2. (c) The lunch time exchange commenced with a discussion

of the shooting of an MDC activist in Zengeza, reportedly by

Minister without Portfolio Elliot Manyika (ref a). Ncube

confirmed that the authorities had pressured the family to

bury the youth immediately and without at autopsy. Shortly

after the shooting, Ncube said that he had spoken with Police

Commissioner Chihuri and Security Minister Goche, both of

whom claimed ignorance of the incident. Elections

Commissioner Gula-Ndebele had subsequently stepped in to

provide an alibi for Manyika, claiming that he had spoken

with Manyika on a land line telephone in Bindura just after

the shooting. Ncube said that while the MDC had not yet

accused Manyika, eyewitness accounts all pointed to Manyika.

Nonetheless, Ncube expected it would be difficult to bring

him to trial even on a charge of manslaughter.


3. (c) Ncube spoke at length on a March 1 de facto proximity

talks in Pretoria between President Mbeki and MDC and ZANU-PF

delegations headed by Ncube and Justice Minister Patrick

Chinamasa. After initially declining a meeting with the MDC,

in Johannesburg to launch the MDC’s RESTART program, Mbeki

had relented and agreed to meet with Ncube, Gift Chamanikire

and Gibson Sibanda for a briefing on progress toward

interparty talks and the mood shift in Harare since December.

Mbeki had initially proposed a meeting that included

Chinamasa, to clarify why there had been little progress and

when the rules of engagement would be ready, but when MDC

accepted and Chinamasa declined a joint meeting, Mbeki met

separately with ZANU-PF and MDC delegations.


4. (c) Ncube said that Mbeki had summoned them back to State

House for a second meeting the same day during which he

reported that he had met with the ZANU-PF delegation.

Chinamasa had blamed MDC intransigence for the lack of

progress on talks and specifically accused Ncube of allegedly

avoiding Chinamasa throughout December. Chinamasa claimed

that only a few minor details remained under discussion and

that both sides had agreed on an independent electoral

commission, access to voter rolls, etc.


5. (c) Mbeki then described a ZANU-PF proposal that

Chinamasa claimed had already been presented to and accepted

by MDC — a 2005 parliamentary election followed by joint

parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008. Ncube

responded that this was the first time the MDC had heard this

proposal. (Note: This conflicts somewhat with comments Ncube

made to Embassy officers during a January meeting.) Mbeki

initially said he supported this solution and that the MDC

should be able to live with Mugabe in power for three more

years. The MDC delegation responded that the ZANU-PF

proposal masked growing factionalism within ZANU-PF over who

their next presidential candidate might be, if Mugabe does

not stand. They added that it also reflected Chinamasa’s

lack of a mandate to agree on any electoral mechanism without

Mugabe’s explicit prior approval. Ncube suggested that Mbeki

should consult with Chissano and other regional leaders on

the need for them to ask Mugabe collectively about his

retirement plans.


6. (c) Ncube said that at the conclusion of the Pretoria

meetings, Mbeki had urged both sides to agree to a joint

statement that confirmed progress on informal talks leading

toward the beginning of formal talks. When Ncube

subsequently met with Chinamasa in Harare, Chinamasa would

only agree on a statement that informal talks were ongoing,

thus echoing Mugabe’s public declaration of last December.

Chinamasa then proposed the same dual electoral dates he had

described to Mbeki and said that nothing else could come

under discussion until the MDC had agreed to the proposed

electoral calendar.


7. (c) Ncube told the Ambassador that subsequent to the

meetings in Pretoria (or about three weeks ago), Mbeki had

sent a letter to Mugabe. The MDC was unaware of the contents

and was uncertain about what might come next. He cited

Mbeki’s public statement after the Pretoria talks that both

sides had agreed to simultaneous presidential and

parliamentary elections and said that this could be

interpreted in three ways. First, Mbeki was simply referring

to the draft of the revised constitution, which does indeed

provide for joint elections. Secondly, Mbeki was attempting

to pressure Mugabe publicly. Finally, Mbeki was dissembling

to shore up his own position in the upcoming South African

elections. Ncube speculated that Mbeki might feel he has

greater latitude to confront Mugabe once these elections are

behind him.


8. (c) Themba Nyathi said that the MDC expects ZANU-PF to

resort to the same bully tactics that carried the day in

Zengeza (ref b). Ncube said that his attempts to meet with

Lupane ZANU-PF chairman Jacob Mudenda and Matabeleland North

Governor Obert Mpofu to discuss minimizing violence had met

with no success — they appeared to be ducking him. He

claimed that ZANU-PF had amassed a 20-billion Zimbabwe dollar

war chest to buy votes but said that the good harvest

underway had eroded ZANU-PF’s ability to use food as an

electoral weapon.


9. (c) Although neither predicted the likely outcome of the

Lupane vote, they admitted that MDC morale was low (ref a).

The loss of Zengeza, an urban MDC stronghold, had been

devastating. Ncube blamed the party’s contentious candidate

selection process for the outcome and observed that the MDC

could not afford to take its urban constituency for granted.

He blamed party Chairman Isaac Matonga and two other senior

labor figures for insisting on a labor candidate without

local roots, but exempted MDC President Tsvangirai from

blame. He felt that several thousand MDC supporters had

protested the high-handed tactics of certain MDC officials by

switching their votes, thus providing ZANU-PF’s margin of



10. (c) Ncube and Themba Nyathi described growing

factionalism within ZANU-PF as an offshoot of a concerted

effort by Solomon Mujuru, Simba Makoni, and other members of

an internal anti-corruption committee to bring down Speaker

of the Parliament Mnangagwa. Police Commissioner Chihuri and

Defense Minister Sekeremayi are also involved in the struggle

against Mnangagwa, and possibly Security Minister Goche as

well. ZANU-PF whip Jerome Gumbo, a Mnangagwa ally, had

confided to Ncube that once untouchable pro-Mnangagwa

business elites were in detention and under torture in an

attempt to implicate Mnangagwa in corruption. Ncube said

that, thus far, pro-Mnangagwa elements within the CIO had

tipped Mnangagwa off and kept him a step ahead of his

adversaries. He said that the continued detention of Telecel

Chairman James Makamba is only peripherally connected to this

struggle — Grace Mugabe’s infidelity with Makamba was the

root cause of Makamba’s plight.


11. (c) Ncube concluded his comments by cautioning that the

U.S. should not grant Mbeki exclusive control over the

process of breaking the political impasse in Zimbabwe. Mbeki

had admitted that he wanted the joint MDC/ZANU-PF statement

after the Pretoria proximity talks partly to relieve the

pressure brought to bear on him by the U.S. and U.K. Ncube

thought that a broader approach that included Presidents

Mkapa and Chissano would fare better.


12. (c) Comment. For the most part, Ncube and Themba

Nyathi’s views coincide with our own. We agree that a

broader regional approach can intensify the pressure on

Mugabe, and simultaneously keep Mbeki on the straight and

narrow. Once Mbeki’s own election is safely behind him and

the Zimbabwe issue recedes as a factor in Mbeki’s political

calculations, we believe that the time will be ripe to engage

with Mbeki and other regional leaders again by organizing the

one-time visit by a specially designated U.S. envoy to

Harare, Pretoria, Maputo and Dar es Salaam.



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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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