Has Mnangagwa finally revealed that he engineered Mugabe’s stay in power after Tsvangirai beat him?


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Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa might have inadvertently revealed that he was one of those who engineered President Robert Mugabe’s continued stay in power after he was defeated by Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the March 2008 elections.

Tsvangirai polled 1 195 562 votes to beat Mugabe who won 1 079 730 votes, though the announcement of the results was delayed by five weeks leading to speculation that they were fiddled with.

Mugabe made things worse when he told his supporters at the December party congress that Tsvangirai had won 73 percent of the vote though he corrected himself to say it was 47 percent after whispers from his subordinates.

Though his officials said this was a slip of the tongue, the MDC insisted Mugabe had finally revealed the actual result.

 Addressing rallies in Headlands and Mutare yesterday Mnangagwa said former Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa, and former Secretary for Security Nicholas Goche, had already packed their bags when they learnt that Tsvangirai had won.

“Let me tell you this, Mutasa is a close friend of mine from way back during the days of the liberation struggle. He joined us in detention after he was arrested at Cold Comfort. He later went to England, but came to Mozambique at the invitation of the late Cde Edgar Tekere. He never joined other cadres in camps or in the battle front as he always stayed with his wife in Maputo,” Mnangagwa was quoted by The Herald as saying.

“In 2008 when Tsvangirai almost ruled this country, I was the chief election agent for the President and Mutasa was the Secretary for Administration. Surprisingly, when the results were announced, Mutasa had already packed all his belongings from the office. When I phoned him he told me that he was already in Rusape,” Mnangagwa said.

“We wondered how the Secretary for Administration would run away at such a critical moment. I phoned Goche. He also said he was already in Bindura. How could a man in charge of our security at the time desert us at that critical moment? This is the kind of people we were dealing with. They thought MDC was going to rule this country,” he said.

Even Mugabe conceded defeat according to a diplomatic cable filed by former United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee on 2 April 2008. But in that cable, McGee did not question the run-off, but why ZANU-PF had not simply stolen the election and declared Mugabe a winner.

McGee said Tsvangirai told him that he had met emissaries from Mugabe the previous day and they had reached a tentative deal for Mugabe to hand over power to Tsvangirai the following day. Tsvangirai said that Mugabe had wanted an additional six months in office but the MDC had rejected this. Mugabe had then asked for a government of national unity which the MDC was not opposed to.

Tsvangirai said the MDC requested a list of 10 names from ZANU-PF to consider for government positions but the following morning no one showed up. Instead, Tsvangirai was told that Mugabe had rejected the plan and now wanted a run-off.

 Though the cable said it was former Central Bank governor Gideon Gono and Defence Forces Chief Constantine Chiwenga who opposed Mugabe’s stepping down, Mnangagwa represented the country 10 days later at a special meeting of the Southern African Development Community in Lusaka, Zambia ,to discuss the stalemate in Zimbabwe.

The country had two Vice-Presidents at the time, Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo. Mnangagwa was Rural Housing Minister.

McGee said in another cable filed on 22 May 2008 that though the country was being run by the Joint Operations Command, comprising mainly the security chiefs, Mnangagwa has assumed “virtual presidency”.

 

McGee full cable of 2 April 2008:

 

Reference id  08HARARE267 aka Wikileaks id #148273  ? 

Subject Situation Report: Tsvangirai Discusses Runoff With Ambassador

Origin    Embassy Harare (Zimbabwe)

Cable time          Wed, 2 Apr 2008 17:22 UTC

Classification      CONFIDENTIAL

Source  http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/04/08HARARE267.html

References         08HARARE254

History 

Time unknown: Original unredacted version, leaked to Wikileaks

Thu, 1 Sep 2011 23:24: Original unredacted version published, with HTML goodies

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000267

 

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: 04/02/2018

TAGS: PREL [External Political Relations], PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], ASEC [Security], ZI [Zimbabwe]

SUBJECT: SITUATION REPORT: TSVANGIRAI DISCUSSES RUNOFF WITH

AMBASSADOR

 

REF: HARARE 254

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

¶1.  (C) MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai requested a meeting with the Ambassador after the MDC briefing (Septel) on  election results.  Tsvangirai explained that yesterday the MDC had negotiated with emissaries of President Robert Mugabe and had reached a tentative deal.  Mugabe had agreed to concede defeat.  He wanted an additional six months in office  which the MDC had rejected.  He also wanted a government of national unity.  Tsvangirai said the MDC was not opposed in principle to this; the MDC had always preached reconciliation.  The MDC had requested a list of 10 names to consider for government positions.  The parties agreed that Mugabe and Tsvangirai would meet in the morning before a concession speech by Mugabe and a later victory speech by Tsvangirai.  ZANU-PF negotiators failed today to contact the MDC about the meeting.  According to Tsvangirai, he later heard from an individual whom he described as a high-level ZANU-PF insider that Mugabe had rejected the agreement. ZANU-PF was returning to Plan A–a runoff.

 ¶2.  (C) Tsvangirai also told the Ambassador he had received information that ZANU-PF would allege that a runoff election within 21 days, as required by the Electoral Act, was not logistically feasible.  Mugabe, by presidential decree, would set the runoff election 90 days from the date of the election, March 29.  Tsvangirai said he was concerned about ZANU-PF violence and intimidation during the electoral period, especially since the MDC, knowing it had strong support in the urban areas, would focus campaigning in the rural areas.  Expressing strong concern about a 90-day electoral period, Tsvangirai asked that the diplomatic community support the 21-day period called for by the Electoral Act.

 ¶3.  (C) A business contact with excellent ZANU-PF contacts confirmed to us today that the ruling party's plan was a runoff election.  He said the ZEC would declare Tsvangirai the winner of the March 29 election with about 48 percent of the vote, and with Mugabe winning about 43 percent.  According to our contact, Mugabe and his inner circle had yesterday agreed that Mugabe would step down, as outlined by Tsvangirai, but Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Defense Chief Constantine Chiwenga had convinced Mugabe to reverse course and contest a runoff election.  A committee to oversee the runoff election had been set up.  It would be chaired by  Didymus Mutasa (Minister of State Security) and would also include Nicholas Goche (Minister of Labor), Elliot Manyika (ZANU-PF commissar), and Emmerson Mnangagwa.  Our contact said the Central Intelligence Office (CIO) had informed him that ZANU-PF would attempt to limit observers for the runoff and limit the MDC's access to rural areas.  He also believed that Gono was preparing to raise USD 200 million through the sale of diamonds in London.

 ¶4.  (C) Harare remains calm.  We expect that the announcement of a runoff will be greeted with acceptance, if not resignation, by most people.  It will damper any short-term prospects for violence.

 ——-

COMMENT

——-

 ¶5.  (C) Mugabe and his inner circle have discussed several  scenarios during the last several days (Reftel) and as recently as yesterday were discussing a deal whereby Mugabe  would step down.  It appears probable they have settled on a runoff.  We note that a sub-headline in today's The Herald,  the government mouthpiece, stated "Presidential Poll Rerun Expected."

 ¶6.  (C) The question arises as to why ZANU-PF would not steal  the election outright, since it has obviously resorted to fraud during the election process.  Under the Electoral Act as amended in January as a result of the SADC negotiations, each polling station was required to post a form outside the station with results of counting.  The ZEC is required to maintain custody of the originals, and it is logical to believe that Mugabe's total vote, as revealed by the forms, would be less than 50 percent and would approximate the 43 percent it appears the ZEC will ultimately declare he has won.

 ¶7.  (C) ZANU-PF appears to have suffered a stunning defeat. We believe it will pull out all the stops to ensure that this  does not happen again in a runoff election.  END COMMENT.

 MCGEE

 

(893 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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