Jonathan Moyo says both ZANU-PF and MDC are in disarray


Tsholotsho legislator Jonathan Moyo said both the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front had been significantly weakened since the March 2005 elections though ZANU-PF had won a two-thirds majority.

He said the MDC, which had lost 16 seats that it won in 2000, had missed an opportunity to take advantage of the public outcry over Operation Murambatsvina because it was inward looking.

The division over whether to participate in the senate elections or not could be disastrous for the party.

Moyo said ZANU-PF was “terminally rotten” and was increasingly being controlled by the security forces which remained loyal to Mugabe.

He said the party would attempt to put off the presidential elections until 2010 to give more time for Mugabe’s successor to settle into the job.

Moyo, however, rejected the argument that Mugabe was the main impediment to reform saying that this was a convenient excuse.

Mugabe “is not a machine”, he said. The real problem was the party itself.


Full cable:


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Reference ID






2005-10-18 13:13

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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001420







E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/18/2015




REF: HARARE 001405


Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d






1. (C) In an October 13 meeting with the Charge, Independent

MP and former Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo said that

both the opposition MDC and ruling ZANU-PF were significantly

weakened since the March parliamentary elections. The MDC,

he said, had been focused inward since the elections and had

missed an opportunity to mobilize the public over Operation

Restore Order. Moyo added that the MDC,s current division

over whether to contest the Senate elections could be

disastrous for the party. Meanwhile, he said ZANU-PF was

&terminally rotten8 and increasingly controlled by the

security forces, which remained loyal to Mugabe. Moyo said

he agreed that a political transition was underway. He

predicted that the ruling party would attempt to put off the

presidential elections until 2010 to give more time for

Mugabe,s successor to settle into the job. They would use

as an excuse harmonizing the parliamentary and presidential

elections. Moyo was coy regarding the prospects for the

so-called Third Force that he is associated with, conceding

only that his nascent party was aggressively seeking

defectors from the two established parties and that it would

not contest the Senate elections. End Summary.



MDC Licking Wounds



2. (C) Moyo described the MDC as preoccupied with internal

upheaval and said its actions since the March parliamentary

elections had been ineffective. Saying that the MDC had

little future and no hope of making a recovery, Moyo assessed

that the main opposition party had missed an opportunity to

capitalize on public discontent over Operation Restore Order.

The public was ready to confront ZANU-PF but they needed

guidance, which had not been forthcoming from the MDC. Moyo

said the MDC leadership was courageous but overall lacked a

clear policy vision or strategy to confront the regime.


3. (C) Moyo pointed to the rift within the MDC surrounding

participation in the upcoming Senate elections as evidence

the party was in disarray (ref). Moyo said that

Tsvangirai,s opposition to participation was popular among



the party,s grass roots supporters, especially the youth and

women,s wings. Nonetheless, the other five of the MDC,s

top six leaders favored contesting the elections as had a

majority of the party,s Executive Council. Moyo claimed the

party elite,s support for participation had more to do with

self-interest and the desire for the perquisites of the

Senate than ideological or strategic justifications.


4. (C) Moyo conceded that the MDC was still strong in the

urban areas and in Matabeleland, its traditional strongholds,

and that those who favored participation were right that the

party should win the Senate seats in these areas regardless

of ZANU-PF election rigging. That said, it would be

disastrous for the party to compete in the elections in its

current state of disarray. Moyo predicted that a portion of

the party would participate regardless but without

Tsvangirai,s active involvement, MDC turnout would be poor



and the party would have the worst possible outcome: they

would legitimize the Senate while losing badly at the polls.


——————————————— ——–

ZANU Struggling with Transition, Growing Unpopularity

——————————————— ——–


5. (C) Moyo said he agreed with the view that the transition

was already underway within ZANU-PF. He said there were two

competing views within ZANU-PF about how to handle the

transition. The first was that President Mugabe would give

way to the new leader at some point in the next few years and

give that individual time to settle into the presidency.

Moyo predicted that under this scenario, ZANU-PF would use

its two-thirds majority in parliament to extend the current

presidential mandate until 2010, using as an excuse the need

to harmonize the presidential and parliamentary elections,

currently scheduled for 2008 and 2010 respectively. This

delay would allow Mugabe to step down sometime in the next

few years, likely 2008. The constitution would also be

amended to allow his successor to then step into the

presidency without an election and finish Mugabe,s term and

then run in 2010 as the incumbent.


6. (C) However, Moyo said the other view was gaining

currency, especially with the security forces, and he

suspected might carry the day. This view believed that the

founding leaders must not be removed but instead allowed to

die in office. A transition while they were still alive

would weaken the party and would be humiliating for the

leaders, who would die outside of office. Moyo said that

however the transition played out, it would not lead to

fundamental reform or to an economic turnaround. There were

no real moderates left within the ruling party. The

so-called young Turks only wanted the perquisites of power

for themselves. Moyo further rejected the argument that

Mugabe was the main impediment to reform, saying that it was

a convenient excuse and that Mugabe &is not a machine.8

The real problem was the party itself.


7. (C) Moyo added that ZANU-PF knew it was deeply unpopular.

ZANU wanted to be loved, not feared, but growing

unpopularity had forced the regime to rely increasingly on

the security forces. He contended that the party originally

launched the land reform policy to win the public,s hearts

and minds, but that the government ) a separate entity from

the party in Moyo,s eyes – had mismanaged the initiative and

fueled discontent. According to Moyo, ZANU-PF has responded

to growing discontent in &sinister ways8 such as the

security forces, manipulation of the state-owned Grain

Marketing Board and the distribution of food.



Moyo Tight-Lipped on Political Aspirations



8. (C) Moyo refused to be drawn into a discussion of his or

the third forces, political future, conceding only that he

was vigorously seeking defections from the other established

parties. Arguing that participation in the Senate elections

would only legitimize a corrupt institution and temporary

institution (its due to go out of existence in five year,s

time), he said his party would not participate in the

November poll. Nonetheless, he planned to exploit the

campaign season to advance his party,s agenda.






9. (C) Moyo presented a cerebral and articulate analysis of

the state of the two major political parties in Zimbabwe. In

fact, he may be the most astute politician in Zimbabwe today.

He is also a rank opportunist. Although he refused to be

drawn into discussions of &next steps8 for his nascent

political force, it is clear that the chameleon-like Moyo is

positioning himself as an alternative to the two main parties

that he believes are increasingly fragile.



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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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