Mbalekwa said Mnangagwa was behind United Peoples Movement


Pearson Mbalekwa, the only visible member of the United People’s Movement, said Emmerson Mnangagwa was quietly behind the group but would not comment on plans for Mnangagwa’s association to be publicly disclosed.

He said Tsholotsho legislator Jonathan Moyo and former Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front provincial chairman for Masvingo Daniel Shumba were in the party’s national executive.

Mbalekwa, a former Central Intelligence Organisation employee, said significant players in ZANU-PF and state apparatus such as the CIO were sympathetic to or aligned to the party but their association remained private.


Full cable:


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Reference ID






2005-11-22 09:31

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 001591








E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2010




REF: (A) HARARE 1420 (B) HARARE 982


Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Eric T. Schultz under Section 1






1. (C) In a November 18 meeting with poloff, United People’s

Movement (UPM) principal Pearson Mbalekwa said the party was

concentrating on building organizational structures and a

platform that would make it competitive in local elections by

next year. He said that the movement continued to draw

strength from ruling party personnel and would aggressively

hammer wedge issues to further divide the ruling party. He

confirmed that the UPM was talking to but not actively

courting both MDC factions and had no plans to join in any

MDC-led mass action. Mbalekwa inquired about international

NGOs and other players that might be willing to help the

movement with training or travel needs. End Summary.



Developing Structure, Platform



2. (C) According to Mbalekwa, the UPM had formal structures

in all provinces save Mashonaland Central and Manicaland. A

“national executive” that included Mbalekwa, independent MP

Jonathan Moyo, and ex-ZANU-PF Masvingo Chairperson Daniel

Shumba among others met once every two weeks. He claimed

response in urban and rural areas was “tremendous” due to

wide disgust with ruling party mismanagement and public loss

of confidence in the MDC. Significant players in the ruling

party and state apparatuses, such as the CIO (Mbalekwa’s

former employer), remained sympathetic to or aligned with the

UPM, even if their association remained private. He claimed

Emmerson Mnangagwa was satisfied with the movement’s progress

and remained quietly behind the group but would not comment

on plans for Manangagwa’s association to be publicly



3. (C) Mbalekwa reported that the party was working on a

manifesto that would be released in the coming months and

that the party would begin to contest rural and urban council

elections in the coming year. He shared with poloff a

pamphlet (pouched to AF/S), which laid out party principles

and goals. The manifesto was focused on pro-democracy

rhetoric and on the need to address Zimbabwe’s economic

crisis. In particular, Mbalekwa said the GOZ’s conceptually

popular but ultimately failed land reform program was a

divisive issue ripe for UPM exploitation. The UPM’s plan was

to restore confidence in the agricultural sector by

compensating previous farm owners (largely with international

participation), conducting a comprehensive land audit, and

establishing a freehold title system.



Overcoming ZANU-PF Advantages



4. (C) Mbalekwa said the UPM planned to actively exploit

existing tensions in the ruling party. Reported GOZ plans to

amend the constitution to consolidate presidential and

parliamentary elections in 2010 and to permit a Vice

President to complete a President’s remaining term, for

example, were resented widely as a strategem to perpetuate

Zezuru dominance. According to Mbalekwa, Mugabe had

recognized the potential explosiveness of the issue and

squelched efforts to include the measure in the

constitutional amendment package adopted in September. To

exacerbate succession fissures and thwart the plan, the UPM

would foment calls outside and inside the party for elections

to be consolidated and held in advance of 2008.


5. (C) The ex-ZANU-PF Central Committee member acknowledged

that the ruling party’s patronage system presented an

obstacle but stressed that the UPM was equipped to overcome

it. The key was convincing people that the system made them

vulnerable not empowered. Mbalekwa claimed that the UPM

could succeed in this effort because, unlike the MDC, it had

?liberation? credentials and organizational skills.

Moreover, the government had proven afraid to pursue

politicized seizures of farms from UPM figures like himself

with “liberation” credentials and that had weakened the

patronage system?s deterrent effect on ruling party members

considering joining the UPM.



Relations With MDC



6. (C) Mbalekwa noted that the UPM had met with both MDC

factions but was inclined to let the dust settle on factional

conflict before it proceeded any further with potential

collaboration or alliances. Not wanting to inherit MDC

factional rifts or its foreign associations, the UPM would

want to take on MDC luminaries individually, rather than as

factions that would then operate as such within the UPM. He

noted that the masses were sick of ZANU-PF but were put off

by the MDC’s foreign associations and well-established

inability to deliver and predicted that the UPM would easily

displace the MDC as the main opposition to the government

before the next general elections.


7. (C) Mbalekwa criticized the interest of the MDC and some

in civil society in mass action. Zimbabweans were exhausted

and needed more education and organization before such

tactics would be productive, Mbalekwa concluded. The UPM

would eschew mass action for now, focusing instead on

recasting the national debate to the ruling party’s

disadvantage and on mobilizing people for coming elections.

He predicted that the experience, connections, stature, and

savvy of UPM principals would enable the party to overcome

ruling party intimidation and election-rigging measures,

unlike the na e and unprepared MDC.



Party Financing



8. (C) Mbalekwa said the UPM had adequate “seed money” and

was producing pamphlets, t-shirts, and rallies in order to

project itself. It was establishing networks in the

diaspora, where he claimed there was great interest. Party

principals hoped to travel to the South Africa, the U.K.,

Australia, and the United States next year to tap diaspora

coffers but needed to first build greater credibility at

home. In the meantime, the party was looking for funds to

support training and travel and Mbalekwa asked for Embassy

assistance in identifying NGOs and other players who could

help support its activities.






9. (C) The UPM?s most identifiable principals – Emmerson

Mnangagwa and Jonathan Moyo – each carry heavy liabilities

with both domestic and international audiences for their

association with past ruling party oppression. In addition,

like the opposition MDC, it lacks resources or a reliable

platform from which to deliver its message in an environment

where the ruling party directs the full power of the state to

its advantage. That said, Zimbabwe’s dysfunctional political

landscape and leadership vacuum suggest obvious opportunities

for a third force and the UPM is well-positioned, especially

in the event of a ruling party crack-up over Mugabe?s

succession, to take advantage of those opportunities.




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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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