MDC was prepared to accept Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s successor


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Zambian diplomat Vernon Mwaanga, who met President Robert Mugabe on 14 April 2008, said Mugabe told him that if he won the presidential election run-off he would hand over ZANU-PF leadership to Emmerson Mnangagwa in less than a year.

He would then prepare the way for a Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front victory in an ensuing presidential race.

Mwaanga said he had told Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, secretary-general Tendai Biti and other senior MDC leaders about his discussion with Mugabe and the MDC representatives had said they would be prepared to come to terms with Mnangagwa.

The Zambian diplomat said that the MDC leaders said that their contention was only with Mugabe and not with the ZANU-PF party.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08LUSAKA500, UNOFFICIAL PING “ENVOY” MEETS WITH MUGABE; PING

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08LUSAKA500

2008-05-07 16:04

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Lusaka

VZCZCXRO7654

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHLS #0500/01 1281604

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 071604Z MAY 08

FM AMEMBASSY LUSAKA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5783

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 0620

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1354

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LUSAKA 000500

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/06/2018

TAGS: PREL PHUM SADC ZA ZI

SUBJECT: UNOFFICIAL PING “ENVOY” MEETS WITH MUGABE; PING

VISITS ZAMBIA TO DISCUSS SADC-AU EFFORTS ON ZIMBABWE

 

 

Classified By: Ambassador Martinez for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

1. (C) Summary. According to Vernon Mwaanga, a veteran

Zambian diplomat and politician who met with Mugabe on the

week of April 14 at the behest of AU Commission Chairperson

Jean Ping, much of the blame for the current electoral crisis

in Zimbabwe lies with the incompetence (rather than

fraudulence) of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Mugabe

allegedly told Mwaanga that he intends to accept defeat if he

loses the run-off election. In the event of his victory,

Mugabe claims that he will step down within one year, handing

over the party leadership and calling for a new presidential

race. Mwaanga suggested that the best way forward would be

for SADC to strengthen its election observer team and

increase its dialogue with MDC and ZANU-PF representatives.

Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Tens Kapoma told the

Ambassador that Jean Ping was in Lusaka on May 2 to discuss

ways in which the AU could become more supportive of SADC

efforts on Zimbabwe. End Summary.

 

2. (C) On May 6, Vernon Mwaanga met with the Ambassador at

her request to share information about his recent visit to

Harare, which he claims was undertaken at the behest of AU

Commission Chair Jean Ping. The shrewd, veteran Zambian

diplomat and politician explained that his friendship to

Mugabe dates back to the early 1970s when Mwaanga served as

Zambia’s foreign minister and the GRZ provided significant

support to Zimbawe’s freedom struggle. Mwaanga said that

during his week-long visit to Harare in mid-April he had met

with Mugabe several times, as well as representatives from

the MDC and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

 

3. (C) Mwaanga described Mugabe as “completely shocked” at

not having won the presidential election. He said Mugabe was

also tremendously upset with Mwanawasa for hosting the SADC

emergency summit. Mwaanga said Mugabe would not accept a

government of national unity as this would entail departing

from the constitutionally-defined electoral process.

Allegedly, Mugabe told Mwaanga that he will accept the

election results if he loses the run-off. In the event that

he wins the run-off, Mugabe explained his intention to remain

in office for less than a year. According to Mwaanga, Mugabe

means to turn over the ZANU-PF party leadership, perhaps to

Emmerson Mnangagwa, and prepare the way for a ZANU-PF victory

in an ensuing presidential race.

 

4. (C) In response to the Ambassador’s repeated emphasis on

human rights abuse and voter intimidation, Mwaanga

acknowledged that Mugabe is aware of–and perhaps even

behind–some of this violence. He posited that Mugabe’s

security apparatus is, on its own initiative, perpetuating

most of these acts. Mwaanga said Mugabe’s supporters in the

military are “extremely passionate about maintaining the

status quo,” lest they find themselves being held accountable

before a new government. When the Ambassador insisted that

human rights violence was taking place with Mugabe’s consent

if not direction, Mwaanga conceded the point. Mwaanga said

that in his view, despite allegations otherwise, Mugabe has

retained his control and is not being guided by his

“securocrats.”

 

5. (C) Mwaanga said that he had spoken with Tsvangirai, Biti,

and other senior MDC leaders, although he had less to say

about these meetings. He said MDC was still divided

internally as to whether or not to participate in run-off

elections. Mwaanga said that he had relayed to MDC the

substance of his discussions with Mugabe and that MDC

representatives had said, in response, that they would be

prepared to come to terms with Mnangagwa. According to

Mwaanga, the MDC leaders said that their contention was only

with Mugabe and not with the ZANU-PF party.

 

6. (C) Mwaanga implied that most of the blame for the

electoral crisis belongs with the ZEC, which he described as

entirely incompetent and inexperienced. Mwaanga said the ZEC

Commissioners had been unable to answer even his simplest

questions. In a private meeting, the ZEC Chair complained to

Mwaanga saying (in reference to the ZEC Commissioners) “You

see what I have to work with.” Mwaanga shared his view that

the ZEC made an imprudent mistake by not releasing the

election results immediately, but did so in order to verify

the outcomes in various districts rather than tamper with or

alter the results. Mwaanga said that he had seen the

preliminary ZEC results and that these did not differ from

those that the ZEC announced on May 2.

 

7. (C) Regarding a way forward, Mwaanga (who said he had

debriefed Mwanawasa on his activities in Zimbabwe) suggested

that a second SADC emergency summit would not be useful,

 

LUSAKA 00000500 002 OF 002

 

 

given the divisions within SADC between liberation movement

alumni in Angola, Namibia, and South Africa, and other SADC

leaders. He recommended that SADC strengthen its election

observer team during the run-off elections, and work closely

with MDC and ZANU-PF to improve understanding.

 

8. (C) On May 7, Ambassador spoke with Foreign Ministry

Permanent Secretary Tens Kapoma, who had just participated in

a troika meeting of the SADC Organ for Politics, Defense, and

Security. He said the meeting had been “inconclusive” on the

issue of Zimbabwe. Kapoma, however, told the Ambassador that

AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping had visited Lusaka for three

hours on May 2 to discuss with President Mwanawasa ways in

which the AU could become more involved and supportive of

SADC efforts with regard to Zimbabwe. Kapoma said that there

were no concrete plans to call for another emergency summit.

 

9. (C) Comment: Mwaanga is a slippery character with some

shadows in his past, but he may still retain the confidence

of both Mwanawasa and Mugabe. He also gave the impression

that he is maintaining contact with both the MDC and ZANU-PF.

Post will report on any developments, in the event that

Mwaanga visits Harare again under alleged AU direction, or

makes additional contacts with Mugabe. Although Mwaanga’s

accounts must be taken with some degree of caution, given his

apparently warm relationship with Mugabe, they cannot be

entirely dismissed either.

MARTINEZ

 

(17 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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