One of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front’s strongest critics, Iden Wetherell of the Independent newspaper, described Emmerson Mnangagwa 15 years ago as one of the most intelligent men in the Zimbabwe government.
Wetherell told United States embassy officials that Mnangagwa, who was Speaker of Parliament at the time, was a “nimble operator” and “one of the most intelligent men in government”.
This, he said, made him “all the more dangerous”.
Mnangagwa was tipped as one of the two men most likely to succeed President Robert Mugabe if he decided not to contest the 2002 presidential elections.
The other candidate was Simba Makoni who was Minister of Finance at the time.
Wetherell said Mnangagwa had a very astute understanding of foreign governments’ agendas and global issues, and “knows all the right things to say on human rights and other western concerns.
“He is good at ‘playing to galleries’,” Wetherell said but added that Mnangagwa was not well liked in the party or the country as a whole.
“His failed bid to become ZANU-PF national chairman in December 1999 and his resounding loss of his Kwekwe Parliamentary seat last June ( 2000) are ample evidence of this,” he said.
The former editor said Mnangagwa would be more of a liability to ZANU-PF than Mugabe should he become the party’s presidential candidate.
Below are the Wikileaks cables that mention Mnangagwa’s name.
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