Mudenge said Mugabe will go, but don’t push


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Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge said President Robert Mugabe was prepared to step down any time once the land issue had been resolved but he would take the country over the cliff if he was pushed too hard.

He told United States assistant secretary of State Susan Rice that many of his lieutenants in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front would not let Mugabe go until the land issue had been resolved once and for all.

But there were some in the party who were more concerned about the survival of the party.

Mugabe’s thinking was that he would run for presidency in 2002 and once re-elected, he would step down after a year or two.

Mudenge, however, said if the Movement for Democratic Change engaged in mass action, this would push Mugabe into a corner.

If Mugabe was pushed too hard, he would take the country over the cliff.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 00HARARE6644, FOREIGN MINISTER SIGNALS POSSIBLE SHIFT IN

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE6644

2000-11-28 13:53

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6711

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06644 01 OF 03 281616Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 COME-00

DODE-00 DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00

DRL-02  G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /007W

——————A4AC73 281616Z /68

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7713

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 006644

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/28/10

TAGS: PGOV ECON EAGR PREL ZI

SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER SIGNALS POSSIBLE SHIFT IN

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06644 01 OF 03 281616Z

ZIMBABWE LAND REFORM POLICY

 

REFS: A) HARARE 6330, B) HARARE 6297, C) HARARE 6282

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS: 1.5

(B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: IN A NOVEMBER 15 MEETING WITH ASSISTANT

SECRETARY SUSAN E. RICE, FOREIGN MINISTER STAN MUDENGE

 

SIPDIS

SIGNALED THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE (GOZ) IS READY

TO RETURN TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE 1998 DONORS

CONFERENCE AGREEMENT ON LAND REFORM. THE MINISTER

ACKNOWLEDGED THAT MISTAKES HAD BEEN MADE IN THE FARM

DESIGNATION AND ACQUISITION PROCESS, AND THAT THERE IS

AN “ADJUSTMENT EXERCISE” UNDERWAY TO DELIST THE MOST

PRODUCTIVE COMMERCIAL FARMS. MUDENGE ALSO SAID THAT THE

GOZ IS NEGOTIATING WITH THE MANAGERS OF THE SAVE

CONSERVANCY TO FIND AN EQUITABLE SOLUTION TO THE

OCCUPATION OF THAT IMPORTANT TOURIST DESTINATION BY WAR

VETERANS. MUDENGE SAID THAT THE GOZ VIEWS THE UNDP PLAN

AS THE WAY FORWARD ON LAND REFORM. THE GOZ’S DECISION

TO ABIDE BY THE SUPREME COURT ORDER DECLARING THE FARM

OCCUPATIONS ILLEGAL (REF A) IS INTENDED AS A SIGNAL THAT

THE GOZ IS SERIOUS ABOUT RESOLVING THE LAND ISSUE

AMICABLY. IF THE DONORS ARE WILLING TO COME BACK AND

FUND LAND REFORM IN ZIMBABWE, THE GOZ WILL EFFECTIVELY

AND IMMEDIATELY, IF NOT EXPLICITLY, BACK AWAY FROM ITS

FAST-TRACK RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM ACCORDING TO MUDENGE.

FURTHERMORE, MUDENGE BELIEVES PRESIDENT MUGABE MAY WELL

BE PREPARED TO LEAVE OFFICE ONCE THE LAND ISSUE IS

WORKED OUT, AND AFTER A REASONABLE FACE-SAVING

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06644 01 OF 03 281616Z

INTERLUDE. HE CAUTIONED HOWEVER, THAT MUGABE WILL PUSH

THE COUNTRY OVER THE PRECIPICE IF MASS ACTION BY THE

OPPOSITION BACKS HIM INTO A CORNER. THE SECURITY FORCES

HAVE BEEN GIVEN ORDERS TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE, SHORT

OF USING LETHAL FORCE, TO STOP MASS ACTION, ACCORDING TO

THE FOREIGN MINISTER. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) ON NOVEMBER 15, ASSISTANT SECRETARY SUSAN E.

RICE, ACCOMPANIED BY OFFICE OF SOUTHERN AFRICAN AFFAIRS

DIRECTOR ARLENE RENDER, SPECIAL ASSISTANT DON GATTO,

AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD, DCM, AND POLOFF (NOTETAKER),

MET MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS STAN MUDENGE.

ACCOMPANYING THE FOREIGN MINISTER WERE POLITICAL AND

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS DIRECTOR DR. NGONI CHIDEYA, AFRICA AND

MIDDLE EAST DIRECTOR GODFREY MWEDZI, UNDERSECRETARY FOR

EUROPE AND AMERICAS JONATHAN WUTAUNASHE, AND U.S. DESK

OFFICER RICHARD CHIBUWE. THE MEETING OPENED WITH A

DISCUSSION ON DRC MATTERS, WHICH WILL BE REPORTED

SEPTEL.

 

————————————-

GOVERNMENT WILL PLAY BY ITS OWN RULES

————————————-

 

3. (C) THE FOREIGN MINISTER THEN OFFERED TO DISCUSS THE

LAND ISSUE. HE OPENED BY SAYING THAT ERRORS HAD BEEN

MADE IN THE GOZ’S DESIGNATION AND ACQUISITION OF FARM

PROPERTIES FOR RESETTLEMENT. IN FACT, AN “ADJUSTMENT

EXERCISE” IS CURRENTLY UNDERWAY TO REMOVE A NUMBER OF

AGRI-BUSINESS FARMS FROM THE ACQUISITION LIST.

APPROXIMATELY 200 OF THE COUNTRY’S MOST PRODUCTIVE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 06644 01 OF 03 281616Z

TOBACCO FARMS, WHICH PRODUCE A GOOD DEAL OF ZIMBABWE’S

FOREIGN EXCHANGE, WOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE LIST,

MUDENGE STATED. THE GOZ WOULD AUTOMATICALLY DELIST

OTHER FARMS THAT DO NOT MEET THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR

RESETTLEMENT PURPOSES. THE GOZ WOULD ALSO NOT LIST NEW

PROPERTIES FOR ACQUISITION TO REMOVE THE “CLOUD OF

DOUBT” HANGING OVER THE REMAINING FARMS SO THAT THEY CAN

PLANT AND HARVEST THEIR CROPS WITH CONFIDENCE.

 

4. (C) NONETHELESS, THE GOZ EXPECTED SOME OWNERS OF

LISTED FARMS TO RESIST COMPULSORY ACQUISITION, THE

MINISTER CONTINUED. THE GOZ WOULD STRICTLY FOLLOW THE

REGULATIONS THAT REQUIRE THE GOVERNMENT TO GIVE 90 DAYS

NOTICE OF ACQUISITION AND THAT ALLOW UP TO A 60-DAY

APPEAL PROCESS IN AN ADMINISTRATIVE COURT. FARMERS

COULD SUCCESSFULLY CHALLENGE THE ACQUISITION OF THEIR

FARM IF THEY COULD SHOW THAT THE FARM WOULD NOT BE USED

FOR RESETTLEMENT PURPOSES. MUDENGE CLAIMED THAT SOME

FARMERS HAD ALREADY SUCCEEDED IN GETTING THEIR

PROPERTIES DELISTED BY WAY OF THE APPEAL PROCESS.

 

5. (C) THE AMBASSADOR RAISED THE CONCERNS THAT AMERICAN

INVESTORS IN THE AREA OF THE SAVE CONSERVANCY HAVE OVER

THE OCCUPATION OF THE GAME PARK BY WAR VETERANS. THE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6668

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06644 02 OF 03 281602Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 COME-00

DODE-00 DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /007W

——————A4AB43 281602Z /68

O 281353Z NOV 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7714

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 006644

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/28/10

TAGS: PGOV ECON EAGR PREL ZI

SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER SIGNALS POSSIBLE SHIFT IN

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06644 02 OF 03 281602Z

ZIMBABWE LAND REFORM POLICY

 

SQUATTERS HAVE DONE CONSIDERABLE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE TO

THE PARK BY CUTTING DOWN TREES AND KILLING WILDLIFE, AND

HAVE SCARED AWAY MANY POTENTIAL TOURISTS. MUDENGE

STATED THAT THE CONSERVANCY IS NEAR THE DISTRICT HE

REPRESENTS IN PARLIAMENT (MASVINGO NORTH), AND THAT HE

HAS BEEN IN TOUCH WITH THE PARK MANAGERS AND OTHER

INTERESTED PARTIES IN THE AREA. HE STATED THAT THE

MEDIA HAD EXAGGERATED THE PROBLEMS CREATED BY THE

SQUATTERS, BUT THAT HE WAS TRYING TO WORK OUT A DEAL TO

SOLVE THE PROBLEM. THE WHITE MANAGERS HAD PROPOSED AN

ARRANGEMENT WHERE SOME OF THE PROCEEDS GENERATED FROM

THE PARK WOULD GO TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY. THE MINISTER

COUNTERED THAT THAT WOULD STILL LEAVE THE CONSERVANCY A

“WHITE ISLAND,” A STATE OF AFFAIRS THAT WAS NOT

ACCEPTABLE. NONETHELESS, HE FELT THE TWO SIDES WERE

CLOSER TO REACHING AN AMICABLE AGREEMENT.

 

———————————-

UNDP INITIATIVE IS THE WAY FORWARD

———————————-

 

6. (C) THE GROUP THEN BROKE UP SO THAT ASSISTANT

SECRETARY RICE AND THE MINISTER COULD HAVE A PRIVATE

 

SIPDIS

MEETING. IN THAT ONE-ON-ONE, MUDENGE TOLD THE SECRETARY

THAT THE GOZ SEES THE UNDP LAND REFORM INITIATIVE AS THE

WAY FORWARD. HE SAID THAT THE UNDP PLAN (REF C) IS IN

ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLES AGREED UPON AT THE 1998

DONORS CONFERENCE ON LAND. IT IS ALSO IN ACCORDANCE

WITH THE RULE OF LAW, TRANSPARENCY, AND ECONOMIC

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06644 02 OF 03 281602Z

VIABILITY. IF THE DONORS AGREED TO COME BACK TO

ZIMBABWE TO FUND LAND REFORM, THE GOZ WOULD EFFECTIVELY,

ALTHOUGH NOT EXPLICITLY, DROP ITS FAST-TRACK LAND

RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM “LIKE A HOT POTATO.” THE GOZ ONLY

ADOPTED IT BECAUSE IT HAD BEEN BACKED INTO A CORNER AND

SAW NO OTHER WAY OUT.

 

———————–

RULE OF LAW WILL RETURN

———————–

 

7. (C) THE MINISTER CHARACTERIZED THE GOZ’S DECISION TO

ABIDE BY THE SUPREME COURT’S CONSENT ORDER DECLARING THE

FARM OCCUPATIONS ILLEGAL (REF A) AS VERY SIGNIFICANT AND

WOULD LAY THE GROUNDWORK FOR THE UNDP LAND REFORM

INITIATIVE. HE SAID THE DECISION WAS HOTLY DEBATED IN

CABINET, BUT ULTIMATELY IT WAS DECIDED THAT THE GOZ

COULD NOT AFFORD TO DISOBEY ITS OWN LAWS OR BE PERCEIVED

AS DOING SO. (COMMENT: OF COURSE, THIS WOULD NOT HAVE

BEEN THE FIRST TIME. END COMMENT.) HE STATED THAT BY

AGREEING TO THE RULING, THE GOZ AGREED TO ABIDE BY THE

RULES AND REGULATIONS ALREADY SPELLED OUT IN THE LAND

LEGISLATION..

 

——————————

MUGABE WILL GO, BUT DON’T PUSH

——————————

 

8. (C) WHEN ASKED IF MUGABE WILL RETIRE, MUDENGE

REPLIED THAT THE PRESIDENT MAY WELL BE PREPARED TO GO IF

THE LAND ISSUE IS WORKED OUT FIRST. HE SAID THAT MANY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 06644 02 OF 03 281602Z

IN ZANU-PF WON’T LET HIM GO UNTIL THE LAND ISSUE IS

RESOLVED ONCE AND FOR ALL. HOWEVER, THERE ARE OTHERS IN

THE RULING PARTY WHO ARE MORE CONCERNED WITH THE PARTY’S

SURVIVAL. THE FOREIGN MINISTER STATED THAT MUGABE’S

CURRENT THINKING IS THAT HE WILL RUN AGAIN FOR THE

PRESIDENCY IN 2002, AND THEN ONCE RE-ELECTED, STEP DOWN

AFTER A YEAR OR TWO.

 

9. (C) MUDENGE CAUTIONED, HOWEVER, THAT IF THE

OPPOSITION ENGAGES IN MASS ACTION, IT WILL PUSH MUGABE

INTO A CORNER. IF MUGABE IS PUSHED TOO HARD, HE WILL

TAKE THE COUNTRY OVER THE CLIFF, MUDENGE WARNED. HE

SAID THAT A STATE OF EMERGENCY, SUSPENSION OF

PARLIAMENT, OR MARTIAL LAW ARE ALL POSSIBILITIES IF MASS

ACTION COMES TO PASS. THE MINISTER STATED THAT HE

BELIEVES THE BRITISH ARE ENCOURAGING MASS ACTION IN

ZIMBABWE AND THAT THE EU HAS LOST ALL INFLUENCE IN

ZIMBABWE BECAUSE IT HAS ALIGNED ITSELF WITH THE BRITISH.

THE GOZ IS TRYING NOT TO PROVOKE THE OPPOSITION BECAUSE

THE MDC IS TRYING TO BAIT THE GOVERNMENT INTO USING

VIOLENCE. THE SECURITY FORCES HAVE BEEN GIVEN ORDERS TO

USE ALL MEANS NECESSARY, BUT EXPLICITLY NOT/NOT LETHAL

FORCE, TO STOP THE PLANNED MASS ACTION (REF B). THE

MINISTER HINTED THAT THESE ORDERS COULD BE IGNORED–OR

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6670

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06644 03 OF 03 281603Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 COME-00

DODE-00 DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /007W

——————A4AB5A 281603Z /68

O 281353Z NOV 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7715

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 006644

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/28/10

TAGS: PGOV ECON EAGR PREL ZI

SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER SIGNALS POSSIBLE SHIFT IN

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06644 03 OF 03 281603Z

ZIMBABWE LAND REFORM POLICY

 

CHANGED–IF THE THREAT TO THE GOVERNMENT BECAME DIRE,

HOWEVER.

 

————————-

SOME SIGNS OF RATIONALITY

————————-

 

10. (C) COMMENT: MUDENGE’S COMMENTS COULD SIGNAL A

MAJOR SHIFT IN THE GOZ’S LAND REFORM POLICY, AND

POSSIBLY A BROADER WILLINGNESS TO ENGAGE THE

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IN TURNING AROUND ITS FREE-

FALLING ECONOMY. MUDENGE’S STATEMENTS MEAN MORE SINCE

HE IS A ZANU-PF HARDLINER AND HAS BEEN VERY CRITICAL OF

THE DONORS’ STANCE ON LAND REFORM. RULING PARTY LEADERS

MAY HAVE FINALLY COME TO RECOGNIZE THE UNSUSTAINABILITY

OF ITS LAND REFORM “PROGRAM” AND THE DISASTROUS EFFECTS

IT HAS HAD ON THE COUNTRY’S ECONOMY AND ZANU-PF’S

POPULARITY. THE CHANGE IN DIRECTION APPEARS TO GO

DEEPER THAN PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS WHEN MINISTERS GAVE ORDERS

TO REMOVE FARM OCCUPIERS WHEN MUGABE WAS OUT OF COUNTRY,

ONLY TO BE REVERSED WHEN MUGABE RETURNED. MUGABE WAS IN

COUNTRY WHEN MUDENGE TALKED WITH THE ASSISTANT

SECRETARY, AND THE DECISION TO ABIDE BY THE SUPREME

 

SIPDIS

COURT RULING MUST HAVE BEEN MADE WELL BEFORE MUGABE LEFT

FOR LIBYA NOVEMBER 11.

 

11. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: THE REAL TEST OF THE

GOVERNMENT’S RESOLVE, HOWEVER, REMAINS IN ITS

WILLINGNESS TO REIGN IN WAR VETERANS AND OTHERS WHO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06644 03 OF 03 281603Z

CONTINUE TO ATTACK FARMERS AND ITS WILLINGNESS TO EXPEL

THOUSANDS OF SQUATTERS FROM OCCUPIED FARMS, MANY OF WHOM

HAVE BUILT PERMANENT HOUSES. RECENT ATTACKS ON WAR

VETERANS IN THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED MEDIA COULD

PRESAGE THE END OF THEIR HEYDAY ON THE COMMERCIAL FARMS.

THE EMBASSY THINKS MUGABE MAY FINALLY RECOGNIZE THAT THE

DESTRUCTION OF COMMERCIAL FARMING, ALONG WITH LAW AND

ORDER AND INVESTOR CONFIDENCE, WILL ULTIMATELY RESULT IN

HIS, AND HIS PARTY’S, UNDOING.

 

12. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: FINALLY, CONTRARY TO THE

MINISTER’S ASSERTIONS, RELIABLE EMBASSY SOURCES TELL US

THAT THE SAVE CONSERVANCY PROBLEM IS NOT CLOSE TO BEING

SOLVED AND THAT THE MINISTER IS POLITICALLY ALLIED WITH

THOSE OFFICIALS WHO ARE PREVENTING RESOLUTION. END

COMMENT.

 

13. (U) A/S RICE CLEARED THIS MESSAGE.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(7 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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