Mugabe fears hanging if he leaves office


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President Robert Mugabe genuinely fears hanging if he leaves office, former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell five years ago.

According to a diplomatic cable just released by Wikileaks, Mugabe was quite aware of diminishing support for him both in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the country.

The cable dispatched on 30 March 2007 says Mugabe was so stung by criticism at the ZANU-PF conference in Goromonzi in December 2006 that he had asked Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Emmerson Mnangagwa to update him on options for succession.

They had come up with a package of suggestions that included:

  • 2008 harmonized presidential and parliamentary elections;
  • an expanded parliament (to take care of some of Mugabe’s supporters;
  • a constitutional amendment providing for parliamentary election of a new president in the event of the president’s death or incapacity (replacing the present system whereby the acting vice-president takes over for 90 days, followed by new presidential elections).

Chinamasa and Mnangagwa assumed Mugabe would not run when they presented the package but Mugabe liked their suggestions and surprised them by saying he would be the 2008 candidate.

Mugabe sent teams to all the provinces to gauge his support among party members, business leaders, security forces, civil society, and the churches and seven provinces said he should not run.

Moyo said that although Mugabe was aware that he would not win any election he was not going to leave office because he was afraid that he was going to be hanged.

“The example of Charles Taylor’s expulsion from Nigeria and subsequent delivery to The Hague Special Court was particularly worrying for Mugabe, who had told Mnangagwa that he feared being hung,” Moyo said, according to the cable.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE270, JONATHAN MOYO ON MUGABE SUCCESSION, U.S. POLICY

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE270

2007-03-30 12:30

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1548

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1406

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RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0221

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0815

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RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4011

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RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2035

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0677

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1769

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 000270

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E.LOKEN

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/09/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: JONATHAN MOYO ON MUGABE SUCCESSION, U.S. POLICY

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

——

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) Jonathan Moyo, former Minister of Information and

erstwhile Mugabe intimate, told the Ambassador March 30 that

Mugabe is aware that there is diminishing support for him

within ZANU-PF and around the country. However, if Mugabe

decides to run for president again in 2008, Moyo said it is

unlikely his decision will be successfully challenged from

within the ruling party. Moyo does not expect the ZANU-PF

Central Committee on March 31 to deal definitively with the

succession issue one way or another. Moyo noted that Mugabe

genuinely fears “hanging” if he leaves office and suggested

international guarantees for his safety could help persuade

Mugabe to go. The Ambassador responded that this was a

decision for the Zimbabwean people.

 

2. (C) Moyo urged the U.S. to expand our out reach to

ZANU-PF moderates. The Ambassador said we were working to do

so but that many ZANU-PF moderates were afraid to meet with

us. Moyo urged the U.S. to send positive signals about the

post-Mugabe future as this could help convince many party

stalwarts to abandon Mugabe. The Ambassador briefed Moyo on

the principles for reengagement agreed to at last week’s

London meeting of like-minded countries. Moyo welcomed the

principles but noted that given Zimbabwean sensitivities it

would be better to refer to “internationally assisted” vice

“internationally supervised” elections. On sanctions, Moyo

accepted the placing of policy makers and their families on

sanctions lists, but urged us not to list parliamentarians

who are not members of either the ZANU-PF Politburo or

Central Committee. End Summary.

 

——————————————–

Run-Up to March 30 Central Committee Meeting

——————————————–

 

3. (C) Moyo told the Ambassador that Mugabe was stung by

criticism at the ZANU-PF December conference of his decision

to extend his term until 2010. About a month ago, he asked

Justice Minister Patrick Chinimasa and Emmerson Mnangagwa,

who had advised him on succession in 2005, to update options.

They produced a package of suggestions that included: 1)

2008 harmonized presidential and parliamentary elections; 2)

an expanded parliament (to take care of some of Mugabe,s

supporters; 3) a constitutional amendment providing for

parliamentary election of a new president in the event of the

president’s death or incapacity (replacing the present system

whereby the acting vice-president takes over for 90 days,

followed by new presidential elections).

 

4. (C) In presenting the package, according to Moyo,

Chinimasa and Mnangagwa assumed Mugabe would not run.

Outside of Mugabe’s inner circle, most of ZANU-PF wanted him

to step down, and they saw the package as a vehicle to

facilitate this. Mugabe liked their suggestions and

surprised them by saying he would be the 2008 candidate.

 

5. (C) Moyo informed the Ambassador that after stating his

intention to run, Mugabe sent teams to all the provinces to

gauge his support among party members, business leaders,

security forces, civil society, and the churches. Moyo was

aware of the results from seven provinces; the clear

sentiment was that he should not run again. After learning

 

HARARE 00000270 002 OF 004

 

6. (C) Mugabe had hoped, according to Moyo, to have positive

responses from the provinces that he could then use at the

March 28 Politburo meeting and March 30 Central Committee

meeting to leverage support for his 2008 candidacy. However,

because of the lack of support from the provinces, Mugabe

largely dampened discussion of 2008 in the Politburo meeting.

Moyo also believed no decisions would be taken at the

Central Committee meeting, which many had hoped would result

in a date for the election as well as a candidate, beyond

some posturing by Mugabe and his ZANU-PF rivals.

 

———————–

Dissension in the Ranks

———————–

 

7. (C) Moyo said he thought it highly unlikely the military

would act on its own and stage a coup. The surviving members

of the General Staff of the Zimbabwe African National

Liberation Army (ZANLA) had recently approached both General

Solomon Mujuru and Mnangagwa to urge Mugabe’s retirement.

They believed Mugabe would be defeated in 2008, and it was

important for ZANU-PF to put forward another candidate to win

and preserve liberation gains. Mujuru,s response was to

have the leaders talk to Mnangagwa; Mnangagwa in turn

rebuffed them, saying the Central Committee had replaced the

High Command as a political decision maker.

 

8. (C) With regard to the CIO, Moyo said Mugabe had received

information that CIO director Happington Bonyongwe had been

conferring with Solomon Mujuru. Furthermore, he had received

information from CIO sub-directors that Bonyongwe was

doctoring information. Believing Mujuru to be involved with

both military and CIO dissension, Mugabe had summoned Mujuru.

According to Mugabe, Mujuru had not yet responded.

Meanwhile, a massive shakeup was underway in the secutity

services, with many re-assignments within and between

agencies being made in order to break up potential

coup-plotting networks.

 

—————–

On 2008 Elections

—————–

 

10. (C) Moyo said he believed that ZANU-PF opponents of

Mugabe would prefer a government of national unity with a

presidential election postponed until 2010. However, if they

failed to achieve this and Mugabe ran, he would not be

challenged from within the party. But neither would he have

strong party support. For this reason, advancement of

parliamentary elections to 2008 would be important so that

ZANU-PF MPs would get out the vote.

 

11. (C) With Mugabe as candidate, the rallying cry of the

opposition, against the backdrop of a desperate economy,

would be “Mugabe must go.” Moyo believed that a ZANU-PF

party led by Mugabe was likely to lose any election. He

commented, however, that the MDC is also weak at the moment.

Additionally, because of the polarization of Zimbabwean

 

HARARE 00000270 003 OF 004

 

 

politics and stigmatization of the MDC, many traditional

ZANU-PF voters would find it difficult to vote for the MDC.

To be effective, Moyo though the MDC would have to somehow

rise above its history. Moyo commented that the MDC has

convinced supporters that with rigged elections, registration

is a futile exercise. He argued that the MDC must get young

people to register. Then, if an election were rigged, they

would feel they had been robbed and would react.

 

——————————————— —

An Exit Strategy for Mugabe*Fear of Prosecution

——————————————— —

 

12. (C) Moyo observed that Zimbabwe has an active human

rights community, and many Zimbabweans want Mugabe held

accountable for his excesses. He added that the example of

Charles Taylor’s expulsion from Nigeria and subsequent

delivery to The Hague Special Court was particularly worrying

for Mugabe, who had told Mnangagwa that he feared being hung.

Moyo inquired about the U.S. position on immunity for

Mugabe. The Ambassador replied that we would respect the

wishes of the Zimbabwean people and would understand if they

wanted to put the Mugabe era behind them and not work for his

prosecution. Nevertheless, the Ambassador noted “the

dictator,s dilemma”*who can give the guarantees he wants

and how could he trust them?

 

——————————————— —-

On Renewed International Engagement and Sanctions

——————————————— —-

 

13. (C) Noting the widespread opposition to Mugabe within

ZANU-PF, Moyo argued for greater engagement with moderates to

explain U.S. positions. There is growning opposition to

Mugabe within the party, and a better understanding of U.S.

positions could help convince party stalwarts to abandon him.

The Ambassador agreed this was important and said we would

expand our efforts, including the hosting of lunches and

receptions for parliamentarians, but that many in the party

and government had refused to meet with us.

 

14. (C) The Ambassador discussed in general terms with Moyo

principles for international reengagement with Zimbabwe. In

particular, he stated the importance of internationally

supervised elections. Moyo agreed that free and fair

elections were important; noting Zimbabwean sensitivities

about sovereignty, he thought talking in terms of

internationally “assisted” elections would be more palatable.

This was particularly true, he added, since Zimbabwe had no

money to hold elections and would need international help.

 

15. (C) Moyo said his colleagues were aware of the

Ambassador’s remarks in a SW Radio interview that the U.S.

should consider expanding sanctions to parliamentarians. He

said he understood a policy of expanding sanctions to include

Politburo and Central Committee members (and their families)

because they are in decision making positions; he though it

unfair, however, to include the large majority of

parliamentarians who are not members of either committee.

Including them on the sanctions list might push them into

Mugabe’s camp; not including them might be an incentive to

exercise independence.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

 

HARARE 00000270 004 OF 004

 

 

16. (C) Moyo has a checkered history as a one-time apologist

for Mugabe but he maintains good contacts across the

political spectrum and he provides a window into ZANU-PF,s

internal politics. He confirmed what we have heard from

others: Mugabe at this point intends to run for election in

2008 but there is substantial and growing opposition within

ZANU-PF to his continued rule. We don’t expect a resolution

in the near term as both Mugabe and his rivals maneuver for

the upper hand before forcing a show down. Moyo is also a

useful messenger and in that regard we expect the substance

of the principles for reengagement to quickly make the rounds

of Harare and increase the pressure on the regime by showing

ZANU-PF moderates and waiverers that there will be life after

Mugabe. With respect to adding parliamentarians to the visa

list, we take Moyo’s point about not forcing the doubters

back into Mugabe’s arms, and would limit the additions to

those ZANU-PF MPs who are particularly odorous or who are

major economic players.

 

 

 

 

DELL

(36 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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