Mugabe singles out Jonathan Moyo for praise at conference


President Robert Mugabe singled out Information Minister Jonathan Moyo for praise while criticising those within the party who strayed from strict party discipline.

He singled out for criticism “money-lovers” who put self-interest over the needs of the party, “double-dippers” who consorted secretly with the Movement for Democratic Change, and party structures in urban areas that had failed in contests against the MDC.


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Reference ID






2003-12-08 15:04

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 002364




E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/08/2008




REF: (A) HARARE 2359 (B) HARARE 2313


Classified By: Political Officer Win Dayton under section 1.5(b)(d)


1. (C) SUMMARY: The ZANU-PF annual conference December 5-8

in Masvingo projected a ruling party united under the

unquestioned leadership of Robert Mugabe and ever-resistant

to outside influence. The conference ended suspense over

succession speculation by indicating unambiguously that the

party leadership would brook no further discussion of the

matter. The party postured truculently toward the

Commonwealth and the opposition MDC and reiterated the

centrality of land reform to the party’s platform. There was

no apparent discussion of meaningful measures to address the

country’s economic implosion. Mugabe attacked those within

the party who put money ahead of party interests and those

who collaborated with the MDC, and took urban party

structures to task for their failures. Perhaps foreshadowing

a turbulent year ahead, the seige mentality deepened by this

conference likely will further stifle debate within the party

and harden the party against engagement with the opposition

and the outside world. END SUMMARY.


2. (SBU) Attended by two emboffs and representatives from

more than a dozen diplomatic missions, the party’s opening

segment on December 5 revolved around land reform, party

unity, and vilification of the Commonwealth. Disorganization

was fairly evident, as some of the more than two thousand

official delegates had to sleep in cars or on the grass

during the first night. Anti-Commonwealth placards

outnumbered the land reform signs that traditionally have

dominated party gatherings in recent years, and groups

outside the tented venue vented anti-Commonwealth and

anti-MDC slogans.


3. (SBU) Mugabe delivered an energetic address and, flanked

closely by two bodyguards, appeared to be in good health

throughout the first morning’s proceedings. Mugabe went

after the Commonwealth, the MDC, and “enemies within the

party” in his speech. Foreshadowing the government’s

subsequent withdrawal from the club, Mugabe questioned

Zimbabwe’s need for Commonwealth membership to wide applause.

He continued his racially polarizing attacks against the

United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. He sounded an

ominous warning to the opposition party, noting that the

ruling party could “unleash legal force and legal violence”

to counter its violations of law.


4. (SBU) Mugabe was pointed in his criticism of those within

the party who strayed from strict party discipline. In

particular, he singled out “money-lovers” who put

self-interest over the needs of the party, “double-dippers”

who consorted secretly with the MDC, and party structures in

urban areas that had failed in contests against the MDC.

Mugabe said nothing about talks with the opposition, other

than to observe that they were not the business of the

Commonwealth or anybody outside Zimbabwe. Singled out for

recognition was the party’s information and publicity effort

(headed by party hard-liner Jonathan Moyo).


5. (SBU) On land reform, Mugabe acknowledged implementation

problems. He complained that the A-2 program was lagging and

that too much land remained underutilized. Competing claims

continued to hamper administration, in part because former

commercial farmers were paying urban residents to squat on

and compete for recently resettled land. The government

needed to exert more control over agricultural inputs.

Finally, Mugabe cautioned members that not everybody needed

land; there were not enough farms to go around and many would

have to find prosperity down other avenues. Nonetheless, the

redistribution of land to indigenous Zimbabweans represented

a triumph for all. Among other issues addressed were

HIV/AIDS and the deterioration of health services, which

Mugabe emphasized required the party’s attention. Embassy

will relay a copy of the speech to AF/S if one is obtained.

(Note: unlike his government addresses, the President’s party

addresses often are not circulated publicly. End note.)


6. (SBU) Other speakers at the opening session included

Party Chairman John Nkomo, Vice President Joseph Msika, Party

Secretary for Administration (and Speaker of the Parliament)



Emmerson Mnangagwa, Masvingo Governor Josayah Hungwe and new

Masvingo Party Chairman Daniel Shumba. A minister who

offered the session’s opening blessing set the tone for the

day, asserting that ZANU-PF was the arm of God driving the

devil from Zimbabwe. Shumba received the most applause,

although he received adverse publicity for presumptuously

declaring he would be the party’s next candidate for Masvingo

central district (now occupied by an MDC MP), an apparent

breach of party protocol without appropriate consultations.

Mnangagwa, the relatively unpopular figure still regarded in

succession speculation as having the inside track, got the

most tepid reception. The heaviest applause fell upon a

primary school student who recited a fifteen minute “poem he

had written,” complete with anti-neocolonial and anti-MDC

diatribes. No speaker varied at all from the parameters of

the President’s address — all speakers denounced the

Commonwealth and tied future party success to the party’s

ability to follow Robert Mugabe. Indeed, Mugabe and the late

Vice-President Simon Muzenda were the only party figures

whose accomplishments were recognized throughout the morning.



7. (U) According to reports by the government-controlled

“Herald” on the conference’s closed sessions, Mugabe told the

conference that he was not prepared to take a “rest” yet. He

said he would “come back to you honorably and say I need a

rest” when the time came, but until then members should not

discuss succession clandestinely. Vice-President Msika went

further and branded as a sellout anybody who would discuss

succession while Mugabe remained in office.





8. (C) Squelching any discussion of succession will douse

the overt aspirations and posturing among pretenders to the

throne, such as Mnangagwa (ref A). The subject of adverse

publicity in connection with a local gold scandal, Mnangagwa

may be the conference’s biggest loser, at least at first

blush. The succession issue cannot help but remain a party

concern beneath the surface, however, even as those beneath

Mugabe continue to vie for his favor and economic privilege.

The conference’s biggest winners probably were the party’s

political hard-line wing, whose influence permeated the

themes of every speaker. Also pleased will be those party

elites who are exploiting the status quo to build economic

empires above the law. Looking ahead, the theme of “enemies

within” will open opportunities for Mugabe to readjust the

party leadership more to his liking and for party members to

go after each other on a host of personally based motives.

The environment may set the stage for considerable

intra-party political and economic blood-letting and possible



9. (C) Closure on succession (for now) and the absence of

any outreach to the opposition will further impel the MDC to

plan mass action in the coming months (ref B). Perhaps

foreshadowing and intending to justify such action, a

December 5 missive “to the people of Zimbabwe” from MDC

President Morgan Tsvangirai (e-mailed to AF/S) recounts the

failure of good faith efforts by the MDC, the bishops, and

the Presidents of South Africa and Malawi to engineer any

meaningful dialogue in Zimbabwe.


10. (C) The conference also must have proven a

disappointment to South African President Mbeki. Despite

Mbeki’s reported lobbying at the Commonwealth for Zimbabwe’s

readmission, Mugabe gave him little, if anything, in return.

The consistent line throughout the conference reconfirmed

that there appears little substance to underpin Mbeki’s

assertions of progress in political dialogue here.

Furthermore, the conference’s outcome underscores the ruling

party’s imperviousness to international pressure and the

primacy of short-term domestic politicking over long-term

national interest in the party’s thinking.


11. (C) The conference reflected and will magnify one of the

party’s most significant flaws: its inability to encourage or

even to tolerate debate within its ranks. A disaffected

party member once close to Mugabe observed recently to the

Ambassador that Mugabe was a changed man — he used to

welcome intellectual discussion and debate but had now cut

himself off from all save those who agreed with him.

Accordingly, we do not expect the party’s approach (or lack

thereof) to the country’s political stalemate or ongoing

economic collapse to change in the foreseeable future.




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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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