Mugabe views everything according to whether it threatens his tenure or not


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Former Finance Minister Simba Makoni told United States diplomats including assistant secretary Susan Rice that President Robert Mugabe viewed everything through the optic of whether it threatened his tenure.

He said any proposal therefore had to be packaged to emphasise benefits for Mugabe.

“If gains can be rationally laid out and argued for, pain can be sold,” he told the diplomats.

Makoni said Mugabe was willing to change and this was evidenced by the appointment of Makoni himself and Nkosana Moyo to cabinet.

“This would never have happened if the need for change was not recognised by President Mugabe,” he said.

He said those who said there could be no positive change until President Mugabe was off the scene were wrong.

Though he personally believed Mugabe had overstayed his term, Makoni said Mugabe would engage in straight talk and seriously consider an offered deal that favoured him.

“Mugabe is a man of strong views”, Makoni pointed out, “and so one needs to relate to him in the same way. This is how I have gotten results.”

On the land issue, Makoni said Mugabe saw it as a conspiracy against him. He said when Mugabe saw the footage of white farmers handing over

contribution cheques to the Movement for Democratic Change- after the referendum defeat-commercial farmers became the enemy, with the MDC their front.

The enemy camp had, however, since grown.

“It is now no longer the white farmers alone, but includes: all former Rhodesians still in Zimbabwe; all elite non-ZANU-PF party blacks; the so-called ‘Zimba-boers’ (former Rhodesians living in South Africa); and, since the election, all urban blacks,” Makoni said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE6663, A/S RICE MEETS WITH FINANCE MINISTER SIMBA

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE6663

2000-11-29 09:02

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.

 

290902Z Nov 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0681

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06663 01 OF 03 290907Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00

SMEC-00 CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00

DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 FBIE-00

VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01   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

SS-00   STR-00   T-00     USIE-00 FMP-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————A52A90 290907Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7731

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

USDOC WASHDC

NSC WASHDC

DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 006663

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND BARAK HOFFMAN

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06663 01 OF 03 290907Z

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/29/08

TAGS: ECON EFIN PREL EAGR PINR ZI

SUBJECT: A/S RICE MEETS WITH FINANCE MINISTER SIMBA

MAKONI

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, REASON 1.5 (B), (D)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: ON NOVEMBER 16, A/S RICE, AMBASSADORS

RENDER AND MCDONALD, AND ECONOFF (NOTETAKER), MET WITH

FINANCE MINISTER SIMBA MAKONI FOR AN HONEST AND WIDE-

RANGING 75 MINUTE DISCUSSION. TAKING PLACE ONLY A FEW

HOURS BEFORE THE MINISTER PRESENTED HIS FIRST BUDGET TO

THE PARLIAMENT AND THE NATION, THE MEETING CENTERED ON

MAKONI’S EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH PRESIDENT MUGABE, AND

HIS IN-DEPTH SUGGESTIONS AND ADVICE ON HOW TO APPROACH

MUGABE AND BRING ABOUT DESIRED RESULTS. HE ALSO SHARED

HIS OUTLOOK AND VIEWS ON SOME OF THE MAJOR ISSUES

CONFRONTING THE GOVERNMENT AND RULING PARTY; AND HIS

EXPECTATION THAT MUGABE WOULD EMERGE AS THE PARTY’S

CANDIDATE FOR THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. END

SUMMARY.

 

—————————————–

THOUGH THE SURFACE IS DAUNTING; DIALOGUE,

AND DEALS, ARE POSSIBLE

—————————————–

 

2. (C) AFTER INTRODUCTIONS AND OPENING EXCHANGES, MAKONI

CAME QUICKLY TO HIS OBSERVATIONS AND JUDGEMENTS. THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06663 01 OF 03 290907Z

ECONOMY IS BAD AND THIS IS DUE TO THE POLITICAL CRISIS

THE COUNTRY IS EXPERIENCING, HE TOLD US. WHILE THE

SURFACE APPEARANCE PROVIDED BY PRESIDENT MUGABE IS

DAUNTING AND VERY NEGATIVE, UNDERNEATH THERE IS THE

POTENTIAL FOR FLEXIBILITY AND RATIONAL DIALOGUE AND THE

REAL POSSIBILITY TO EFFECT POSITIVE CHANGE. HE TOLD US

THAT A WAY OUT OF THE CURRENT DILEMMA IS BEING SOUGHT BY

THE PRESIDENT, AND CITED AS EVIDENCE BOTH HIS AND

NKOSANNA MOYO’S APPOINTMENT TO CABINET. “THIS WOULD

NEVER HAVE HAPPENED IF THE NEED FOR CHANGE WAS NOT

RECOGNIZED BY PRESIDENT MUGABE.” MAKONI FLATLY STATED

THAT THOSE WHO SAY THERE CAN BE NO POSITIVE CHANGE UNTIL

PRESIDENT MUGABE IS OFF THE SCENE ARE WRONG. WHILE THE

FINANCE MINISTER PERSONALLY BELIEVED MUGABE HAD

OVERSTAYED HIS TERM (“HIS LEAVING IS OVERDUE”), THE

PRESIDENT WILL ENGAGE IN STRAIGHT TALK AND SERIOUSLY

CONSIDER AN OFFERED DEAL THAT HE SEES AS FAVORING HIM.

“MUGABE IS A MAN OF STRONG VIEWS”, MAKONI POINTED OUT,

“AND SO ONE NEEDS TO RELATE TO HIM IN THE SAME WAY.”

“THIS IS HOW I HAVE GOTTEN RESULTS”, HE ADMITTED, CITING

THE EXAMPLE OF THE DEVALUATION HE WON APPROVAL FOR BY

LAYING OUT THE MOVE AS A REAL WORLD NECESSITY WHICH THE

LONGER IGNORED WOULD ONLY CAUSE GREATER POLITICAL HARM TO

MUGABE ANDQ RULING PARTY.

 

3. (C) FURTHER CLARIFYING THE POINT, MAKONI CAREFULLY

EXPLAINED THAT MUGABE VIEWS EVERYTHING THROUGH THE OPTIC

OF WHETHER IT THREATENS HIS TENURE. THEREFORE, ANY

PROPOSAL MUST BE PACKAGED TO EMPHASIZE BENEFITS FOR

MUGABE. IF GAINS CAN BE RATIONALLY LAID OUT AND ARGUED

FOR, PAIN CAN BE SOLD, HE TOLD US. THE FINANCE MINISTER

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 06663 01 OF 03 290907Z

CITED OTHER STEPS HE HAS TAKEN WITH HIS PORTFOLIO (FOR

EXAMPLE, PERSONNEL AND SPENDING CUTBACKS IN THE 2001

BUDGET) AS PAINFUL STEPS HE HAS SOLD AS NECESSARY IF

MUGABE WISHED TO RUN HIS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IN A

DOMESTIC ENVIRONMENT THAT HAD AT LEAST STARTED TO TURN

AROUND. “REMEMBER”, HE TOLD US IN A STATEMENT

APPROACHING THE ZEN, “WHAT APPEARS AND NOT WHAT IS, IS

WHAT IS IMPORTANT WHEN DEALING WITH MUGABE.”

 

——————————————— –

MUGABE’S LAND OPTIC, AND CONSPIRACY IN GENERAL

——————————————— –

 

4. (C) RESPONDING TO A/S RICE’S AND THE AMBASSADOR’S

QUESTION ON THE CURRENT ECONOMIC DANGER FACING THE

COUNTRY AND THE PRESIDENT’S RECOGNITION OF IT, THE

FINANCE MINISTER SHARED WITH US HIS PERCEPTION OF

MUGABE’S VIEW OF THE LAND ISSUE, AND ALSO THE DARK FORCES

ARRAYED AGAINST HIM IN GENERAL. MAKONI BEGAN HIS

EXPLANATION BY STATING THAT THE PRESIDENT WAS AWARE OF

THE ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES AND UNHAPPINESS OF THE

POPULACE. “HOWEVER, HE SEES IT AS CAUSED BY A CONSPIRACY

AIMED AGAINST HIM, AND SO HE WORKS OFF THE WRONG

PREMISE,” HE TOLD US. AFTER THE REFERENDUM DEFEAT, AND

WHEN MUGABE SAW THE FOOTAGE OF WHITE FARMERS HANDING OVER

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0684

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06663 02 OF 03 290907Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00

SMEC-00 CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00

DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 FBIE-00

VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01   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

SS-00   STR-00   T-00     USIE-00 FMP-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————A52A9D 290907Z /38

P 290902Z NOV 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7732

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

USDOC WASHDC

NSC WASHDC

DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 006663

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND BARAK HOFFMAN

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06663 02 OF 03 290907Z

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/29/08

TAGS: ECON EFIN PREL EAGR PINR ZI

SUBJECT: A/S RICE MEETS WITH FINANCE MINISTER SIMBA

MAKONI

 

CONTRIBUTION CHECKS TO THE MDC, THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS

BECAME THE ENEMY, WITH THE MDC ITS FRONT. OVER PAST

MONTHS, THE ENEMY CAMP HAS GROWN. IT IS NOW NO LONGER THE

WHITE FARMERS ALONE, BUT INCLUDES: ALL FORMER RHODESIANS

STILL IN ZIMBABWE (I.E., URBAN WHITES); ALL ELITE NON-

ZANU-PF-PARTY BLACKS (AGAIN MAINLY URBAN); THE SO-CALLED

‘ZIMBA-BOERS’ (FORMER RHODESIANS LIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA);

AND, SINCE THE ELECTION, ALL URBAN BLACKS. ALL THE

FOREGOING FORM THE “FIFTH COLUMN”, MUGABE’S PEJORATIVE

TERM FOR THOSE ARRAYED AGAINST HIM. IN ADDITION, OF

COURSE, THERE ARE THE EVER-PRESENT FOREIGN IMPERIALISTS

LED BY GREAT BRITAIN, INCLUDING THE U.S., WHOSE SIZE IN

THE PERCEIVED-ENEMY FIRMAMENT VARIES DEPENDING ON THE

TOPIC AND TIMING. FOR OUR SAKE THE MINISTER FURTHER

CLARIFIED THE VIEW OF THE U.S. AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL:

“YOU ARE USUALLY SEEN AS GENERALLY ENLIGHTENED, AND

SEEKING CONSTRUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT,” HE STATED.

 

5. (C) RETURNING TO THE LAND ISSUE, MAKONI EXPLAINED

THAT MUGABE HAS FIRMLY DECIDED THAT GOING THE RATIONAL,

MEASURED ROUTE FOR LAND REFORM WILL FAIL HIM; BECAUSE THE

FIFTH COLUMN FORCES WILL HIDE BEHIND THE INTERNATIONAL

COMMUNITY AND THWART OR STOP THE RESETTLEMENT PROCESS.

MUGABE BELIEVES THIS IS WHAT HAS OCCURRED SINCE THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06663 02 OF 03 290907Z

SEPTEMBER 1998 LAND REFORM CONFERENCE, HIS ENEMIES

CONTROLLING THE DONORS AND CAUSING THEM TO RENEGE ON

THEIR PROMISES OF ASSISTANCE AND FUNDING. “MUGABE WILL

NEVER SEE OR ADMIT THAT ZIMBABWE ALSO FAILED IN

FULFILLING ITS PLEDGES,” MAKONI STATED, “JUST AS HE WILL

NEVER ADMIT THAT THERE IS NO RULE OF LAW NOW IN ZIMBABWE

OR THAT HIS INVASION DIRECTIVE WAS WRONG.” “DISCUSSING

THAT TOPIC IS USELESS,” HE CONTINUED, “AND YOU MUST

PRESENT YOUR OR THE UNDP’S PROPOSAL IN A NON-THREATENING

MANNER THAT ALSO CONTAINS THE GOLDEN RING OF POTENTIAL

SUCCESS AT THE 2002 POLLS.” “IF YOU COME UP WITH A

CREDIBLE PROGRAM THAT MEETS MUGABE’S GOALS, YOU CAN REACH

AGREEMENT,” MAKONI TOLD US. A/S RICE STATED THAT SHE TOO

BELIEVED THAT THE UNDP INITIATIVE OFFERED THE BEST CHANCE

OF CONSTRUCTIVE MOVEMENT FORWARD, CAUTIONING THAT A LOT

OF WORK HAD TO BE DONE TO REALIZE GOALS AND BENEFITS, AND

THE COORDINATION OF ALL THE DONORS.

 

——————————————–

THE DECEMBER CONGRESS AND THE 2002 CANDIDATE

——————————————–

 

6. (C) IN RESPONSE TO AN A/S RICE QUESTION ON THE FUTURE

OF PRESIDENT MUGABE, THE MINISTER OFFERED A NUMBER OF

OBSERVATIONS. HE STARTED BY RELATING THAT HE HAD KNOWN

MUGABE SINCE HIS EARLY DAYS IN POWER, AND FOUND HIM OF

LATE TO BE MUCH TOUGHER TO READ. “MUGABE HAS BECOME MUCH

MORE PRICKLY, AND ONE HAS TO HAVE ONE’S ARGUMENTS MUCH

BETTER ORGANIZED AND STRONGLY PRESENTED TO WIN THE DAY.”

MAKONI CONTINUED THAT HIS STRONG GUT FEELING IS THAT

“MUGABE WILL SOLDIER ON.” THE ISSUE OF SUCCESSION WILL

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 06663 02 OF 03 290907Z

SURELY COME UP AT THE DECEMBER CONGRESS (EVEN THOUGH IT

IS NOT ON THE AGENDA), AND MUGABE ALONE WILL DECIDE THE

ISSUE AS THERE IS NO LOBBY STRONG ENOUGH, OR WILLING

ENOUGH, TO CARRY THE DAY CONTRARY TO THE PRESIDENT’S

WISHES. “EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE YOUNG ELEMENTS IN THE

PARTY WHO WANT HIM TO GO,” HE STATED, “THIS IS COUNTERED

BY THE OLD GUARD WHO WHISPER IN BOB’S EAR THAT ‘YOU ARE A

YOUNG OLD MAN’.”

 

——————————-

THE CONGO AND DOMESTIC POLITICS

——————————-

 

7. (C) THE SESSION DREW TO A CLOSE WITH THE FINANCE

MINISTER ASKING THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY THE QUESTION,

“WHAT CAN WE DO HERE TO BETTER THINGS IN YOUR VIEW, FOR

EXAMPLE IN THE CONGO?” A/S RICE RESPONDED BY OUTLINING

IN GENERAL TERMS A POSSIBLE PATH FORWARD THAT CALLED FOR

GREATER COOPERATION BETWEEN THE EXTERNAL FORCES THAT HAVE

MUCH AT STAKE AND CAN BRING PRESSURE TO BEAR. THE GOAL

IS ADHERENCE TO THE LUSAKA ACCORD; AND WITHDRAWAL OF THE

FOREIGN FORCES. A/S RICE URGED DIALOGUE WITH RWANDA AND

UGANDA TO START A REAL EXIT, AND ALLOW KABILA TO TREAD

DOWN A PATH OF HIS OWN MAKING.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0685

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06663 03 OF 03 290907Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00

SMEC-00 CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00

DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 FBIE-00

VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01 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

SS-00   STR-00   T-00     USIE-00 FMP-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   /010W

——————A52AA4 290907Z /38

P 290902Z NOV 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7733

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

USDOC WASHDC

NSC WASHDC

DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 006663

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND BARAK HOFFMAN

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06663 03 OF 03 290907Z

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/29/08

TAGS: ECON EFIN PREL EAGR PINR ZI

SUBJECT: A/S RICE MEETS WITH FINANCE MINISTER SIMBA

MAKONI

 

8. (C) ADDRESSING THE DOMESTIC POLITICAL SCENE, A/S RICE

EXPLAINED OUR CURRENT STRATEGY AND EFFORTS AT PROMOTING

COOPERATION WITHIN AND DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE DOMESTIC

FORCES THAT ARE AT ODDS. SHE ALSO LAID OUT A SCENARIO

THAT WOULD HAVE THE MODERATES IN BOTH PARTIES WORKING AT

LEAST IN PARALLEL TOWARDS THE SAME GOALS, WITH THE

EVENTUAL TARGET OF WORKING TOGETHER. THE BENEFITS OF A

MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM AND POLITICAL PLURALISM NEED TO BE

SOLD TO THE COUNTRY’S HISTORICAL LEADERSHIP, AND NOT ONLY

THE DIFFICULTIES AND DANGERS. IN ADDITION, THE POLITICAL

VIOLENCE MUST END, AS THIS IS NECESSARY FOR ANY OUTSIDE

SUPPORT, A/S RICE CONCLUDED.

 

9. (C) MINISTER MAKONI ENDED THE MEETING BY TELLING US

THAT, PROVIDED THE BUDGET HE WAS OFF TO ANNOUNCE MET WITH

DOMESTIC AND EXTERNAL APPROVAL, HE PLANNED TO VISIT

WASHINGTON IN LATE NOVEMBER/EARLY DECEMBER TO MEET WITH

THE WORLD BANK AND IMF. HE REQUESTED A FOLLOW UP MEETING

WITH THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY IN WASHINGTON, TO WHICH SHE

AGREED.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06663 03 OF 03 290907Z

 

10. (C) MAKONI, APPEARING THE POLISHED, ARTICULATE,

INTELLIGENT AND SAVVY MAN HE IS, PROVIDED US AN

INSIGHTFUL AND VALUABLE LOOK INTO THE WORKINGS AND

FOIBLES OF HIS PATRON THE PRESIDENT. DISAVOWING ANY

POLITICAL ASPIRATIONS, HE TOLD US HE ONLY WANTS HIS

COUNTRY TO SUCCEED, AND HIS OWN EFFORTS ARE DIRECTED

SOLELY TO THIS END. WHILE THE LATTER MUST BE TAKEN WITH

A GRAIN OF SALT, HE CLEARLY VIEWS US AS A TRUSTWORTHY

ALLY THAT CAN ASSIST IN DIRECTING PRESIDENT MUGABE AND

ZIMBABWE ONTO A LESS SELF-DESTRUCTIVE PATH. WE LOOK

FORWARD TO WORKING WITH HIM, AND FIND TRUTH AND GOOD

COUNSEL IN HIS WORDS. END COMMENT.

 

11. A/S SUSAN RICE CLEARED THIS MESSAGE.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(33 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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