Mujuru offered to take care of Tsvangirai


Former army commander Solomon Mujuru heavy-handedly invited Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai in September 2005 to cooperate with him “post –Mugabe” and be “taken care of” or else, according to Tsvangirai’s advisor Eddie Cross.

When Tsvangirai refused the offer, a more reconciliatory Mujuru met Tsvangirai two weeks later and asked him what it would take to win his cooperation.

Tsvangirai reportedly responded that it would take a negotiated constitution, a transitional government, and free and fair, internationally monitored national elections.

Cross said Mujuru never responded to Tsvangirai’s proposal but instead approached Welshman Ncube with the same initial deal to which Ncube agreed.


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Reference ID






2005-11-28 15:17

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.


281517Z Nov 05

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001608








E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2010







Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Eric T. Schultz under Section 1

.4 b/d






1. (C) Following the &non-event8 Senate elections on

November 26 (septel), opposition MDC President Morgan

Tsvangirai received a letter from party Vice President Gibson



Sibanda, a leader of the pro-election faction, purporting to

suspend Tsvangirai from the party. At a meeting with the

Charge in the party’s Harvest House headquarters November 28,

Tsvangirai said following his call for a boycott, the low



turnout had vindicated his leadership. That said, the letter

indicated that his opponents in the party were determined to

fight on even if it meant the party,s destruction.


2. (C) Tsvangirai nonetheless expressed confidence that he

would successfully deflect the suspension effort and would

have his leadership reconfirmed at the Party Congress

scheduled in February. Tsvangirai said mass action against

the regime would have to wait until after the Congress had

resolved the intra-party disputes. A Tsvangirai aide

separately alleged Tsvangirai,s MDC opponents had struck a

deal with the ruling party’s Mujuru clique after Tsvangirai

spurned Mujuru’s overtures, an allegation given weight by MDC

MP David Coltart,s claim that faction leader Welshman Ncube

had received favors from the GOZ, including a stolen farm.

End Summary.



“Suspended” but In Charge



3. (C) Firmly in charge at party headquarters, Tsvangirai

confirmed receipt of the Sibanda letter. Tsvangirai said the

suspension was invalid arguing that only a National Congress

could remove elected party officers from office. Moreover,

they could be sanctioned, but only by the National Council,

which had not addressed the issue. The Disciplinary

Committee, which Sibanda chaired, could only recommend

suspension following a hearing, and no such due process had

been afforded. Tsvangirai said he had called for a meeting

of the National Council on December 3, which he said would

put the issue to rest.


4. (C) Tsvangirai said, however, that he feared the letter

was a sign that his opponents within the party were not

interested in reconciliation but instead, having lost badly

in the debate over the Senate elections, were intent on

&burning down the house.8 He nonetheless expressed hope

that with the election behind them, some of the pro-election

leaders would rejoin the fold and reunify. As for the Senate

candidates elected under the MDC name, Tsvangirai reiterated

that the party had tagged them as “independent” and therefore

no longer members of the party. However, he saw no reason to

contest their election or to force them to resign their seats

to remain in the MDC. Their status within the party was

“open to further discussion.”



Focus on Internal Party Activities



5. (C) Tsvangirai emphasized that as a result of the

continuing divisions within the party it would be very

absorbed with its internal issues until the Party Congress in

February. This was unfortunate. He would have liked to

build on the momentum from the successful boycott by

confronting the regime. The party would continue to be

supportive of actions – mostly at the local level – by

partners in civil society. However, MDC sponsored mass

action would have to wait until the distraction of the Ncube

faction could be put to rest, which could only be at the

Party Congress, when all of the leadership, himself included,

would be subject to an election.


6. (C) Tsvangirai anticipated that many of his opponents in

the leadership would not be reelected and for that reason

might try to hold a rival Congress, possibly with a view to

pursuing legal action to claim the MDC mantle. Tsvangirai

added that provincial congresses would start the weekend of

December 10 and would elect local leadership as well as

consider reforms to the party,s structures and constitution.

Tsvangirai expressed confidence that all of the provincial

congresses would support him, with the possible exception of

Matabeleland South.


7. (C) Responding to the Charge’s expression of concern

about growing reports of intra-party violence, Tsvangirai

said he “didn’t know where such reports were coming from.”

Then he recounted several incidents of violence against his

supporters and asked why nobody seemed to want to discuss

those. In any event, he had earlier expelled certain youths

over their violent actions and acknowledged the importance of

not giving the ruling party fodder with which to discredit

the MDC for violent tactics. He said he was confident that

the provincial congresses would not turn violent.



Engaging with ZANU-PF



8. (C) Responding to the Charge’s inquiries about any

discussions he may have had with elements of the ruling

party, Tsvangirai said he had engaged with ruling party

elements with a view to exploiting fissures. He said he met

with unspecified individuals “from time to time” and found

the parliament a particularly useful venue in which the MDC

could reach out to the “many doubters” on the other side. He

observed that “suppression” at the top of ZANU-PF remained

strong, but that fissures became more evident farther down,

especially in the hopelessness over the country’s economic

situation, and that he would remain open to such discussions.



9. (C) In a separate meeting with poloff on November 26,

Tsvangirai adviser Eddie Cross provided background on some of



some of these meetings. According to Cross, Tsvangirai had

met in September with ZANU-PF kingpin Solomon Mujuru at

Mujuru’s instigation. Mujuru had heavy-handedly invited

Tsvangirai to cooperate with him &post-Mugabe8 and be



“taken care of” or else. After Tsvangirai had refused, a

more conciliatory Mujuru had gotten the two together two

weeks later and asked what it would take to win Tsvangirai,s

cooperation. Tsvangirai had responded that it would take a

negotiated constitution, a transitional government, and free

and fair, internationally monitored national elections.


10. (C) Cross said Mujuru never responded to Tsvangirai’s

proposal but instead, supported by South African President

Thabo Mbeki, approached Welshman Ncube with the same initial

deal, to which Ncube had agreed. Ncube’s desperate attempts

to oust Tsvangirai over the past two months represented his

part of the bargain with Mujuru. Adding substance to this

charge, MDC MP David Coltart confided to poloff in another

meeting on November 26 that Ncube had recently taken

possession of a farm seized as part of the GOZ,s fast-track

land reform. Coltart said the owner of the farm in question

was a client of his. He added that Ncube had also purchased

Z$1 billion (US$10,000) in cattle, and had received his

Mercedes – a parliamentary perk – ahead of others who had

still not received a car from the last parliament.






11. (C) The suspension effort appears to represent the

uncoordinated will of the increasingly isolated leadership of

the Ncube faction. Indeed, Coltart – the party’s Secretary

for Legal Affairs and a member of the Disciplinary Committee

– confirmed to poloff the Disciplinary Committee’s

limitations and said he was unaware of any suspension actions

underway. Ncube faction member Moses Mzila-Ndlovu told

poloff the same day that plans were afoot to commence

suspension proceedings the following week but seemed unaware

that a letter had gone forward. Tsvangirai is likely to

easily beat back this effort at the December 3 meeting.


12. (C) However, much more dangerous to the party than the

ill-advised suspension effort is the opposing faction’s

apparent willingness to draw Tsvangirai and the party as a

whole into protracted procedural battles that will distract

the party from its imperative to reconnect with the public

and do battle with the regime. The Ncube faction,s actions

would certainly seem to lend credence to the allegations that

they have sold the party out (Embassy efforts to communicate

with Ncube and key allies over the past two weeks have been

fruitless, and Ncube failed to appear at a scheduled meeting

with poloff in Bulawayo on election day). However, perhaps

the greatest risk to the MDC at this juncture is the threat

that the intra-party wrangling may spill over into the courts

where the GOZ would be able to manipulate outcomes that would

further hamstring the opposition.



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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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