Movement for Democratic Change MP Giles Mutsekwa told United States embassy officials that Zimbabwean Defence Forces commander Constantine Chiwenga and other high-ranking officers had met with Mugabe in September 2006 and asked him to step aside.
He said that the officers’ primary concern was their fate in case things fell apart or a government not influenced by Mugabe came to power.
Mugabe refused their request stating that ZANU-PF was in turmoil and this was not the appropriate time for change.
Mugabe, however, promised to increase salaries and perquisites throughout the military.
Mutsekwa said some of his contacts in the military were interested in meeting US officials outside Zimbabwe and he could facilitate that.
They wanted assurances that the US would not pressure to end their pensions or have them prosecuted in the event of a new government.
Mutsekwa said his contacts led him to believe that with such assurances they would consider gradually withdrawing support from Mugabe.
Viewing cable 06HARARE1308, MDC MP CLIAMS MILITARY PRESSURE ON MUGABE
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001308
AF/S FOR S. HILL
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN
USAID FOR M. COPSON AND E. LOKEN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2011
SUBJECT: MDC MP CLIAMS MILITARY PRESSURE ON MUGABE
Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.4 b/d
¶1. (C) Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP Giles
Mutsekwa told polchief in meetings in Mutare and Harare
October 19 and 27 respectively that Zimbabwean defense forces
commander C.G. Chiwenga and other high-ranking officers had
met with Mugabe in September and asked him to step aside.
Mugabe deflected their request, stating that ZANU-PF turmoil
made change undesirable at this time. Mutsekwa, who is
retired military, told polchief that some of his contacts at
the colonel and brigadier level want to keep the pressure on
Mugabe. They would also like a meeting with U.S. officials
outside of Zimbabwe; Mutsekwa said he could facilitate such a
¶2. (C) In Mutare, polchief also met with former Mutare mayor
Mishek Kagurabadza. In discussing USG activities in
Zimbabwe, he recommended strongly that the U.S. consider
extending travel sanctions to the children of Specially
Designated Nationals (SDNs). End Summary.
Military Pushes President to Step Aside
¶3. (C) Mutsekwa told polchief that from his days as a
military officer he maintains contact with a number of
current military officers at the colonel and brigadier level.
Mutsekwa,s sources informed him that in September
Zimbabwean defense forces commander Chiwenga and other high
ranking officers met with Mugabe and urged him to step aside.
According to Mutsekwa,s sources, the officers primary
concern was their fate in case things fell apart or a
government not influenced by Mugabe came to power.
¶4. (C) Mutsekwa,s sources told him Mugabe deflected the
request by asserting that ZANU-PF was internally troubled and
this was not the appropriate time for a change. He also
promised to increase salaries and perquisites throughout the
Military requests meeting with U.S. officials
¶5. (C) Mutsekwa added that some of his contacts are
interested in meeting with U.S. officials outside of
Zimbabwe. According to Mutsekwa, they would like assurances
that the U.S. will not pressure to end their pensions and/or
have them prosecuted in the event of a new government.
Mutsekwa said his contacts led him to believe that with such
assurances they would consider gradually withdrawing support
from Mugabe. Should the U.S. agree to a meeting, Mutsekwa
offered to identify relevant offers and assist with logistics.
¶6. (C) Mutsekwa was a career military officer and retired
with the rank of major. He is currently an MDC Member of
Parliament from Mutare and is the MDC national security
director. In March 2006 he was arrested with Michael
Hitschmann and others on charges of conspiring to kill
HARARE 00001308 002 OF 002
Mugabe. Charges against all but Hitschmann were subsequently
dropped for lack of evidence; the trial of Hitschmann began
this week in Mutare.
Kagurabadza on sanctions
¶7. (C) Polchief also met in Mutare with former mayor Mishek
Kagurabadza. At the end of 2005, Local Government Minister
Inatius Chombo, in a ZANU-PF power play, dismissed
Kagurabadza and his fellow MDC councilmen. Earlier this
year, Chombo extended the term of the commission he appointed
to govern Mutare rather than risk an election that
Kagurabadza, who won over 80 percent of the vote in the last
election, would have almost certainly won.
¶8. (C) In the conversation with polchief, Kagurabadza was
particularly vocal on the issue of sanctions. He argued that
it was illogical and immoral not to apply travel sanctions to
the children of SDNs. It is unfair, he said, to allow them
to study in the U.S. while their government minister parents
are degrading the Zimbabwean educational system, making it
more and more difficult for unprivileged children to receive
a quality education.