Mutsekwa said military did not trust MDC


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Movement for Democratic Change shadow Minister for Defence Giles Mutsekwa said the military did not trust the MDC as an agent for political change and was at a quandary as to what to do to resolve the country’s economic crisis.

He said government practice of using the military to address all issues and problems had begun to condition the troops to believe that they had the solution to the nation’s problems.

As a result, Mutsekwa said he feared that they might stage a military coup but this would not be in the best interests of the country because once military leaders take power, they don’t give it up.

Mutsekwa said the MDC was trying to convince the military that it represented a political solution in order to forestall this possibility.

He said President Robert Mugabe was aware of the deteriorating morale within the military and had planted “commissars” in the elite units to monitor their activities. This had angered the soldiers and further eroded morale.

Mugabe had also tried to split the higher military echelons from lower-ranking officers and enlisted men by telling the high-ranking officers they were part of the solution and must work with him.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE1349, DISCORD IN THE MILITARY

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

06HARARE1349

2006-11-09 14:24

SECRET

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4713

PP RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1349/01 3131424

ZNY SSSSS ZZH

P 091424Z NOV 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0807

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1364

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1217

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1368

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0113

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0629

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0994

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1422

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3805

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1191

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1844

RUEFDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1585

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//

RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001349

 

SIPDIS

 

SECRET NOFORN

 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

 

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

TAGS: MOPS PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: DISCORD IN THE MILITARY

 

REF: HARARE 1308

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.5 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) MDC shadow minister for defense Giles Mutsekwa told

Ambassador November 8 that according to his sources morale

has plummeted at all levels of the military. The military

does not yet view the MDC as a solution to the country’s

problems and may consider a coup, which would not be in the

best interests of the country. Mugabe is aware of military

discontent and has planted “commissars” in elite units to

monitor their activities. Mutsekwa believes some of his high

ranking military contacts would like to meet with USG; he

will look into facilitating such meetings.

 

2. (C) On the political front, Mutsekwa said reunification

of the two MDC factions would strengthen the opposition,

which demonstrated in the recent rural council elections that

it could compete with ZANU-PF in rural areas. However, to

beat ZANU-PF in national elections, a reunified MDC would

also need to build institutions to get out the vote. He

added that the MDC continues to believe a mass uprising is

possible. End Summary.

 

——————-

Military Discontent

——————-

 

3. (C) Mutsekwa again confirmed, as he had earlier with

polchief (ref), that his sources in the military had told him

that senior military officials had urged Mugabe to step aside

because of the perilous economic situation in the country and

its effect on the military, including deteriorating morale.

The president had deflected these officers and morale at all

levels was continuing to plummet.

 

4. (C) The Ambassador queried whether this was true of the

Presidential Guard and the Paratroop and Command regiments

which constitute the National Reaction Force and are

generally thought to be the best trained, cared for and most

loyal units of the defense forces. Mutsekwa responded that

the commanding officer of the Guard comes from his home

village and they frequently converse. The commander told him

there was growing discontent with the Guard * as well as

other elite units * and should the MDC stage a large

demonstration, defense forces might not intervene. Mugabe is

suspicious of disloyalty and has positioned “commisars” in

the elite units to monitor their activities, which has

angered the soldiers and further eroded morale. At the same

time, he has tried to split the higher military echelons from

lower-ranking officers and enlisted men, all of whom would

like change, by telling the high-ranking officers they are

part of the solution and must work with him.

 

5. (C) Mutsekwa stated that the military is not confident in

the MDC as an agent of political change and is in a quandary

as to what to do. The recent government practice of using

the military to address all issues and problems has begun to

condition the troops to believe that they do indeed have the

solution to the nation’s problems. As a result, Mutsekwa

said he fears a coup may be a greater possibility than

before. This would not be in the best interests of the

country. Once African military leaders take power, they

 

HARARE 00001349 002 OF 002

 

 

don’t give it up. Mutsekwa said the MDC is trying to

convince the military that it represents a political solution

in order to forestall this possibility.

 

6. (S/NF) Mutsekwa reiterated (ref) that several of his

high-level contacts would like to meet with USG

representatives outside of Zimbabwe. The Ambassador

responded that we would look at such a request should it be

made through Mutsekwa’s good offices.

 

————

MDC Politics

————

 

7. (C) Mutsekwa said the two MDC factions have separate

caucuses, but have cooperated well in parliament, which has

not been meeting lately due to lack of funds. He said

reunification of the party is important for future electoral

success. The recent rural council elections in Manicaland

and elsewhere demonstrated that the MDC can compete in rural

areas. However, there was confusion in areas where both MDC

factions fielded candidates * a unified MDC would obviously

correct this. Additionally, ZANU-PF was able to use the

governmental machinery to get out the vote and the MDC needs

to develop mechanisms to mobilize its electoral supporters.

 

8. (C) The Ambassador commented that the MDC appears to have

had less success recently in promoting demonstrations and

wondered if new strategies had emerged at the MDC’s

(anti-Senate faction) executive session last weekend.

Mutsekwa responded that the recent spate of small

demonstrations was the result of collaboration between the

MDC and some of the civil society groups involved. These

demonstrations are challenging the government and creating

fear on its part. Mutsekwa added he was confident the MDC

would be the catalyst for a mass uprising in the future.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

9. (C) Mutsewka’s reports of military disquiet jibe with what

we have been hearing elsewhere. The emerging pattern –

efforts of high-ranking officers to get Mugabe to step aside,

morale problems at all ranks, disaffection in the enlisted

ranks with their leadership, and rumors of coups ) all

suggest that Mugabe can no longer take for granted that the

military will automatically do his bidding. We are probably

some distance yet from a situation in which they take matters

into their own hands, but the erosion of their loyalty has

set in and has begun to be a constraining factor that Mugabe

has not faced previously.

DELL

 

(9 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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