Parirenyatwa doubted Zimbabweans could find a solution to their crisis


Former Health Minister David Parirenyatwa doubted that Zimbabweans could resolve their political crisis on their own and suggested that major powers such as the United States and the United Kingdom should intervene.

He however said President Robert Mugabe should be part of the solution.

United States embassy officials said though Parirenyatwa was not a political heavyweight, Mugabe listened to him because of his liberation credentials.

“(He) has been a voice of reason on health issues and even on GM/BT maize where Mugabe turned to him to override the extremist advice of Agriculture Minister Made and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo,” a cable released by Wikileaks says.


Full cable:



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Reference ID






2002-11-15 05:19

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 HARARE 002497




E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/14/2007





Classified By: Joseph Gerard Sullivan for reasons 1.5b/d


1. (C) Summary: At one-on-one lunch Nov 14, Health Minister

David Parirenyatwa acknowledged to the Ambassador that

Zimbabwe’s deep social, economic and humanitarian crises

could not be resolved without addressing Zimbabwe’s equally

deep political crisis. He doubted that Zimbabweans could

resolve their political crisis on their own and suggested

that major powers such as the US and UK needed to take a

hand. His early ideas for resolution led, unsurprisingly,

with international and domestic recognition of Mugabe’s

legitimacy, but he did not exclude other ideas and was very

interested in promoting dialogue to address the political

crisis. Comment: Parirenyatwa is not a political heavy, but

does hold strong liberation credentials and has been a voice

of reason on health issues and even on GM/BT maize where

Mugabe turned to him to override the extremist advice of

Agriculture Minister Made and Information Minister Jonathan

Moyo. End Summary


2.(U) Parirenyatwa and the Ambassador began by discussing a

number of operational issues on health cooperation where

Parirenyatwa was his usual thoughtful and cooperative self on

these issues. In the course of these discussions,

Parirenyatwa noted that he was struggling to get increases in

his health budget, but that inflation was rapidly eroding the

value of these increases. He also noted that his foreign

exchange limitations were even more extreme. While the EU

would be providing basic medicines, his clinics now often

lacked stethoscopes.


3.(C) The Ambassador then turned to a conversation begun at

a large dinner several weeks before to note that resolution

of Zimbabwe’s many crisis could only come with resolution of

the country’s political crisis. Parirenyatwa, unlike many of

his ZANU-PF colleagues, did not disagree, but urged taking

into account Zimbabwe’s historical context; i.e. the need for

land redistribution. He conceded that the land

redistribution contained many errors, but that distribution

of multiple plots to individuals was a problem which was

being corrected through an ongoing land audit. While not

contesting questions regarding the freedom and fairness of

elections, he claimed that the MDC’s refusal to accept

election results had damaged prospects for a political

rapprochement. (Comment:not very credible since GOZ

repressive legislation had already been put in place.)


4.(C) Parirenyatwa, acknowledging that political polarization

was extreme, doubted that Zimbabweans had the ability to

overcome their differences on their own. He suggested,

instead, that major international players like the US and UK

bring their weight to bear to put together a solution. He

noted that IMF and World Bank presence and loans were

critical and that US support would be necessary for this to

happen; he said that the GOZ’s economic policies could change

quickly if it was not functioning as an economy under siege.

He suggested that Presidents Bush and Mugabe could meet to

find a solution to the problems. The Ambassador replied that

no one should expect President Bush to meet with President

Mugabe, but that the Ambassador was available to dialogue

with anyone in the Party or the Government who recognized

that there was a crisis and was interested in finding

solutions. The Ambassador suggested that the two political

parties needed to find ways to address Zimbabwe’s national

emergency together and that ZANU-PF had to cease efforts to

crush the opposition.


5. (C) Comment: Minister Parirenyatwa is son of the first

black doctor in Southern Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. His father was

Vice President of ZAPU before there was a ZANU and

consequently Minister Parirenyatwa’s liberation credentials

are impeccable. He is not a political heavyweight, but is

someone Mugabe listens to, particularly on health and

technical issues. This conversation reflects the growing

recognition among some Government insiders of the hole they

are in and the beginning of recognition of the need to

address the country’s political crisis by other than crushing

the opposition. Parirenyatwa shows too much inclination to

find the solution outside the country rather than with fellow

Zimbabweans and he still believes it important that Mugabe be

part of a political solution. We will continue talking to

Parirenyatwa and others in an effort to promote more thinking

within ZANU-PF on dealing seriously with the political




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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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