SA opposed extension of Mugabe’s term- Masamvu


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The South African government was opposed to the extension of President Robert Mugabe’s term of office from 2008 to 2010 the United States’ South African embassy contact Sydney Masamvu told officials after meeting African National Congress secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe.

Masamvu briefed embassy officials on 9 February 2007, the same day that he had been told about it by Motlanthe.

He had known Motlanthe from the time he had worked for the Financial Gazette and had interviewed the ANC boss.

According to the cable released by Wikileaks, Motlanthe believed that reconciling the rival Solomon Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa factions of ZANU-PF was the key to change in Zimbabwe.

Motlanthe said he was working through ZANU-PF chairman John Nkomo to get the two sides to reconcile.

“If this happens, Mujuru and Mnangagwa will stop Mugabe’s plan to stay in power until 2010.

“The challenge is finding a “compromise” leader that Mnangagwa and Mujuru could both support, although Masamvu noted that the creation of a prime ministerial post could create space for both camps.

“Masamvu also believes that former Finance Minister Simba Makoni, although considered a ‘Mujuru man’, might be acceptable to Mnangagwa.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07PRETORIA533, ANC SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES ZANU-PF TENSIONS

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

07PRETORIA533

2007-02-13 14:06

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO6092

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #0533 0441406

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 131406Z FEB 07

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8179

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 0990

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1115

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1000

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L PRETORIA 000533

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S S. HILL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2017

TAGS: PREL ZI SF

SUBJECT: ANC SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES ZANU-PF TENSIONS

 

REF: HARARE 107

 

Classified By: Political Counselor Raymond Brown.

Reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

 

1. (C) African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General

Kgalema Motlanthe told Embassy contact Sydney Masamvu

February 9 that the South African Government opposes the

extension of Mugabe’s term to 2010. Motlanthe said that

South Africa is encouraged by the growing split within

ZANU-PF. Masamvu briefed PolOff February 9 on his

conversation.

 

2. (C) Motlanthe, who has known Masamvu since the former

journalist interviewed Motlanthe for the Zimbabwean newspaper

the Financial Gazette, laid out his current thinking on the

political situation in Zimbabwe.

 

— Motlanthe believes that reconciling the rival Mujuru and

Mnangagwa factions of ZANU-PF is the key to change in

Zimbabwe. Working through ZANU-PF Chairman John Nkomo,

Motlanthe said the SAG is talking to both sides with the hope

of reconciling the two. If this happens, Mujuru and

Mnangagwa will stop Mugabe’s plan to stay in power until

2010. The challenge is finding a “compromise” leader that

Mnangagwa and Mujuru could both support, although Masamvu

noted that the creation of a prime ministerial post could

create space for both camps. Masamvu also believes that

former Finance Minister Simba Makoni, although considered a

“Mujuru man,” might be acceptable to Mnangagwa.

 

— Motlanthe emphasized Pretoria’s belief that constitutional

reform is critical for Zimbabwe’s future. (NOTE: This has

been a consistent theme of SAG policy for several years. The

SAG devoted enormous energy to the negotiating a “compromise”

constitution in 2003, which was initialed by the MDC and

ZANU-PF, but never implemented by Mugabe. END NOTE.)

Motlanthe said that the SAG is urging ZANU-PF, ideally with

MDC involvement, to merge the three draft constitutional

documents — the opposition National Constitutional Assembly

(NCA) draft, the 2002 draft, and the Pretoria draft — and

put the new “merged” constitution to a referendum as soon as

possible. This would likely include the creation of a prime

ministerial position.

 

— South Africa would be willing to accept a one-year

postponement of the 2008 presidential elections if the new

“merged” constitution is being put to a vote and there are

“airtight” guarantees that Mugabe will depart no later than

March 2009. They believe they could “sell” this to the

international community and regional communities.

 

— If there is not constitutional reform, Motlanthe said he

did not believe the regional leaders would endorse the

“prolongation” of Mugabe’s term to 2010.

 

3. (C) COMMENT: As we have reported previously, South

African leaders have become increasingly frustrated by the

erratic rule of President Mugabe and want to see him leave

power. South Africa’s goal remains the same: a smooth,

nonviolent transition to new leadership in Zimbabwe (from

within ZANU-PF), together with a new constitutional

framework. Motlanthe’s comments likely reflect the broad

thinking of key South African policymakers, but it is unclear

whether — or with how much intensity — SAG leaders are

actually brokering a deal between the ZANU-PF factions or

pursuing other elements of Motlanthe’s strategy. President

Mbeki has been burned repeatedly in Zimbabwe, and he will

remain cautious, watching the situation, quietly talking to

key ZANU-PF insiders, but not publicly taking on Mugabe. END

COMMENT.

BOST

(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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