The Mumbengegwis rule the roost


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President Robert Mugabe was reported to have bolstered himself when he appointed two brothers to two of the most powerful posts in government when he appointed Samuel Mumbengegwi as Minister of Finance in 2007 joining his brother Simbarashe who was already Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The United States embassy said the move was aimed at propping Emmerson Mnangagwa who was demoted in 2005 but was gaining favour with Mugabe following the President’s fall-out with Solomon Mujuru who had refused to endorse Mugabe as the presidential candidate for 2008.

The embassy, however, said the appointment also showed central bank governor Gideon Gono’s ascendancy as he had long battled with Herbert Murerwa, the former Finance Minister, for control of economic policy.

Samuel Mumbengegwi was considered a non-entity, unlikely to challenge Gono’s de facto control over all aspects of the economy.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE102, MUGABE RESHUFFLES HIS CABINET–GONO TRIUMPHANT,

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

07HARARE102

2007-02-07 15:47

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0762

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0102/01 0381547

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 071547Z FEB 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1107

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1462

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1318

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1466

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0161

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0727

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1092

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1520

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3916

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1289

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1945

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1683

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000102

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E.LOKEN

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/25/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON ZI

SUBJECT: MUGABE RESHUFFLES HIS CABINET–GONO TRIUMPHANT,

SUCCESSION POLITICS IN FULL-CRY

 

REF: HARARE 00080

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (U) Summary. In what the MDC spokesperson termed as

“rearranging the deck of a sinking Titanic,” President Mugabe

yesterday carried out a long-expected cabinet reshuffle.

With the exception of the sacking of Minister of Finance

Minister Herbert Murerwa and the replacement of Minister of

Agriculture Joseph Made, there were no major changes.

Murerwa was the only minister dropped (Made was demoted).

Three new ministers were appointed (one to replace Murerwa,

one to assume an open position, and one as head of a new

ministry) and four others were re-assigned. End Summary.

 

———–

The Changes

———–

 

2. (SBU) The most significant change was the replacement of

Murerwa by Samuel Mumbengegwi, formerly Minister of State for

Indigenisation and Empowerment. Murerwa had long been at

loggerheads with Reserve Bank Governor Gideon, a close ally

of Mugabe. Mumbengegwi is the brother of Foreign Minister

Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and, like his brother, is considered

close to Mugabe. The Mumbengegwis belong to the Mukaranga

ethnic group, as does Emmerson Mnangagwa, and this move may

have been an attempt by Mugabe to build support from the

Mnangagwa faction. It also signals Gono’s continuing

ascendency as he had long battled with the departed Murerwa

for control of economic policy. Mumbengegwi is considered a

non-entity, unlikely to challenge Gono’s de facto control

over all aspects of the economy.

 

3. (U) Rugare Gumbo, formerly Minister of Economic

Development, replaced Joseph Made as Minister of Agriculture.

Made became Minister of State Agricultural Engineering and

Mechanisation. Much criticism had been leveled at Made as

Minister of Agriculture for falsification of production

statistics which made food distribution difficult, for misuse

of agricultural subsidies, and more generally for presiding

over the rapid decline of Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector.

There’s a certain irony in placing Made in charge of

agricultural engineering and mechanization at a time when his

policies as minister have led to an accelerating return to

hand-held tools as the principal means of farming. In

transferring him, Mugabe may have agreed with the Commercial

Farmers Union which thought him corrupt and incompetent.

Gumbo, a prominent war veteran who is extremely loyal to

Mugabe (and who is also a Mukaranga), seems unlikely to

pursue a more sensible approach to agriculture, and Mugabe’s

failure to promote the competent and pragmatic Sylveste Nguni

from vice-minister to minister is another clear indication

Mugabe is not serious about changing course. Nguni was,

however, promoted into the cabinet as Minister for Economic

Development. He is also a Mukaranga.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

4. (C) Comment: The reshuffle is largely cosmetic, as have

been other recent cabinet reshuffles. Reportedly, few

 

HARARE 00000102 002 OF 002

 

 

individuals outside the cabinet are interested in

appointments, knowing that it would lead to their placement

on ours and the EU,s sanctions lists. By far the most

important change is Murerwa’s firing, primarily because it

highlights just how much influence Gono now has with Mugabe.

Believing that he has Mugabe’s endorsement to pursue a

“social contract” as laid out in his recent Monetary Policy

Statement (Ref), Gono is increasingly acting as the de facto

prime minister and firing Murerwa removes one bitter rival

from the equation. Murerwa was also increasingly aligned with

the Mujuru faction within ZANU-PF, so this is also likely to

be a move to curb their growing power base. In addition,

although Murerwa was no ball of fire, he had managed to

convince the IMF Article IV team during their December visit

that he was at least sincere about the need for reforms. End

Comment.

DELL

 

(5 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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