Publisher Trevor Ncube, who had openly admitted that he was not a fan of Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, criticised Tsvangirai’s actions after the 29 March election saying Tsvangirai lacked leadership “over and over again” and was “..out of his depth”.
Ncube said Tsvangirai should not have waited five days to announce that he had won the presidency. Instead, he would have advised Tsvangirai to deliver an “I have a dream speech” to give people hope and to get people on the streets in an act of civil disobedience immediately.
Instead, Tsvangirai’s delay had allowed ZANU-PF “to recover at a time when they were stumbling”.
Ncube also said that “everyone’s impression is that Tsvangirai doesn’t do anything without Washington’s approval or direction”.
He said that using inflammatory language against Zimbabwe was not helping anyone but Mugabe. He advised the US should come across as impartial, adding that “the facts can speak for themselves”.
“This isn’t Iraq” he said and argued that by calling Mugabe a “disgrace,” Washington was giving Mugabe opportunities to persuade Zimbabweans that in fact there is a Western conspiracy against him.
“Stop name-calling because frankly, Mugabe can do it better than anyone,” he advised.
Viewing cable 08PRETORIA768, MAKONI ALLEGEDLY BEING APPROACHED BY BOTH MDC AND
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INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
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RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY 9737
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 000768
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/11/2018
SUBJECT: MAKONI ALLEGEDLY BEING APPROACHED BY BOTH MDC AND
REF: PRETORIA 139
PRETORIA 00000768 001.2 OF 002
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(
b) and (d).
¶1. (C) SUMMARY. Prominent Johannesburg-based Zimbabwean
businessman and publisher Trevor Ncube on 10 April told
PolOff that presidential candidate Simba Makoni is being
approached by both the MDC and some members of both ZANU-PF
and the security services to join their camps, but did not
reveal in which direction Makoni was leaning. Ncube
criticized the MDC’s behavior during elections, believing
they waited too long to speak out and therefore lost a
valuable opportunity to get people on the streets. According
to Ncube’s sources, Mugabe wants to annul the 29 March
elections and have a new election as soon as possible.
“Pockets” of the ZANU-PF politburo are on board with the
idea, but blame Mugabe for losing the election for them and
would like Mugabe to annoint a successor. END SUMMARY.
MAKONI ON FENCE
¶2. (C) On 10 April, PolOff met with prominent
Johannesburg-based Zimbabwean Trevor Ncube to inquire about
losing presidential candidate Simba Makoni’s strategy for a
potential run-off in Zimbabwe. Ncube said that Makoni has
been approached by the MDC to form a coalition but complained
that MDC did not make an overture until Friday 05 April, only
after the MDC realized that the Senate was evenly split.
“MDC was so triumphant, it was sickening,” he said. When
asked why MDC and Makoni did not form a coalition before the
election, Ncube laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of
Strive Masiyiwa “who should not be trusted” and “whose ego
got in the way.” According to Ncube, Masiyiwa was annoyed
that Makoni did not approach him directly and was the main
“stumbling block” to a MDC-Makoni coalition, despite all
outward appearances that he was working a deal. When asked
what the possibilities were of MDC and Makoni coming together
without Masiyiwa’s intervention, Ncube responded,
“Unfortunately, Strive’s got the money.”
¶3. (C) Ncube, who has openly admitted he is not a fan of MDC
Leader Morgan Tsvangirai, criticized Tsvangirai’s actions
since the 29 March election. Ncube accused Tsvangirai of
lacking leadership “over and over again” and said that “he is
out of his depth.” He believes that Tsvangirai should not
have waited five days to announce he had won the presidency.
He would have advised Tsvangirai to deliver an “I have a
dream speech” to give people hope and to get people on the
streets in an act of civil disobedience immediately.
Instead, he believes Tsvangirai’s delay allowed ZANU-PF “to
recover at a time when they were stumbling.”
¶4. (C) When asked why Makoni had not been out delivering a
message of hope or civil disobedience — or any message at
all, in fact — Ncube said that Makoni is “cautious; he’s a
thinker.” He also said that it was obvious that Solomon
Mujuru did not deliver votes for Makoni as promised. This is
evidenced, he believes, by the fact that Makoni got 80
percent of his votes from Matebeleland.
ADVICE FOR WASHINGTON
¶5. (C) Ncube said that “everyone’s impression is that
Tsvangirai doesn’t do anything without Washington’s approval
or direction.” He also said he had heard that Washington was
adamantly opposed to a Makoni/MDC coalition before the
Qadamantly opposed to a Makoni/MDC coalition before the
election. Ncube asserted that using inflammatory language
against Zimbabwe is not helping anyone but Mugabe. He
advised the U.S. should come across as impartial, adding that
“the facts can speak for themselves.” He then said, “This
isn’t Iraq” and argued that by calling Mugabe a “disgrace,”
Washington was giving Mugabe opportunities to persuade
Zimbabweans that in fact there is a Western conspiracy
against him. “Stop name-calling because frankly, Mugabe can
do it better than anyone,” he advised.
PRETORIA 00000768 002.2 OF 002
RUMORS ALIVE AND WELL
¶6. (C) Ncube said the latest rumor he is hearing, “which is
most worrisome,” is that Mugabe intends to annul the 29 March
election and call for fresh elections as soon as possible.
He believes some ZANU-PF Politburo members are on board with
the idea of a fresh election, he said, with the stipulation
that Mugabe, whom they believe cost the election, is not the
ZANU-PF candidate. Ncube said that some Politburo members
want Mugabe to lay out his succession plan. Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa was selected to go and ask Mugabe for his
thoughts, but refused, he said. Ncube still believes that
Emmerson Mngagwa is Mugabe’s heir apparent, but does not
believe this would work given the Mujuru’s camp opposition to
him. Ncube also said that Makoni has been approached by
“pockets” of both the Politburo and the security services to
run as the ZANU-PF’s candidate, but that Makoni is reluctant
unless he can “restructure ZANU-PF,” which will not be
popular. Though Ncube never addressed the preferred SAG
solution of a unity government, he did say that for ZANU-PF
members, even mentioning the MDC raises a red flag.
EMBASSY HARARE COMMENT
¶7. (C) From previous conversations with Ncube and others, we
believe that Makoni, Mutumbara, and their allies will back
Tsvangirai in a runoff election. Ncube is obviously put out
that his erstwhile business partner, Masiyiwa, and Tsvangirai
have mostly ignored him and Makoni in both the pre-election
campaign and in post-election strategizing. He is right to
complain about lack of consultation now. Ncube and Makoni
both have extensive knowledge of ZANU-PF and have ties to
ZANU-PF dissidents. They could be of invaluable assistance
in strategizing as the MDC navigates the post-election
minefield, and in putting together an effective anti-Mugabe