Mount Darwin legislator Saviour Kasukuwere was well positioned to replace Youth Minister Border Gezi after he was killed in a car accident, the United States embassy in Harare said.
It said the youthful Kasukuwere had a reputation for zealously attacking party opponents- both figuratively and literally- and was just the sort of person President Robert Mugabe would probably like to have as Youth Development Minister.
Gezi was killed in a car accident while on his way to Masvingo where he was expected to present $1.6 million to local officials for development projects.
Masvingo was due to hold mayoral elections the following month.
Gezi, though only 36, had become a formidable force within the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
He had been elevated to the powerful post of national commissar which meant he was in charge of organising the party and had started rejuvenating it after its disastrous performance in the 2000 parliamentary elections.
Viewing cable 01HARARE1470, ZIMBABWE CABINET MINISTER KILLED IN CAR
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301353Z Apr 01
PAGE 01 HARARE 01470 301345Z
INFO LOG-00 NP-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00
SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EUR-00 OIGO-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00
VC-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 LAB-01 L-00 VCE-00
AC-01 NSAE-00 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00
ACE-00 P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 SSO-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /007W
——————E58ECB 301346Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8749
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001470
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/30/11
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE CABINET MINISTER KILLED IN CAR
PAGE 02 HARARE 01470 301345Z
ACCIDENT LEAVES GAPING HOLE IN RULING PARTY
CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL IRVING FOR REASONS:
1.5 (B) AND (D).
¶1. (U) YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, GENDER AND EMPLOYMENT
CREATION MINISTER BORDER GEZI WAS KILLED IN AN APRIL 28
CAR ACCIDENT ON THE HARARE-MASVINGO ROAD. GEZI’S DRIVER
WAS ALSO KILLED, AND HIS AIDE WAS SERIOUSLY INJURED. A
TIRE BLOWOUT APPARENTLY CAUSED GEZI’S OFFICIAL MERCEDES
TO SWERVE OFF THE HIGHWAY AND INTO A LARGE TREE. THE
APRIL 29 EDITION OF THE GOVERNMENT-INFLUENCED “SUNDAY
MAIL” SHOWED GEZI’S CAR AS A BADLY CRUMPLED WRECK, WITH
THE LEFT HALF OF THE CAR, WHERE GEZI WAS SEATED, MOSTLY
SHEARED AWAY. GEZI HAD BEEN ON HIS WAY TO MASVINGO
TOWN, WHERE HE WAS DUE TO PRESENT ZIM$1.6 MILLION
(US$16,000) TO LOCAL OFFICIALS FOR DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
(NOTE: A MAYORAL ELECTION IS SCHEDULED IN MASVINGO FOR
MAY 12-13. END NOTE.) PRESIDENT MUGABE SAID A FULL
POLICE INVESTIGATION WOULD BE CARRIED OUT. THE APRIL 30
EDITION OF THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED “THE HERALD” SAID
THE ZANU-PF POLITBURO WOULD MEET TODAY (APRIL 30) TO
DECIDE WHETHER GEZI WOULD BE GRANTED NATIONAL HERO
STATUS AND BURIED IN HEROES’ ACRE.
¶2. (C) THE SUDDEN DEATH OF GEZI CREATES A GAPING HOLE,
NOT ONLY IN CABINET, BUT ALSO IN THE RULING ZANU-PF
STRUCTURE. GEZI WAS A POLITBURO MEMBER AND ZANU-PF’S
NATIONAL POLITICAL COMMISSAR, AND AS SUCH, WAS
RESPONSIBLE FOR ORGANIZING PARTY ELECTIONS AND HAD LED
THE RESTRUCTURING OF THE PARTY’S PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVES.
PAGE 03 HARARE 01470 301345Z
THE 36-YEAR-OLD MINISTER WAS KNOWN AS ONE OF THE PARTY’S
MOST ENERGETIC PROMOTERS, AND HAS BEEN CREDITED WITH
REJUVENATING THE PARTY AFTER ITS ELECTORAL SETBACKS LAST
YEAR. IN HIS PREVIOUS POST AS GOVERNOR OF MASHONALAND
CENTRAL PROVINCE, GEZI LED THE CAMPAIGN OF TERROR
AGAINST OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS IN HIS PROVINCE IN THE
RUN-UP TO THE JUNE 2000 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
¶3. (C) GEZI’S DEATH WILL ALSO RESULT IN A BY-ELECTION
FOR HIS BINDURA PARLIAMENTARY SEAT. THE CONSTITUENCY
NORTH OF HARARE IN MASHONALAND CENTRAL WAS ONE OF THE
MOST BRUTALIZED CONSTITUENCIES IN LAST YEAR’S ELECTION,
AND OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS ARE STILL ROUTINELY HARASSED
AND BEATEN THERE. DESPITE THE VIOLENCE, GEZI WAS
ELECTED BY A MARGIN OF ONLY 2,000 VOTES, THE ONLY
MASHONALAND CENTRAL ELECTION WHERE THE MDC CAME EVEN
REMOTELY CLOSE TO WINNING. THE BY-ELECTION, WHENEVER IT
IS HELD, WILL UNDOUBTEDLY BE A VIOLENT AND BLOODY ONE.
¶4. (C) COMMENT: ALTHOUGH IT’S NOT CLEAR WHO WILL FILL
GEZI’S SHOES, MT. DARWIN SOUTH MP SAVIOR “TYSON”
KASUKUWERE APPEARS WELL-POSITIONED FOR THE JOB.
KASUKUWERE WAS APPOINTED TO THE 30-MEMBER POLITBURO IN
FEBRUARY THIS YEAR AND GIVEN THE PARTY’S PORTFOLIO OF
DEPUTY SECRETARY FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS. THE YOUTHFUL
KASUKUWERE HAS A REPUTATION FOR ZEALOUSLY ATTACKING
PARTY OPPONENTS — BOTH FIGURATIVELY AND LITERALLY —
AND IS JUST THE SORT OF PERSON MUGABE WOULD PROBABLY
LIKE TO HAVE AS YOUTH DEVELOPMENT MINISTER. GEZI IS
BELIEVED TO HAVE USED MINISTRY RESOURCES FOR
ESTABLISHING “TRAINING CENTERS” FOR ZANU-PF YOUTH AND
PAGE 04 HARARE 01470 301345Z
OTHER PARTY SUPPORTERS. ALTHOUGH GEZI’S DEATH IS A BLOW
TO THE ZANU-PF ESTABLISHMENT, THERE ARE OTHER YOUNG
TOUGHS IN THE PARTY READY TO TAKE HIS PLACE. END