Who is Auntie Blair?


President Robert Mugabe’s campaign against British Prime Minister Tony Blair- the anti-Blair campaign- was so ineffective that many rural constituents had started asking: “Just who is this Auntie Blair?” former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told a visiting United States delegation.

Moyo was in fact the architect of the campaign but had now been fired from the party and government after he decided to stand as an independent parliamentary candidate for Tsholotsho.

He described ZANU-PF as a party of tribalists with no direction and said it was in for a surprise in the 2005 elections.


Full cable:



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Reference ID






2005-03-28 12:18

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 SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000468







E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2010




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






1. (C) Controversial independent MP candidate Jonathan Moyo

on March 22 told a visiting U.S. Congressional staff

delegation and an Embassy election observer that ZANU-PF was

a &spent force.8 He described ZANU-PF as a party of

tribalists with no direction. Moyo also expressed little

regard for the MDC leadership but predicted the opposition

would do well in the election. Following the elections, he

foresaw the possible emergence of a third party that could

take power by uniting independents like himself with elements

from the two parties.



Moyo Predicts Electoral Surprise



2. (C) Independent candidate for the Tsholotsho parliamentary

seat and former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo met at his

campaign office with visiting Staffdel from the House

International Relations Committee, Pearl-Alice Marsh and

Malik Chaka, and USAID staff accredited to observe the

election. While initially pleading time constraints due to

the campaign, Moyo was clearly anxious to speak with the USG

delegation and seemed eager to engage.


3. (C) Moyo stated that he thought ZANU-PF was a spent force

and would be surprised by the election. He thought the MDC

would do particularly well in the provinces of Masvingo,

Mashonaland West, and Manicaland ) all rural areas and

traditional ZANU-PF strongholds. According to Moyo, the

ZANU-PF leadership might have been lulled into complacency

due to the lack of reporting of MDC activities in the press

and had mistakenly concluded that the MDC had been crushed.

He added that ZANU-PF had also badly weakened itself as a

result of the Party Congress in December 2004, which would

further contribute to an electoral surprise and he dismissed

their anti-Blair campaign (which he had helped start) as

ineffective, noting that many rural constituents had asked

him just who was this &Auntie Blair.8



Assesses the Two Parties



4. (C) Moyo said that the lack of diversity in the ZANU-PF

leadership had also hurt the party. Without criticizing

President Mugabe, he said the party had become &tribal,8

with the Zezuru clan triumphant. He concluded that the

succession process in ZANU-PF was complete and that Joyce

Mujuru would be the next leader. However, the real power was

with her husband, Soloman Mujuru. Moyo decried this as

&undemocratic bedroom politics8. He added that he was sure

Mugabe would not run for president in 2008 and, if he did,

that he would lose.


5. (C) Regarding the MDC, Moyo said the party’s leadership

was weak but he gave them credit for having the foresight to

not expose their weakness by holding a party congress before

the parliamentary election. He said it would be difficult

for the MDC to lead the nation because it was not perceived

as &nationalist8 due to its heavy reliance on outside

support, including support from the U.S. Nevertheless, the

MDC had a very good chance of winning a large number of




Moyo,s Plans


6. (C) In Tsholotsho, he cast the contest as between the MDC

candidate and himself, but predicted he would be victorious.

He said he still maintained contacts with ZANU-PF but had

also reached out to elements of the MDC. He said if the MDC

and independent candidates, including himself, won a combined

total of more than 60 seats, it could result in a

&constitutional crisis8 since ZANU-PF would have lost a

majority of the seats being contested. In that event, Moyo

foresaw the emergence of a third force drawing MPs from both

parties that could take power and unite the country.


7. (C) Moyo said that if he lost his election, he would

likely turn to writing and would try to remain in politics

until the presidential elections in 2008. He was coy about

whether he would run himself for president. Towards the end

of the meeting, Moyo noted that he was “proud of his American

education” and said he remained in contact with people at

Stanford University where he had studied, and where he might

like to one day teach.






8. (C) The ruling party has made a priority of defeating

Moyo, who was counted out by many after his fall from grace.

Nonetheless, he is now favored by most to win the Tsholotsho

seat from a weak MDC incumbent. Moyo’s “Senator Pothole”

constituent-centered campaign style, perhaps a side-effect of

his time in the U.S., has had an impact and is being emulated

by both candidates of both parties. Moyo was clearly

formerly the brains behind the ZANU-PF national campaign,

which has floundered without him. More than the other “young

Turks” recently purged from ZANU-PF, this enormously

ambitious and energetic figure may yet find a way to play an

important – if unpredictable – role in Zimbabwean politics.



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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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