ZANU-PF not ready for a woman president


Despite the meteoric rise of Joice Mujuru to Vice-President of the nation as well as of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, ZANU-PF is not ready to accept a woman as president, a cable released by Wikileaks says.

The analysis was made after the Mujuru faction won most of the powerful seats within the party at the 2009 congress where John Nkomo was elected Vice-President and Simon Khaya Moyo national chairman.

A plan that would have seen Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa become vice-president was scuttled by the Mujuru faction delivering a terrible blow to Mnangagwa, the second consecutive humiliation for a man who was once dubbed “Son of God” as he was considered the heir apparent to Mugabe.


Full cable:



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






2009-12-08 10:19

2011-08-30 01:44


Embassy Harare



DE RUEHSB #0946/01 3421019


R 081019Z DEC 09














C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 06 HARARE 000946










E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/08/2019




Classified By: Ambassador Charles A. Ray for reason 1.4 (d).






1. (C) President Robert Mugabe, in advance of the ZANU-PF

Congress set to begin on December 8, has consolidated his

position within ZANU-PF and will continue to rule with the

support of the military leadership. The Congress will likely

confirm decisions already made by the party. ZANU-PF in turn

is focused on maintaining power. While it will undoubtedly

make concessions in the ongoing South African-directed SADC

mediation on the Global Political Agreement (GPA), unless

SADC and MDC-T factions are able to address the current

paradigm of a ZANU-PF-military alliance, fundamental reform

will not be achieved. MDC-T recognizes that continued

presence of securocrats within the military, police, and

intelligence structures is the primary impediment to change,

but is unable to engage them. Further, MDC-T lacks strategic

vision and is focused more on elections, which it feels it

can win because of the popularity of Tsvangirai and the MDC

party, than on achieving real reform. It now appears that

elections will take place in 2012 or 2013. The results will

probably depend on whether institutions develop to check

ZANU-PF intimidation and violence and to permit a relatively

fair election, or whether ZANU-PF will be able to use the

same tactics as in June 2008 to gain victory. END SUMMARY.



Mugabe and the Zezuru Factor



2. (SBU) The Shona, concentrated in Mashonaland, constitute

about 80 percent of the Zimbabwean population and the

Ndebele, centered in Matabeleland, 17 percent. Within the

Shona, the three main subgroups are the Zezuru, the Karanga,

and the Manyica. Mugabe is a Zezuru, and since independence

in 1980 the Zezuru have been the dominant ethnic group in

Zimbabwe. With the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987,

Mugabe, who had been prime minister, became president, and

two vice presidents were selected: Joshua Nkomo, an Ndebele,

and Simon Muzenda, a Karanga. Under the Accord, there was an

understanding that one vice president would be Ndebele.

Nkomo died in 1999 and was replaced by Joseph Msika, also an

Ndebele. Muzenda died in 2003. In what became known as the

Tscholotsho incident, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a Karanga,

attempted to succeed Muzenda. Msika was elderly and

Mnangagwa and his backers, including Jonathan Moyo, schemed

that Mnangagwa, after becoming vice president, would become

first vice president after Msika’s death and would be first

in line to succeed Mugabe. Mugabe instead selected Joice

Mujuru, a Zezuru.


3. (SBU) The support of a majority of Zimbabwe’s 10

provinces is required for election to ZANU-PF positions.

With the death of Msika earlier this year, and in

anticipation of the Congress, Mnangagwa formulate a slate for

the presidium, ZANU-PF’s highest organ: Mugabe, First

Secretary (National President), Oppah Muchinguri, and John

Nkomo (now ZANU-PF Chair), Second Secretaries (National Vice

Presidents), and Kembo Mohadi (now co-Minister of Home

Affairs) as ZANU-PF Chair. Nkomo, an Ndebele, and Mohadi, a

QAffairs) as ZANU-PF Chair. Nkomo, an Ndebele, and Mohadi, a

Venda allied with the Ndebele, would satisfy the ethnic

proportion required by the Unity Accord. Mnangagwa’s goal

was to displace Mujuru. The nominations of Nkomo and Mohadi

from Matabeleland in Mnangagwa’s plan would secure the

support of three provinces: Matabeleland North, Matabeleland

South, and Bulawayo; Muchinguri, a Manyika, would get the

support of Manicaland; and Mnangagwa would bring along the

Karanga-dominated provinces of Midlands and Masvingo.

Mnangagwa’s plan did not play out. Didymus Mutasa, a Manyika

from Manicaland, put himself forward for ZANU-PF Chair with

the support of Manicaland and Mashonaland Central and

Muchinguri lost Manicaland support. Mujuru ultimately

emerged with the support of at least nine provinces. Mohadi


HARARE 00000946 002 OF 006



failed to develop support, and Simon Kaya Moyo, currently

Ambassador to South Africa, won the support of a sufficient

number of provinces as party Chair. Moyo and his backers

argued that under the Unity Accord, the position of party

chair, as with one vice president position, should be filled

by an Ndebele.


4. (C) The ZANU-PF Politburo met on December 7 in advance of

the Congress. With the support of Mugabe, Mutasa argued that

the Unity Accord did not apply to the position of national

chair. Mugabe backed Mutasa, a longtime colleague, and the

Mujuru faction supported Moyo. The Mujurus prevailed and the

Politburo endorsed Mugabe, Joice Mujuru, John Nkomo, and



5. (SBU) The ZANU-PF Congress will rubber stamp the above

decisions made by the provinces and the Politburo, and the

ZANU-PF presidium will consist of Zezurus Mugabe and Joice

Mujuru and Ndebeles Nkomo and Moyo. Ndebele officials have

little backing within their constituencies — they come from

Matabeleland where ZANU-PF is generally reviled because of

the Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s — and Nkomo and Moyo

can be counted on to do Mugabe’s bidding. In addition to

Mugabe and Mujuru, almost all of the top ZANU-PF party

positions are held by Zezuru. Almost all the top securocrats

are Zezuru: Chief of Defense Forces Constantine Chiwenga,

Air Force Commander Perrance Shiri, CIO Director Happyton

Bonyongwe, Commissioner of Police Augustine Chihuri, and

Prison Services Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi. The Zezurus

are now in undisputed control of ZANU-PF — Mnangagwa and the

Karangas have been badly beaten — but the fight between

Mugabe and the Mujurus over Mutasa has demonstrated Mugabe

does not have total control.



ZANU-PF Succession



6. (C) Conventional analysis posits that there are two

principal factions within ZANU-PF, Mujuru and Mnangagwa, and

that the dominant faction is likely to provide the successor

to Mugabe. Over the years, as Mugabe has manipulated party

politics, the fortunes of one have risen with the decline of

the other. For now, the Mujuru faction is in the ascendancy.

But it appears unlikely that either Mujuru or Mnangagwa will

eventually become president. ZANU-PF, according to most

analysts, is not ready to accept a woman as president. And

Mugabe has made clear by his actions that his successor will

be a Zezuru.


7. (C) Mugabe in 2006 promised he would step down as

president in 2008. He now appears determined to die in

office and it is unlikely that at the Congress he will

provide any clues to succession. Determining a successor to

Mugabe is therefore speculative. Two possible candidates are

Chiwenga and Sydney Sekeramayi. The military plays an

important role in Zimbabwean politics and it would be logical

that Chiwenga help perpetuate this role, albeit in a civilian

capacity, by succeeding Mugabe. A major handicap would be

his legacy of violence. Sekeramayi has a close relationship

to the military; he was Minister of Defense for a number of

years and is now Minister of State for National Security in

Qyears and is now Minister of State for National Security in

the President’s office. He is also close to General Solomon

Mujuru, the power behind the Mujuru faction.



Maintaining Power



8. (C) Despite the GPA, which provides for a National

Security Council (NSC) to oversee military and security

matters, the Joint Operations Command (JOC) continues to meet

and support Mugabe; the NSC has met only once. (NOTE: The

JOC consists of the service chiefs, Mnangagwa as Minister of

Defense, and reportedly Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor

Gideon Gono. A legacy of the Rhodesian government, it is


HARARE 00000946 003 OF 006



responsible for security and recently has played a policy

role. In 2008 it coordinated election violence and

intimidation. END NOTE.) ZANU-PF has maintained its

structures throughout Zimbabwe and we continue to receive

reports of intimidation and occasional violence, particularly

in Mashonaland. There are reportedly about 20,000 youths on

the civil service rolls who are performing no jobs; their

activities are coordinated by ZANU-PF officials and national

and local military officials. Additionally, there are

thousands of youths in resettled areas. Without jobs and

educational opportunity, they are subject to manipulation by



9. (C) ZANU-PF is old and there are significant fissures, as

evidenced by the ongoing struggle between Mujuru and

Mnangagwa. It appears to be in a slow, irreversible decline.

With no ideas and no program, other than to proclaim its

liberation credentials as the anti-MDC, it is increasingly

unpopular. But in the face of the challenge by MDC, and

perceived efforts at regime change by the West, we can expect

that for the time being it will unite behind Mugabe to

maintain power. Mugabe is the glue that holds the party

together. The death knell of the party may await his death

and/or that of the other dinosaurs at the helm.


10. (C) ZANU-PF has been weakened by dollarization and the

sidelining of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono’s

printing press. In the past, for example, in financing

Congresses or Conferences, the party would determine the cost

and Gono would print the money. A ZANU-PF member in charge

of raising money for the Congress told us that the party’s

goal was to raise US$3 million to support the attendance of

10,000 people. In the run-up to the Congress, the party had

raised about US$900,000, much of it from ZANU-PF allies such

as Billy Rautenbach, John Bredenkamp, and Nicholas Van

Hoogstraten. Provincial party branches were contributing

little and the party was considering scaling back the number

of attendees.


11. (C) To finance itself and party insiders, ZANU-PF has

been looking for new revenue streams. The Marange diamond

fields appear to have the most potential. The Mining

Development Corporation of Zimbabwe has entered into deals

with companies to exploit Marange, but it appears a cabal of

Gono and military officials is siphoning off substantial

profits. The press continues to carry occasional reports of

Chinese investment, but this appears to be wishful thinking.

An adequate source of revenue is critical for ZANU-PF to

perpetuate itself by keeping insiders happy, financing its

repressive machinery, and financing its electoral machinery.

The party’s concern about finances has probably caused Mugabe

and Gono to talk about bringing back the Zimbabwe dollar.

(NOTE: Biti has been adamant that he will not allow the

Zimbabwe dollar to return; nevertheless, rumors persist — to

the detriment of investment. END NOTE.)



The Future of the Military



12. (C) The military leadership is the fundamental

impediment to meaningful political reform. Leaders

Qimpediment to meaningful political reform. Leaders

understand that political change would likely result in loss

of their positions. In March 2008, Mugabe was reportedly

ready to retire after a humiliating loss. Chiwenga and

others, concerned for their own hides, convinced him to fight

on; and then orchestrated the reign of violence that resulted

in Mugabe’s “reelection” in June. Similarly, they oppose

full compliance with the GPA, since that could lead to fair

elections and the concomitant defeat of ZANU-PF. Their

obvious concern is that, stripped of the protection of

ZANU-PF, they would be subject to prosecution for a variety

of offenses ranging from crimes against humanity, to human

rights violations, to common crimes.


13. (C) Prime Minister and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai


HARARE 00000946 004 OF 006



realizes the importance of the military problem. He and

others in his party have discussed the possibility of a

buy-out and amnesty. (NOTE: While there are those who

believe the benefits of removing the military from service

would be worth almost any cost, including immunity, many

Zimbabweans who remember well Gukurahundi and other

atrocities would certainly oppose any deal. END NOTE.)

Chiwenga and others consider themselves liberation heroes,

and look down upon Tsvangirai for not having participated in

the struggle. MDC-T does not have a representative and

interlocutor that can talk to Chiwenga and his military

colleagues about making the NSC a functioning body and about

such issues as amnesty.


14. (C) For now, top military leaders, particularly

Chiwenga, exist in a symbiotic relationship with Mugabe.

They need him in order to maintain their positions and have

the protection of the party. He needs them in order to

intimidate and threaten would-be challengers, and to

perpetuate the climate of fear which has enabled him to rule

seemingly in perpetuity. The military and party may

gradually meld together. There are rumors that Chiwenga is

interested in becoming ZANU-PF Commissar in Charge of

Elections, as a prelude to becoming president. 20 generals

and colonels are in a three-year program at the University of

Zimbabwe to obtain a B.A. in international relations, and 12

generals, including Chiwenga, are in a one-year international

relations masters program.


15. (C) The military has a tradition of internal discipline

and adherence to the hierarchy. But below top military

leadership, the military reflects the ethnic divisions and

rivalries that exist in ZANU-PF. For example, there is

resentment on the part of higher-level Karanga officers that

their advancement has been stymied by the Zezuru top echelon.

Younger officers without liberation credentials, regardless

of their ethnicity, are likewise held back by a promotion

ceiling, imposed by ageing veterans of the independence

struggle who do not trust the younger generation and have no

plans for the future. There are recurring reports of

dissatisfaction over pay and conditions; and desertions are

reportedly on the rise. So far, however, military leadership

has kept the lid on, and there is no expectation the military

will soon fracture.



The SADC Mediation



16. (SBU) Zuma’s new mediation team of Mac Maharaj, Charles

Nqakula, and Lindiwe Zulu visited Harare last week and met

with the GPA principals (Mugabe, Tsvangirai, and Arthur

Mutambara) and with the negotiators of the three parties.

The South Africans reportedly listened, but did not resolve

the outstanding issues. They returned to Harare this week

and will report to South African President Zuma on progress.

He in turn will report to President Guebuza of Mozambique who

heads the SADC Troika. SADC and the parties have obviously

missed the goal set at the Troika Summit in Maputo on

November 5 of resolving issues within 30 days. With the

ZANU-PF Congress taking place this week, Mugabe and

QZANU-PF Congress taking place this week, Mugabe and

Tsvangirai traveling to Copenhagen next week for the United

Nations Climate Change Conference, and the Festive Season, it

is likely negotiations will go into next year.


17. (SBU) The main issues for the MDC continue to be the

appointment of MDC governors, the replacement of Gono and

Attorney General Johannes Tomana, and the swearing-in of Roy

Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture. (NOTE: Bennett’s

treason trial will resume in January. END NOTE.) ZANU-PF

has put forth the issues of sanctions and pirate radio

stations (stations such as SW Radio and Studio 7 which

broadcast from outside of Zimbabwe). A host of other GPA

issues have apparently been raised, and we anticipate the

South Africans will try to focus on core disputes.



HARARE 00000946 005 OF 006



18. (C) There is a sense in Harare that Zuma and his team

bring more intensity and resolve to the SADC mediation than

did the former facilitator, Thabo Mbeki. We expect that

Mugabe will make some concessions, perhaps in exchange for an

agreement by Tsvangirai that he will ask the West to review

and/or lift some sanction, e.g. on parastatals and banks.

The commissions — Media Commission (which would license

newspapers), Electoral Commission, Human Rights Commission,

and Anti-Corruption Commission — may be established. Mugabe

may agree to appoint MDC provincial governors. But even with

some ZANU-PF concessions on GPA issues, Mugabe and the

military will continue to hold the balance of power. The

Zimbabwean question is not political, but political/military,

and unless the MDC and SADC focus on ZANU-PF and the

military, the fundamental paradigm of power will not change.



MDC Focused on Elections



19. (C) MDC-T and Tsvangirai enjoy immensely greater

popularity than Mugabe and ZANU-PF. Zimbabweans give

Tsvangirai credit for peace and stability — especially

compared to last year — that the country enjoys, as well as

improvement in the economic situation. Tsvangirai and the

MDC are confident they would win a relatively fair election

— and getting to an election is the focus of their efforts.

They are willing to tolerate the bumps in the road —

intimidation, violence (at a much lower level than a year

ago), and selective prosecutions. In their view, this is all

part of the process of reaching elections.


20. (C) But, apart from elections, MDC-T seems to lack a

strategic vision. It is not focused on building institutions

and forming alliances that would help ensure victory in an

election. Civil society complains that MDC-T has not reached

out to it. Zuma and SADC were reportedly upset that they

learned about MDC-T’s temporary “disengagement” from the

transitional government from the newspapers and not from



21. (C) Part of MDC-T’s problem is that much of the party

leadership is in government. Tendai Biti, for example, is

the party’s Secretary General and should be responsible for

coordinating strategy. But he is preoccupied by his job as

Minister of Finance and the party’s Secretariat is weak.

Relatedly, the Office of the Prime Minister lacks a strong

Chief of Staff, and there is a lack of coordination among

ministries. While in this divided government, it is not

surprising that Tsvangirai, as Prime Minister, does not have

control over ZANU-PF-led ministries, there is nevertheless a

marked absence of coordination between MDC-led ministries.



The End Game



22. (C) The GPA contemplated an 18-month process for the

drafting of a new constitution, followed by a referendum, and

then elections. More and more, the parties are talking about

an elongated transitional period which could result in

elections in 2013 as required by the current constitution.

ZANU-PF knows it would lose an early election unless it

resorted to violence; it wants to try to heal internal

Qresorted to violence; it wants to try to heal internal

divisions and rebuild. MDC-T is becoming comfortable in

government. Its parliamentarians are enjoying the

perquisites of office and don’t want to contest elections

sooner than necessary. MDC-T supporters have fresh memories

of the 2008 election-related violence and are enjoying

relative peace and stability, as well as improved economic

conditions. They also do not desire early elections.

Finally, MDC-M office holders know that they will probably be

defeated in elections. In particular, ministers such as

Arthur Mutambara, Welshman Ncube, and Priscilla

Misihairabwi-Mashonga would lose their government positions.



HARARE 00000946 006 OF 006



23. (C) Genuine political reform is unlikely until reformers

decisively win an election. MDC-T is correct that it would

win a fair election. But ZANU-PF is intent on holding on to

power, and many believe the party would resort to the

violence of 2008 to avoid losing. The critical issue in the

months and years ahead is whether MDC-T, MDC-M, and civil

society can build electoral institutions, and whether ZANU-PF

and the military can be controlled, so that fair elections

can take place.




Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on google
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Like it? Share with your friends!

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.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *