ZCTU leader said Mnangagwa was likely to proclaim new era of reform


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Former Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general Wellington Chibhebhe said if Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeded President Robert Mugabe, he was likely to proclaim a new era of reform, preach national unity, reach out to international institutions, allow former ZANU-PF leaders to retire in comfort, and receive the relieved support of the international community- while proceeding to annihilate the opposition at the same time.

Chibhebhe said as a result, he believed that the existing political opposition and any semblance of future political freedom in Zimbabwe would be permanently destroyed.

He was commenting on a question by United States embassy officials whether United Nations revelations that Mnangagwa had been implicated in money-laundering and plunder in relation to Democratic Republic of Congo resources would impact on his chances of succeeding Mugabe.

Chibhebhe believed that this was highly unlikely to have any effect on Mnangagwa’s potential succession, should Mugabe eventually choose to bow out.

He said Mugabe himself had been directly implicated in far worse crimes-including the slaughter of 20 000 Ndebele during the early 1980s and the “disappearance” and death of revolutionary colleagues- but he had still been embraced by the international community as an upright leader.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 02HARARE2374, ZCTU SECY-GNL’S THOUGHTS IN ADVANCE OF IVP VISIT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE2374

2002-11-01 05:57

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002374

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PARIS FOR NEARY

ECA/PE/V/G/A FOR BREED

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ECON ELAB PHUM KPAO ZI

SUBJECT: ZCTU SECY-GNL’S THOUGHTS IN ADVANCE OF IVP VISIT

TO US

 

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET POSTING.

 

1. (SBU) Summary. Laboff met with Mr. Wellington Chibebe,

Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions

 

SIPDIS

(ZCTU), to review any last-minute questions about his

upcoming IVP travel to the United States. Mr. Chibebe is

prepared and excited, and looks forward to the opportunity to

exchange views with people interested in Zimbabwe. However,

Mr. Chibebe articulated concerns about ZANU-PF’s continuing

manipulation of food and other political machinations, and he

expressed fears about potential developments in Zimbabwe

during his absence. End summary.

 

2. (SBU) Chibebe stated that Minister of Labour July Moyo

(and thus the ZANU-PF government as well) was aware of his

upcoming travel, and attempted to bait him during a recent

meeting about his lengthy absence. Despite attempts by

Minister Moyo to disconcert him by alluding to US

sponsorship, however, Chibebe simply acknowledged that he was

traveling and changed the subject. Chibebe stated that after

a recent trip to the UK — during which he was received by

Prime Minister Tony Blair — the GOZ attempted to diminish

his standing by fresh leveling of accusations that Chibebe is

a puppet of the Western imperialists and that the ZCTU has

degenerated into a political organization. While Chibebe was

resigned to the fact that the GOZ will probably attempt to

mis-characterize his current IVP trip along the same lines,

he is taking a measure of comfort from the protection

afforded by increased international recognition.

 

3. (SBU) Chibebe shared his concerns that ZANU-PF continues

to manipulate the distribution of food to deadly effect. He

is aware that food entering the country is a mere fraction of

that necessary to halt impending famine, and believes that

openly MDC regions are suffering disproportionately. He is

concerned that even in cases where lists of beneficiaries are

drawn up in an apparently “transparent” manner, those lists

are still under the control of headmen, chiefs and local

authorities who are predominantly aligned with ZANU-PF.

(Comment: In fact, food distribution lists are drawn up at

meetings of the entire community rather than headmen. End

comment.) Chibebe also reported that when his sister-in-law

contested a seat as an MDC candidate during the recent rural

district elections, she was subsequently refused relief food

which was being distributed by Care International. ZANU-PF

campaigners publicly denounced her and stated that neither

her affiliation with the MDC nor her relationship to Chibebe

and the ZCTU would do her any good. Both during and after

her unsuccessful campaign, she was castigated by ZANU-PF at

rallies and was prevented from buying food from the Grain

Marketing Board. Chibebe reported that his sister-in-law had

to travel to the regional Care office at Masvingo and

register a complaint about her exclusion in order to obtain

any food after ZANU-PF targeted her.

 

——————————–

MISINFORMATION ABOUT US FOOD AID

——————————–

 

4. (SBU) Chibebe also reported that ZANU-PF publicly claims

that all food that is entering Zimbabwe is a benefit

exclusively intended for its own supporters. He claimed that

even in instances where food is clearly marked as donations

from USAID or British relief organizations, ZANU-PF leaders

are claiming to villagers that the GOZ has coerced both the

US and the UK to offer the food as reparations for their

crimes against Zimbabwe. As improbable as such claims may

be, there appears to be no effective counter to this

strategy. As evidence of the effectiveness of the political

use of food, or promises thereof, he pointed to the recent

ZANU-PF success in the Insiza elections. Even with the

heavy-handed campaign tactics — pungwes, militia deployment,

threats and violence — in both the 2000 elections and the

presidential election, Insiza had not voted for ZANU-PF.

However, facing starvation, and with ZANU-PF promising that

food would only materialize through its patronage, Insiza

finally succumbed and elected a ZANU-PF MP.

 

——————————————— ————-

CONFLICT DIAMOND ACCUSATIONS AGAINST PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER

——————————————— ————-

 

5. (SBU) Speaking about recent UN revelations that Emmerson

Mnangagwa — the parliamentary speaker and most likely

ZANU-PF successor to Mugabe — had been implicated in

money-laundering and plunder in relation to Democratic

Republic of Congo resources, Chibebe believed that this was

highly unlikely to have any effect on Mnangagwa’s potential

succession, should Mugabe eventually choose to bow out.

After all, he said, Mugabe himself had been directly

implicated in far worse crimes — including the slaughter of

20,000 Ndebele during the early 1980s and the “disappearance”

and death of revolutionary colleagues — and he had still

been embraced by the international community as an upright

leader. Rather, Chibebe speculated that if Mugabe stepped

aside, Mnangagwa would proclaim a new era of reform, preach

national unity, reach out to international institutions,

allow former ZANU-PF leaders to retire in comfort, and

receive the relieved support of the international community

— while proceeding to annihilate the opposition at the same

time. As a result, Chibebe believed, existing political

opposition and any semblance of future political freedom in

Zimbabwe would be permanently destroyed.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

6. Chibebe is departing his country at a tumultuous time

with no notion of what he will find upon his return. As a

man publicly identified as a threat to ZANU-PF’s hold on

power, he is suspicious not only of ZANU-PF’s motives but

also its methods. He is leaving a country where Raymond

Majongwe, the secretary-general of an accredited union, was

arrested and tortured with impunity — twice within two weeks

— by the GOZ. In addition to gaining insight about American

society and labor groups, Chibebe can provide valuable

insights as to his perspective on what is happening here. He

has a unique opportunity to present an alternative view of

Mugabe’s presentation of the crisis in Zimbabwe as a

racially-based land dispute and refocus international

attention on the effect Mugabe’s policies are having on

ordinary Zimbabweans.

SULLIVAN

 

(10 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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