Zvobgo said Mugabe pitted Mnangagwa against Mujuru to remain in power


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Eddison Zvobgo Junior told United States embassy officials that President Robert Mugabe had no intention of leaving office but the security of his tenure depended on the continued loyalty of the warring Joice Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa factions.

As a result Mugabe would avoid anointing either as successor while leaving the door open to both.

Zvobgo said the aspiring successors were growing impatient but remained unwilling to risk their long-term prospects by challenging Mugabe directly and urging his retirement.

Zvobgo Junior said this six years ago and up to now there is no clear successor.

Mujuru remains on paper the clear successor as Vice-President but Mnangagwa seems to be running the state.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE670, ZVOBGO ON STASIS, PROSPECTS FOR CHANGE IN ZANU-PF

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE670

2006-06-07 14:15

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0826

PP RUEHMR

DE RUEHSB #0670/01 1581415

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 071415Z JUN 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0170

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1226

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1062

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1232

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0490

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0856

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1283

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3655

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1055

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1694

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1441

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//

RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000670

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

AFR/SA FOR E. LOKEN

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2011

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZVOBGO ON STASIS, PROSPECTS FOR CHANGE IN ZANU-PF

 

REF: (A) HARARE 266 (B) 05 HARARE 1290

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Eric T. Schultz under Section 1

.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) ZANU-PF businessperson and provincial official Eddie

Zvobgo told poloff June 1 that the ruling party would remain

in disarray and paralyzed by succession tensions until Mugabe

passed from the scene. However, he did not believe Mugabe

intended to leave office any time soon. Moreover, neither of

the party’s competing factions had sufficient strength or

courage to press for Mugabe’s early retirement. Nor was it

realistic to expect any push from ZANU-PF,s grass-roots

supporters. Zvobgo reiterated that Mugabe’s successor would

seek re-engagement with the West but cautioned that he/she

would have to pay homage to Mugabe’s legacy rhetorically and

pursue reforms cautiously in order to survive politically.

End Summary.

 

——————————————

Succession Strains Still Paralyzing Policy

——————————————

 

2. (C) The son of Mugabe’s greatest intra-party critic, now

deceased, Zvobgo cast the ruling party as still paralyzed by

the uncertainty of succession. Although succession was on

everyone’s mind, it continued to be a mum subject officially.

Indeed, mistrust within the party and the high stakes

involved meant that very few ZANU-PF leaders could even

discuss the matter among each other.

 

3. (C) According to Zvobgo, in this largely paranoid

environment, the rare policy initiatives and deliberations

that occurred within the party revolved around misguided

posturing to curry favor with Mugabe. Zvobgo offered the

GOZ’s recently announced “Operation Round-up” (ref A) as an

example. The GOZ’s announced figure of 10,000 in detention

was vastly exaggerated, which suggested the media report was

deliberate hyperbole from a police official trying to appear

responsive to the president.

 

4. (C) Zvobgo claimed the pending mining and education bills

— each disastrous in his view — were also misguided

attempts to appeal to Mugabe in the absence of clear policy

direction from the top. Zvobgo maintained that Mugabe’s

refusal to weigh in decisively on such issues underscored his

priority on keeping ministers off balance at the expense of

national development.

 

5. (C) For his part, Mugabe continued to exploit these

dynamics masterfully, according to Zvobgo. Mugabe had no

intention of leaving office and the security of his tenure in

office depended on the continued loyalty of the warring

Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions. To that end, Mugabe would

avoid anointing either as successor while leaving the door

open to both. Zvobgo said the aspiring successors were

growing impatient but remained unwilling to risk their

long-term prospects by challenging Mugabe directly and urging

his retirement.

 

——————————-

No Push from ZANU-PF Grassroots

——————————-

 

6. (C) Zvobgo added that the party’s grassroots were no more

 

HARARE 00000670 002 OF 002

 

 

of an impetus for change than its leadership. Though many

Zimbabweans embraced capitalism, most remained mired in a

feudal culture that revolved around patronage. Zvobgo

elaborated that every public rally and private engagement he

had with constituents revolved around who could do what for

whom. Policies and principles — much less succession —

were never discussed. None in the party and few outside it

questioned the centrality of relationships and patronage to

politics. Zvobgo claimed that MDC leaders and supporters

were hemmed in by the same constraints.

 

7. (C) Zvobgo said GOZ agricultural policy, which seemed

senseless to outsiders, was best understood in the context of

the patronage mentality hard-wired into the Zimbabwean

psyche. National production figures were not as important as

the appearance of delivering land to one,s constituents.

Most Zimbabweans resided in rural areas and saw land, more

than cattle or other indicia of wealth, as the measure of

one’s power and prestige. That the system as implemented

horribly disadvantaged the vast majority of Zimbabweans was

irrelevant to the political elites and grass roots alike.

 

—————————————-

Post-Succession Reform to be Complicated

—————————————-

 

8. (C) Looking to the future, Zvobgo cautioned that in his

view the country might not change direction upon Mugabe’s

passing as quickly as many might desire. All Zimbabweans

would breathe a sigh of relief on Mugabe’s passing, but the

leadership — whoever emerged — would likely have to

continue to orient itself around ZANU-PF’s liberation

rhetoric. Overt rejection of Mugabe’s legacy — land reform

and “anti-colonial” themes — would be tantamount to

political suicide, even for the MDC.

 

9. (C) Zvobgo asserted that the successor nonetheless would

have no choice but to reach out quietly to the West and to

embrace reform. Mugabe,s successor would have to walk a

fine line, outflanking the hardliners rhetorically while

pursuing the necessary reforms. Zimbabwe’s best hope lay in

a &Deng Xiaoping-like8 figure that would cleave to his

predecessor’s legacy rhetorically while fundamentally

changing Mugabe,s policies. Zvobgo urged the West to ignore

the rhetoric and give Mugabe,s successor a chance when the

time came.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

10. (C) Zvobgo’s closing pitch for patience with a successor

was probably intended to lay a future foundation for Joyce

Mujuru, still the leading successor candidate from the

faction to which Zvobgo is aligned. The Mujurus had seemed

to be in the driver,s seat in the successinom game up until

a few months ago. However, Zvobgo,s patrons are probably

not too happy with the recent signals that Mugabe is

rehabilitating their main rival, Emmerson Mnangagwa. For

Zvobgo and other keen observers of Zimbabwean politics,

Mugabe,s continuing to play the two rival factions against

each other is the surest sign yet that the octogenarian

president is not committed to an early retirement, despite

what he,s said publicly and despite the hopes of the

long-suffering Zimbabwean people.

SCHULTZ

 

(19 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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