Zvobgo said Mujuru, Makoni and Beta wanted Mugabe out


Former Masvingo Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front boss Eddison Zvobgo said Solomon Mujuru, Simba Makoni and Shadreck Beta were among those who wanted President Robert Mugabe to resign.

He also said a “Murerwa from Harare” also wanted Mugabe to go but the only Murerwa the United States embassy could think of was Herbert Murerwa who was Finance Minister at the time.

When told that Mujuru had told the United States ambassador that Mugabe would step down in two years, Zvobgo thought two years was too long a wait.

The country would be in ruins by that time and ZANU-PF would be irreparably damaged.


Full cable:


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Reference ID






2003-01-17 10:34

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 000137









E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/15/2013






Classified By: political section chief Matt Harrington. Reasons: 1.5 (

B) and (D).


1. (C) ZANU-PF elder statesman Eddison Zvobgo told the

Ambassador January 15 that he preferred to keep his upcoming

trip to the U.S. focused primarily on personal business but,

at the Ambassador’s suggestion, he agreed to consider

stopping in Washington. Zvobgo discussed a faction within

the ruling party that wants Mugabe to resign, and named

General Solomon Mujuru and former Finance Minister Simba

Makoni as two of its most prominent members. He said his

group planned to press for an extraordinary party congress to

deal with the national crisis and succession issues, and

solicited support for the group’s efforts. Zimbabwe, Zvobgo

believed, cannot survive another two years with Mugabe at the

helm without suffering irreparable damage. End Summary.





2. (C) On January 15, Amb and Poloff met with Eddison

Zvobgo, an elder statesman in the ruling party who has been

estranged from President Mugabe since 2000, to discuss the

political and economic future of Zimbabwe and ZANU-PF.


3. Zvobgo lamented the deteriorating food situation and

commented that he had had to intervene on behalf of some of

his constituents/staff to procure corn from the Grain

Marketing Board (GMB). Zvobgo told us that he had only

received 100 packets of corn meal yesterday, several weeks

after he contacted the GMB.






4. (C) Ambassador noted Zvobgo’s planned trip to the U.S.

and suggested that Zvobgo stop in Washington. Zvobgo at

first did not seem amenable to a Washington stop, stating

that he planned to go to Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago to

visit old friends but had not planned on pursuing a political

agenda. He told us that he prefers to denounce and criticize

the government and ZANU-PF from within Zimbabwe thereby

exercising his rights of free speech. Furthermore, he said

he did not see the point in such meetings in Washington as

the situation in Zimbabwe is debilitating. The Ambassador

assured him that the meetings would not be public but

discreet. In the end, Zvobgo agreed to discuss the utility

of such meetings with his wife and would let us know his

decision. (NOTE: As reported reftel, Zvobgo previously told

poloff January 9 that he was traveling to the United States

in part to raise support for a rival faction within ZANU-PF.







5. (C) Zvobgo reiterated his earlier assertion to Poloff

that there exists a faction within the party that wants

Mugabe to resign. The Ambassador asked who else was

involved. Zvobgo named Solomon Mujuru, Simba Makoni,

Shadreck Beta from Manicaland, and a “Murerwa from Harare.”

(Note: The only Murerwa with which we are familiar is

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa, who represents Goromonzi, a

consitutency which abuts Harare province, in Parliament. End

Note). He did assure us that this faction was well

represented amongst veteran and younger party members.

Zvobgo said that the fight could best be carried from within

the party and that his group would press for an extraordinary

party congress to deal with the national crisis and

succession issues.


6. (C) Zvobgo asked if the US might be willing to support


&party within a party.8 The Ambassador was noncommittal

but told Zvobgo that the US has nothing against ZANU-PF per

se but takes issue with the human rights and civil liberties

abuses perpetrated by the party leadership and the

government. The Ambassador said the U.S. would be willing to

support groups of people who were working for a return to the

rule of law and a resumption of respect for human rights and

civil liberties. Zvobgo seemed to accept this but wanted

assurances that any support would be discreet. The

Ambassador reassured him on this count. No specific types of

support were requested or discussed.


7. (C) The Ambassador asked Zvobgo his opinion on the recent

press story about a possible Mugabe resignation. Zvobgo

seemed to believe that the leak must have come from within

ZANU-PF, either someone who disliked the person rumored as

the heir apparent — Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa

— or who just wanted to shake things up. He did not place

much credence in the story but agreed that Mugabe needs to

leave office before his term is up if Zimbabwe is to recover

economically. Zvobgo was dismayed at the decline of

ZANU-PF’s fortunes and blamed Mugabe. The Ambassador

mentioned his meeting with General Mujuru on January 9 and

Mujuru,s proposal that Mugabe step down in two years, after

the parliamentary elections. Zvobgo thought two years was

too long to wait–the country would be in ruins by that time

and the party would be irreparably damaged.






8. (C) Zvobgo told us he plans to propose a long-overdue

anti-corruption commission to Parliament after it resumes on

February 14. This commission was called for in the 1990’s

constitutional revision, but never implemented. Zvobgo said

he has around seven ZANU-PF MPs who will support him. He

said he had not introduced it sooner out of respect for the

younger MPs.





9. (C) Zvobgo has long been dissatisfied with what has

happened to his party and he is a good source of information

on developments within ZANU-PF (He was a Politburo member for

20 years until being expelled by Mugabe in 2000 — for honest

and public criticism of the Zimbabwean President — and he

remains an MP and member of the somewhat less influential

Central Committee). However, he told us several months

before the election that he was trying to coordinate public

statements from a number of ruling party heavyweights calling

on Mugabe not to contest. As we know, no such statements

were ever issued, and Zvobgo sought temporary safehaven in

South Africa for a couple of months around that time after

expressing criticism of Mugabe. Although he has had

difficulty in the past convincing others to follow in moves

against Mugabe and party leadership, further deterioration

here could push some of Zvobgo’s more frightened party

colleagues finally to take a stand, purely out of

self-interest. As we have reported recently, frustration is

growing within the Politburo, many members of which believe

Mugabe’s departure is necessary, but none of whom have a

realistic plan or the guts to accomplish this, and none of

whom are interested in genuine reconciliation and cooperation

with the MDC.



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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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