Zvobgo said Tsvangirai was shallow and immature


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Masvingo kingpin Eddison Zvobgo told United States embassy officials that Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was “intense and passionate” but he was also “shallow and immature”.

He was speaking about the political situation in Zimbabwe and the pending 2002 presidential elections.

He said none of President Robert Mugabe’s cronies and bootlickers was likely to tell the President that it was time to go.

At the same time, he was dismissive of the MDC saying Tsvangirai lacked broad-based education and showed little appreciation for the depth of Zimbabwe’s problems and challenges that he would confront if elected president.

Zvobgo said he was well acquainted with Tsvangirai because he spoke to him on a daily basis.

He said that Tsvangirai’s election would be by default and signal a rejection of Mugabe rather than a strong preference for Tsvangirai.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE2594, EDDISON ZVOBGO ON SANCTIONS, PRESIDENTIAL

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

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE2594

2001-09-04 12:51

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

041251Z Sep 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4347

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02594 01 OF 03 041303Z

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DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00

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/004W

——————1A5F56 041303Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9625

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 002594

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/RA, AND AF/S

 

LONDON FOR GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR NEARY

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/03/06

TAGS: PREL PGOV EFIN PINR ZI

SUBJECT: EDDISON ZVOBGO ON SANCTIONS, PRESIDENTIAL

CANDIDATES, AND ZANU-PF ELECTORAL PROSPECTS

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY DCM REWHITEHEAD DUE TO 1.5 (B0 AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. ON AUGUST 30, DCM AND POLOFF MET WITH

EDDISON ZVOBGO, ZANU-PF KINGPIN FROM MASVINGO AND ONE OF

THE MOST PROMINENT ANTI-MUGABE MEMBERS OF ZANU-PF.

ZVOBGO QUIZZED US ABOUT POSSIBLE U.S. SANCTIONS THAT

MIGHT BE LEVIED AGAINST MUGABE/ZIMBABWE/ZANU-PF IN THE

WAKE OF FAILED 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. HE WAS FIRM

THAT MUGABE WILL STAND AS THE ZANU-PF CANDIDATE BUT

STATED UNEQUIVOCALLY THAT THE MDC’S TSVANGIRAI WOULD WIN

A HEAD-TO-HEAD CONTEST WITH MUGABE DESPITE ZANU-PF

EFFORTS TO RIG THE GAME. ZVOBGO WAS DISMISSIVE OF

TSVANGIRAI’S PRESIDENTIAL POTENTIAL, CHARACTERIZING THE

 

SIPDIS

MDC LEADER AS SHALLOW AND UNAWARE OF THE ENORMITY OF THE

CHALLENGES AHEAD. ZVOBGO HEDGED ON WHETHER MUGABE WILL

RESPECT THE OUTCOME OF A VOTE THAT, FOR WHATEVER REASON,

DOES NOT GO HIS WAY. END SUMMARY.

 

———————

THE CROSS EXAMINATION

———————

 

2. (C) ZVOBGO, A LONG-TIME ZANU-PF INSIDER WHOM MUGABE

PURGED FROM THE POLITBURO IN 2000 FOR OPPOSING MUGABE’S

HARDBALL POLICIES, IS ALSO A SEASONED MP AND A LAWYER OF

CONSIDERABLE REPUTE. HE LAUNCHED AT ONCE INTO A CROSS-

EXAMINATION, INQUIRING EXACTLY WHAT OUTCOMES THE U.S.

SEEKS IN ZIMBABWE. DCM REPLIED THAT RESTORATION OF THE

RULE OF LAW, AN END TO POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND HUMAN

RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, RATIONAL ECONOMIC POLICIES, AND

RESPECT FOR THE RESULTS OF 2002 PRESIDENTIAL POLLS (THAT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02594 01 OF 03 041303Z

ARE NOT FATALLY FLAWED) ARE THE BASIC BENCHMARKS.

ZVOBGO QUERIED ABOUT SECRETARY POWELL’S LIKELY REACTION

IN THE “UNLIKELY” EVENT OF AN ELECTION THAT ZANU-PF

LOSES BUT — DESPITE OBSERVER CORROBORATION THAT THE

ELECTION WAS VALID — DOES NOT ACCEPT. DCM RESPONDED

THAT THE REACTION THROUGHOUT THE USG WOULD BE SHARPLY

NEGATIVE. THIS WOULD TRIGGER A DOWNTURN IN THE

BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP.

 

3. (C) ASSUMING ZDERA IS EVENTUALLY ENACTED INTO LAW,

ZVOBGO ASKED, WHAT SANCTIONS, BESIDES THOSE MENTIONED IN

THE SENATE TEXT, WOULD THE USG IMPOSE? DCM POINTED OUT

THAT THE INCENTIVES LISTED IN THE SENATE VERSION (WHICH

ZVOBGO HAD STUDIED) IN FACT REFLECT THE STATUS QUO. ANY

POSSIBLE PUNITIVE SANCTIONS ASIDE, ZIMBABWE STANDS TO

PROFIT ENORMOUSLY FROM USG SUPPORT ON THE INCENTIVES

SECTION OF THE ACT. DCM ASKED ZVOBGO WHAT SANCTIONS HE

THOUGHT WOULD BE EFFECTIVE IN MOVING MUGABE AND HIS

ENTOURAGE AWAY FROM PRESENT POLICIES.

 

4. (C) ZVOBGO REPLIED THAT HE DID NOT HAVE A GOOD

ANSWER. HOWEVER, IT WAS CLEAR THAT BLANKET ECONOMIC

SANCTIONS WOULD BE DEVASTATING FOR ZIMBABWE AND ITS

PEOPLE. DCM RESPONDED THAT SUCH MEASURES ARE NOT

PRESENTLY CONTEMPLATED. ZVOBGO OBSERVED THAT FOREIGN

MINISTER MUDENGE HAS THREATENED A STATE OF EMERGENCY IF

ZDERA IS ENACTED, AT WHICH TIME ZVOBGO ANTICIPATES THE

GOZ WILL REIMPOSE A COMMAND AND CONTROL ECONOMY. HE

NOTED THAT ZIMBABWE WOULD SOON HAVE ARREARS OF USD 1

BILLION IN DEBT SERVICE. HE ASKED IF THE BANK AND FUND

WERE PREPARED TO WATCH ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMY COLLAPSE. DCM

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 02594 01 OF 03 041303Z

OBSERVED THAT WHILE HE WAS UNABLE TO SPEAK FOR THE

IFI’S, IT WAS DIFFICULT TO CONTEMPLATE THESE

INSTITUTIONS, OR OTHERS, RUSHING TO ASSIST ZIMBABWE IN

THE WAKE OF FATALLY FLAWED ELECTIONS AND CONTINUED SELF-

DESTRUCTIVE ECONOMIC POLICIES.

 

—————–

MUGABE WILL STAND

—————–

 

5. (C) ZVOBGO CONFIRMED THAT, BARRING A “MIRACLE”,

MUGABE WILL BE ZANU-PF’S CANDIDATE IN 2002. HE DID NOT

THINK THAT THE SPECIAL ZANU-PF CONGRESS IN NOVEMBER

COULD DO ANYTHING ABOUT THIS, SINCE MUGABE HAS SHOWN NO

INDICATION THAT HE PLANS TO STEP DOWN. ZVOBGO NOTED

BITTERLY THAT NO ONE IN MUGABE’S INNER CIRCLE OF

“CRONIES AND BOOTLICKERS” HAD THE GUTS TO TELL MUGABE

THAT IT IS TIME TO GO.

 

6. (C) “I’M FULL OF ADMIRATION FOR THE ZAMBIANS FOR

WHAT THEY’VE JUST DONE,” HE SAID (REFERRING TO THE

REJECTION OF PRESIDENT CHILUBA’S THIRD-TERM BID).

ZVOBGO ADDED THAT THE ZIMBABWEAN DYNAMIC WAS DIFFERENT,

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4349

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02594 02 OF 03 041303Z

ACTION AF-00

 

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DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00

TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01   VCE-00   DCP-01   NSAE-00 IRM-00

SSO-00   SS-00   TRSE-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00 SAS-00

/004W

——————1A5F69 041304Z /38

O 041251Z SEP 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9626

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 002594

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/RA, AND AF/S

 

LONDON FOR GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR NEARY

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/03/06

TAGS: PREL PGOV EFIN PINR ZI

SUBJECT: EDDISON ZVOBGO ON SANCTIONS, PRESIDENTIAL

CANDIDATES, AND ZANU-PF ELECTORAL PROSPECTS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02594 02 OF 03 041303Z

SINCE ZAMBIAN PARTY POLITICS (DESPITE THE RHETORIC OF

REVOLUTION) HAD BEEN STRICTLY CIVILIAN FROM THE

INCEPTION, WHILE ZANU-PF HAD HATCHED FROM A ZIPRA/ZANLA

CANNON BALL. ZVOBGO NOTED THAT THE POLITBURO, WHICH IS

COMPOSED ENTIRELY OF PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTEES, HOLDS THE

REAL POWER IN ZANU-PF. PROSPECTS FOR AN INTRA-PARTY

REVOLT AGAINST MUGABE ARE THUS VERY SMALL, ZVOBGO

STATED, EVEN THOUGH EVERYONE REALIZES THAT ZANU-PF’S

ELECTORAL PROSPECTS WOULD BE ENORMOUSLY ENHANCED IF

MUGABE WOULD STEP DOWN.

 

——————————

ZANU CAN’T WIN, NO MATTER WHAT

——————————

 

7. (C) AT DCM’S REQUEST, ZVOBGO PROVIDED HIS ANALYSIS

OF HOW THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS WILL UNFOLD. HE

NOTED THAT THE APPROXIMATE HALVING OF THE 120 ELECTED

PARLIAMENTARY SEATS BETWEEN ZANU-PF AND MDC IN THE 2000

ELECTIONS INDICATED THAT THE PARTIES HAVE ROUGHLY EQUAL

SUPPORT COUNTRYWIDE. HOWEVER, TURNOUT IN URBAN AREAS IS

ALWAYS HIGHER, AND THE MDC’S LOCK ON THE TOWNS GIVES

THEM A SIGNIFICANT ADVANTAGE. TURNOUT WOULD DETERMINE

THE PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST, HE CONCLUDED.

 

8. (C) ZVOBGO PREDICTED THAT THE NATIONAL TURNOUT IN

2002 WOULD BE SECOND ONLY TO THE FIRST POST-UDI

ELECTIONS IN 1980. THE MDC WAS “BOUND TO CLEAN UP” IN

URBAN AREAS FROM MUTARE IN THE EAST TO PLUMTREE IN THE

WEST. ZVOBGO SAID THAT AS MANY AS 80 PERCENT OF

REGISTERED URBAN VOTERS WOULD TURN OUT. ZANU-PF HAS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02594 02 OF 03 041303Z

BEEN UNABLE TO DEMONSTRATE TO THESE VOTERS WHY ZANU RE-

ELECTION WOULD BENEFIT THEM. THE GOZ HAS NOTHING TO

OFFER IN TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT, STABLE PRICES FOR FOOD

STAPLES, AND OTHER URBAN CONCERNS. TOWN-DWELLERS, HE

CONTINUED, ARE NOT INTERESTED IN FARMLAND EVEN IF IT IS

OFFERED GRATIS. HE SAID THAT URBAN DISLIKE OF MUGABE

HAS FESTERED INTO HATRED, WHICH WOULD BE VENTED AT THE

POLLS.

 

9. (C) ZVOBGO AGREED THAT ZANU-PF RETAINS CONSIDERABLE

STRENGTH IN RURAL AREAS. HOWEVER, ELECTIONS IN MARCH

WOULD COINCIDE WITH RAINS, POLLING STATIONS LOCATED FAR

FROM MOST HABITATIONS, UNPAVED COUNTRY ROADS IN A

DEPLORABLE STATE DUE TO A LACK OF MAINTENANCE IN 2001,

AND NO AGRICULTURAL INPUTS FOR THOSE RESETTLED IN THE

FAST TRACK PROGRAM, HALFWAY THROUGH THE GROWING SEASON.

(HE ADDED THAT EVEN IF THE GOZ HAD THE MONEY FOR INPUTS,

IT HAD NO WORKABLE MECHANISM FOR DISTRIBUTING THEM.)

ZVOBGO PREDICTED A RURAL TURNOUT OF BETWEEN 30 AND 40

PERCENT, AND NO MORE THAN 40 PERCENT EVEN IF ZANU-PF

PULLS OUT ALL THE STOPS. (IN THE JUNE 2000

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS, ONLY 11 RURAL CONSTITUENCIES

TOPPED 50 PERCENT TURNOUT, AND SOME OF THESE WERE NOT IN

ZANU-PF AREAS.)

 

10. (C) HE NOTED THAT RECENT BY-ELECTIONS HAVE

INDICATED ERODING ZANU-PF SUPPORT IN RURAL

CONSTITUENCIES, WITH MDC PULLING DOWN 25-30 PERCENT OF

THE VOTE. THE MATHEMATICAL OUTCOME OF ALL THIS WAS

CLEAR. MASSIVE URBAN TURNOUT, LIGHT RURAL TURNOUT, AND

GROWING MDC SUPPORT IN SOME RURAL AREAS WOULD INEVITABLY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 02594 02 OF 03 041303Z

TIP THE SCALES IN THE MDC’S FAVOR. ZVOBGO CONCLUDED

THAT AT THIS POINT, “THERE IS PROBABLY NOTHING ZANU CAN

DO TO TURN AROUND THE VOTE.”

 

————-

PARTING SHOTS

————-

 

11. (C) TO DCM’S QUERY ABOUT HIS VIEWS ON HOW WELL MDC

WOULD PERFORM IN THE EXECUTIVE ROLE, ZVOBGO WAS

DISMISSIVE. HE SAID THAT HE WAS WELL ACQUAINTED WITH

TSVANGIRAI, WHO SPOKE TO HIM ON A DAILY BASIS. HE

 

SIPDIS

OBSERVED THAT WHILE TSVANGIRAI IS “INTENSE AND

PASSIONATE”, HE WAS ALSO RATHER “SHALLOW AND IMMATURE.”

IN ZVOBGO’S VIEW, TSVANGIRAI’S LACK OF BROAD-BASED

EDUCATION IS A CRITICAL SHORTCOMING. ZVOBGO SAID THAT

IN HIS PUBLIC STATEMENTS, TSVANGARAI SHOWS LITTLE

APPRECIATION FOR THE DEPTH OF ZIMBABWE’S PROBLEMS AND

THE CHALLENGES THAT WOULD CONFRONT TSVANGIRAI, SHOULD HE

BE ELECTED PRESIDENT. HE ADDED THAT TSVANGIRAI’S

ELECTION WOULD BE BY DEFAULT AND SIGNAL A REJECTION OF

MUGABE RATHER THAN A STRONG PREFERENCE FOR TSVANGIRAI.

ZVOBGO CONCLUDED THAT IT SEEMS THAT ZANU-PF IS BOUND BY

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4350

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02594 03 OF 03 041304Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 COME-00 INL-00   DODE-00

DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00

TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01   VCE-00   DCP-01   NSAE-00 IRM-00

SSO-00   SS-00   TRSE-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00 SAS-00

/004W

——————1A5F73 041304Z /38

O 041251Z SEP 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9627

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 002594

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/RA, AND AF/S

 

LONDON FOR GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR NEARY

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/03/06

TAGS: PREL PGOV EFIN PINR ZI

SUBJECT: EDDISON ZVOBGO ON SANCTIONS, PRESIDENTIAL

CANDIDATES, AND ZANU-PF ELECTORAL PROSPECTS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02594 03 OF 03 041304Z

A SUICIDE PACT. HE FOUND IT VERY FRUSTRATING.

 

12. (C) IN RESPONSE TO POLOFF’S QUERY ON WHAT VOTERS

ARE THINKING IN THE PIVOTAL PROVINCE OF MASVINGO, ZVOBGO

ANSWERED THAT HE HAD ALREADY HELD FIVE OF TWENTY-FIVE

SCHEDULED CONSTITUENCY MEETINGS. MANY OF HIS RURAL

SUPPORTERS WERE TELLING HIM THAT WHILE THEY STILL PREFER

ZANU, THEY NO LONGER WANT AND WILL NOT VOTE FOR MUGABE.

THEY WERE ASKING ZVOBGO IF THEY SHOULD VOTE AT ALL,

WHICH HE TOOK TO MEAN THAT SHOULD THEY VOTE, IT WOULD BE

FOR THE MDC. ZVOBGO DECLINED TO ANSWER A FINAL QUESTION

ON WHETHER OR NOT MUGABE WOULD ACCEPT THE OUTCOME OF A

VOTE THAT, IN ZVOBGO’S OWN ANALYSIS, IS CERTAIN TO GO

AGAINST THE INCUMBENT.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

13. (C) IF ZVOBGO’S ANALYSIS IS ANYWHERE NEAR THE MARK,

IT WOULD APPEAR THAT RESTRICTED VOTER EDUCATION, ZANU-PF

INTIMIDATION, AND OTHER CHICANERY MIGHT NOT BE ENOUGH TO

TURN THE TIDE. ZVOBGO’S PROJECTION OF A MASSIVE URBAN

TURNOUT OVERWHELMING A MODEST AND MIXED RURAL TURNOUT —

WITH MUGABE’S PERSONAL UNPOPULARITY THE MAJOR ISSUE —

WOULD INDICATE (IF ACCURATE) THAT THE PIVOT-POINT WILL

COME THE DAY AFTER THE VOTE IS TALLIED, AND NOT IN THE

RUN-UP TO ELECTIONS. ZVOBGO’S POINTED QUESTIONS ON HOW

THE USG (AND PRESUMABLY MUCH OF THE REST OF THE WORLD)

MIGHT REACT SHOULD MUGABE REFUSE TO ACCEPT A VOTE THAT

OUSTS HIM HIGHLIGHTS THIS AS A SCENARIO THAT ZVOBGO SEES

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02594 03 OF 03 041304Z

AS LIKELY. HE SEEMED TO ASSUME THAT ZDERA SANCTIONS (OR

OTHERS) WOULD BE HELD IN RESERVE FOR THAT MOMENT.

 

14. (C) GIVEN HIS ANTI-MUGABE VIEWS, WE DOUBT THAT

ZVOBGO HAS MUCH ACCESS TO MUGABE, ALTHOUGH HE PROBABLY

MAINTAINS LINKS WITH THE INNER CIRCLE. HE IS AN

INTERESTING INTERLOCUTOR WHO MAY BE ABLE TO PASS ALONG

OUR MESSAGES. ALTHOUGH MENTALLY ACUTE, ZVOBGO APPEARED

PHYSICALLY FRAIL AND TIRED.

 

ROTH

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(6 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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