Zvobgo’s death leaves a void in ZANU-PF


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The death of Eddison Zvobgo, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front legislator for Masvingo South and a veteran nationalist, had left a void within the ruling ZANU-PF which was difficult to fill, United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Joseph Sullivan said.

Zvobgo had fallen out of favour with President Robert Mugabe because of his open criticism of the party leadership but he was declared a national hero and buried at the Heroes Acre.

He accused fellow ZANU-PF members of seizing farms and state institutions and of poisoning the nation with corrupt practices.

“The country has lost an outspoken and intellectually powerful voice with Zvobgo’s passing,” Sullivan, who was a personal friend of Zvobgo dating back to their student days together in the US, said.

“Like late Vice-President Muzenda, Zvobgo was an especially popular figure in his politically important Masvingo home province. Zvobgo’s controversial criticism of ZANU-PF insiders fuelled intra-party divisions.

“The party lacks anyone with the stature, integrity, and courage to assume his mantle and his passing may present ZANU-PF with an opportunity to fortify its unity in the run-up to the 2005 parliamentary elections,” he said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 04HARARE1429, ZVOBGO DEATH LEAVES VOID IN RULING PARTY

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE1429

2004-08-25 14:50

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

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

UNCLAS HARARE 001429

 

SIPDIS

 

C O R R E C T E D Copy – Missing lines

 

AF/S   FOR   B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICAN DIRECTOR C. COURVELLE, D. TEITELBAUM

LONDON FOR C.GURNEY

PARIS FOR C.NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

 

E.O. 12958 : N/A

TAGS: PGOV ZI ZANU PF

SUBJECT: ZVOBGO DEATH LEAVES VOID IN RULING PARTY

 

1.(U) Veteran nationalist and ZANU-PF Member of Parliament for

Masvingo South, Dr Eddison Jonas Mudadirwa Zvobgo died on August

22 at the age of 69 after a lengthy illness. The GOZ has declared

him a national hero; his funeral is scheduled for August 29 at

Heroes’ Acre in Harare. Zvobgo, whose wife passed away earlier this

year, is survived by his seven children. Zvobgo was one of the

first beneficiaries of the African-American Institute scholarships

for Southern Africans in the early 1960’s and studied at Tufts and

Harvard Universities.

 

2.(U) In recent years Zvobgo had fallen out of favor with President

Mugabe, a former friend with whom he worked closely through years of

civil war and early independence. He was awaiting investigation over

his outspoken criticism of the ZANU-PF. In March 2003, he shocked

members of parliament when he called for the establishment of an

anti-corruption commission. Zvobgo accused fellow ZANU-PF members of

seizing farms and state institutions of poisoning the nation with

corrupt practices.

 

3.(U) Zvobgo also played a crucial role on the Parliamentary Legal

Committee, which passes on the constitutionality of pending

legislation. Under Zvobgo’s direction, the committee frequently issued

adverse reports on draconian legislation such as the 2002 Public Order

and Security Act, which was nonetheless passed and has since served as

the pretext for the routine arrests of Zimbabweans demonstrating agains

the GOZ.

 

COMMENT

—————

 

4.(SBU) The country has lost an outspoken and intellectually powerfull

voice with Zvobgo’s passing. A personal friend of the Ambassador datin

back to their student days together, he was trusted by the opposition

party and highly regraded by Zimbabweans as a whole. Like late

Vice-President Muzenda, Zvobgo was an especially popular figure in his

politically important Masvingo home province. Zvobgo’s controversial

criticism of ZANU-PF insiders fueled intra-party divisions. The party

lacks anyone with the stature, integrity, and courage to assume his

mantle and his passing may present ZANU-PF with an opportunity to

fortify its unity in the run-up to the 2005 parliamentary elections.

 

SULLIVAN

 

(14 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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