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Zanu PF badly fractured — cable

A ZANU PF  official in February confided to United States Ambassador Charles Ray that the party was badly fractured, only holding together because of the threat from the opposition, a confidential report released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday has shown.

Nine cables from the US Embassy in Harare sent between 2000 and 2010 were leaked by Wikileaks on Wednesday. They cover the state of Zanu PF, progress in implementing the Global Political Agreement (GPA), MDC-T’s proposal for a transitional authority in 2000, the looting of diamonds, involvement of the army in Marange and the displacement of the villagers from that area.

In a cable sent in February this year, a Zanu PF member, who was only identified as Mudarikwa, told Ray that the party was like a “stick of TNT” (a high explosive), “susceptible to ignition and disintegration”.

“He likened Zanu PF to a troop of baboons incessantly fighting among themselves but coming together to face external threat,” read Ray’s cable. “New leadership was essential and would emerge as some of the old timers including (President) Robert Mugabe left the scene,” Mudarikwa further said there were potential leaders in Zanu PF’s presidium that could take over from Mugabe.

“Mudarikwa opined that Vice-President Joice Mujuru or SK Moyo (former ambassador to South Africa and now party chair) were possibilities, although Mujuru’s fear of Mugabe was affecting her ability to lead,” read the cable.

It could not be established which Mudarikwa this was, as Simba Mudarikwa, Zanu PF’s MP for Uzumba/Pfungwe, denied ever meeting Ray.

“I have never met the ambassador,” Mudarikwa said. “Actually I do not know him. However, there are many Mudarikwas who belong to the party (Zanu PF), some are chairpersons while others hold other posts in the party.”

However, the Uzumba/Pfungwe MP is the only known senior Zanu PF official with that name.

The cable said Mudarikwa took an opposite view to that of Youth and Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere on economic indigenisation, arguing that the programme would benefit nobody “except those who were already wealthy”.

This cable showed the chasm in Zanu PF as the party is building its election campaign around indigenisation.

These revelations came at a time when other cables released since last week have shown mixed reactions over Mugabe’s leadership.

Regional counterpart Yoweri Museveni of Uganda said Mugabe snubbed fellow African leaders saying they were not his age mates.

In a report prepared by the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Museveni is quoted as saying Mugabe did not take calls from fellow leaders.

“Museveni thought Zimbabwe’s faltering economy and Mugabe’s poor understanding of the private sector were at the root of Zimbabwe’s political problems,” said Rice in the confidential report. “He said a discussion of the economy would provide an entry point to tell Mugabe that he has failed and is embarrassing liberation leaders.”

Museveni also confided in the United States Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer in June 2008 when he said he was told by Mugabe that he did not want election monitors from countries that were “hostile” to Zimbabwe, but would not mind observers from other countries (to monitor the runoff which was described as a sham election).

In another cable that was released by the whistleblower website last week, US political counsellor in London Richard Mills said while Zimbabwe should and would remain a top priority for the United Kingdom, their history “of bombastic statements has only served to solidify President Mugabe’s status as a colonial liberation leader and rallied South Africa’s unwavering support.”

“From a strategic perspective, analysts (from think-tanks in the UK) termed the US government’s focus on Zimbabwe as surprising because Zimbabwe is not a threat, but largely a contained crisis,” said Mills in February last year. “They said that Zimbabwe’s crisis should be treated as a regional issue, not an international one, and that the US government should not sacrifice its relations with South Africa, the more strategic partner, over Zimbabwe, even if the political events in Zimbabwe run contrary to the US government’s democracy agenda.”

Mills said the  think-tanks had recommended that the international community take a “tough and quiet” approach to Mugabe and Zanu PF, sanctioning and obstructing their personal freedoms but without commenting publicly.

The think-tanks asserted that the international community’s concern about Zimbabwe being a regional “destabiliser was largely unfounded, as most of the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) — especially South Africa — can take care of themselves.”

Another cable showed the extent of looting of diamonds in Chiadzwa in 2007 accusing senior government officials and well connected elites of selling undocumented precious stones to foreigners who included Belgians, Israelis, Lebanese, Russians and South Africans.

In a cable from the US embassy in Pretoria, also released Wednesday, showed that in 2007 exiled businesspeople resident in South Africa made efforts to have a transitional authority that would have curtailed Mugabe’s executive powers and allowed the appointment of a technocratic Prime Minister.

“To get Mugabe to accept the deal, Mugabe would remain President until 2010 with some power over the security apparatus, but the Prime Minister would run the economy and get the country back on its feet,” read the cable from Pretoria.

“All parties would work together to draft a new constitution. X, (the exiled businessperson whose name was not disclosed in the cable) was open to ideas on who best to sell the plan, but suggested new UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, working through an envoy like former Malaysian PM (Mohamad) Mahathir, as possible mediators.”The US embassy, in the cable said they could not comment on the merits of the plan, but “find it encouraging that senior Zimbabwean exiled businessmen are discussing solutions to their country’s political and economic crisis.”

Ten cables out of 2 998 on Zimbabwe have so far been leaked by Wikileaks, a website that has more than 250 000 confidential and classified documents emanating from various US embassies and consulates across the world.

The first cable on Zimbabwe was released on Sunday last week and with the then US ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell questioning the ability of the opposition to unseat Mugabe and at the same time acknowledging that the president managed to outmanoeuvre opponents by radicalising the political environment.

Leonard Makombe

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