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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01HARARE114
2001-01-08 16:03:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

REJUVENATION OF ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY UNLIKELY

Tags:  PGOV PINR ZI 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

081603Z Jan 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1849

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                  ------------------B39B53  081603Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7958
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000114 

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/08/01
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00114 01 OF 03 081603Z
TAGS: PGOV PINR ZI
SUBJECT: REJUVENATION OF ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY UNLIKELY
TO CARRY IT THROUGH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

REFS: A) HARARE 7266, B) HARARE 7134, C) HARARE 6658

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL IRVING FOR REASONS:
1.5 (B) AND (D).



1. (C) SUMMARY: ZIMBABWE'S RULING ZANU-PF HAS
REENERGIZED ITSELF AND WRESTED SOME OF THE POLITICAL
MOMENTUM FROM THE OPPOSITION MDC, BUT IT FACES AN UPHILL
BATTLE IN MAINTAINING ITS MOMENTUM THROUGH THE
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN EARLY 2002. ZANU-PF'S VICTORY
IN THE MARONDERA WEST BY-ELECTION, THE LAYING TO REST OF
RUMORS OF MUGABE'S RETIREMENT AT THE DECEMBER PARTY
CONGRESS, AND A NEW, YOUNGER POLITBURO HAVE BREATHED NEW
LIFE INTO A PARTY THAT RECENTLY APPEARED HEADED FOR THE
SCRAPHEAP. THE PARTY'S NEWFOUND SENSE OF PURPOSE,
HOWEVER, HAS NOT TRANSLATED INTO GREATER SUPPORT AMONG
EVERYDAY ZIMBABWEANS. THERE ARE SERIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT
THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE RULING PARTY'S TACTICS, AND
PRESIDENT MUGABE'S ABILITY TO WIN NEXT YEAR'S ELECTION
IS STILL VERY MUCH IN DOUBT. END SUMMARY.



--------------------------


A REJUVENATED ZANU-PF


--------------------------





2. (C) ALTHOUGH ZANU-PF'S LEVEL OF POPULAR SUPPORT HAS
NOT INCREASED IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS, RECENT EVENTS HAVE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 00114 01 OF 03 081603Z
HELPED TO REENERGIZE PARTY FOLLOWERS, WHO, UNTIL
RECENTLY, SEEMED READY TO JUMP SHIP. ZANU-PF HELD ON TO
ITS MARONDERA WEST PARLIAMENTARY SEAT IN THE NOVEMBER
BY-ELECTION, ALBEIT ONLY AFTER WEEKS OF VIOLENT
INTIMIDATION OF THE LOCAL ELECTORATE (REF C). IN A WAY,
THE BY-ELECTION VALIDATED THE PARTY'S TACTICS, AND IT
SENT A MESSAGE TO THE PARTY LEADERSHIP THAT IT DOES HAVE
THE MEANS TO STAY IN POWER. A LOSS IN A TRADITIONAL
MASHONALAND STRONGHOLD WOULD HAVE BEEN DISASTROUS.



3. (C) DECEMBER'S ZANU-PF CONGRESS HELPED TO RALLY THE
PARTY FAITHFUL AROUND MUGABE'S LAND REFORM AGENDA AND
CONVINCE THEM THAT ZANU-PF STILL HAS A FUTURE (REF B).
MUGABE'S EMPHASIS ON THE FAST-TRACK LAND RESETTLEMENT
PROGRAM AND HIS OBVIOUS DESIRE TO KEEP ZANU-PF IN POWER
GAVE HARD-CORE PARTY MEMBERS A NEW SENSE OF PURPOSE.
THE CONGRESS ALSO DISPELLED THE CONFUSION AND
UNCERTAINTY ABOUT MUGABE'S INTENTION TO STAY AT THE
COUNTRY'S HELM--HE IS HERE TO STAY AND WILL BE THE
PARTY'S CANDIDATE FOR THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
THE APPOINTMENT OF A NEW, YOUNGER POLITBURO (REF A) WAS
A REBUKE OF THE PARTY'S OLD GUARD, ACCORDING TO IDEN
WETHERELL, EDITOR OF THE "ZIMBABWE INDEPENDENT." NOT
ONLY DID IT INFUSE NEW (BUT LOYAL) BLOOD INTO THE PARTY
LEADERSHIP, IT SIDELINED THE OLD GUARD THAT HAD FAILED
TO WIN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE PEOPLE, WETHERELL
BELIEVES. THE LIKES OF 36-YEAR-OLD YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
MINISTER BORDER GEZI AND INFORMATION MINISTER JONATHAN
MOYO DEFINITELY HAVE MORE ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM TO PUSH
THE PARTY'S AGENDA AND COW THE MDC.

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 00114 01 OF 03 081603Z


--------------------------


MUGABE IS FIRMLY IN CONTROL


--------------------------





4. EDDISON ZVOBGO, THE FORMER MINISTER WHO WAS
UNCEREMONIOUSLY DUMPED FROM THE POLITBURO (BUT IS STILL
A CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEMBER, AS WELL AS AN MP), TOLD US
THAT MUGABE IS MORE FIRMLY IN CONTROL OF ZANU-PF THAN HE
HAS EVER BEEN. THE PARTY NO LONGER ACTS AS A CHECK ON
THE PRESIDENT'S POWERS, ZVOBGO CONTINUED. INSTEAD, THE
PARTY IS SIMPLY AN INSTRUMENT OF THE PRESIDENT. DURING
THE 1980S, THE POLITBURO WAS KNOWN TO OVERRULE MUGABE ON
POLICY MATTERS, BUT NOW MUGABE IS A "MAJORITY OF ONE" IN
THE PARTY. ANYONE WHO WANTS TO SURVIVE MUST TRY TO
PLEASE THE PRESIDENT BY SAYING WHAT HE THINKS MUGABE
WANTS TO HEAR, ACCORDING TO ZVOBGO. THE FORMER MINISTER
DESCRIBED THIS REALITY AS "PATHETIC."



5. ACCORDING TO WETHERELL, MUGABE HAS ALWAYS BEEN IN
CHARGE OF ZANU-PF, AND HE SIMPLY WON'T ALLOW ANYONE TO
USURP HIS POWER. THE SO-CALLED "YOUNG TURKS"--NEWER,
REFORM-MINDED MEMBERS OF THE PARTY--ARE AS UNHAPPY AS
EVER, BUT JUST AS POWERLESS AS BEFORE. MUGABE IS IN
GREATER CONTROL OF THE PARTY BECAUSE, SAYS WETHERELL,

CONFIDENTIAL

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SRPP-00 DS-00 EUR-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00 H-01
TEDE-00 INR-00 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 OMB-01
OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00
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--------------------------

B39B6D 081604Z /38
O 081603Z JAN 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7959
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 000114

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/08/01
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00114 02 OF 03 081603Z
TAGS: PGOV PINR ZI
SUBJECT: REJUVENATION OF ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY UNLIKELY
TO CARRY IT THROUGH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

EVERY NEWCOMER TO THE POLITBURO IS A PRODUCT OF MUGABE'S
PATRONAGE MACHINE, AND NONE HAVE AN INDEPENDENT POWER
BASE. FINANCE MINISTER SIMBA MAKONI, SOMETIMES TOUTED
AS A POTENTIAL SUCCESSOR TO MUGABE, HAS BEEN WEAKENED--
PARADOXICALLY--BY HIS APPOINTMENT TO THE POLITBURO
BECAUSE NOW HE IS COMPLETELY BEHOLDEN TO THE PRESIDENT
FOR HIS POSITION IN THE PARTY, WETHERELL STATED. AS FOR
SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, MUGABE BROUGHT
HIM BACK FROM POLITICAL OBLIVION TO SILENCE THE
OPPOSITION IN PARLIAMENT AND TO DEAL WITH MALCONTENTS IN
ZANU-PF. THE TWO NEED EACH OTHER, WETHERELL ASSERTED.



--------------------------



--------------------------


PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AN UPHILL BATTLE FOR MUGABE


--------------------------



--------------------------





6. (C) DESPITE ZANU-PF'S APPARENT REVITALIZATION,
MUGABE FACES AN UPHILL BATTLE TO WIN A THIRD
PRESIDENTIAL TERM IN NEXT YEAR'S ELECTION. IN FACT, OUR
CONTACTS SAY THERE IS "NO WAY" HE CAN WIN. ZVOBGO TOLD
US THAT THE LEVEL OF VIOLENCE REQUIRED TO COW THE ENTIRE
ELECTORATE WOULD BE "UNACCEPTABLE," AND MUGABE CLEARLY
CANNOT RUN ON HIS RECORD GIVEN THE NEAR COLLAPSE OF THE
ECONOMY. BECAUSE THE PRESIDENTIAL VOTE IS A STRAIGHT
NATIONAL HEAD COUNT WITH NO RUN-OFFS (AS OPPOSED TO A
FIRST-PAST-THE-POST VOTE IN A DISTRICT-BY-DISTRICT
SYSTEM), TSVANGIRAI ONLY NEEDS ONE MORE VOTE THAN MUGABE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 00114 02 OF 03 081603Z
TO BEAT HIM. THE URBAN AREAS, MATABELELAND AND
MANICALAND WILL GO SOLIDLY TO THE MDC, AND MIDLANDS WILL
BE SPLIT 50-50, ZVOBGO SAYS. MASHONALAND WILL STILL
VOTE LARGELY FOR ZANU-PF, ZVOBGO CONTENDS, LEAVING
MASVINGO AS SOMETHING OF A WILD CARD. HOWEVER, BY HIS
CALCULATION, A LARGE, PRO-MDC TURNOUT IN URBAN AREAS
WILL WIN THE DAY OVER LOW TURNOUTS IN THE TRADITIONAL
ZANU-PF RURAL AREAS. THE SMART MOVE FOR MUGABE, ZVOBGO
SAID, WOULD BE TO RESIGN IN OCTOBER THIS YEAR AND CALL A
SNAP ELECTION BEFORE THE ONSET OF THE RAINS. IF THE
ELECTION WERE HELD ON SCHEDULE, I.E. SHORTLY BEFORE
MUGABE'S TERM ENDS ON MARCH 31, 2002, MUGABE COULD BE
EVEN MORE UNPOPULAR IF HEAVY RAINS WIPED OUT A LOT OF
ROADS AND BRIDGES, AS THEY DID IN EARLY 2000, AND THE
GOVERNMENT DIDN'T HAVE THE MEANS TO RESPOND. THE MOVE
WOULD ALSO SURPRISE THE OPPOSITION AND GIVE THEM LESS
TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE ELECTION. ZVOBGO EVEN PROPOSED
THIS PLAN TO MUGABE, BUT THE PRESIDENT REJECTED IT OUT
OF HAND, HE SAID.



7. (C) WETHERELL WAS IN AGREEMENT THAT NO LEVEL OF
VIOLENCE CAN WIN THE ELECTION FOR MUGABE. THE PARTY
CAN'T RESORT TO WIDESPREAD RIGGING, EITHER, BECAUSE THE
ELECTION WILL BE CLOSELY MONITORED BY INTERNATIONAL
OBSERVERS. THE URBAN AREAS, MATABELELAND AND MANICALAND
STRONGLY BACK THE MDC, WHILE MASHONALAND BACKS ZANU-PF.
THAT LEAVES MIDLANDS AND MASVINGO PROVINCES AS KEY
BATTLEGROUNDS, THE EDITOR STATED. MUGABE WILL "GO FOR
BROKE" IN THESE AREAS AND MASHONALAND TO WIN THE
ELECTION. WETHERELL DID NOT HAVE ANY FIRM PREDICTIONS
ON WHAT THE MILITARY MIGHT DO, BUT HE DID NOT THINK IT
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 00114 02 OF 03 081603Z
WOULD "DO ANYTHING STUPID" TO KEEP MUGABE IN POWER.



--------------------------


NOT ENOUGH YES MEN TO GO AROUND


--------------------------





8. (C) COMMENT: A BUNCH OF ROOTLESS "YES MEN" NOW
COMPRISE THE LEADERSHIP OF ZANU-PF. THEY NEED MUGABE
MORE THAN EVER FOR THEIR LIVELIHOOD, AND HE NEEDS THEM
TO RUN THE DAY-TO-DAY BUSINESS OF THE STATE, MOBILIZE
THE MASSES, AND PROVIDE SUPPORT AFTER SETBACKS. MUGABE
APPEARS TO BE THE MAIN GUARANTOR OF ZANU-PF'S EXISTENCE,
ESPECIALLY IN THESE TIMES OF CRISIS. THE VIABILITY OF
THE PARTY, AS CURRENTLY STRUCTURED, IS NOT GUARANTEED IN
A POST-MUGABE ERA. MNANGAGWA APPEARS TO HAVE ENGINEERED
THE PROMOTION OF A NUMBER OF YOUNGER PARTY MEMBERS TO
ENSURE THAT THEY WOULD BE PERSONALLY LOYAL TO HIM IN A
POST-MUGABE SCENARIO.



9. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: DESPITE ZANU-PF'S INTERNAL
REJUVENATION AND RENEWED SENSE OF PURPOSE, IT IS STILL A
WIDELY UNPOPULAR PARTY AMONG ZIMBABWEANS AS A WHOLE.
THE NUMBER OF HARD-CORE ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS--THOSE LIKELY
BENEFITING DIRECTLY FROM ZANU-PF RULE--HAS SHRUNK TO

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ1852

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ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00
SRPP-00 DS-00 EUR-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00 H-01
TEDE-00 INR-00 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 OMB-01
OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00
SSO-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02
G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /006W


--------------------------

B39B73 081604Z /38
O 081603Z JAN 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7960
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 000114

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/08/01
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00114 03 OF 03 081604Z
TAGS: PGOV PINR ZI
SUBJECT: REJUVENATION OF ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY UNLIKELY
TO CARRY IT THROUGH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

FEWER THAN 15 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION, ACCORDING TO
THE SOUTH AFRICA-BASED HELEN SUZMAN FOUNDATION. DESPITE
OUR CONTACTS' ASSERTION THAT MUGABE ESSENTIALLY HAS NO
CHANCE OF WINNING IN 2002, MUGABE IS STILL A MASTERFUL
POLITICAL MANIPULATOR. HE HAS BEEN WRITTEN OFF
COUNTLESS TIMES BEFORE, ONLY TO COME BACK MORE FIRMLY IN
CONTROL THAN EVER. NONETHELESS, OVER THE NEXT YEAR,
MUGABE AND ZANU-PF WILL FACE THEIR STRONGEST CHALLENGE
AS THEY ATTEMPT TO HOLD ONTO POWER. IT IS DIFFICULT TO
IMAGINE ZIMBABWE'S ECONOMY TURNING AROUND IN THE NEXT
YEAR TO THE EXTENT NECESSARY FOR ZANU-PF TO WIN TRUE
PUBLIC SUPPORT. ITS TACTIC OF SENDING IN THE SHOCK
TROOPS TO BEAT OPPOSITION SYMPATHIZERS INTO SUBMISSION
MAY WIN A FEW BY-ELECTIONS IN THE SHORT-TERM, BUT IS
UNLIKELY TO WIN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE PEOPLE IN
THE LONG-TERM. END COMMENT.

IRVING

CONFIDENTIAL

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