Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan offered President Robert Mugabe a lucrative retirement package in an overseas haven if he stepped down as Zimbabwe’s President, according to claims quoted in leaked United States diplomatic cables.
Another leak also claimed Zanu PF was at one time interested in a deal with MDC-T which would result in a graceful exit for the President.
The revelations come as it also emerged that MDC-T asked the US government to contribute to a “trust fund” to be used to negotiate military chiefs’ retirement packages, according to the latest WikiLeaks diplomatic cables.
The cable, dated Wednesday September 27 2000, titled “Zanu PF reportedly interested in deal with MDC that involves Mugabe’s departure”, states that an unnamed senior MDC advisor alleged his party had received “additional feelers” from Zanu PF about making a deal that involved President Mugabe’s exit from office.
The official revealed that MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was willing to agree to a graceful exit for President Mugabe because it was in the country’s best interest.
“xxxx said he has heard hints that President Mugabe is willing to step down under the right conditions . . . The President, he has been told, would be willing to stand down now if he is convinced that his land redistribution plan is on track. Amnesty would likely be another condition, xxx added.”
The cables also revealed that many Zanu PF officials were convinced that President Mugabe had become a liability and his continued stay in power “will lead inevitably to the election of an MDC president in 2002”.
Zanu PF officials were “understandably
searching for a way to protect themselves from prosecution and their economic assets from seizure or continued deterioration.”
The unnamed MDC-T advisor also said Annan had offered President Mugabe a package to step down, which he declined, and that a shady Zimbabwean businessman had told Zanu-PF he was willing to finance a “retirement package” for the President.
“The board of Lever Brothers informed the MDC, xxxxxxxxxxxx reported, that Kofi Annan, in the recent meeting in New York during the millennium summit, offered (President) Mugabe a deal to step down.
Although xxxxxxxxxxxx said the MDC was not privy to the details, he surmised that Annan’s supposed deal probably included provision of safe haven and a financial package from Libyan President Gaddafi,” read the cable.
“The opposition party heard that Mugabe turned down the offer the following day, after discussing it with the First Lady.”
The MDC-T insider also reported that a shady white Zimbabwean businessman had also offered to provide a financial “retirement” package for President Mugabe.
The latest revelations will add to already strained relations between Zanu PF and MDC-T after an earlier WikiLeaks cable showed Tsvangirai privately urging the US to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe has accused Tsvangirai of “treason”, and Zanu PF, at its annual conference over the weekend, passed a resolution directing the party to “call upon the government to enforce the law of treason against any individual, corporate body or entity which calls for the imposition and or maintenance of sanctions or any other measures harmful, injurious and or deleterious to the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe.”
President Mugabe accuses the MDC-T of duplicitous behaviour and has demaded elections next year to end the power sharing arrangement.
According to another cable dated, October 30 2009, whose subject was: ‘MDC Focuses on Secutity Sector/Gono’, Elton Mangoma, then Minister of Economic Development and a close ally of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who was one of the negotiators to the Global Political Agreement, cited the service chiefs as the biggest obstacle to political progress in Zimbabwe, a view allegedly shared by Tsvangirai.
Mangoma said the service chiefs feared economic pressures as well as persecution for their deeds hence they were resisting change.
“Reiterating Tsvangirai’s views (Refs A and C), Mangoma said that a primary obstacle to political progress and reform was the service chiefs,” read the cable.
“Unlike many Zanu PF insiders who had stolen and invested wisely, these individuals, had not become wealthy. They feared economic pressures, as well as prosecution for their misdeeds, should political change result in their being forced from office.
“Therefore, they were resisting GPA progress that could ultimately result in fair elections. Mangoma asked for consideration of US contribution to a “trust fund” that could be used to negotiate the service chiefs’ retirement. He said he planned to approach the United Kingdom and Germany with the same request.”
Mangoma also said his party would try to pressure Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Rbz) Governor, Gideon Gono, to resign.
However, on Sunday, MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa dismissed the diplomatic cable leaks and labeled them fiction.
“We have no time for fiction. It doesn’t matter how many times it is repeated, fiction is fiction. It will never become fact. Ours is a democratic movement and we don’t believe in any other way of getting legitimacy other than through the people.”
Repeated efforts to contact Mangoma Sunday night were fruitless.