The late Vice-President Joseph Msika and his successor John Nkomo believed Zimbabwe’s problems could only be solved if President Robert Mugabe relinquished power, fresh WikiLeaks cable reports have revealed.
This was disclosed by the late Zanu PF politburo member, Eddison Zvobgo, in diplomatic cables dispatched to Washington by the United States Embassy in Harare.
“There appears to be a growing realisation among some of those in the ruling party’s senior ranks that Zimbabwe is in a very deep hole and that (President) Mugabe’s departure from the scene is a necessary precondition for the policy changes required for an economic turnaround and a restoration of political stability,” read the cables released last week.
“According to Eddison Zvobgo, a founding member of Zanu PF and a former member of both the Cabinet and party politburo, Vice-President Msika and Zanu PF (national) chairman John Nkomo had recently acknowledged to him that Zimbabwe’s precipitous economic crisis (was) inextricably linked with the country’s political impasse.
According to the diplomatic dispatches by former US ambassador to Zimbabwe Joseph Sullivan in 2003, Msika and Nkomo reportedly recognised the only solution was for President Mugabe to go. Msika died in August 2009 and was replaced by Nkomo. Zvobgo, widely touted as President Mugabe’s idle successor, died in August 2004.
Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu yesterday said: “I can’t comment over the phone. Why don’t you come tomorrow (today) so I can give you a comprehensive response?”
Rugare Gumbo, the party spokesperson, said: “I really don’t know anything about it. I can’t comment on issues that I’m not aware of.”
The cable added: “Noting that (President) Mugabe and other Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) officials have repeatedly stated that the fast-track resettlement programme will have been concluded by mid-August, Zvobgo held out a remote hope that (President) Mugabe would use this opportunity to declare victory and announce his retirement.
“At the very least, Zvobgo thought the GoZ could be in for a shock when Zanu PF MPs representing rural areas returned after the legislative break, having seen how badly members of their communities had been affected by the food shortages and general economic decline.”
The cable said awareness appeared to be growing among senior Zanu PF officials that they had dug Zimbabwe into a very deep hole, and that extricating themselves from it would be next to impossible so long as President Mugabe remained at the helm.
“They agree that an exit package for (President) Mugabe would have to include immunity from prosecution, protection of financial assets, and perhaps a role or position that confers prestige.