The ongoing release and publication of confidential information by
Wikileaks whistle blower website has plunged Zimbabwe’s political
leaders, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
into an unenviable political quagmire at a time their parties are
preparing for critical elections slated for the next year at a date yet to
A deep feeling of uneasiness, mistrust, suspicion and even anger has
seized the politicians as the damaging leaks continue to poison the
country’s unstable political turf.
The MDC leader, Tsvangirai, whose 12-year-old party has been
subjected to rampant violence by Mugabe’s Zanu PF youths in recent
months, last week told his supporters that Mugabe had confided in him
that “he felt betrayed by his trusted friends” fingered in the
The cables quote former US ambassadors to Zimbabwe, namely Tom
McDonald, Christopher Dell, Joseph Sullivan and the current one, Charles
Some of the damaging information claims that Mugabe is very ill from
prostrate cancer and periodic convulsions and stroke like episodes,
making him unsuitable to lead the country at the age of 87 years.
They also speak of Mugabe’s wrangles with his wife Grace over how to
raise their three children, Bona, Robert (Junior) and Chatunga.
Mugabe’s spin doctor, former Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, is
top of the list of Zanu Pf officials implicated in the leaks.
The others include Defence Minister and presidential hopeful, Emmerson
Mnangagwa, vice president John Nkomo, Youth Development and
Indigenisation Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, Vice president Joice Mujuru, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and former Education and Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.
Between 2000 and 2010, these men and women held secret talks with US
embassy officials and discussed the future of the country. All of them
are said to have recommended that Mugabe must go and allow a new man
with fresh ideas and younger blood to take over the reins of power in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe, they said, has destroyed the country’s economy and he is a dictator.
Some of the reports are very damaging indeed and one former US
ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, told his bosses in Washington
in one of the cables that Mugabe had managed to outwit Tsvangirai
because the MDC leader was indecisive and needed a hand to lead him.
Dell said Mugabe was witty and shrewd and could easily manipulate
anyone on the political platform in Zimbabwe.
Most of the people that this writer spoke to in Harare about the
Wikileaks said the reports showed that Mugabe and Tsvangirai did not
have the full support of their close associates.
“I think it is clear that some of Mugabe’s close lieutenants no longer
have faith in him. It is time for him to go,” said a businessman who
declined to be named but said he has defected from Zanu PF to
He said the only way forward for Zimbabwe is to hold fresh elections
and displace Mugabe and his Zanu Pf that has overstayed.
A senior banker in Harare said the banking sector has been destroyed
by Mugabe’s ill advised policies.
“I think the Wikileaks are good because they show Mugabe that nobody
wants him, even his close friends. He must go.”
But a retired school teacher, Samson Piwai, dismissed the Wikileaks
saying they are “fabrications by the US meant to destabilise our
But this writer believes that in all fairness, it is difficult to
imagine that the US embassy staff could be so creative as to fabricate
those in depth reports so laboriously. There are nearly 2900 of those
reports, although not all of them are confined to Zimbabwe.
But it is not Mugabe alone who has food for thought over the cables.
His rival, Tsvangirai, is also shown in bad light by some of his
inner circle in the cables.
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC national organising secretary who is seen as
Tsvangirai’s spin doctor and Obert Gutu, a deputy minister for Justice
and Legal Affairs in the cabinet, are reported to have passed
disparaging remarks about Tsvangirai when they met US embassy
They said their boss was out of his depth and is not a man with
strategy needed for his demanding job.
While the remarks may be true, they are damaging to the party and to the
They also, like those leveled against Mugab
e, are a clear sign of
As if that is not enough, the cables also implicate senior army officers,
Brigadier General Herbert Chingono and Major General Fidelis Satuku
who had disparaging remarks about the Zimbabwean army commander,
They described him a “political general with little military experience and expertise.”
It is not clear yet how Mugabe and Tsvangirai are going to react. But
retribution cannot be ruled out, either in the near future or later
on, as often happens in politics.
It seems that Tsvangirai has given a blind eye to the leaks but two
senior Zanu Pf officials, party spokesman Rugare Gumbo and secretary
for administration, Didymus Mutasa, have called for a meeting to discuss
What boggles the mind is that here we have politicians who during the
day publicly condemn the US government but go out of their way to
hold secret meetings with officials from that country and discuss
delicate issues relating to Zimbabwe.
It remains to be seen how Mugabe will handle this very delicate
political issue as other pressing issues, such as the ongoing
constitution making process, face him head on.