Karanga coalition could have won in 2008: Wikileaks

Three Zanu (PF) MPs told the United States that a coalition of Karangas from the MDC and Zanu (PF) could win the 2008 elections.

Former US Ambassador Christopher Dell
Former US Ambassador Christopher Dell

According to the latest Wikileaks revelations, Pearson Mbalekwa, Kindness Paradza and Walter Mzembi, told former US Ambassador Christopher Dell over lunch in 2007 that they were “specially distressed over the exclusion of Karanga representation in the presidium”. They told him that 80% of MDC members were Karanga, many of whom would be inclined to link up with Zanu (PF)’s Karanga faction under the right circumstances.

“Remarkably, one suggested that the MDC would win a majority of contested seats in the upcoming election if the opposition was given even four weeks of free and fair access to the electorate. Another conceded that the ruling party’s record of failure left it nothing to run on but an anti-Blair platform,” Dell wrote in his report to the State Department. As predicted, the MDC did indeed win more seats than Zanu (PF) in the 2008 elections, even without free and fair access to the electorate.

Mbalekwa and Paradza are no longer MPs, but Mzembi has since been promoted to Minister of Tourism.

The appointment of Joice Mujuru as Vice President of Zanu (PF) in 2004 had “left wounds that would take a long time to heal”, they told him, saying their party was in crisis with some members saying they had had enough, while others counselled patience.

“The group (the three MPs) and other younger leading members had joined the (then) ruling party to fight from within and chafed over their lack of influence. Everybody was struggling with generational change management with Mugabe, effectively atop the part through a masterly exercise of divide and rule,” wrote Dell.

The MPs were confident that Mugabe would step down as president in 2008 “assuming he had a politburo he trusted”.

Dell also reported: “The group asserted that elements that had contributed and suffered most in the liberation effort, including the Ndebele and Manyika, were not being included sufficiently in the upper echelons of the re-structured party. They made it clear that Mnangagwa was their preferred choice for the presidium.”

Mbalekwa told the Ambassador that Mnangagwa wanted to strengthen relations with the US and Britain, as well as to improve the country’s tarnished investment climate.

“He (Mnangagwa) had cordial relations with the MDC and was responsible for a moderate approach to land reform in his province, Midlands, that spared it from the chaos associated with the rest of the country,” wrote Dell.

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