WikiLeaks: ZANU PF leaders named in 2008 violence
By Tererai Karimakwenda
US Embassy cables released by WikiLeaks have revealed that a ZANU PF Central Committee member told US Ambassador James McGee the names of senior party officials who were responsible for violence during the bloody 2008 presidential election runoff.
According to the cables dated April 2008, Manatsa Mutasa told the ambassador that ZANU PF plotted to intimidate MDC officials and supporters, because they were “disturbed” by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s victory in the March elections.
Mutasa is said to have named the air force Commander Perence Shiri, State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, former Gender and Women’s Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri and former cabinet Minister Kumbirai Kangai as the ZANU PF chefs who incited the worst violence during that period.
It has always been known that the Joint Operations Command (JOC), a grouping of top military and intelligence chefs, was responsible for implementing the violent campaign against any perceived “enemies” of ZANU PF.
But the WikiLeaks cables shed more light into the party’s thinking at the time. They also expose individuals who organized the campaign that killed hundreds of MDC supporters and innocent civilians. Tens of thousands more sustained serious injuries and some are still dying years later from their injuries.
Professor Ken Mufuka, from the Global Zimbabwe Forum said he spoke to senior leaders in ZANU PF during a trip to Zimbabwe this year, and many told him they had no intention of ever giving up power because of an election.
“What surprised me though was Manatsa Mutasa’s naivety in telling such details to an American ambassador,” Mufuka told SW Radio Africa, adding: “This shows the nature of their relationship with America at the time, Mutasa must have felt safe.”
According to the leaked cable Ambassador McGee wrote: “Disillusioned Central Committee member Manatsa Mutasa told us that the politburo recognised MDC Tsvangirai had won 48% of the presidential vote against Mugabe’s 43%.”
Mutasa told McGee that after losing to the MDC, ZANU PF prepared for war “from the politburo level down” and bases and command centres were set up in the bush to be used as “centres of torture and even killing”. He also said the Politburo had approved the invasion of all remaining white-owned farms.
The Professor explained that the more serious WikiLeaks revelation is that Mugabe now knows that most of the people around him have been hypocrites and they want him to go. He said the ageing ZANU PF leader will not retaliate immediately against them. Instead he will wait until they think it’s forgotten, and then strike.