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Vice President Joice Mujuru met USA Ambassador to Zimbabwe at secret location unknown to ClO bodyguards
Exactly twenty months before the death of her husband, Vice President Joice Mujuru met the United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe in a secret location unknown to her Central Intelligence bodyguards, a Wikileaks cable states.
Joice Mujuru met US ambassador Charles Ray in an exclusive meeting on the outskirts of Harare on the 16th December 2009, a date which falls exactly twenty months before her husband’s untimely death which was on the 16th August 2011.
The meeting was held 3 days after ZANU PF’s heated national congress and was to be kept private. No CIOs were present and Joice Mujuru also doubled also as a hospitality matron:
“The Vice President had managed to shed all of her (presumably CIO-infiltrated) security. She herself poured tea. The meeting was friendly and respectful; at the end Mujuru said she would like to meet again and continue the conversation…” the leaked cable reveals.
“Mujuru…wanted to ensure that the meeting with the U.S. ambassador was private and undisclosed,” a statement reads. Mujuru agreed to the meeting, overriding government regulated foreign affairs protocols and Ambassador Ray is quoted stating:
“ZANU-PF government officials normally will not meet with us unless a request has been made to the MFA. The MFA then schedules the meeting and sends a note taker. Through a Mujuru advisor, David Butau, we requested an informal meeting to better establish a relationship and facilitate an exchange of views”
Mujuru’s middleman David Butau is a marked man in ZANU PF having been targetted for externalisation of fund crimes afterwhich he was only saved by his association with Mujuru. He is reported to be an enemy of Emmerson Mnangagwa and has shares with Joice Mujuru in a joint venture that runs by the name Dande Holdings.
FULL TEXT of the Charles Ray meeting
In an informal and introductory meeting which circumvented Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) protocol, the Ambassador and Vice President Joice Mujuru discussed sanctions, the Global Political Agreement (GPA), and ZANU-PF.
Mujuru hewed to the party line on sanctions, claiming that sanctions on institutions were hurting ordinary Zimbabweans. The Ambassador responded that the U.S. was looking for progress on the GPA as a predicate to lifting these sanctions. On the GPA, Mujuru maintained that ZANU-PF had made significant concessions; the most critical outstanding issue was sanctions. Without separating herself from President Robert Mugabe, Mujuru said that new and younger leadership was entering ZANU-PF and the party would gradually evolve. The meeting was friendly and, at a minimum, opened up a channel of communication. END SUMMARY.
2. ZANU-PF government officials normally will not meet with us unless a request has been made to the MFA. The MFA then schedules the meeting and sends a note taker. Through a Mujuru advisor, David Butau, we requested an informal meeting to better establish a relationship and facilitate an exchange of views. Three days after the conclusion of the ZANU-PF Congress, Mujuru agreed to a meeting, but it was only at the last minute that logistics were arranged. Mujuru, who is acting president while Mugabe is in Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, wanted to ensure that the meeting with the U.S. ambassador was private and undisclosed.
3. The meeting took place in an unoccupied house owned by Mujuru on the outskirts of Harare. The affluent and powerful are not immune from frequent Harare power cuts, and the neighborhood was dark. While the house had electricity, irregular power had shorted most of the lights. We were met by a Mujuru employee who led us through darkened grounds to an unfurnished living room (except for chairs and a plasma television) where Mujuru and Butau were waiting. The Vice President had managed to shed all of her (presumably CIO-infiltrated) security. She herself poured tea. The meeting was friendly and respectful; at the end Mujuru said she would like to meet again and continue the conversation.
4. Not surprisingly, Mujuru began the discussion with sanctions. She argued that while she and others were targets, they were not hurt. Rather, ordinary Zimbabweans were suffering as a result of sanctions on institutions such as ZB Bank and Agribank, which had historically provided loans to small businessmen and farmers. Now, because of sanctions, they were illiquid and could not lend. The Ambassador acknowledged that sanctions were an emotional and pervasive issue. There might be a willingness in Washington to look at non-personal sanctions, but this was not a one-sided process. With progress on GPA issues, the U.S. would consider responding. How did she see progress, the Ambassador asked?
5. Mujuru stated that the most critical GPA issue was Q5. Mujuru stated that the most critical GPA issue was sanctions. ZANU-PF thought that by signing the GPA and agreeing to a government with the MDC it had given more than the MDC. The MDC had made a number of unhelpful “pronouncements.” At various times, according to Mujuru, it had urged Zimbabwe’s neighbors to withhold electricity and fuel. It had asked western countries to maintain personal sanctions. ZANU-PF officials, according to Mujuru, were becoming “unsettled” and wanted to see MDC movement on sanctions. (COMMENT: The Ambassador noted that the MDC could not remove sanctions — this was up to western governments — and Mujuru did not dispute this. But she wanted the MDC to cease its “pronouncements.” We expect an announcement on December 21 by the GPA principals on GPA issues that have been resolved, probably commissions and the appointment of governors, and it would not be surprising for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at that time to suggest that at least some non-personal sanctions be removed.
6. Mujuru continued that there was a distinction between politics and government. While efforts were on going to resolve political differences, the government was making progress. A bill to limit the powers of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s governor was close to passage, and Zimbabwe had just signed a bilateral investment treaty with South Africa. She pleaded for U.S. help to restore Zimbabwe’s economy.
7. After commenting that the U.S. was providing substantial assistance (food and medical) to the people of Zimbabwe, the Ambassador replied that, sanctions or no sanctions, Zimbabwe could begin to regrow its economy. This would require restoring external and internal confidence — investors needed to know there was security of contracts and no excessive government interference in the economy. In other words, businesses would accept economic risk, but it was necessary to remove political risk.
8. Turning to politics, Mujuru said the ZANU-PF old guard was giving way to “young blood.” She noted that she (55 years old) and new Party Chair Simon Khaya Moyo (64 years old) are on the younger side and form one half of the ZANU-PF presidium (along with Mugabe and new vice president John Nkomo). The presidium would be together for five years. Mujuru concluded, “Let’s work together.”
9. While Mujuru is inculcated with ZANU-PF ideology, evidenced by her views on sanctions, she and her husband, General Solomon Mujuru, are business people who understand that a friendlier and more stable business environment requires political change. She also would like better relations with the U.S. which she views as essential for Zimbabwe’s economic growth. This no doubt motivated her desire for a non-official meeting with the Ambassador immediately after the ZANU-PF Congress. The fact that she was impelled to have a clandestine meeting is reflective of the power of Mugabe and hard-liners and the fear they engender. It also shows the weakness of the party, in that it will not tolerate its second highest ranking official having a private meeting with the U.S. ambassador. (Tsvangirai had no qualms about informally and openly meeting the Ambassador. Ref A.)
10. Because of her gender, Mujuru is an unlikely successor to Mugabe (Ref B). But she occupies a prominent position in ZANU-PF and will likely be part of the power structure after Mugabe. We know from other sources that she and her husband would like to see Mugabe move on. She was cautious in her first meeting with the Ambassador, but we will pursue the relationship both to gain insights into ZANU-PF and to encourage reform efforts. ENDS
The Wikileaks revelation of Mujuru’s meeting with the US envoy, a perceived ZANU PF enemy may shake her position in the government and in her ZANU party.
Joice Mujuru lost her husband on the 16th August last month and a suspicious house fire was blamed for the death. Despite the government’s claim that the death was an accident, Mujuru has queried a number of facts:
“The farm workers were still trying to put out the fire. The Fire Brigade had been called when I got there. The workers said they called the Fire Brigade an hour plus earlier and they hadn’t been at the farm,” she said.
The Fire Brigade later arrived without water. Mujuru’s remains – a heap of bones and ashes – were recovered near a door several hours later when the flames were extinguished.
But Mujuru has questioned why General Mujuru, who had been drinking with friends at the nearby Beatrice Motel the night before, opted to run for the door of the 14-roomed property when he could have used the bedroom window.
“The [bedroom] set-up had two western big windows, so if you want to come out you just jump. Our little kids used to jump and we used to laugh about it. It was closer to come out through the window than the door,” she said.
“I suppose if they were to give us something satisfying it would make my heart rest,” Mujuru said, adding:
“We are anxiously waiting for the police to finish their investigations. They have invited all the experts they could find to look at what could have happened.”
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