INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Death of Vice-President Muzenda

Published: Mon 22 Sep 2003 12:14 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 001931
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
AF/S FOR DELISI, RAYNOR
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: DEATH OF VICE-PRESIDENT MUZENDA
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED
1. (U) The GOZ officially announced the passing on September
20 of Vice-President Simon Muzenda. The death of the
81-year-old ZANU-PF Politburo member from Masvingo province,
who had been critically ill for weeks, was not unexpected.
Government sources announced publicly that the Politburo will
meet September 21 to finalize a burial date but have said
nothing about a replacement.
2. (SBU) COMMENT: The Constitution commits the appointment
of the country's two vice-presidents (Joseph Msika is the
other) to the President. In making such an appointment,
Mugabe would have to weigh carefully the various and
potentially fragile geographic, ethnic, and tribal balances
within the party. No candidate appears to address relevant
balances satisfactorily and making an appointment in the near
term could complicate evolving succession plans within the
party. Accordingly, with the Party Congress less than three
months away, Mugabe is unlikely to be in a hurry to fill the
slot. Reported efforts by the party to begin disciplinary
hearings against Eddison Zvobgo, a ZANU-PF luminary from
Masvingo who broke ranks with the leadership in recent years,
may signal party anxieties about rank-and-file loyalties in
the late Vice-President's backyard.
SULLIVAN
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