Zanu (PF) politburo member, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, was quoted by the whistle blowing website, in its latest cables, that he told US embassy officials in Harare that “Mugabe respects and fears Mujuru”.
Mujuru died mysteriously in an unexplained inferno last year.
He added: “Mujuru is also now independently wealthy, which gives him a freedom for manoeuvre that those whose livelihoods depend on ruling party beneficence do not have.”
Ndlovu told the US not to paint everyone in Zanu (PF) with one brush because there were moderates like himself who were trying to push for positive change.
He said the problem was that the hardliners had an upper hand.
“The one prominent exception is retired general Solomon Mujuru, who recently asked Mugabe during a Politburo meeting when he planned to step down.”
Asked why politburo members, who disagreed with Zanu (PF) policies did not resign, Ndlovu, who was surprised by the question, said anyone who tried to resign would face very negative consequences.
Ndlovu described himself as a “voice of moderation” who tries to restrain the worst excesses of party hardliners.
“The politburo is full of aspiring individuals who want their own chance at the top job,” Ndlovu said. “Two options have been discussed informally among like-minded members. The first is to somehow invoke the section of the draft constitution rejected in 2000 creating the position of prime minister.”
He said creation of such a post, giving it executive powers, and making the presidency a largely ceremonial position would be one way to preserve Mugabe’s ego.
During the discussions Ndlovu stressed several times it was important to provide Mugabe with a safe package which protected him from prosecution and allowed him to live out his remaining years in Zimbabwe.
He said the second possibility, under informal consideration, was to engineer the appointment of two young, vigorous vice-presidents.
Ndlovu described Emmerson Mnangagwa as a hardliner through and through who had little politburo support, due primarily to his ruthlessness.
Asked whether there was anyone the politburo would endorse as the next President, Ndlovu named Sydney Sekeramayi.
In his commentary, former US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Joseph Sullivan described Ndlovu, a youthful-looking Ndebele who was a “shameless self-promoter.”
He said his contributions to Zimbabwe’s nation-building and educational system were painful to endure.
“Both of Ndlovu’s succession scenarios are problematic,” Sullivan said. “The move to ceremonial president does not address the issue of whether the autocratic Mugabe would continue to dictate policy behind the scenes. Nomination of two young vice presidents can occur only if Mugabe concurs, and would face strong resistance from Mnangagwa and other hard-liners unless they were the anointed successors.”
Sullivan added: “Ndlovu’s scenarios sound to us more like wishful thinking than the likely way ahead.