Whistleblower website, Wikileaks last week released a series of damning leaks, where the MDC reportedly approached the US embassy with the idea that army generals should be granted amnesty as they were seen as the impediment to what the party saw as its rise to power.
It is not clear what Mujuru’s response was although the US embassy also held clandestine meetings with the former army general’s wife, Joice.
The plan goes back to 2000, when the MDC thought it was on its way to a sweeping electoral victory.
A Zimbabwean businessman (name supplied) reportedly offered to talk to Zuma to approach Mujuru with the idea that the former army general could offer at least 10 army generals an exit package to pave way for a peaceful transition.
“The Zimbabwean businessman said that (then) South African vice-president Jacob Zuma owed him a favour and he would call it in, asking the former Umkhonto weSizwe leader to approach Mujuru as a military man and lay out the deal,” read the cables that were dispatched by former US embassy envoy to Zimbabwe Tom Macdonald.
At the time Mujuru had reportedly been taken ill and was in South Africa, where Zuma could have easy access to him. Some of the military men reportedly identified to receive an exit package were the late former army chief Vitalis Zvinavashe, his successor Constantine Chiwenga, Air Force boss, Perence Shiri, a General Mashingaidze and the late Air Marshall Josiah Tungamirayi.
But in the grand scheme, police boss Augustine Chihuri would not have been the beneficiary of an amnesty as he was not seen as being a critical player. “Although the MDC did not believe in granting pre-emptive amnesties, it thought it prudent to extend this olive branch to the ‘people with guns’ in order to mitigate if not completely eliminate the current wave of political violence,” the cable continues.
Mujuru, who died in a mysterious inferno three weeks ago, was viewed as a reformist within Zanu PF, who had the respect of the military. His widow, Joice, the country’s vice president, is also seen as someone who is amenable to working with the opposition and the Mujurus were generally thought to be approachable.
As if to add credence to the Mujurus’ amenability, the American embassy had an informal meeting with Joice, which was not sanctioned by the Foreign Affairs ministry.
The ministry is supposed to sanction all meetings and sends a note taker, but in this instance the meeting was held without approval at an unoccupied house.
US ambassador, Charles Ray who met Joice informally describes her as a businessperson who wants closer ties with the US for economic growth, with the embassy concluding that “we know from other sources that she and her husband would like to see Mugabe move on”.
Ray said the US would seek more meetings with Mujuru so as to gain more insight into Zanu PF, so as to encourage reform. At the time of the amnesty offer, the MDC had raised concern on the safety of it leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, fearing that a known hit man, residing in Mozambique, could have been hired to assassinate him.
“The party thought that it was best for Tsvangirai to leave Zimbabwe for a time and would be sending him to England and the United States on a public relations and fundraising trip,” Macdonald wrote.
The ambassador described the named businessman, who was coordinating the meetings between the embassy and the MDC, as an excitable character, but one who could be relied on in dealing with the MDC.
“We hope the offer is acceptable to the intermediary (Mujuru) and that he in turn is a successful salesman,” Macdonald wrote. There have been numerous reports of the MDC approaching army officers in a bid to have them retreat from politics.
No comment was forthcoming from the MDC-T, with Nelson Chamisa’s phone unavailable for most of the day.
MDC MPs OFFERED SHIRI EXIT PACKAGE TO RESIGN
Former legislators, Tafadzwa Musekiwa and Job Sikhala are reported to have approached Air Force commander Perence Shiri, with an offer for him to resign and accept an exit package. Elton Mangoma is also reported to have made a proposal for the army generals to resign.