Mugabe and some Zanu PF hardliners accused Dell of working with the opposition MDC to effect regime change in Zimbabwe. Dell had several confrontations with the Zimbabwe government because of his uncompromising stance on misgovernance and human rights violations.
According to the secret cable made public by WikiLeaks last week, Shamuyarira met with Christopher Dell prior to Zanu PF’s 2006 annual conference. He allegedly speculated that the succession debate would likely be finalised in 2007.
The former information minister suggested that former Finance minister and now leader of Mavambo/Kusile, Simba Makoni, Vice-Presidents Nkomo and Joice Mujuru, the late Vice-President Joseph Msika, and Emmerson Mnangagwa were the most likely candidates to succeed Mugabe.
“Makoni was a serious candidate, although ‘a dark horse’ due to his absence from the political limelight,” Dell wrote in the cable. Shamuyarira dismissed suggestions that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono was also in the running for the presidency.
“Shamuyarira dismissed the ambassador’s suggestion that Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono also appeared to be in the running. Gono was a good performer on economic matters and made ‘good copy,’ according to the former journalist, but he would ‘be massacred’ if he stepped into the political ring,” Dell wrote in the cable.
Zanu PF accuses Americans of trying to recolonise Zimbabwe. Shamuyarira, who has since taken a backseat in Zanu PF politics, was not available for comment. Meanwhile, US Ambassador Charles Ray on Friday attended a dinner to celebrate MDC-T’s 12th birthday celebrations.
Ray mingled with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and other senior MDC-T officials at a city hotel, despite the rancour caused by US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
He however, refused to be interviewed by a journalist from The Standard, referring all the questions to the Public Affairs section of the US embassy.