A cable by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) seen by Reuters states that African leaders wanted President Robert Mugabe to step down because he was an embarrassment.
The cable dated 23 October also says Mugabe spoke to South African President Jacob Zuma about his rivalry with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose sacking prompted the army intervention. In another cable seen by Reuter, intelligence officials had warned Mugabe he would face “fierce resistance from the military” if Mnangagwa was removed. The cable states that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) led by Zuma was pressuring Mugabe to resign and Zuma had suggested offering him a senior African Union.
However, Zuma’s spokesman, Bongani Ngqulunga, dismissed the account as “completely untrue and scandalous”. “President Jacob Zuma did not communicate with President Mugabe about former Vice-President Mnangagwa at all about the issues you mention.”