INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube has accused the United States of a plot to assassinate him after a leaked cable from its former ambassador to Zimbabwe recommended that he be “pushed off stage”.
Ncube said Ambassador Christopher Dell’s 2007 cable, posted on the whistle blower website Wikileaks, showed the United States’ “extensive” and “deep” interference in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs.
As the United States battled to contain the fallout from the leaking of some 251,000 diplomatic communications from 274 embassies, the release of Dell’s classified communication has opened a new diplomatic fault line in Harare.
In it, Dell said Ncube “has proven to be a deeply divisive and destructive player in the opposition ranks”, in the context of the 2005 split in the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Dell, who wanted opposition politicians and civic groups to rally behind Morgan Tsvangirai, added cryptically: “The sooner he is pushed off the stage, the better.”
Ncube said he was in no doubt that Dell was soliciting his assassination.
In an angry telephone outburst from Harare, Ncube stormed: “I’m a politician and my future rests in the hands of voters who can vote for me, or choose not to vote for me.
“But when I lose an election, I don’t leave the stage but continue fighting over ideas. So if Dell is proposing that I be taken off stage, how do you do that without killing me?”
Ncube said he expected correspondence like Dell’s cable from “an ambassador of a fascist state”.
He added: “It is quite surprising and shocking that a country which is supposed to be a leading democracy in the world would behave in the manner in which its ambassador to Harare behaved.
“He was seeking to determine on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe which leaders should lead the country and interfering so extensively and so deeply in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe that he had no problem recommending literally the assassination of leaders the Americans don’t like.
“And their reason for not liking those leaders being that they refused to be part of their politics of puppetry in Zimbabwe.”
No comment was immediately available from US embassy officials in Harare.
Zimbabwe comes 20th out of 274 on the Wikileaks website cable volumes ranking – with more diplomatic chatter than Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The website says over the coming weeks and months, it will release 1,542 classified documents on Zimbabwe, 1,417 unclassified and 39 secret files.