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Ambassador said Zimbabweans are notoriously patient

Full cable:

 

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE1081, MDC OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES NATIONWIDE PROTESTS WEEK

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1081

2003-05-30 10:13

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

301013Z May 03

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001081

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

PARIS FOR C.NEARY

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

NAIROBI FOR T.PFLAUMER

BANGKOK FOR WYN DAYTON

DS/OP/AF

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/29/2008

TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: MDC OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES NATIONWIDE PROTESTS WEEK

OF JUNE 2-6; COULD BE SOONER ACCORDING TO INSIDER

 

REF: A. HARARE 1076

 

B. HARARE 1058

 

Classified By: Political Officer Peggy Blackford for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. The MDC officially announced that protests

including demonstrations would begin June 2 and run

throughout the week. However, in contrast to the official

MDC call for mass action next week, MDC Special Presidential

Advisor Gandi Mudzingwa confided that the party hoped to move

up its timetable, turn out large crowds for short

demonstrations in the high density areas over the weekend,

and avoid confrontations by catching the GOZ off guard. He

indicated that the MDC is now confident that most police and

army are sympathetic to the MDC cause and will remain

neutral. If the demonstrations are a success, the MDC will

simply declare victory on Monday and will mostly limit next

week's action to a stayaway. The MDC hopes that these actions

will sway additional ZANU-PF loyalists to the view that a

negotiated change is essential. So far Mudzingwa is the only

one to suggest that action will begin before that Monday

deadline. Embassy observers will remain alert to reports of

protest over the weekend but are dubious that significant

action will take place before the announced Monday start

date. END SUMMARY

 

2. (U) In an official statement issued May 29, MDC

President Morgan Tsvangirai cited recent political and

economic woes, and the inability of the Mugabe government to

deal with these. He appealed to all Zimbabweans throughout

the country to participate in on-going prayer meetings, and

during the week of June 2 to June 6, to "rise up in your

millions and take part in nationwide peaceful protest marches

for DEMOCRACY and GOOD GOVERNANCE", and to stayaway from work

for the week. He emphasized MDC's commitment to non-violence

and urged protesters to be peaceful even if provoked.

 

3. (C)   PolOffs met Special Presidential Advisor Gandi

Mudzingwa later on May 29 and queried him about specific MDC

plans. Official announcements and conversations with other

MDC officials including MDC president Tsvangirai reported

reftels have implied that demonstrations would take place on

Monday or later next week and would concentrate on the city

center. In contrast, Mudzingwa said that the MDC was adopting

a different strategy which it hoped would demonstrate victory

early. The party hopes to organize demonstrators in Harare

to protest over the weekend rather than waiting until next

week. The demonstrations would take place in the high

density areas, particularly the western suburbs, on Saturday

and Sunday. They would be called at the last minute and

would be kept to perhaps a half a hour so that GOZ would have

to scramble to react. If the police turned out in massive

numbers in one area, the party plans to shift the

demonstration to another location. This is a technique they

used this week at prayer meetings. When the police showed up

to prevent a crowd from gathering, MDC organizers were able

to quickly pass the word and move the meeting to a different

location. If the demonstrations go well, the MDC will

declare victory and limit activities next week in Harare to

primarily a stayaway, though Mudzingwa did not rule out

further demonstrations. Outside of Harare however, protests

are very likely to run into next week. According to

Mudzingwa, the objective of this mass action is to erode the

confidence of ZANU-PF supporters and convince them that the

status quo cannot hold. Asked how these hit and run tactics

would effect press coverage, Mudzingwa expressed confidence

that they had reliable contacts in the press who would be on

hand where needed.

 

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