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Army warns journalists

Zimbabwe’s military and security chiefs warned journalists against publishing false reports that discredit the leadership and membership of security organisations saying that any reports and actions designed to create instability in Zimbabwe will be met with the full force of the law.

The chiefs also declared that they would not accept, let alone support or salute anyone without liberation credentials.

“To this end, let it be known that the highest office on the land is a ‘straight jacket’ whose occupant is expected to observe the objectives of the liberation struggle. We will therefore not accept, let alone support or salute anyone with a different agenda that threatens the very existence of our sovereignty,” they said.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 02HARARE90, MEDIA REPORT ARMY WARNS SCRIBES; HARARE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE90

2002-01-10 10:22

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

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

 

101022Z Jan 02

 

 

UNCLASSIFIED     PTQ1152

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00090 101127Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   A-00     ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00   DODE-00

DS-00   EUR-00   UTED-00 VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01

VCE-00   NSAE-00 TEST-00 USIE-00 EPAE-00 IIP-00   DSCC-00

DRL-02   NFAT-00 SAS-00     /003W

——————55C4BE 101128Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0686

INFO NSC WASHDC

AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

AMEMBASSY LUSAKA

AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK

AMEMBASSY GABORONE

AMEMBASSY LILONGWE

AMEMBASSY LONDON

UNCLAS HARARE 000090

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/PD FOR COX, ROBERTSON, SCHLACHTER, AF/S FOR KRAFT, AF/P,

INR/R/MR, NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT ARMY WARNS SCRIBES; HARARE

 

 

1.   ZIMBABWE’S MILITARY AND SECURITY CHIEFS HAVE WARNED

JOURNALISTS WORKING FOR THE INDEPENDENT PRESS AGAINST

PUBLISHING “FALSE REPORTS THAT DISCREDIT THE LEADERSHIP AND

MEMBERSHIP OF SECURITY ORGANIZATIONS.” ADDRESSING

JOURNALISTS IN HARARE ON JANUARY 10, THE COMMANDER OF THE

ZIMBABWE DEFENSE FORCES, GENERAL VITALIS ZVINAVASHE, TOLD

JOURNALISTS IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS THAT “ANY REPORTS AND

ACTIONS DESIGNED TO CREATE INSTABILITY IN ZIMBABWE WILL BE

MET BY THE FULL FORCE OF THE LAW.” THIS WARNING COMES BACK-

TO-BACK WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE MARCH 9 AND 10, 2002

PRESIDENTIAL POLL DATES BY PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE

YESTERDAY (JANUARY 9). AT THE PRESS BRIEFING, ALL THE

SERVICE CHIEFS FROM THE ZIMBABWE NATIONAL ARMY, THE CENTRAL

INTELLIGENCE ORGANIZATION, AIR FORCE OF ZIMBABWE, THE

ZIMBABWE REPUBLIC POLICE AND ZIMBABWE PRISON SERVICES

FLANKED ZVINAVASHE. ALL THE DEFENSE AND SECURITY FORCE

CHIEFS ARE VETERANS OF ZIMBABWE’S WAR OF LIBERATION.

WITHOUT MENTIONING NAMES, THE ARMY CHIEF ALSO TOOK THIS

BIZARRE OPPORTUNITY TO DECLARE THAT THE ZIMBABWE ARMED

FORCES WILL “NOT ACCEPT, LET ALONE SUPPORT OR SALUTE

ANYONE” WITHOUT LIBERATION WAR CREDENTIALS. EXCERPTS OF THE

STATEMENT FOLLOW:

 

2.   “. . .ATTACKS ON INDIVIDUALS BASED ON CONTRIVED

INFORMATION BY THE MEDIA USING SECURITY ORGANIZATION

SYSTEMS BREED MISUNDERSTANDINGS, MISTRUST, DIVISIONS AND

UNDERMINE THE CREDIBILITY OF THE SECURITY ORGANIZATIONS. .

.WHILST IT IS KNOWN THAT MEDIA HOUSES ARE IN BUSINESS, THEY

MUST NOT GENERATE PROFITS OUT OF FALSE REPORTS THAT

DISCREDIT THE LEADERSHIP AND MEMBERSHIP OF SECURITY

ORGANIZATIONS. . .ANY REPORTS AND ACTIONS DESIGNED TO

CREATE INSTABILITY IN ZIMBABWE WILL BE MET BY THE FULL

FORCE OF THE LAW. . .TO THIS END, LET IT BE KNOWN THAT THE

UNCLASSIFIED

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00090 101127Z

HIGHEST OFFICE ON THE LAND IS A ‘STRAIGHT JACKET’ WHOSE

OCCUPANT IS EXPECTED TO OBSERVE THE OBJECTIVES OF THE

LIBERATION STRUGGLE. WE WILL THEREFORE NOT ACCEPT, LET

ALONE SUPPORT OR SALUTE ANYONE WITH A DIFFERENT AGENDA THAT

THREATENS THE VERY EXISTENCE OF OUR SOVEREIGNTY. . . .”

 

3.   THIS STATEMENT HAS ECLIPSED THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DATES. IT IS THE LEAD STORY IN

ALL THE NEWSPAPERS PUBLISHED IN HARARE TODAY (JANUARY

10). THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED DAILY “THE HERALD”

CARRIED THE ARTICLE UNDER HEADLINE “NO TO TRAITORS,”

WITH THE FOLLOWING SUB-TITLE “SERVICE CHIEFS MAKE A

STAND,” ACCOMPANIED BY TWO BULLETIN TITLES “GAINS OF

THE STRUGGLE MUST BE MAINTAINED,” AND “POLLS SHOULD BE

PEACEFUL.” THE INDEPENDENT DAILY “THE DAILY NEWS”

PRINTED THE ARTICLE UNDER HEADLINE “ARMY BACKS MUGABE:

SAYS IT WILL NOT ACCEPT ANYONE WITHOUT LIBERATION WAR

CREDENTIALS.” THE INDEPENDENT WEEKLY “THE FINANCIAL

GAZETTE” CARRIED THE ARTICLE UNDER HEADLINE “ARMY

SHOOTS DOWN TSVANGIRAI.” PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE AND

OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) LEADER

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI ARE THE MAJOR CANDIDATES FOR THE

MARCH PRESIDENTIAL POLL.

 

SULLIVAN

 

UNCLASSIFIED

 

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