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Bikita poll marred by violence

The Bikita West by-election which had been necessitated by the death of Amos Mutongi of the Movement for Democratic Change was marred by violence as the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front went all out to regain the seat it had held before the June 2000 elections.

Most of the violence was being blamed on ZANU-PF and war veterans spearheaded by their leader Chenjerai Hunzvi but the MDC admitted that it had also deployed its youths into the area but insisted they were there to protect their candidate Boniface Pakai.

The United States embassy said given ZANU-PF’s wide range of ham-fisted intimidation and manipulation tactics, it was already a foregone conclusion that it was going to win.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE181, VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION CONTINUE IN ZIMBABWE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE181

2001-01-10 15:04

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.

 

101504Z Jan 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9628

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00181 01 OF 02 101505Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01

L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00   SP-00

IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-02

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /011W

——————B49260 101506Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7977

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000181

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/AID RMCCALL, AA/AFR VDERRYCK, AFR/SA

CPALMA

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00181 01 OF 02 101505Z

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/10/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION CONTINUE IN ZIMBABWE

BY-ELECTION DISTRICT

 

REFTEL: HARARE 7164

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR

REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: THE LEVEL OF VIOLENCE IN BIKITA WEST–

WHERE A SPECIAL PARLIAMENTARY BY-ELECTION WILL BE HELD

JANUARY 13-14 TO FILL A SEAT LEFT VACANT BY THE DEATH OF

THE INCUMBENT–HAS CONTINUED IN RECENT WEEKS AS ZANU-PF

SUPPORTERS STEP UP THEIR INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN. WAR

VETERANS AND ZANU-PF YOUTH CONTINUE TO BEAT UP MDC

SUPPORTERS, WHEREAS THE MDC HAS DEPLOYED ITS OWN YOUTH

TO “PROTECT” ITS CAMPAIGNERS. THE GOVERNMENT OF

ZIMBABWE AND ZANU-PF ARE DOLING OUT LARGESSE IN AN

UNABASHED ATTEMPT TO BUY VOTES. BOTH PARTIES ARE

BRINGING IN HEAVY-HITTERS FROM HARARE TO HOLD RALLIES IN

THE MASVINGO DISTRICT, ACCORDING TO AN MDC ADVISOR.

GIVEN ZANU-PF’S HAM-FISTED TACTICS, AND THE WIDESPREAD

FEAR AMONG THE ELECTORATE, WE WOULD BE SURPRISED IF THE

MDC PULLED OUT A VICTORY HERE. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) OUR CONTACTS HAVE INFORMED US OF NEW INCIDENTS

OF VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION IN BIKITA WEST. AN ADVISOR

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00181 01 OF 02 101505Z

TO MDC CANDIDATE BONIFACE PAKAI, ALEX MUPA, CLAIMED THAT

ON JANUARY 6 A DRIVER FOR MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI (WHO ADDRESSED A CAMPAIGN RALLY THAT

 

SIPDIS

WEEKEND), WAS SEVERELY BEATEN BY A GANG DIRECTED BY WAR

VETERANS LEADER AND ZANU-PF MP FOR CHIKOMBA CHENJERAI

HUNZVI, AND HAD TO BE HOSPITALIZED IN HARARE.

TSVANGIRAI TOLD JOURNALISTS ON JANUARY 10 THAT HUNZVI

 

SIPDIS

HAS BEEN GIVEN “CARTE BLANCHE” TO CARRY OUT A CAMPAIGN

OF TERROR IN THE AREA, WITH THE COMPLICITY OF SOME

POLICE OFFICERS. MUPA ALSO STATED THAT WAR VETERANS, IN

POLICE UNIFORMS, HAVE BEEN VISITING SUSPECTED MDC

SYMPATHIZERS IN THE NIGHT AND THREATENING THEM WITH

DEATH IF THEY VOTE FOR THE MDC, A REPORT CONFIRMED TO US

BY TSVANGIRAI’S RIGHT-HAND MAN, GANDI MUDZINGWA. HE

CLAIMED THAT ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS ARE INFLICTING INJURIES

ON VOTERS’ HANDS SO THAT THEY CANNOT VOTE ON ELECTION

DAY. (NOTE: VOTERS ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE THEIR HANDS

STAMPED WITH INVISIBLE INK AFTER VOTING–IF THEY CANNOT

RECEIVE THE STAMP, THEY ARE DISQUALIFIED FROM VOTING.

END NOTE.) PRISCILLA MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA, MDC MP FOR

GLEN NORAH, TOLD POLOFF THAT SHE SENT TWO STAFF MEMBERS

TO BIKITA JANUARY 7 TO INSPECT THE VOTERS’ ROLLS. THEY

WERE BEATEN WITHIN 24 HOURS OF ARRIVING IN THE DISTRICT,

THE MDC MP ASSERTED. MUPA REPORTED THAT PAKAI’S

CAMPAIGN MANAGER WAS ABDUCTED ON JANUARY 8 AND TAKEN TO

A REMOTE LOCATION WHERE HE WAS BEATEN WITH CLUBS.

 

3. (U) AT A JANUARY 10 PRESS CONFERENCE, TSVANGIRAI

PRESENTED 11 OF 13 MDC SUPPORTERS WHO HE CLAIMED WERE

DETAINED AND TORTURED FOR FIVE DAYS AT BIKITA WEST

POLICE STATION, THEN DROPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00181 01 OF 02 101505Z

IN NEARBY GONAREZHOU GAME PARK, WHICH IS FULL OF LIONS,

RHINO, AND OTHER WILD ANIMALS. TWO OF THE YOUNG MEN HAD

BADLY BRUISED FACES. MUDZINGWA TOLD POLOFF THAT MOST OF

THE ALLEGED VICTIMS DID NOT SHOW EVIDENT SIGNS OF

TORTURE AS THEY HAD BEEN BEATEN ON THE BOTTOMS OF THEIR

FEET. ELEVEN MANAGED TO FIND THEIR WAY OUT, BUT THE

OTHER TWO REMAIN UNACCOUNTED FOR. CALLING THE INCIDENT

“UNPRECEDENTED,” TSVANGIRAI SAID THE ENVIRONMENT IN

BIKITA WAS NOT CONDUCIVE TO A FREE AND FAIR ELECTION.

THE MDC, HOWEVER, WAS DETERMINED NOT TO BOYCOTT THE

VOTE, BECAUSE DOING SO WOULD HAND THE SEAT TO ZANU-PF

AND BECAUSE THEIR SUPPORTERS IN THE AREA HAVE URGED THE

OPPOSITION PARTY TO PRESS ON. TSVANGIRAI STATED THAT

MANY LOCAL RESIDENTS HAD TOLD MDC OFFICIALS THAT THEY

WERE ATTENDING LOCAL ZANU-PF RALLIES OUT OF FEAR OF WHAT

WOULD HAPPEN IF THEY DID NOT, BUT THAT THEY INTENDED TO

CAST THEIR BALLOT FOR THE MDC ON ELECTION DAY.

 

4. (C) ZANU-PF IS ALSO DISPENSING GOVERNMENT LARGESS TO

SKEW THE VOTE IN ITS FAVOR. THE GOVERNMENT REPORTEDLY

HAS OFFERED TO PAY SCHOOL FEES FOR THOSE WHO VOTE FOR

ZANU-PF, AND WE HAVE HEARD A REPORT THAT YOUTH

DEVELOPMENT MINISTER BORDER GEZI HAS DOLED OUT Z$3

MILLION (US$50,000) TO ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS AND POTENTIAL

VOTERS TO SECURE THEIR VOTE FOR ZANU-PF. ACCORDING TO

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9631

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00181 02 OF 02 101505Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01

L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00   SP-00

IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-02

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /011W

——————B4926E 101506Z /38

P 101504Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7978

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000181

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/AID RMCCALL, AA/AFR VDERRYCK, AFR/SA

CPALMA

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00181 02 OF 02 101505Z

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/10/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION CONTINUE IN ZIMBABWE

BY-ELECTION DISTRICT

 

MUPA, THE LOCAL YOUTH ARE RECEIVING BETWEEN Z$1,000 AND

Z$10,000 EACH TO DO EVERYTHING FROM VOTING FOR ZANU-PF

TO BEATING UP MDC SUPPORTERS. MUPA CLAIMED THAT THE

GOVERNMENT HAS ESTABLISHED A NEW RESETTLEMENT AREA IN

THE SAVE CONSERVANCY–WHICH EXTENDS INTO BIKITA–IN

ORDER TO DISTRIBUTE LAND TO THOSE PROMISING TO VOTE FOR

ZANU-PF. HE STATED THAT ZANU-PF IS DRAWING UP A

“SUPPLEMENTAL” VOTERS’ ROLL OF APPROXIMATELY 3,400 NEW

VOTERS–MOSTLY FROM AREAS OUTSIDE BIKITA WEST–WITH THE

COOPERATION OF THE ELECTORAL SUPERVISORY COMMISSION

(ESC). THE ESC ALSO FAILED TO NOTIFY THE MDC OF AN

EARLY JANUARY MEETING WHERE IT ASSIGNED MOSTLY LOCAL

CIVIL SERVANTS, POLICE AND CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

ORGANIZAITON OFFICERS AS PRESIDING OFFICERS TO OVERSEE

THE POLLING STATIONS, ACCORDING TO MUPA.

 

5. (C) DESPITE THE VIOLENCE AND LEVEL OF FEAR AMONG THE

POPULACE, BOTH ZANU-PF AND MDC ARE BRINGING IN THEIR

HEAVY-HITTERS TO CAMPAIGN IN THE DISTRICT. ZANU-PF HAS

BROUGHT IN FOREIGN MINISTER MUDENGE, LOCAL GOVERNMENT

MINISTER CHOMBO, MASVINGO GOVERNOR JOSIAH HUNGWE, YOUTH

DEVELOPMENT MINISTER BORDER GEZI AND OTHERS TO CONDUCT

UP TO FIVE RALLIES A DAY IN THE DISTRICT. MUPA CLAIMED

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00181 02 OF 02 101505Z

THAT THE ZANU-PF RALLIES ARE DRAWING FEWER THAN 200

PEOPLE EACH, AND MOST OF THEM ARE ELDERLY WOMEN–

TRADITIONAL ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS. THE MDC, FOR ITS PART,

HAS SENT VICE-PRESIDENT SIBANDA, SECRETARY-GENERAL

NCUBE, NATIONAL CHAIRMAN MATONGO, 10 MPS AND OTHER

MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE, IN ADDITION TO

TSVANGIRAI’S APPEARANCE LAST WEEKEND. THE MDC HAS HELD

 

SIPDIS

FOUR RALLIES ACROSS THE CONSTITUENCY, ACCORDING TO THE

PARTY’S E-MAIL UPDATE. MUPA CLAIMED THAT ITS RALLIES

HAVE ATTRACTED BETWEEN 500 AND 2,000 PEOPLE EACH.

ACCORDING TO THE MDC’S INFORMAL SURVEYS OF LIKELY

VOTERS, THE MDC WILL WIN THE ELECTION BY 2,500 VOTES

(7,500 FOR MDC AND 5,000 FOR ZANU-PF).

 

6. (C) GANDI MUDZINGWA, TSVANGIRAI’S ADVISOR, SAID THE

DEPLOYMENT OF MDC YOUTH HAS RESTORED A BIT OF STABILITY

TO THE AREA. THESE YOUTH, HOWEVER, HAVE FOCUSED ON

PROTECTING THE MDC CANDIDATE AND THOSE CAMPAIGNING FOR

HIM, LEADING WAR VETERANS AND ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS TO

FOCUS THEIR INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN ON ORDINARY CIVILIANS.

MUDZINGWA WAS DUBIOUS ABOUT WHETHER DEPLOYING MDC YOUTHS

WAS A SUSTAINABLE LONG-TERM STRATEGY, AS IT REQUIRED

“COLOSSAL” RESOURCES, AND THE OPPOSITION PARTY WAS

CURRENTLY IN DESPERATE FINANCIAL STRAITS.

 

7. (C) COMMENT: GIVEN ZANU-PF’S WIDE RANGE OF HAM-

FISTED INTIMIDATION AND MANIPULATION TACTICS, AND OUR

CONTACTS’ REPORTED LEVEL OF PERVASIVE FEAR AMONG VOTERS,

THE ODDS ARE AGAINST THE MDC HOLDING ONTO ITS BIKITA

WEST SEAT IN PARLIAMENT. IT WOULD TAKE A LARGE VOTER

TURNOUT FOR THE MDC TO WIN, AND THAT APPEARS UNLIKELY IN

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00181 02 OF 02 101505Z

THE CURRENT ELECTION CLIMATE. THE MDC’S PROJECTIONS OF

VICTORY ARE A BIT OVEROPTIMISTIC, IN OUR ASSESSMENT,

ESPECIALLY IF IT BELIEVES ONLY 12,500 OUT OF 40,000

ELIGIBLE VOTERS WILL TURN OUT ON ELECTION DAY. THE

MARONDERA WEST BY-ELECTION AND THE JUNE PARLIAMENTARY

ELECTIONS SHOWED THAT LOW VOTER TURNOUTS DO NOT FAVOR

THE MDC, AND SOME OBSERVERS HERE ALREADY ARE CALLING THE

ELECTION A ZANU-PF WIN. END COMMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(10 VIEWS)

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