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Bonyongwe says he did not hear Tsvangirai say he wanted to kill Mugabe

The head of the Central Intelligence Organisation Happyton Bonyongwe told the High Court that he did not hear Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai say he wanted to kill, murder or assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

He also said that the chief state witness Ari Ben Menashe lied in a press article concerning the content of the audio tape that was at the centre of the trial.

Bonyongwe, however, said he still believed Ben Menashe’s account because of undisclosed information he had received from unidentified sources.

Bonyongwe was testifying in the 10th week of Tsvangirai’s treason trial.

Tsvangirai was charged together with Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela with plotting to assassinate Mugabe.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE1025, POLICE SEIZE DEFENSE DOCUMENTS, STATE SUPPRESSES

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1025

2003-05-27 06:14

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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001025

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2013

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: POLICE SEIZE DEFENSE DOCUMENTS, STATE SUPPRESSES

EVIDENCE IN THE TSVANGIRAI TREASON TRIAL WEEK TEN

 

REF: A. HARARE 946

B. HARARE 568

C. HARARE 484

D. HARARE 360

E. HARARE 313

F. HARARE 250

 

Classified By: Political Officer Audu Besmer for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

Summary:

——–

 

1. (C) In the tenth week of the treason trial of MDC

President Morgan Tsvangirai, police officers seized a draft

copy of Tsvangirai,s opening testimony from an MDC messenger

sent to deliver it to Tsvangirai. The State presented a

certificate signed by the Minister of State and National

Security Nicholas Goche, exempting the head of the Central

Intelligence Organization, retired Brigadier Happyton

Bonyongwe from answering questions on payments made to Ari

Ben Menashe. Irregularities such as these may in the end aid

the defense in its application for dismissal. End Summary.

 

Police Seize Defense Documents

——————————

 

2. (U) The treason trial of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai,

MDC Secretary General Welshman Ncube, and MDC Shadow Minister

of Agriculture Renson Gasela continued into its tenth week on

May 19. On that day police officers at the High Court

entrance seized a draft copy of Tsvangirai,s opening

testimony from an MDC messenger who was delivering the

document to Tsvangirai from the defense lawyers’ offices. It

was returned after defense attorneys intervened, but the

defense team believes the police made a copy, which if true,

they fear would severely damage their case. The defense team

filed a complaint with the Deputy Attorney General.

 

CIO Witness Reveals Lies

————————

 

3. (U) Only one witness took the stand this week, the head of

the Central Intelligence Organization, retired Brigadier

Happyton Bonyongwe. Bonyongwe admitted that he did not hear

Morgan Tsvangirai say he wanted to kill, murder or

assassinate Mugabe. He also stated that Ben Menashe lied in

a press article concerning the content of the audiotape.

Despite this, Bonyongwe said he believed Menashe,s account

because of undisclosed information his office received from

other unidentified sources.

 

State Suppresses Evidence

————————-

 

4. (U) On May 21, defense attorney George Bizos asked

Bonyongwe to produce vouchers, which Bonyongwe’s office used

to pay Menashe. During cross-examination, Ari Ben Menashe

had said the Central Intelligence Organization had destroyed

vouchers that provided proof of payments the GOZ had made to

him. Bonyongwe confirmed that the vouchers had been

destroyed. Bizos asked Bonyongwe, who had made the decision

to destroy the vouchers, whether or not he had been party to

the destruction. Bonyongwe refused to answer.

 

5. (U) On May 22, the prosecution produced a certificate

signed by Minister of State and National Security, Nicholas

Goche saying that it would not be appropriate for Bonyongwe

to answer questions about the vouchers for reasons of

national security. The prosecution argued that that

information was privileged and told Garwe that Bonyongwe had

prepared an affidavit stating reasons why this information

should not be divulged in open court or in camera.

 

6. (U) Bizos argued the information was of public interest

and had already been referred to previously in the trial.

Bizos said that Garwe could not make a judgment on

information, which had not been shown to the defense team.

Bizos also noted that it was bizarre that the date of

signature on the certificate was the May 20, yet the

questions had only been posed to Bonyongwe on the May 21.

The Deputy Attorney General was quick to state that the date

was a typing error. Justice Garwe said he would reserve

judgment until May 28.

 

7. (U) Attendance in court this week was very low.

 

Comment:

——–

 

8. (C) Continued irregularities like the theft of the

Tsvangirai’s draft testimony, and the intervention by

 

SIPDIS

Minister Goche to suppress evidence point to the difficulties

the defense faces in simply airing relevant evidence, and

preparing their clients for upcoming phases of the trial.

These irregularities are likely to be a double-edged sword

for the GOZ – their flagrance bolsters the defense argument

that the trial is unfair. We still expect the defense team

to move for dismissal in the coming weeks. End Comment.

WHITEHEAD

(24 VIEWS)

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