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Capital confusion

The Capital Radio case has quickly generated a flurry of conflicting court rulings, orders, summons, complaints, injunctions, warrants and contempt charges.

The confusion started after the Supreme Court’s 22 September ruling that declared unconstitutional the government’s broadcasting monopoly.

After Capital Radio’s operation was shut down, the Information and Home Affairs ministers held a press conference on 5 October at which they blamed the British High Commission for interference in the matter and said “these days of running to the courts will be over soon, very soon.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE5675, CAPITAL RADIO CASE CONFOUNDS COURTS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE5675

2000-10-06 11:21

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.

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7371

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05675 01 OF 02 061121Z

ACTION IRM-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AF-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 CIAE-00 CIP-00

DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   FCC-01   VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00

OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00

P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00

DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00

/010W

——————8E9C33 061122Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7305

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 005675

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PD (COX, ROBERTSON, HOWARD, SANDERS)

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICAN DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

PASS USAID FOR A/AID-RMCCALL, AFR/SA-NNEWMAN, AFR/SD-

DWELLER, AFR/SA-CREINTSMA, AA/AFR-VNEWTON, AND BHR/OTI-

MSCOTT

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/06/10

TAGS: PHUM PGOV ECPS ZI

SUBJECT: CAPITAL RADIO CASE CONFOUNDS COURTS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05675 01 OF 02 061121Z

 

REF: HARARE 5651

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS 1.5

B/D.

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) THE CAPITAL RADIO CASE HAS GENERATED A FLURRY OF

CONFLICTING COURT RULINGS AND ORDERS, PRECIPITATED BY

THE SUPREME COURT’S SEPTEMBER 22 RULING THAT DECLARED

UNCONSTITUTIONAL THE GOVERNMENT’S BROADCASTING MONOPOLY.

AFTER CAPITAL RADIO’S OPERATION WAS SHUT DOWN, THE

INFORMATION AND HOME AFFAIRS MINISTERS HELD A PRESS

CONFERENCE ON OCTOBER 5 IN WHICH THEY BLAMED THE BRITISH

HIGH COMMISSION FOR INTERFERENCE IN THIS MATTER AND SAID

“THESE DAYS OF RUNNING TO THE COURTS WILL BE OVER SOON,

VERY SOON.” THE GOVERNMENT’S ACTIONS IN THIS CASE

CONFIRM THAT IT WILL DO ALL IT CAN, LIKELY INCLUDING

IGNORING COURT RULINGS, TO MAINTAIN ITS CONTROL OVER THE

AIRWAVES, THE PREDOMINANT SOURCE OF NEWS IN RURAL AREAS,

ZANU-PF’S TRADITIONAL BASE OF SUPPORT. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) THE CAPITAL RADIO CASE HAS QUICKLY GENERATED A

FLURRY OF CONFLICTING COURT RULINGS, ORDERS, SUMMONS,

COMPLAINTS, INJUNCTIONS, WARRANTS AND CONTEMPT CHARGES.

EVEN IF THERE ARE NO MORE NEW CHARGES, IT WILL TAKE

MONTHS TO SORT OUT THE LEGAL TANGLE SURROUNDING CAPITAL

RADIO AND BROADCASTING IN ZIMBABWE.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05675 01 OF 02 061121Z

3. (SBU) HERE IS A LIST OF THE LEGAL ACTIONS THAT HAVE

ACCRUED IN THE LAST DAY AND A HALF:

 

— A SEARCH WARRANT GRANTED TO POLICE ON OCTOBER 4 BY A

HARARE MAGISTRATE GIVING THE FORCE PERMISSION TO SEARCH

FOR AND SEIZE BROADCASTING EQUIPMENT BEING OPERATED BY

CAPITAL RADIO. NOTE: MINISTER OF INFORMATION JONATHAN

MOYO CLAIMS THIS WARRANT EXISTS, BUT ITS TIMING, BASIS

AND COVERAGE ARE VAGUE. END NOTE.

 

— A RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST THE POLICE, TO PREVENT

THEIR SEIZURE OF BROADCASTING EQUIPMENT BEING OPERATED

BY CAPITAL RADIO. THIS ORDER WAS ISSUED BY HIGH COURT

JUDGE ISHMAEL CHATIKOBO AT ABOUT 1700 ON OCTOBER 4.

 

— A SUMMONS ISSUED BY HIGH COURT JUDGE ISHMAEL

CHATIKOBO ON OCTOBER 5 TO POLICE COMMISSIONER AUGUSTINE

CHIHURI AND ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER LIBERMAN NDLOVU. THE

POLICE OFFICIALS ARE BEING SUMMONED TO SHOW CAUSE WHY

THEY SHOULD NOT BE HELD IN CONTEMPT OF COURT FOR THEIR

OCTOBER 4 REFUSAL TO ABIDE BY THE COURT ORDER BARRING

THEM FROM SEARCHING CAPITAL RADIO’S PREMISES.

 

— A FORMAL COMPLAINT LODGED BY INFORMATION MINISTER

JONATHAN MOYO AGAINST THE HIGH COURT FOR THE OCTOBER 4

ISSUANCE OF THE ORDER BARRING POLICE FROM SEARCHING

CAPITAL RADIO’S PREMISES.

 

— AN OCTOBER 5 COURT RULING FROM HIGH COURT JUSTICE

ELIZABETH GWAUNZA THAT THE SECTIONS OF THE RADIO

COMMUNICATIONS ACT CITED BY POLICE AS LEGAL

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 05675 01 OF 02 061121Z

JUSTIFICATION FOR THEIR RAID ON CAPITAL RADIO HAVE NO

APPLICATION TO BROADCASTING AND THAT, THEREFORE, CAPITAL

RADIO HAS NOT BROKEN ANY LAW.

 

— ANOTHER OCTOBER 5 RULING FROM JUSTICE GWAUNZA THAT

THE POLICE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY RETURN ALL OF THE SEIZED

EQUIPMENT TO CAPITAL RADIO.

 

— AN OCTOBER 5 RULING FROM JUSTICE GWAUNZA THAT,

CONTRARY TO THE BROADCASTING REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

ANNOUNCED BY THE GOVERNMENT ON OCTOBER 4, THE POSTS AND

TELECOMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION (PTC), NOT MINISTER MOYO,

HAS SOLE AUTHORITY TO ALLOCATE BROADCAST FREQUENCIES.

 

— AND, FINALLY, AN OCTOBER 5 ORDER BY JUSTICE GWAUNZA

THAT THE PTC INSPECT CAPITAL RADIO’S EQUIPMENT AND

BROADCAST SITE, AND ISSUE THE STATION A FREQUENCY WITHIN

10 DAYS.

 

4. (C) ALL OF THIS WAS PRECIPITATED BY THE SEPTEMBER 22

SUPREME COURT RULING THAT DECLARED ZIMBABWE’S

BROADCASTING LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

 

5. (C) IN SIDESHOW ACTIVITY, MINISTER MOYO AND HOME

AFFAIRS MINISTER JOHN NKOMO HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE ON

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7372

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05675 02 OF 02 061122Z

ACTION IRM-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AF-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 CIAE-00 CIP-00

DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   FCC-01   VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00

OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00

P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00

DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00

/010W

——————8E9C41 061122Z /38

O 061121Z OCT 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7306

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 005675

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PD (COX, ROBERTSON, HOWARD, SANDERS)

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICAN DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

PASS USAID FOR A/AID-RMCCALL, AFR/SA-NNEWMAN, AFR/SD-

DWELLER, AFR/SA-CREINTSMA, AA/AFR-VNEWTON, AND BHR/OTI-

MSCOTT

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/06/10

TAGS: PHUM PGOV ECPS ZI

SUBJECT: CAPITAL RADIO CASE CONFOUNDS COURTS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05675 02 OF 02 061122Z

 

OCTOBER 5 TO DISCUSS THE CAPITAL RADIO CASE. DURING THE

CONFERENCE THEY LAMBASTED THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION IN

HARARE FOR “INTERFERENCE,” CITING THE HIGH COMMISSION’S

INQUIRIES TO POLICE ABOUT THE ACTIONS BEING TAKEN

AGAINST GERRY JACKSON, A BRITISH CITIZEN CO-OWNER OF

CAPITAL RADIO. MOYO AND NKOMO ALSO SAID THAT THEY WOULD

BE INVESTIGATING THE CROWNE PLAZA (HOLIDAY INN) HOTEL’S

COMPLICITY IN THE CAPITAL RADIO’S OPERATION (THE

MAKESHIFT STUDIO AND ANTENNA WERE LOCATED AT THIS HOTEL)

AND ANY LAWS THE STATION MAY HAVE VIOLATED BY TAPPING

INTO THE HOTEL’S CLOSED-CIRCUIT MUSIC SYSTEM. MOYO AND

NKOMO ALSO MUTTERED DARKLY ABOUT THE ROLE OF THE COURTS.

MOYO SAID THAT IT WAS “…RIDICULOUS THAT POLICE SHOULD

HAVE TO RUN TO THE COURTS FOR PERMISSION TO PROTECT

NATIONAL SECURITY.” NKOMO ADDED, “…THESE DAYS OF

RUNNING TO THE COURTS WILL BE OVER SOON, VERY SOON.”

 

COMMENT

——-

 

6. (C) CAPITAL RADIO HAS BEEN VERY CAREFUL TO ENSURE

THAT IT OPERATES CONSISTENT WITH ZIMBABWEAN LAW, AND

BEGAN TO BROADCAST ONLY AFTER A SEPTEMBER 22 SUPREME

COURT RULING THAT THE GOVERNMENT’S MONOPOLY ON THE

AIRWAVES WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. HOWEVER, INFORMATION

MINISTER MOYO INSISTED THAT THE SUPREME COURT RULING DID

NOT OBVIATE THE NEED FOR A LICENSE AND ALLOCATION OF A

FREQUENCY, WHICH ONLY THE GOVERNMENT COULD ISSUE, AND

ENACTED NEW REGULATIONS AFTER CAPITAL RADIO BEGAN ITS

BROADCASTS. THE POLICE CLOSURE OF CAPITAL RADIO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05675 02 OF 02 061122Z

CONFIRMS THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL DO ALL IT CAN TO

MAINTAIN ITS CONTROL OVER THE AIRWAVES, THE RURAL

POPULATION’S PREDOMINANT SOURCE OF NEWS AND INFORMATION.

THE GOZ IS TOTALLY PARANOID THAT IF AN INDEPENDENT RADIO

STATION IS ABLE TO BROADCAST TO RURAL AREAS, THE MDC

WILL GET A STRONG FOOTHOLD IN AREAS THAT TRADITIONALLY

SUPPORT ZANU-PF. WE EXPECT THE LEGAL WRANGLING TO

CONTINUE, BUT THE OCTOBER 5 STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS MOYO

AND NKOMO ARE A CLEAR SIGNAL THAT THE GOZ INTENDS TO

IGNORE SUBSEQUENT COURT RULINGS THAT ARE INIMICAL TO ITS

INTERESTS IN THIS CASE. END COMMENT.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(48 VIEWS)

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