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Government crack down on MDC after murder of Cain Nkala

There was a government crackdown on the Movement for Democratic Change in Bulawayo following the murder of war veterans leader Cain Nkala. The government accused the party of being responsible for the murder.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube rejected the allegations as “utter rubbish,” while MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai expressed sympathy to the war veteran’s family and urged the police to arrest the real perpetrators.

The body of Cain Nkala, chairman of the Bulawayo War Veterans Association, was found in a shallow grave 40 km southwest of Bulawayo.

Nkala was abducted from his home by ten men reportedly armed with AK-47’s after a struggle in which he and his wife were injured.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE3400, WAR VETERAN MURDER SPARKS GOZ CRACKDOWN ON MDC AND UNREST

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE3400

2001-11-14 14:55

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.

 

141455Z Nov 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5448

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03400 01 OF 03 141547Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   AID-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 EB-00   VC-00

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

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

P-00     SP-00   SS-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 T-00     USIE-00

PMB-00   PRM-00   DRL-02   G-00     SAS-00     /007W

——————3E2249 141547Z /02

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0273

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 003400

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

BRUSSELS ALSO FOR USEU

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 11/14/11

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: WAR VETERAN MURDER SPARKS GOZ CRACKDOWN ON MDC AND UNREST

IN BULAWAYO

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF MATT HARRINGTON. REASONS:

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03400 01 OF 03 141547Z

1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS HAVE BLAMED THE MURDER OF A SENIOR WAR

VETERAN IN BULAWAYO ON THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC)

AND HAS MOVED TO ARREST A NUMBER OF PARTY OFFICIALS. MDC

SECRETARY-GENERAL WELSHMAN NCUBE REJECTED THE ALLEGATIONS AS

 

SIPDIS

“UTTER RUBBISH,” WHILE MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI EXPRESSED

SYMPATHY TO THE WAR VETERAN’S FAMILY AND URGED THE POLICE TO

ARREST THE REAL PERPETRATORS. MDC MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT DAVID

COLTART IS CONVINCED THE GOVERNMENT IS TRYING TO FRAME HIM FOR THE

MURDER, FEARS THAT HIS LIFE IS IN DANGER, AND ASKED THE USG TO

TELL THE GOZ THAT WE WILL HOLD IT RESPONSIBLE IF ANYTHING HAPPENS

TO COLTART OR OTHER MDC OFFICIALS. (WE ARE MAKING THIS POINT TO

THE GOVERNMENT TODAY.) WE ARE CONCERNED THAT THE GOVERNMENT’S

INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC AND WIDESPREAD ARRESTS OF MDC OFFICIALS

COULD SPARK UNREST IN BULAWAYO.   END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) THE BODY OF CAIN NKALA, CHAIRMAN OF THE BULAWAYO WAR

VETERANS ASSOCIATION, WAS FOUND IN A SHALLOW GRAVE 40 KM SOUTHWEST

OF BULAWAYO ON NOVEMBER 13. NKALA HAD BEEN ABDUCTED FROM HIS HOME

ON NOVEMBER 5 BY TEN MEN REPORTEDLY ARMED WITH AK-47’S AFTER A

STRUGGLE IN WHICH HE AND HIS WIFE WERE INJURED. AT THE TIME OF

HIS ABDUCTION, NKALA WAS FACING CHARGES IN THE JUNE 2000

DISAPPEARANCE OF PATRICK NABANYAMA, THE POLLING AGENT FOR MDC

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT DAVID COLTART, WHOSE BODY HAS NEVER BEEN

FOUND. COLTART TOLD US, HOWEVER, THAT NKALA SEEMED TO HAVE

EXPERIENCED A CHANGE OF HEART IN RECENT WEEKS, AS HE WAS ASSISTING

WHITE COMMERCIAL FARMERS IN MEDIATING DISPUTES ON THEIR PROPERTIES

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03400 01 OF 03 141547Z

AND MAY HAVE REVEALED TO A JOURNALIST THE WHEREABOUTS OF

NABANYAMA’S BODY.

 

OMINOUS GOVERNMENT RHETORIC

—————————

 

3. (U) THE WEEK-AND-A-HALF BETWEEN NKALA’S ABDUCTION AND THE

DISCOVERY OF HIS BODY WAS MARKED BY OMINOUS STATEMENTS FROM

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. IN INFLAMMATORY REMARKS ON A NATIONAL NEWS

BROADCAST ON NOVEMBER 13, MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS JOHN NKOMO

BLAMED THE MDC’S LEADERSHIP FOR THE MURDER. PRIOR TO THE

DISCOVERY OF THE BODY, HARARE WAR VETERAN LEADER JOSEPH CHINOTIMBA

CALLED THE ABDUCTION A “DECLARATION OF WAR.” VICE-PRESIDENT MSIKA

THREATENED VIOLENCE AGAINST THOSE RESPONSIBLE, VOWING THAT “IF

THEY ARE LOOKING FOR A BLOODBATH THEY WILL CERTAINLY GET IT.”

OBERT MPOFU, GOVERNOR OF MATABELELAND NORTH PROVINCE, IN WHICH

BULAWAYO IS LOCATED, BLAMED A “THIRD FORCE” OF FORMER RHODESIAN

TROOPS, WHICH HE SAID WAS WORKING TO DESTABILIZE THE GOVERNMENT.

A SENIOR ZANU-PF PROVINCIAL OFFICIAL URGED THAT WAR VETERANS BE

ARMED SO THAT THEY COULD PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST FURTHER

ABDUCTIONS.   SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE ZIMBABWE NATIONAL WAR

VETERANS ASSOCIATION ANDY MHLANGA CLAIMED THAT NKALA WAS KIDNAPPED

BY MDC SUPPORTERS AND SAID, SINCE WAR VETERANS ARE “GOOD” AT WAR,

THE OPPOSITION PARTY “SHOULD NOT BLAME US FOR WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.”

 

CRACKDOWN ON MDC

—————-

 

4. (C) THE THREATENING STATEMENTS HAVE BEEN ACCOMPANIED BY

WIDESPREAD ARRESTS OF MDC OFFICIALS, POLICE RAIDS OF THE PARTY’S

OFFICES IN HARARE AND BULAWAYO AND OF THE HOUSES OF MDC LEADERS,

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03400 01 OF 03 141547Z

AND VIOLENT ANTI-MDC DEMONSTRATIONS BY WAR VETERANS. TWO DAYS

AFTER NKALA’S ABDUCTION, MORE THAN 75 HEAVILY-ARMED POLICE SPENT

SEVERAL HOURS COMBING THE MDC’S HEADQUARTERS IN BULAWAYO IN WHAT

THEY SAID WAS A SEARCH FOR NKALA. ON NOVEMBER 10, A GROUP OF 100

WAR VETERANS TRIED TO GAIN ENTRY TO THE MDC’S HARARE HEADQUARTERS.

PREVENTED FROM DOING SO, THEY SPENT AN HOUR OUTSIDE ASSAULTING

PEOPLE ENTERING AND LEAVING THE BUILDING, AND DAMAGING THE VEHICLE

OF THE PARTY’S NATIONAL SPOKESMAN LEARNMORE JONGWE. SIX POLICE

OFFICERS WHO WERE STATIONED OUTSIDE THE BUILDING, ACCORDING TO A

SENIOR MDC OFFICIAL, DID NOTHING TO CONTROL THE CROWD UNTIL IT

DISPERSED ON ITS OWN. ON NOVEMBER 12, POLICE ATTEMPTED TO SEARCH

THE HARARE OFFICES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL WELSHMAN NCUBE AND

NATIONAL COORDINATOR ISAAC MAPOSA, BUT THEY LEFT WHEN NCUBE, A

PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, INSISTED THAT THEY PRODUCE A

SEARCH WARRANT.

 

5. (C) ACCORDING TO MDC INFORMATION OFFICER NKANYISO MAQEVA, AT

LEAST TEN MDC OFFICIALS OF VARYING RANKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES HAVE

BEEN ARRESTED DURING THE PAST WEEK. IT IS DIFFICULT, MAQEVA SAID,

TO GET DETAILS ON ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN ARRESTED, AS POLICE ARE

REFUSING TO PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION AND, IN MOST CASES, HAVE

BLOCKED ACCESS TO LEGAL COUNSEL. THE POLICE SEEM TO BE TARGETTING

MDC LEADERS IN BULAWAYO, ALTHOUGH TWO PARTY OFFICIALS FROM THE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5453

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03400 02 OF 03 141547Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   AID-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 EB-00   VC-00

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

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

P-00     SP-00   SS-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 T-00     USIE-00

PMB-00   PRM-00 DRL-02   G-00     SAS-00     /007W

——————3E225A 141547Z /02

O 141455Z NOV 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0274

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 003400

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

BRUSSELS ALSO FOR USEU

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 11/14/11

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: WAR VETERAN MURDER SPARKS GOZ CRACKDOWN ON MDC AND UNREST

IN BULAWAYO

 

HARARE AREA WERE ARRESTED EARLY IN THE MORNING OF NOVEMBER 14 — A

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03400 02 OF 03 141547Z

DISTRICT SECRETARY FROM THE NEARBY TOWN OF CHITUNGWIZA AND A YOUTH

LEADER FROM THE HIGH-DENSITY SUBURB OF ST. MARY’S. NOMA

NABANYAMA, THE DAUGHTER OF PATRICK, WAS REPORTEDLY DETAINED ON

NOVEMBER 12 AND HELD OVERNIGHT BY POLICE, WHO SEIZED HER PASSPORT

AND ACCUSED HER OF LYING ABOUT HER FATHER’S DISAPPEARANCE. IN THE

LAST TWO DAYS, THE HOUSES OF MDC NATIONAL TREASURER, FLETCHER

DULINI, AND THE PARTY’S BULAWAYO ADMINSTRATOR, ZWELITHINI

MSIMANGA, WERE SEARCHED WITHOUT WARRANTS.

 

MDC REACTION

————

 

6. (C) SECRETARY-GENERAL WELSHMAN NCUBE REJECTED ALLEGATIONS THAT

THE MDC WAS BEHIND NKALA’S MURDER AS “UTTER RUBBISH.” IN A

CONVERSATION WITH US, HE SAID THE PARTY’S ENTIRE PROVINCIAL

EXECUTIVE IN BULAWAYO HAS GONE INTO HIDING, AS HAVE TWO MDC CITY

COUNCILLORS WHOSE HOUSES WERE DAMAGED BY WAR VETERANS WHO WENT ON

A RAMPAGE THE NIGHT OF NOVEMBER 13. HE CONDEMNED WHAT HE CALLED

THE GOVERNMENT’S SELECTIVE APPLICATION OF THE LAW, AND POINTED OUT

THAT AT LEAST SEVEN DETAINED MDC MEMBERS HAVE NOT BEEN BROUGHT TO

COURT WITHIN THE 48-HOUR TIME PERIOD REQUIRED BY ZIMBABWEAN LAW.

MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI ISSUED A STATEMENT EXPRESSING

SYMPATHY FOR THE NKALA FAMILY, CALLING ON THE POLICE TO FIND THE

“REAL PERPETRATORS OF THIS CALLOUS CRIMINAL OFFENSE,” AND

CONDEMNING MINISTER NKOMO’S NOVEMBER 13 REMARKS AS INTENDED “TO

WHIP UP EMOTIONS AND EXPLOIT POLITICALLY” NKALA’S DEATH. THE MDC

HAS URGED THAT THE DETAINEES BE PLACED IN A LINEUP FOR

IDENTIFICATION BY MRS. NKALA, SINCE SHE WITNESSED THE ABDUCTION,

BUT MDC INFORMATION OFFICER NKANYISO MAQEVA TOLD US THAT THE

POLICE HAVE DECLINED TO DO SO.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03400 02 OF 03 141547Z

THREATS TO COLTART

——————

 

7. (C) IN A NOVEMBER 14 MEETING WITH POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF

REQUESTED URGENTLY BY DAVID COLTART, THE MDC MP SAID ZANU-PF IS

TRYING TO FRAME HIM FOR NKALA’S MURDER AND EXPRESSED GRAVE CONCERN

FOR HIS OWN SAFETY. COLTART RECALLED HIS TWENTY YEARS OF

EXPERIENCE AS A HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER AND SAID HE HAD ALWAYS HAD AND

CONTINUED TO REJECT VIOLENCE. HE DID NOT EVEN OWN A GUN, HE SAID.

COLTART WENT ON TO REPORT THAT HE HAD HEARD FROM THREE UNRELATED

SOURCES THAT VICE-PRESIDENT MSIKA, JOHN NKOMO, GOVERNOR OBERT

MPOFU, AND FORMER MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CURRENT MEMBER OF

THE ZANU-PF POLITBURO DUMISO DABENGWA, HAD AGREED IN A RECENT

MEEETING THAT COLTART’S “ELIMINATION” IS A NECESSARY PIECE OF THE

RULING PARTY’S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGY. THE MDC MP SAID HE

TOOK THIS THREAT SERIOUSLY AND FELT “EXTREMELY VULNERABLE.” HE

HAD EVEN BRIEFLY CONSIDERED WALKING INTO AN EMBASSY THAT MORNING

AND REQUESTING POLITICAL ASYLUM. HE ASKED THAT THE USG CONVEY ITS

CONCERN TO THE GOZ ABOUT THE INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC OF ITS SENIOR

OFFICIALS AND TO EMPHASIZE THAT IT WOULD HOLD THE GOVERNMENT

RESPONSIBLE IF ANYTHING HAPPENED TO HIM OR ANY OTHER MDC OFFICIAL.

(COMMENT: WE HAD NEVER BEFORE SEEN COLTART IN SUCH AN AGITATED

STATE. NORMALLY A CALM AND OPTIMISTIC MAN, EVEN WHEN UNDER

SIGNIFICANT STRESS, HE WAS VERY BADLY SHAKEN IN THIS MEETING AND

SEEMED UNSURE OF WHAT HIS NEXT STEPS SHOULD BE. HE WAS

PARTICULARLY WORRIED ABOUT THE SAFETY OF HIS BULAWAYO-BASED

FAMILY, INCLUDING HIS TWO-MONTH-OLD DAUGHTER. END COMMENT.)

 

UNREST IN BULAWAYO

——————

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03400 02 OF 03 141547Z

8. (U) LATE IN THE AFTERNOON OF NOVEMBER 14, WE RECEIVED AN

UNCONFIRMED BUT CREDIBLE REPORT FROM A JOURNALIST IN BULAWAYO OF

ANTI-MDC VIOLENCE IN THAT CITY’S HIGH- AND MEDIUM-DENSITY SUBURBS.

ACCORDING TO OUR SOURCE, WAR VETERANS HAVE BURNED HOUSES AND

DESTROYED PROPERTY BELONGING TO MDC SUPPORTERS. THE SITUATION IN

THE CITY IS REPORTED TO BE VERY TENSE, AND THE JOURNALIST TOLD US

“I HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS FRIGHTENED FOR MY LIFE.”

 

COMMENT

——-

 

9. (C) NKALA’S CASE HAS GENERATED INTENSE INTEREST NATIONWIDE.

IT IS NOT CLEAR WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS MURDER, AND WE DO NOT

WANT TO SPECULATE UNTIL FURTHER INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE. IN

THE MEANTIME, IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT AK-47 RIFLES ARE NOT EASY TO

OBTAIN — ONLY MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY FORCES HAVE REGULAR ACCESS

TO THEM — AND THE ONES ALLEGEDLY USED DURING THE ABDUCTION HAVE

APPARENTLY NOT BEEN FOUND, EVEN THOUGH THE ACCUSED ARE IN CUSTODY.

WE ALSO FIND IT INTERESTING THAT MRS. NKALA HAS NOT SPOKEN

PUBLICLY ABOUT HER HUSBAND’S CASE, AND THAT THE POLICE HAVE BEEN

RELUCTANT TO SUBMIT THE SUSPECTS TO AN IDENTIFICATION LINEUP. IT

IS CLEAR THAT, WHOEVER WAS RESPONSIBLE, THE GOZ SEEMS INTENT ON

USING THIS CASE TO INTENSIFY ITS CRACKDOWN ON THE MDC AND ITS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5455

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03400 03 OF 03 141548Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   AID-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 EB-00   VC-00

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

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

P-00     SP-00   SS-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 T-00     USIE-00

PMB-00   PRM-00   DRL-02   G-00     SAS-00     /007W

——————3E226C 141548Z /02

O 141455Z NOV 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0275

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 003400

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

BRUSSELS ALSO FOR USEU

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 11/14/11

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: WAR VETERAN MURDER SPARKS GOZ CRACKDOWN ON MDC AND UNREST

IN BULAWAYO

 

LEADERSHIP. WE ARE ALSO CONCERNED THAT THE INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02      HARARE 03400 03 OF 03 141548Z

OF GOZ OFFICIALS AND THE WIDESPREAD ARRESTS IN BULAWAYO COULD

SPARK DEMONSTRATIONS BY LOCAL RESIDENTS, ELICITING A HEAVY-HANDED

RESPONSE FROM SECURITY FORCES.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(118 VIEWS)

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