in Stories

How Mugabe will hang on to power

President Robert Mugabe was expected to use all resources of his office, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the state to win the 2002 elections and deny the Movement for Democratic Change presidency.

This was the view of the United States embassy in Harare which listed some of the methods Mugabe was going to use.

They included intimidation and violence, manipulation of electoral laws, vote-buying, and ballot stuffing.

The embassy said because Mugabe still valued the appearance of winning a legitimate election he would make every effort to keep his transgressions out of public view.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE1178, ZIMBABWE: HOW PRESIDENT MUGABE WILL HANG ON TO

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE1178

2001-03-30 12:34

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.

 

301234Z Mar 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6643

 

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8541

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 HARARE 001178

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

SECDEF FOR OSD/SA

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/11

TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS MCAP ZI ZANU PF

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: HOW PRESIDENT MUGABE WILL HANG ON TO

POWER

 

REFS: A) HARARE 975, B) HARARE 897, C) HARARE 871,

 

D) HARARE 779, E) HARARE 779

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR

REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE IS GEARING UP

FOR WHAT WILL BE THE MOST DIFFICULT ELECTION OF HIS

POLITICAL CAREER. MUGABE WILL USE ALL THE RESOURCES OF

HIS OFFICE, THE RULING PARTY, AND THE STATE TO WIN RE-

ELECTION AND DENY THE OPPOSITION MDC THE PRESIDENCY.

THE PRESIDENT WILL USE A WIDE RANGE OF TACTICS, FROM

INTIMIDATION AND VIOLENCE AGAINST VOTERS, MANIPULATION

OF ELECTORAL LAWS, VOTE-BUYING, AND BALLOT STUFFING, TO

ACHIEVE HIS GOAL. MUGABE STILL VALUES THE APPEARANCE OF

WINNING A LEGITIMATE ELECTION, SO HE WILL MAKE EVERY

EFFORT TO KEEP HIS TRANSGRESSIONS OUT OF PUBLIC VIEW.

MUGABE WILL DECLARE MARTIAL LAW OR A STATE OF EMERGENCY

ONLY AS A LAST RESORT TO FORESTALL A POPULAR UPRISING,

WHICH IS A POSSIBILITY ONCE MUGABE IS DECLARED THE

WINNER. THE ROLE OF THE MILITARY WILL BE CRUCIAL, AND

ALL INDICATIONS ARE THAT IT WILL BACK MUGABE. THERE

APPEAR TO BE ONLY TWO CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH MUGABE

WILL VOLUNTARILY LEAVE OFFICE: THERE IS A POPULAR

UPRISING OR A MASSIVE NUMBER OF PROTESTERS DESCEND ON

STATE HOUSE AND THE MILITARY DECIDES IT CANNOT PROTECT

THE PRESIDENT AND ASKS HIM TO STEP DOWN, OR HIS HEALTH

DECLINES SIGNIFICANTLY BY THE END OF THE YEAR AND HE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01178 01 OF 05 301230Z

DECIDES TO ANOINT EMMERSON MNANGAGWA AS ZANU-PF’S

CANDIDATE. END SUMMARY.

 

MUGABE WILL DO ALL IT TAKES TO WIN

———————————-

 

2. (C) ALL INDICATIONS CURRENTLY POINT TO ANOTHER

MUGABE CANDIDACY FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION THAT MUST

BE HELD BETWEEN JANUARY 1 AND MARCH 31, 2002. IT IS OUR

ASSESSMENT THAT MUGABE WILL HOLD AN ELECTION, NO MATTER

HOW BAD THE ECONOMY GETS OR HOW UNPOPULAR HE BECOMES,

BECAUSE HE STILL VALUES THE LEGITIMACY AN ELECTION

CONVEYS, AND BECAUSE HE THINKS HE CAN WIN IT. WE

BELIEVE AN EARLY ELECTION, WHICH WOULD REQUIRE MUGABE TO

RESIGN AND HOLD A NEW ELECTION WITHIN 90 DAYS, IS

UNLIKELY BECAUSE IT WOULD BE PSYCHOLOGICALLY DIFFICULT

FOR MUGABE TO RELINQUISH POWER, EVEN TEMPORARILY, AND IT

WOULD DEMONSTRATE WEAKNESS, WHICH HE DESPISES. IT IS

OUR ASSESSMENT THAT THE PRESIDENT WILL USE ALL THE MEANS

AT HIS DISPOSAL TO WIN AN ELECTION OUTRIGHT, AND THAT

THE OPPOSITION DOES NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES TO OVERCOME

MUGABE’S ADVANTAGES AS INCUMBENT. THIS MESSAGE EXAMINES

MUGABE’S LIKELY BLUEPRINT FOR STAYING IN POWER THIS YEAR

AND BEYOND NEXT YEAR’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

 

IF YOU DON’T WANT TO JOIN THEM, BEAT THEM

—————————————–

 

3. (C) ALTHOUGH THE RULING ZANU-PF AND OPPOSITION MDC

HAVE NOT DECLARED THEIR OFFICIAL CANDIDATES, THE

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS ALREADY IN FULL SWING. AT THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01178 01 OF 05 301230Z

FOREFRONT OF PRESIDENT MUGABE’S STRATEGY IS THE

SYSTEMATIC AND VIOLENT INTIMIDATION OF THE COUNTRY’S

ELECTORATE, ESPECIALLY POOR, RURAL COMMUNAL FARMERS, THE

TRADITIONAL BACKBONE OF ZANU-PF SUPPORT. THE STRATEGY

HAS WORKED MANY TIMES BEFORE FOR MUGABE. ACCORDING TO

MICHAEL QUINTANA, A DEFENSE CONSULTANT AND FREE-LANCE

JOURNALIST TO WHOM POLOFF SPOKE ON MARCH 22, THE AVERAGE

RURAL FARMER IS UNWILLING TO “STICK HIS NECK OUT FOR

PRINCIPLES.” HE IS ALSO NOT POLITICALLY SOPHISTICATED

AND WILL LARGELY DO WHAT HE IS TOLD BY HIS SUPERIORS,

WHETHER IT IS THE LOCAL CHIEF OR THE PRESIDENT ON THE

RADIO, QUINTANA ADDED. WHEN RURAL SUPPORT FOR ZANU-PF

SEEMED TO WAVER IN LAST YEAR’S REFERENDUM AND

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS, THE PRESIDENT DECIDED NOT TO

TAKE ANY CHANCES AND RATCHETED UP THE INTIMIDATION AND

PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN.

 

4. (C) WINNING THE RURAL VOTE IS NOT ENOUGH TO LOCK THE

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, HOWEVER. THE URBAN VOTE WILL BE

CRITICAL, AND BY SOME ACCOUNTS, ZIMBABWE IS NOW 40

PERCENT URBAN, WITH THE ACCELERATION OF ECONOMIC

MIGRATION TO THE CITIES OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS. THE

SUPPORT FOR THE OPPOSITION REMAINS ALMOST TOTAL IN THE

URBAN AREAS. RANDOM BEATINGS BY POLICE AND ARMY UNITS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO3693

 

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P 301234Z MAR 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8542

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 05 HARARE 001178

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

SECDEF FOR OSD/SA

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/11

TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS MCAP ZI ZANU PF

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01178 02 OF 05 301231Z

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: HOW PRESIDENT MUGABE WILL HANG ON TO

POWER

 

HAVE BECOME ALMOST ROUTINE IN THE HIGH-DENSITY SUBURBS

OF HARARE. WAR VETERANS ARE INCREASINGLY ACTIVE IN THE

CITIES AS WELL, RAIDING THE OFFICES OF COMPANIES SEEN TO

BE HARMING THE INTERESTS OF THEIR WORKERS. MUGABE IS

ALSO ATTACKING THE “INSTRUMENTS OF OPPOSITION” BASED IN

THE CITIES, SUCH AS THE INDEPENDENT PRESS, THE

JUDICIARY, AND THE PRINCIPAL OPPOSITION PARTY ITSELF.

ZANU-PF HAS ITS WORK CUT OUT FOR IT IN THE URBAN AREAS,

WHERE IT IS DEEPLY UNPOPULAR, SO IT IS STARTING ITS

CAMPAIGN EARLY.

 

CARROTS WILL HELP, TOO

———————-

 

5. (C) THERE CONTINUE TO BE REPORTS THAT ZANU-PF

POLITICOS ARE TOURING THE COUNTRY HANDING OUT MONEY IN

POOR CONSTITUENCIES WHILE REMINDING VOTERS TO CAST THEIR

BALLOT FOR THEIR PRESIDENT. PARTY COMMISSAR AND YOUTH

DEVELOPMENT MINISTER BORDER GEZI HAS BEEN REPORTED ON

SEVERAL OCCASIONS (INCLUDING TO US BY GOVERNMENT

OFFICIALS – SEE REF C) TO HAVE HANDED OUT MILLIONS OF

ZIMBABWE DOLLARS IN RURAL AREAS TO DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS,

AND IN SOME CASES, TO LOCAL OFFICIALS. CRUCIAL TO THE

CAMPAIGN IS KICKING THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE INTO HIGH

GEAR. THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN INCESSANT IN ITS MESSAGE

THAT THE MDC IS INCAPABLE OF RULING ZIMBABWE AND THAT

ONLY ZANU-PF HAS THE WHEREWITHAL TO MAKE THEIR LIVES

BETTER.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01178 02 OF 05 301231Z

 

VOTERS’ ROLL IMPROVED, BUT THERE’S STILL ROOM FOR FRAUD

——————————————— ———-

 

6. (C) ZIMBABWE’S VOTERS’ ROLL HAS BEEN GREATLY

IMPROVED AND IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT FOR THE

GOVERNMENT TO MANIPULATE IT TO ZANU-PF’S ADVANTAGE,

ACCORDING TO KNUD RASMUSSEN, DIRECTOR OF THE DANISH NGO

THAT HAS WORKED WITH THE GOVERNMENT OVER THE LAST YEAR

TO COMPUTERIZE AND REFORM THE VOTERS’ ROLL. THE VOTERS’

ROLL HAS BEEN FOLDED INTO THE NATIONAL REGISTRY, WHICH

CONTAINS BIRTH, MARRIAGE AND DEATH RECORDS AMONG OTHERS,

SO THAT THERE ARE NO LONGER TWO, MUTUALLY INCONSISTENT

NATIONAL DATABASES. THE VOTERS’ ROLL IS NOW PRINTED

FROM THE NATIONAL REGISTRY, AN EXERCISE THAT TAKES TWO

TO THREE WEEKS BECAUSE OF LIMITED PRINTING RESOURCES.

NEARLY 3.2 MILLION RECORDS WERE ADDED OR UPDATED IN THE

RUN-UP TO LAST YEAR’S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.

APPROXIMATELY 385,000 PEOPLE WERE LEFT OFF THE VOTERS’

ROLL LAST YEAR BECAUSE OF DUPLICATIVE NATIONAL ID

NUMBERS. THAT NUMBER HAS SINCE BEEN REDUCED TO 86,000,

AND IS EXPECTED TO BE RECTIFIED BEFORE THE PRESIDENTIAL

ELECTION, RASMUSSEN STATED. IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT

FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO MANIPULATE THE VOTERS’ ROLL

BECAUSE IT DOES NOT HAVE THE SOURCE CODE TO THE

PROGRAMMING, AND IT DOES NOT HAVE THE TECHNICAL

EXPERTISE TO ISOLATE INDIVIDUAL RECORDS BASED ON A

PERSON’S AGE OR LOCATION. NOR CAN IT REMOVE RECORDS

VERY EASILY, RASMUSSEN ASSERTED.

 

7. (C) DESPITE HAVING A CLEANED-UP VOTERS’ ROLL THAT IS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01178 02 OF 05 301231Z

RESISTANT TO FRAUD, THERE ARE STILL PLENTY OF WAYS THAT

GOVERNMENT CAN MANIPULATE THE VOTING PROCESS TO

PRESIDENT MUGABE’S ADVANTAGE, ACCORDING TO RASMUSSEN.

AMONG THEM ARE:

 

— BECAUSE THE LAW SAYS ZIMBABWEAN CITIZENS MUST OBTAIN

A NATIONAL ID NUMBER BY THE AGE OF 16 AND THAT THEY MUST

HAVE AN ID NUMBER IN ORDER TO REGISTER TO VOTE, MANY

FIRST-TIME VOTERS COULD BE TURNED AWAY WHEN THEY GO TO

REGISTER. MANY POOR, RURAL PARENTS NEVER REGISTER THEIR

CHILDREN’S BIRTH BECAUSE OF THE EXPENSE OF DOING SO, SO

MANY YOUNG POTENTIAL VOTERS–MOST LIKELY MDC SUPPORTERS-

-COULD LEGALLY BE DENIED THE RIGHT TO VOTE.

 

— THE GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO PRINT THE VOTERS’ ROLL BY

NATIONAL ID NUMBER; INSTEAD, IT IS PRINTED

ALPHABETICALLY. MISSPELLINGS AND OTHER ERRORS OFTEN

MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR VOTING OFFICIALS TO VERIFY A

VOTER’S REGISTRATION, WHICH PROVIDES ANOTHER PRETEXT FOR

A VOTER MATCHING THE PROFILE OF AN OPPOSITION SUPPORTER

TO BE TURNED AWAY.

 

— THE TRANSPORTATION OF BALLOT BOXES IS STILL THE POINT

IN THE VOTING PROCESS MOST VULNERABLE TO FRAUD. IF THE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6650

 

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P 301234Z MAR 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8543

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 05 HARARE 001178

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

SECDEF FOR OSD/SA

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/11

TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS MCAP ZI ZANU PF

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01178 03 OF 05 301231Z

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: HOW PRESIDENT MUGABE WILL HANG ON TO

POWER

 

BOXES ARE NOT WATCHED EVERY STEP OF THE WAY TO THE

COUNTING CENTER, IT IS EASY TO STUFF THE BALLOT BOX

WITH, SAY, 300 BALLOTS AND CROSS OFF THE NAMES OF 300

PEOPLE ON THE VOTERS’ ROLL WHO DID NOT VOTE. ALTHOUGH

ZANU-PF AND THE MDC ASSIGN POLLING AGENTS TO MOST VOTING

CENTERS, INSUFFICIENT RESOURCES PREVENT THE OPPOSITION

PARTY FROM COVERING EVERY SINGLE POLLING PLACE.

 

— UNLIKE WITH PREVIOUS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, THE

GOVERNMENT PLANS TO CONDUCT THE NEXT ELECTION ON A

CONSTITUENCY BASIS, RATHER THAN ALLOWING VOTERS TO VOTE

ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY. IF A VOTER HAS MOVED TO A

DIFFERENT CONSTITUENCY FROM WHERE HE LAST VOTED (AND

MANY HAVE), HE IS REQUIRED TO REREGISTER. MANY RURAL

VOTERS WILL NOT DO SO BECAUSE THEY CANNOT AFFORD THE

HIGH COST OF BUSFARE TO THE REGISTRATION SITE, OR THEY

DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE NECESSITY OF REREGISTERING. MOST

WILL NOT TRAVEL LONG DISTANCES TO VOTE IN THEIR OLD

CONSTITUENCY, EITHER, ACCORDING TO RASMUSSEN. THIS

COULD ALSO HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE LARGE

NUMBERS OF URBAN VOTERS REGISTERED IN RURAL AREAS WHO

SUPPORT THE MDC. HOLDING THE ELECTION ON A CONSTITUENCY

BASIS WILL ALSO ALLOW PRESIDENTIAL SUPPORTERS TO TARGET

ANTI-MUGABE CONSTITUENCIES FOR VIOLENCE, INTIMIDATION,

AND FRAUD.

 

KEEP THE DIRTY BUSINESS OUT OF SIGHT

————————————

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01178 03 OF 05 301231Z

 

8. (C) PRESIDENT MUGABE WILL MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO KEEP

HIS TRANSGRESSIONS OUT OF SIGHT–JUST AS HE DID DURING

THE MATABELELAND REPRESSIONS OF THE MID-1980S–KNOWING

THAT WIDELY PUBLICIZED FRAUD OR INTIMIDATION DURING THE

ELECTION WILL TARNISH HIS LEGITIMACY. TWO FOREIGN

JOURNALISTS HAVE ALREADY BEEN EXPELLED THIS YEAR, AND

NEW REGULATIONS UNDER CONSIDERATION WILL MAKE IT

DIFFICULT FOR MANY FOREIGN JOURNALISTS TO REPORT OVERTLY

ON THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FROM ZIMBABWE(REF B).

MUGABE HAS TOLD THE LOCAL DIPLOMATIC CORPS THAT THE

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SHOULD NOT INTERFERE IN

ZIMBABWE’S INTERNAL AFFAIRS AND SUGGESTED THAT ITS

REPRESENTATIVES WOULD NOT BE PERMITTED TO OBSERVE THE

UPCOMING ELECTION (REF D). DESPITE THIS STATEMENT, THE

PRESIDENT WILL LIKELY ALLOW MONITORS FROM INTERNATIONAL

ORGANIZATIONS LIKE SADC AND THE OAU TO MAINTAIN THE

CHARADE OF TRANSPARENCY, BUT HE IS LIKELY TO RAISE EVERY

KIND OF ADMINISTRATIVE OBSTACLE TO OTHER INTERNATIONAL

(ESPECIALLY WESTERN) OBSERVERS SO AS TO LIMIT THEIR

NUMBERS. DOMESTIC MONITORS WILL FIND THEIR ACTIVITIES

HAMPERED AS WELL, PARTICULARLY IN REMOTE AREAS,

INCLUDING BY THE SETTING UP OF ROADBLOCKS AND

DIFFICULTIES WITH ACCREDITATION. BECAUSE THERE ARE

NORMALLY 5,000 POLLING STATIONS IN ZIMBABWE’S NATIONAL

ELECTIONS, LIMITING THE NUMBERS AND ACTIVITIES OF

MONITORS WILL BE CRITICAL TO CARRYING OUT ELECTORAL

FRAUD THAT COULD SKEW THE RESULTS IN MUGABE’S FAVOR.

 

MUGABE COULD LEGALLY SCRAP THE RESULTS

————————————–

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01178 03 OF 05 301231Z

 

9. (C) IF IT APPEARS MUGABE’S VOTE TALLY WOULD FALL

SLIGHTLY SHORT OF HIS OPPONENT’S (TSVANGIRAI WOULD NEED

ONLY ONE MORE VOTE THAN MUGABE TO WIN OUTRIGHT IN THE

STRAIGHT HEAD COUNT), THE PRESIDENT WOULD LIKELY

POSTPONE ANNOUNCING THE RESULTS SO THAT HE WOULD HAVE

TIME TO RIG THE OUTCOME. IF IT APPEARED THAT THE MARGIN

WAS TOO GREAT AND HE COULD NOT CREDIBLY POSTPONE THE

ANNOUNCEMENT, HE WOULD LIKELY ANNUL THE ELECTION, CHARGE

THE OPPOSITION WITH FRAUD, AND ANNOUNCE A NEW ELECTION

IN A FEW WEEKS’ TIME TO BEAT THE CONSTITUTIONAL DEADLINE

OF MARCH 31. (NOTE: MUGABE COULD CONCEIVABLY CALL A NEW

ELECTION AFTER THIS DATE, BUT THIS COULD BE SUBJECT TO

LEGAL CHALLENGES AND COULD UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMACY OF

THE ELECTION. END NOTE.) MUGABE COULD USE THE LEGAL

COVER OF THE BROAD POWERS GIVEN TO THE PRESIDENT IN THE

ELECTORAL ACT TO DO THIS. ACCORDING TO THE ACT, THE

PRESIDENT CAN ISSUE STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS (DECREES) TO

“SUSPEND OR AMEND ANY PROVISION OF THIS ACT OR ANY OTHER

LAW IN SO FAR AS IT APPLIES TO ANY ELECTION” OR TO

“VALIDATE ANYTHING DONE IN CONNECTION WITH, ARISING OUT

OF OR RESULTING FROM ANY ELECTION IN CONTRAVENTION OF

ANY PROVISION OF THIS ACT OR ANY OTHER LAW.”

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6652

 

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DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /008W

——————D9521C 301231Z /38

P 301234Z MAR 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8544

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 04 OF 05 HARARE 001178

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

SECDEF FOR OSD/SA

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/11

TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS MCAP ZI ZANU PF

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01178 04 OF 05 301231Z

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: HOW PRESIDENT MUGABE WILL HANG ON TO

POWER

 

10. (C) AS A LAST RESORT, THE PRESIDENT COULD INVOKE A

NUMBER OF EMERGENCY POWERS UNDER THE LAW IF IT APPEARED

THE PUBLIC WOULD NOT ACCEPT HIS RE-ELECTION OR THE

ANNULMENT OF THE RESULTS. GIVEN MUGABE’S DEEP

UNPOPULARITY IN THE CITIES AND THE PUBLIC’S EAGER

ANTICIPATION OF A CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP, LARGE-SCALE

URBAN DEMONSTRATIONS WOULD BE A STRONG POSSIBILITY.

(NOTE: THIS SCENARIO COULD ALSO ARISE IF MDC PRESIDENT

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI IS FOUND GUILTY OF INCITING VIOLENCE

AND BARRED FROM RUNNING FOR THE PRESIDENCY. SEE REF E.

THE HIGH COURT IS SCHEDULED TO HEAR HIS CASE ON APRIL

30. END NOTE.) UNDER THE PRESIDENTIAL POWERS

(TEMPORARY MEASURES) ACT, THE PRESIDENT CAN “MAKE URGENT

REGULATIONS” IF “A SITUATION HAS ARISEN OR IS LIKELY TO

ARISE” THAT THREATENS PUBLIC SAFETY OR ORDER, OR CANNOT

“AWAIT THE PASSAGE THROUGH PARLIAMENT OF AN ACT DEALING

WITH THE SITUATION.” THESE REGULATIONS WOULD BE VALID

FOR SIX MONTHS, AND COULD BE USED TO IMPLEMENT A MASSIVE

CRACKDOWN ON DEMONSTRATORS AND OPPOSITION ACTIVITIES.

 

11. (C) IF THE SITUATION PROVED MORE THREATENING, THE

PRESIDENT COULD, UNDER THE CONSTITUTION, DECLARE A STATE

OF EMERGENCY, WHICH IS VALID FOR 14 DAYS. IF PARLIAMENT

RATIFIES IT IN THAT TIMEFRAME, IT WOULD BECOME VALID FOR

SIX MONTHS. THE EMERGENCY POWERS ACT SPECIFIES THAT

UNDER A STATE OF EMERGENCY, THE PRESIDENT CAN ISSUE

REGULATIONS THAT PROVIDE FOR THE SUMMARY ARREST AND

DETENTION OF PERSONS THREATENING PUBLIC SAFETY, THE

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PAGE 03       HARARE 01178 04 OF 05 301231Z

DEPORTATION OF ANY NON-CITIZEN, THE SEIZING OF ANY

PROPERTY, AND THE SEARCHING OF ANY PREMISES. UNDER THE

MOST EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES, IN WHICH HIS CONTINUED RULE

IS THREATENED BY UNRULY MOBS, MUGABE COULD DECLARE

MARTIAL LAW, A BROAD POWER GIVEN HIM BY THE CONSTITUTION

THAT WOULD NOT REQUIRE PARLIAMENTARY APPROVAL OR BE

SUBJECT TO TIME LIMITS.

 

MILITARY SUPPORT WILL BE KEY

—————————-

 

12. (C) SHOULD THE POST-ELECTION PERIOD DEGENERATE INTO

WIDESPREAD UNREST, THE MILITARY’S SUPPORT OF MUGABE WILL

BE KEY TO HIS CONTINUED RULE. ALL INDICATIONS ARE THAT

ZIMBABWE’S MILITARY WILL BACK PRESIDENT MUGABE’S RE-

ELECTION, EVEN IF IT APPEARS ILLEGITIMATE. ACCORDING TO

QUINTANA, THE DEFENSE CONSULTANT, THE ARMY AND AIR FORCE

ARE “COMPLETELY IN BED WITH MUGABE AND COMPANY.” AS

RECENTLY AS EARLY LAST YEAR, THE MILITARY WAS LARGELY

AMBIVALENT ABOUT MUGABE’S ELECTION TACTICS, AND SOME

LOWER-LEVEL OFFICERS VOICED DISMAY THAT THEY WERE ASKED

TO DELIVER THE VOTE FOR ZANU-PF. NOW, ALL THAT HAS

CHANGED, QUINTANA REMARKED. MUGABE HAS BOUGHT THE

LOYALTY OF NEARLY ALL OFFICERS BY LETTING THEM PICK OUT

CHOICE PARCELS OF LAND–ORIGINALLY DESIGNATED FOR

RESETTLEMENT–FOR THEIR OWN USE. THE LEVEL OF

CORRUPTION HAS INCREASED MARKEDLY, AND NEARLY “EVERYONE

IS OPENLY CORRUPT.” “A COUP D’ETAT IS SIMPLY NOT

POSSIBLE,” THE CONSULTANT OPINED.

 

13. (C) PRESIDENT MUGABE RELIES ON HIS SPECIAL FORCES

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01178 04 OF 05 301231Z

MORE THAN EVER, ACCORDING TO QUINTANA. UNITS LIKE THE

PARACHUTE BATTALION AND PRESIDENTIAL GUARD ARE MORE

FREQUENTLY CALLED UPON TO CARRY OUT SPECIAL TASKS, SUCH

AS THE BEATING OF CHITUNGWIZA RESIDENTS. BECAUSE OF

THEIR GREATER DISCIPLINE AND LOYALTY, THEY WOULD ALSO BE

CALLED UPON TO PROTECT THE PRESIDENT SHOULD CROWDS

DESCEND ON STATE HOUSE, QUINTANA STATED. THEY LEARNED

AT COURSES IN CHINA THAT “IF YOU KILL ONE PERSON, YOU

WILL FRIGHTEN A THOUSAND;” THE SPECIAL UNITS WOULD NOT

HESITATE TO FIRE ON THREATENING DEMONSTRATORS TO KEEP

MUGABE IN POWER, QUINTANA OPINED. THE MILITARY WOULD BE

EVEN MORE LIKELY TO FIRE ON CROWDS IF THERE ARE NO

INTERNATIONAL NEWS CREWS TO RECORD THE EVENT.

 

MUGABE WILL GO ONLY UNDER SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES

——————————————— —

 

14. (C) THERE IS ONLY ONE CASE IN WHICH THE MILITARY

WOULD TURN ON MUGABE, QUINTANA OFFERED, AND THAT WOULD

BE IF THE BULLETS RAN OUT BEFORE THE PEOPLE DID. IF A

CROWD OF 100,000 DESCENDED ON STATE HOUSE, FOR INSTANCE,

AND THEY DID NOT DISPERSE AFTER A LARGE NUMBER WERE

KILLED, IT IS CONCEIVABLE THAT THE MILITARY LEADERSHIP

WOULD GO TO MUGABE AND TELL HIM THAT THEY COULD NO

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6654

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01178 05 OF 05 301231Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00

DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01

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

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   IRM-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /008W

——————D95222 301232Z /38

P 301234Z MAR 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8545

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 05 OF 05 HARARE 001178

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

SECDEF FOR OSD/SA

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/11

TAGS: PGOV PINR PINS MCAP ZI ZANU PF

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01178 05 OF 05 301231Z

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: HOW PRESIDENT MUGABE WILL HANG ON TO

POWER

 

LONGER PROTECT HIM, AND ASK HIM TO RESIGN. IN THAT

CASE, MUGABE PROBABLY WOULD STEP DOWN, QUINTANA

BELIEVES. THIS IS A VERY UNLIKELY SCENARIO, HOWEVER,

BECAUSE THE NUMBER OF PROTESTERS REQUIRED WOULD BE FAR

MORE THAN ZIMBABWE HAS EVER SEEN, THE CONSULTANT

AVERRED.

 

15. (C) BY OUR RECKONING, THERE IS ONE OTHER

CIRCUMSTANCE UNDER WHICH MUGABE MIGHT VOLUNTARILY LEAVE

OFFICE. IF HIS HEALTH DECLINES SIGNIFICANTLY BY THE END

OF THE YEAR, HE MAY DECIDE TO ANOINT A SUCCESSOR–

PROBABLY EMMERSON MNANGAGWA–TO RUN AS ZANU-PF’S

CANDIDATE (REF A). (NOTE: THERE HAVE LONG BEEN RUMORS

OF MUGABE’S DECLINING HEALTH, WHICH HAVE BEEN RIDICULED

BY GOVERNMENT SPOKESMEN BUT NOT FLATLY DENIED. RECENT,

PERSISTENT REPORTS OF MUGABE FREQUENTLY FALLING DOWN

LEND CREDENCE TO THE NOTION THAT HE HAS A SERIOUS HEALTH

CONDITION. END NOTE.) HE MAY ALSO DECIDE TO STEP DOWN

SHORTLY AFTER WINNING RE-ELECTION AND ALLOW A VICE-

PRESIDENT TO SUCCEED HIM, CONFIDENT IN THE KNOWLEDGE

THAT HIS PHYSICAL AND FINANCIAL SECURITY WOULD BE

PROTECTED.

 

CONCLUSION

———-

 

16. (C) BARRING ANY UNFORESEEN DEVELOPMENTS, IT IS OUR

ASSESSMENT THAT MUGABE WILL WIN RE-ELECTION AND WILL

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01178 05 OF 05 301231Z

INVOKE A HOST OF LEGAL MEASURES, BACKED BY THE MILITARY,

TO OVERCOME ANY POPULAR BACKLASH. MUGABE STILL VALUES

THE STAMP OF LEGITIMACY THAT AN ELECTION CONVEYS TO THE

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, AND WILL DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE

TO ENSURE THAT THE ELECTORATE MAKES THE “CORRECT”

CHOICE. THE PRESIDENT WILL USE EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES,

SUCH AS A STATE OF EMERGENCY OR MARTIAL LAW, AS A LAST

RESORT. IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE OPPOSITION OR CIVIL

SOCIETY HAS THE WHEREWITHAL OR ORGANIZATIONAL ABILITY AT

THIS TIME TO OVERCOME PRESIDENT MUGABE’S CONSIDERABLE

ADVANTAGES AS INCUMBENT, DESPITE HIS LACK OF POPULARITY.

MUGABE’S RELENTLESS ELECTIONEERING MAY EVEN TURN AROUND

HIS SAGGING POPULARITY IN TRADTIONAL ZANU-PF AREAS.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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