The vice-President of the Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change Thokozani Khupe described the continued withholding of the presidential results in the 2008 elections and the announcement by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to recount results in 23 constituencies as a “slow moving coup”.
She told a press conference two weeks after the elections that the Central Intelligence Organisation was now in charge and not the ZEC, so any recount or run-off could not take place in a safe and secure setting.
Khupe said that any challenge to the results should have been lodged within 48 hours of the declaration of the duly elected parliamentary winners at the constituency level, and this was not done.
The MDC therefore planned to file a petition in the High Court to stop the recount.
But she added that regardless of the court’s decision, the MDC would not participate in or recognise the results of any recount because the chain of custody of the ballot boxes to be used in the recount had been compromised when the ZEC closed its national command centre and moved the ballots to an undisclosed location.
Viewing cable 08HARARE327, SITUATION REPORT: MDC CALLS ELECTIONS A SLOW
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/14/2018
SUBJECT: SITUATION REPORT: MDC CALLS ELECTIONS A SLOW
REF: HARARE 313 AND PREVIOUS
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JAMES D. MCGEE FOR REASONS 1.4 (B & D)
¶1. (U) At a press conference on April 14, MDC-Tsvangirai Vice
President Thokozani Khupe called the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission,s (ZEC) continued withholding of presidential
results and the announcement of recounts in 23 constituencies
a “slow moving coup.” Additionally, Khupe sounded an alarm
about the state-run campaign of escalating violence and
applauded the extraordinary meeting of SADC heads of state
held on April 12 – 13. Khupe also reemphasized the
MDC-Tsvangirai position that the party would not participate
in any run-off. END SUMMARY.
¶2. (U) At a press conference on April 14, MDC-Tsvangirai Vice
President Thokozani Khupe called the continued withholding of
presidential results and an announcement to recount results
in 23 constituencies a “slow moving coup.” She stated that
the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) rather than the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was now in charge of the
electoral process, so any recount or run-off could not take
place in a “safe and secure” setting.
¶3. (U) Khupe rejected as illegal and unconstitutional the ZEC
announcement published in the media over that weekend that it
intended to recount results in 23 constituencies on April 19.
She stated that any challenge to the results should have
been lodged within 48 hours of the declaration of the duly
elected parliamentary winners at the constituency level,
which was not done. As such, the MDC planned to file a
petition in the High Court to stop the recount. Regardless
of the court’s decision, Khupe said the MDC would not
participate in nor recognize the results of any recount
because the chain of custody of the ballot boxes to be used
in the recount had been compromised when the ZEC closed its
national command center and moved the ballots to an
Violence on the Rise
¶4. (U) Khupe reported that since the elections on March 29
more than 100 MDC supporters had been victimized and required
medical attention after being attacked by uniformed Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP), war veterans, and youth militia
supporting ZANU-PF. The attacks had been mainly in areas
that were formally ZANU-PF strongholds, but that voted for
the opposition this time around. Dr. Francis Lovemore,
director of Counseling Services Unit (CSU), added that more
than 50 victims had required hospitalization for serious
injuries. Additionally, many farm workers had been attacked
and displaced with the recent invasions of white-owned farms.
Dr. Lovemore expressed concern that the pattern of attacks
and intimidation match what happened after the dubious
presidential elections in 2002.
Zimbabwe in Crisis?
¶5. (U) Khupe applauded SADC for calling the extraordinary
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meeting on April 12 – 13 to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis. She
noted that MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai was invited to the
meeting and gave a closed-door briefing to the SADC heads of
state. Khupe added that it was noteworthy that SADC had
discussed the Zimbabwe situation for some 13 hours. She also
strongly dismissed South African President Thabo Mbeki’s
comment after talking with President Mugabe that there was no
crisis in Zimbabwe.
MDC to keep applying pressure
¶6. (U) Khupe said the MDC-Tsvangirai party has called for a
“stay-in” starting on April 15 to continue until results were
finally released. She added that the MDC had written to SADC
asking for observers to return to Zimbabwe to witness the
escalation of violence and intimidation. Khupe also stressed
that MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai was the clear winner of
the presidential election and the party would not participate
in a run-off.
¶7. (C) MDC President Tsvangirai was not at the press
conference; we understand he is in South African and planned
to next travel to Botswana. The timing of his return to
Zimbabwe is unknown at this time.
¶8. (U) Harare remains calm, and most observers expect the
“stay in” to have little impact. END COMMENT.