Madhuku hailed stay-away as a success


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National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku, who organised a two-day stay-away under the Broad Alliance, called it a success on the first day claiming that more than half of the workers had stayed at home.

Madhuku said people needed heroes to set a good example and his goal was to get 2 000 people in the streets.

He said that organising the stay-away was consuming a great deal of resources, primarily for fuel, as organizers moved around to get the word out and monitor the situation.

As part of the stay-away, Movement for Democratic Change Members of Parliament did not attend the opening session of Parliament.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 05HARARE803, DAY ONE OF STAY-AWAY

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

05HARARE803

2005-06-09 14:46

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 000803

 

SIPDIS

 

AF FOR DAS T. WOODS

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

OVP FOR NULAND

NSC FOR DNSA ABRAMS, SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

DEPT FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/IP/ITA

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2010

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ECON ASEC ZI MDC

SUBJECT: DAY ONE OF STAY-AWAY

 

REF: HARARE 788

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i, Eric T. Schultz under Section 1.

4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) June 9, day one of the Broad Alliance-led two-day

stay-away, appeared to be a partial success. The greatest

impact was in Harare where Embassy staff observed slightly

reduced vehicular traffic and significantly reduced

pedestrian traffic. Some businesses reported that the

majority of their staff reported for work while others had

nearly no staff. Police presence was visible but not

intrusive throughout the day in major cities. Civil society

and the MDC reported that based on today,s response, they

were going forward with follow up demonstrations for next

week. End Summary.

 

———————–

The Stay Away in Harare

———————–

 

2. (C) By mid-day June 9, it appeared that many individuals

in Harare had heeded the call to stay home, although most

businesses stayed open. In the morning, Embassy staff

observed only slightly less vehicular traffic than normal but

noticed that there were fewer commercial mini-buses and fewer

people in each vehicle than usual. Pedestrian traffic was

significantly reduced. There were also far fewer individuals

hailing rides or gathering at bus stops. Noticeably absent

were students who are normally seen in groups walking to

school. Schools were open, but Embassy locally employed

staff said many teachers yesterday invited students to stay

home.

 

3. (C) Many businesses that we contacted were fully staffed

while others had nearly no staff, reflecting the initial

mixed success of the stay away. The Managing Director of

Dimension Data in Harare reported that only one of his staff

showed up for work. He predicted that many businesses would

close early. Tham Mapofu of 3M Corporation said only 50% of

his staff came in, mostly factory workers.

 

4. (C) Police presence in Harare was heightened throughout

the morning but, with few exceptions, generally not

obtrusive. Embassy staff reported sightings of a cannon and

a tank being transported through the city, but there was

otherwise there was no heightened military presence. Embassy

staff reported increased activity at roadblocks from the

high-density suburb of Chitungwiza into Harare. The police

were requiring individuals to disembark from buses and

individually questioning them about their business in town

and sometimes asking for receipts for any goods in the

individual,s possession.

 

——————————

Response in Other Major Cities

——————————

 

5. (C) Businessmen whom we contacted in Mutare and Bulawayo

reported that workers were going to work and there were no

disturbances. They said there was heightened police presence

and police, and in Bulawayo the police were breaking up

groups of people in public.

 

———————————

Civil Society and MDC Assessments

———————————

 

6. (C) NCA Chairperson Lovemore Madhuku, who led the Broad

Alliance effort in organizing the stay-away, by mid-afternoon

called the first day a success. He told poloff that more

than half of workers had stayed home. He said that the

stay-away would probably roll over the weekend into next

week, depending on what happened on Friday. Broad Alliance

leaders were planning more active protests for next week. He

said that the people needed heroes to set a good example and

his goal was to get 2,000 people in the streets. He added

that organizing even today,s stay-away was consuming a great

deal of resources, primarily for fuel, as organizers moved

around to get the word out and monitor the situation.

 

7. (C) As part of the stay-away, MDC MPs did not attend the

opening session of Parliament (septel). The MDC conducted no

public activities. However, the MDC had supported the stay

away and our MDC contacts reported that the stay-away was

very successful in the high-density suburbs, in large part

because MP Job Sikhala was active in spreading the word.

This success was in spite of a heavy police presence. In

Chitungwiza, for instance, MDC contacts reported that police

were present in much greater numbers than usual and moving

around and that the military were also visible. However,

neither was reported going into homes or questioning people.

 

8. (C) Raymond Majongwe of Progressive Teachers Union of

Zimbabwe said the stay-away had been successful but said

further action was needed and that there would be no impact

if some of the MDC,s and civil society,s leadership were

not arrested to call attention to the situation and show that

Zimbabweans were not being passive.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

9. (C) As of mid-afternoon June 9, the stay-away appeared to

be at least a partial success. A lack of transportation

appeared to be an important factor, probably reflecting the

fact that private commuter buses were among the first targets

of Operation Restore Order. The GOZ response has been

relatively moderate, which may encourage greater

participation on June 10. So too might the fact that June 10

is a Friday. It remains to be seen if the Broad Alliance can

muster enough support for more active demonstrations next

week given the public,s fear and apathy. The last few NCA

demonstrations had relatively low turnout and quickly

dispersed.

 

10. (C) For its part, the MDC, which reluctantly supported

the stay away, continues to be criticized for not being

aggressive enough. The independent media are increasingly

taking the MDC leadership to task for failing to lead. A

cartoon in today,s Financial Gazette, depicting the MDC as

an empty suit, is indicative. Efforts to organize action

next week may fail to reach critical mass or be crushed, but

failure to act at all, especially by the MDC, may pose more

significant long-term risks for Zimbabwe’s challenged

opposition and civil society.

SCHULTZ

 

(27 VIEWS)

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