in Stories

Madhuku said Tsvangirai and Ncube often differed

National Constitutional Assembly head Lovemore Madhuku said Movement for Democratic Change president Morgan Tsvangirai made commitments but did not follow them through but the major problem was that he and his secretary general Welshman Ncube often differed so he did not know what the party was likely to do.

Madhuku had been accused of “going it alone” instead of working with the MDC and other civic groups to be more effective.

He was organising a demonstration at the time and said he had told MDC leaders that the NCA could either participate in planning street level action, or mobilise its membership under an MDC plan – but the MDC had not responded yet to either proposal.

He said the planned demonstration was in part designed to motivate MDC leaders to move ahead with mass action.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 04HARARE778, NCA PLANNING DEMONSTRATION FOR MAY 12 IN DOWNTOWN

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

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE778

2004-05-10 14:46

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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000778

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER, D. TEITELBAUM

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

DS/OP/AF

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2014

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: NCA PLANNING DEMONSTRATION FOR MAY 12 IN DOWNTOWN

HARARE

 

REF: A. HARARE 752

B. 2003 HARARE 2257

 

Classified By: Political Officer Audu Besmer for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) is

planning a street demonstration in downtown Harare for May

12, but absent participation from other groups its prospects

for success are limited. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) On May 5, NCA Director Dr. Lovemore Madhuku said the

NCA called off a demonstration scheduled for the week before.

The government-friendly Mirror reported that police had

thwarted that “illegal” demonstration. Madhuku said they had

actually assembled on the street but had decided not to wear

t-shirts with protest slogans in the hope of melting into the

crowd and avoiding arrest afterward. The lack of

self-identification resulted in organizers failing to

differentiate on the scene between demonstrators, and

infiltrators; so the march never got going. NCA intended to

return to wearing t-shirts for the planned May 12 event. The

slogan will be, “no new elections without a new constitution”.

 

3. (C) The NCA has organized or participated in several

street demonstrations, or failed protests over the past few

years. Madhuku said they had recently been training a core

group of about 1000 demonstrators to march and motivate

members of the public to join in. Learning from past

mistakes Madhuku said march organizers, who would not wear

protest t-shirts, would carry cash for food and

transportation for the whole group. The organizers in

plainclothes would hopefully avoid arrest and be able to

respond if others were arrested. Madhuku said those arrested

or beaten in the past generally had all their cash and

valuables stolen by police officers before formal processing.

NCA also planned to set up a temporary command center

because police had generally occupied NCA’s main offices

after a demonstration preventing many NCA members from

seeking assistance there. Madhuku said they would arrange

legal representation beforehand, and record license plate

numbers of all police vehicles present before anything

started.

 

4. (C) Madhuku responded to criticism that the NCA had a

reputation for “going it alone” when coordinated

demonstrations with other civic groups and the MDC might be

more effective. He said that since the November 2003

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) failed demonstration

(Ref B), when a who’s who of Harare civic leaders was

arrested, key civic groups and the MDC had met several times

to plan coordinated action (Ref A). In February, MDC, ZCTU,

NCA and the Zimbabwe Liberators’ Platform (ZLP) agreed to go

ahead with mass action in about April. Madhuku said that the

MDC wanted to publicly announce a “common front”, but the

other groups were reluctant to be publicly associated with

the opposition party. Madhuku said he told MDC leaders that

the NCA could either participate in planning street level

action, or mobilize its membership under an MDC plan – but

the MDC had not responded yet to either proposal. The May 12

demonstration, Madhuku said, was in part designed to motivate

MDC leaders to move ahead with mass action. Madhuku

criticized MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai for making

commitments, then not following through. He said

Tsvangirai’s commitments would often differ from Secretary

 

SIPDIS

General Welshman Ncube’s — it was hard to know what the

party would do.

 

5. (C) Madhuku said he thought MDC leaders were uncomfortable

with the prospect that the NCA’s prominence might threaten

the MDC’s should a coordinated demonstration succeed.

Madhuku said the NCA had no interest in becoming a political

party. He said if the MDC failed, with all the promise it

had from winning 57 parliamentary seats in 2000, how could a

smaller organization like the NCA succeed? He said that if

the MDC came to power, NCA would continue as a watchdog group

for constitutional reform. Madhuku said that despite rumors

he was vying for a position in the MDC leadership, he had no

inclination to join the leadership of the opposition. He did

say, however, that if he were offered a cabinet-level

position in an MDC government he might accept it.

 

Comment:

——–

 

6. (C) Most observers realize that work stoppages cannot be

sustained for long periods of time and will not oust Mugabe

from power, so civic organizations are considering protest

marches. A small demonstration that did not invite a violent

police crackdown could build confidence for a larger one. A

police crackdown is highly likely, however, and arresting,

beating and detaining NCA leaders and members is likely to

damage confidence in further demonstrations rather than build

it. NCA demonstrations in the past couple years have

generally involved 15 – 200 people and their effectiveness

has been very limited. A large coordinated demonstration has

not really been attempted yet so coordination is a key issue

for the NCA, the MDC, and other civic groups. Although there

has been limited cross-organization participation in previous

civil actions, and supportive press statements, there is

little evidence so far that these key membership groups could

agree enough to pull together large numbers of their people

for a major march. In this repressive environment, failed

demonstrations are more likely to scare people away from

participating in the future, and build confidence within the

security forces for future crackdowns.

SULLIVAN

(4 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment