in Stories

MDC attacks MDC

A member of the pro-senate faction of the Movement for Democratic Change Trudy Stevenson was attacked by some youths who she claimed where from the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the MDC.

Tsvangirai’s party denied the allegations but pro-senate spokesman Gabriel Chaibva said one of the cars used was owned by Tsvangirai faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

He said Stevenson knew several of the attackers and identified them as belonging to the Tsvangirai faction.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE791, PRO-SENATE MDC MP LLEGEDLY ATTACKED BY

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

06HARARE791

2006-07-05 16:19

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO9443

RR RUEHMR

DE RUEHSB #0791/01 1861619

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 051619Z JUL 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0285

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1265

RUHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1110

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS BABA 1269

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0043

RUEHBY/MEMBASSY CANBERRA 0530

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0895

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1323

RUEHNR/AMEMBASS NAIROBI 3694

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1092

RUEHO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1731

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USISSION USUN NEW YORK 1480

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000791

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

F/S FOR B. NEULING

SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COUVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/05/2015

TAGS: ASECPGOV PHUM PREL ZI

SUBJECT: PRO-SENATE MDC MP LLEGEDLY ATTACKED BY

ANTI-SENATE FACTION

 

 

Clasified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons .5 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (SBU)MDC pro-Senate faction MP Trudy Stevenson was

severely assaulted on July 2 along with four other pro-Senate

faction officials. Stevenson, who was reportedly attacked

with a machete and rocks, has alleged that youths aligned to

the anti-Senate MDC faction of Morgan Tsvangirai carried out

the assault. In response, the anti-Senate leadership has

denied involvement and established a commission of three

lawyers to investigate Stevenson,s claims. For its part,

the state-controlled media has given the incident front-page

coverage and is exploiting the situation to reinforce its

portrayal of the opposition as violent. See action request

in paragraph 6. End Summary.

 

———-

The Attack

———-

 

2. (SBU) Upon leaving a meeting in one of Harare’s

historically volatile high-density suburbs on Sunday,

Stevenson and four provincial faction officials were

assaulted by about 10 youths. Recounting the attack to

reporters and diplomats on July 5, a visibly weakened

Stevenson said the youths attacked her using large stones and

a machete. Stevenson suffered a deep gash on the back of her

head, a fractured cheekbone, and injuries to her arm. The

faction’s acting organizing secretary for Harare, Linos

Mushonga, suffered injuries to his hand and arm, while the

others sustained only minor injuries. The attackers also

stole a number of items from the victims, including cell

phones and wedding rings. (N.B. Accompanying Stevenson to

the briefing was her son, who had met with Tsvangirai on July

3. The son made no comment regarding the meeting, but we

will attempt to get a read out of what transpired.)

 

———————————————

Allegations of Anti-Senate Faction Complicity

———————————————

 

3. (SBU) Stevenson and pro-Senate spokesman Gabriel Chaibva

asserted that the attackers were aligned with the anti-Senate

MDC faction. Stevenson said that attackers chanted, “Trudy,

you are rebelling against Tsvangirai.” Before the press

conference, Chaibva told poloff that Stevenson knew several

of the attackers and had identified them as loyal to Morgan

Tsvangirai. Indeed, he claimed that the attack was

 

SIPDIS

controlled and directed from Tsvangirai’s headquarters at

Harvest House. Supporting this claim, Chaibva noted that

Nelson Chamisa, the anti-Senate spokesperson, owned one of

the vehicles used in the attack. The other vehicle,

according to Chaibva, had been seized by Tsvangirai’s faction

earlier this year as the two camps fought over party

resources. At the press conference, Chaibva criticized both

civil society and the diplomatic community for not

immediately condemning the violence.

 

—————————-

Anti-Senate Faction Response

—————————-

 

4. (SBU) The anti-Senate faction of the MDC has publicly

condemned the attack and denied its leadership was involved.

Anti-Senate faction Deputy Treasurer Elton Mangoma told

poloff on July 4 that Secretary General Tendai Biti and

others earlier that day had attempted to visit Stevenson in

 

HARARE 00000791 002 OF 002

 

 

the hospital to express their sympathies, but were turned

away by hospital staff. Mangoma conceded that youths

affiliated with the party could have carried out the

unsanctioned attacks. To this end, Biti on July 4 publicly

announced the formation of an independent group of three

lawyers to investigate the pro-Senate claims on behalf of the

anti-Senate faction. One of the lawyers, Irene Petras of

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told poloff that the

commission had been established but had yet to set a time for

its first meeting.

 

—————-

State Media Spin

—————-

 

5. (SBU) The state-controlled daily media has seized on the

attack, granting it front-page coverage in the Herald, which

on July 4 also carried a large picture of a visibly battered

Stevenson. The government press has highlighted the

allegations that Tsvangirai’s camp orchestrated the assault.

ZANU-PF secretary for information Nathan Shamuyarira has also

used the attack to deflect criticism of the ruling party’s

track record of violence, noting that “the incident confirms

the violent nature” of the MDC. The Herald also reported

that the assault contradicted the State Department’s Human

Rights Report, which noted that the GOZ was perpetrating

violence but purportedly absolved the opposition. (N.B. the

Human Rights Report in fact notes the reported implication of

MDC elements in political violence.)

 

———————————

Comment and Action Recommendation

———————————

 

6. (C) It is too soon to tell who ultimately bears

responsibility for the attack on Stevenson and the other

pro-Senate officials. Although it seems unlikely that the

anti-Senate leadership would have ordered the attack, we

cannot rule out the possibility that youths associated with

the faction carried out the attack on one of the pro-Senate’s

highest profile officials in Harare. That said, the

anti-Senate’s quick response and formation of an independent

inquiry are encouraging signs that the party is determined to

tackle potential violent elements within its ranks.

Chaibva’s criticism of the lack of condemnation of the attack

is not without merit, and Washington may wish to consider

issuing a statement condemning political violence from all

parties in Zimbabwe.

DELL

(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