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MDC bomber confesses

An MDC activist Sedweak Munyaradzi Mupazviripo Munya confessed to United States embassy officials that he had made and thrown nine petrol bombs at three different ZANU-PF meetings in progress.

He said the highest person in the MDC who knew about his activities was Solomon Chikowero whom he described as head of security but MDC officers described as head of intelligence.

Chikowero had fled to South Africa after repeated threats on his life by the Central Intelligence Organisation officers and was at a training facility where MDC members had allegedly been receiving military training in the past.

Munya said he had attended planning meetings of up to fifteen people led by MDC MP’s including Fidelis Mhashu. In the planning meetings, they decided to target green bombers.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE954, MDC BOMBER CONFESSES

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE954

2003-05-19 08:38

2011-08-30 01:44

SECRET

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000954

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

DS/OP/AF

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2013

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR ASEC ZI MDC

SUBJECT: MDC BOMBER CONFESSES

 

REF: A. HARARE 628

B. HARARE 516

 

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

 

Summary:

——–

 

1. (S) MDC activist Sedweak Munyaradzi Mupazviripo Munya

(protect) has informed embassy officer that he had made and

thrown nine petrol bombs at three different ZANU-PF

meetings-in-progress on about April 25. It is likely that

MDC security head Solomon Chikowero is the highest MDC

official aware of Munya’s activities. However, in the

current economic downturn, there are likely many other

unemployed young men with tenuous connections to the MDC who

could be inclined to commit similar acts. We continue to

press the MDC leadership to make their best effort to nip

these activities in the bud. End Summary.

 

Confessed Bomber

—————-

 

2. (S) In a May 8 conversation with Poloff, MDC activist

Sedweak Munyaradzi Mupazviripo Munya revealed that he had

made and thrown nine petrol bombs at three different ZANU-PF

meetings-in-progress on about April 25. Munya said that to

his knowledge the highest MDC official involved in initiating

these activities was Solomon (Sox) Chikowero, who MDC

intelligence officers identify as the head of MDC

intelligence (Ref B). Munya called him the head of MDC

security. (Note: Chikowero recently fled to South Africa

after repeated threats on his life by alleged CIO officers,

and is reportedly staying at a training facility where MDC

members have allegedly received military-style training in

the past. End Note.) Activities such as those undertaken by

Munya were executed using the MDC’s “action committees” –

communication and meetings structures set up by the MDC

security department to convey orders and pass information

between the MDC leadership and activists around the country.

With Chikowero out of the country, Munya said there are no

current plans afoot for more bombings.

 

3. (S) Munya said he had attended planning meetings of up to

fifteen people led by MDC MP’s including Fidelis Mhashu. In

the planning meetings, they discussed National Youth Service

members (green bombers) beating hundreds of MDC activists and

residents in Harare’s high-density suburbs following the

March 18-19 MDC stayaway. They decided to lob petrol bombs

into green bombers’ meetings in order to disrupt their

planning, and to intimidate them, although these attacks were

not intended to kill anyone. Munya’s awareness was limited

to the planning meetings he had personally attended, and the

activities in which he participated.

 

Targeted Green Bombers

———————-

 

4. (S) Munya claims to be a longtime MDC activist whose

network of contacts includes hundreds of Chitungwiza

residents, including police officers and army soldiers.

(Note: Munya’s credibility is uncorroborated, and the

bombings he described were not reported in the press. End

Note.) Munya told Poloff that his contacts revealed that the

heads of the “One Commando Barracks” (an army barracks along

the airport road near Harare) had supplied green bombers with

army T-shirts and camouflage trousers (under the table).

Munya also said that green bombers had been assigned as

constabularies to Harare Central Police Station and St.

Mary’s Police Station (near Harare). War veterans who had

been hired into the ZRP in 2001 directed these

constabularies. According to Munya these two police stations

occasionally issued the constabularies loaded AK-47 rifles,

which they carried during green bomber raids on the homes of

MDC activists in the days following the March 18-19 stayaway.

During the raids, the green bombers wore fatigues from One

Commando Barracks and carried baton sticks reportedly from

the Tomlinson Depot. The constabularies were in plain

clothes.

 

5. (S) Activists, including Munya, first surveiled green

bombers for at least three days, noting their meeting times

and locations, before attacking. Munya borrowed a car with

one or two other associates, and made bombs with 750 ml wine

bottles half-filled with petrol and a cloth wick/fuse. Late

at night on about April 25 at the Chibuku Stadium, they

lobbed three of these bombs onto at least one parked vehicle

that they had determined was carrying camouflage trousers and

T-shirts from the One Commando Barracks. Green bombers and

war vets were holding a meeting nearby.

6. (S) On the same night, they lobbed another four bombs over

the wall of the residence of a ZANU-PF Councilor for Seke

named Manombo (first name unknown). Green bombers and war

vets were holding a large meeting in the yard behind; Munya

said they lobbed the bombs over the wall in the direction of

the meeting. The bombs lighted, they heard shouting and

commotion and some attendees fled the yard over the wall.

They following day they heard that no-one had been injured.

 

7. (S) Again on the same night, they lobbed two bombs into a

meeting of green bombers and war vets being held in an open

area under a large tree in the light industrial area of

Chitungwiza.

 

Tortured by CIO

—————

 

8. (S) Although none of these petrol bombings was reported in

the press, on April 30 suspected CIO agents raided Munya’s

house at about 2 o’clock in the morning. They fired a tear

gas canister into his house, pried his security gate off with

a power drill, and took him to Harare Central Police Station.

They interrogated him, beat him with broom handles on the

kidneys, put a large clamp on the back of his neck, poured

water on him, forced him to crawl on his belly like an inch

worm, and administered electric shocks. They told him there

were only two options, that he would need to go to jail for

other charges he faces (see paragraph 10 below), or he must

die.

 

9. (S) They accused him of being the MDC’s general

coordinator for explosives, and for participating in various

high-profile petrol bombings around the time of the March

18-19 stayaway including a school bus carrying primary school

aged children in Chitungwiza, a Zimbabwe United Passenger

Company (ZUPCO) bus in Epworth, and the ZANU-PF offices in

Kwekwe. (Note: Other sources familiar with the Kwekwe event

have suggested that when ZANU-PF youths petrol bombed the

General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe

(GAPWUZ) Kwekwe offices in March, the fire spread to the

ZANU-PF offices next door. End Note.) (Further Note: It is

unclear why they accused him of these bombings and not the

petrol bombings he had actually participated in only days

earlier. End further note.)

 

Charged with Assaulting Ben Menashe

———————————–

 

10. (S) Poloff first met Munya in February at the treason

trial of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and other MDC

leaders. In about the second week of the trial, Munya

actually confronted the State’s star witness Ari Ben Menashe

and asked him whether he was aware that ordinary Zimbabweans

could hardly feed themselves while he, Ben Menashe, was

living extravagantly at the Sheraton Hotel, eating rice and

chips at taxpayers’ expense and publicly lying to everyone.

Ben Menashe responded that he was not aware of the suffering.

Their conversation was interrupted by a suspected CIO agent

who accosted Munya. Police then arrested Munya and charged

him with assaulting Ben Menashe.

 

11. (S) On about May 4, Munya happened to meet Maxwell

Matanire, the Magistrate handling Munya’s case on charges of

assaulting Ben Menashe, at a local shop near Munya’s home in

Chitungwiza. The Magistrate, who has been suspended until

June 23 pending an investigation into trumped up allegations

of fraud, took him aside and cautioned him that he was being

forced to convict Munya and sentence him to at least four

years in prison. Matanire said the only way for the

authorities to fire a sitting Magistrate was to convict him

on corruption or fraud charges and that the charges against

him were fabricated to influence his decisions, and

specifically to gain a conviction against Munya. Matanire

said that suspected CIO agents had taken him to a meeting

with Vice President Joseph Msika who told him, among other

things, that he must convict Munya for four years or more, or

he would lose his magistrate job in the pending fraud

investigation.

 

Comment:

——–

 

12. (S) Although some of the events Munya described dovetail

with other pieces of information we have obtained separately,

it is not possible to corroborate the claims he has made. We

are also unable to judge how compartmentalized the alleged

MDC structures he described may be. There is no credible

evidence of awareness or direction of the actions of Munya

and his accomplices at levels of MDC leadership above

Chikowero. Morgan Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and other MDC

leaders have repeatedly assured us that violence is

antithetical to MDC policy. This does not mean that all

elements within MDC share this view. With Chikowero out of

the country, it is possible that violence of this nature will

cease, if he is indeed the organizing force. However, we

note that in Sox’ absence a bomb squad official was killed

while handling a suspicious package sent to the tobacco

auction floor about ten days ago in a still unexplained

attack reported to us (but not in the press) by the head of

the Tobacco Growers’ Association and corroborated by other

sources. In addition to whatever organized forces might

exist, there is also the legion of disaffected and unemployed

urban youth with tenuous connections to the opposition who

may be inclined to act on their own, whatever stated MDC

policy might be. We will continue to press the MDC

leadership to counsel their supporters to eschew violence,

and given the sensitive nature of this issue, we have

suspended further contacts with Munya and will follow suit

with Chikowero, should the latter return to Zimbabwe. End

Comment.

WHITEHEAD

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