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MDC Commission blames Stevenson’s attack on government

The Commission set up by the anti-Senate faction of the Movement for Democratic Change to investigate the attack on Trudy Stevenson, a member of Parliament who belonged to the pro-Senate faction, concluded that the Central Intelligence Organisation and police most likely assaulted Stevenson.

The chairman of the Commission, Happias Zhou, said that the sophisticated nature of the attack and the remarkably swift manner of the police response led the commission to its conclusion.

He said that seven suspects charged with the attack appeared to be unconnected to the assault and to have been coerced by police.

Zhou said that the commission also developed two alternative, albeit less likely, scenarios.

The commission could not rule out the possibility that anti-Senate MDC MP  Timothy Mubawu orchestrated the attack to prevent the other opposition faction from making inroads into his constituency.

Just before the attack, Mubawu, who had a reputation as a dirty politician, had declared Tafara-Mabvuku a “no-go” area for the pro-Senate faction.

The commission could not rule out the possibility that district-level anti-Senate MDC officials, who had long-standing disagreements with Mubawu, carried out the attack to tarnish the local MP by implicating him in the violence.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 06HARARE1164, STEVENSON ATTACK COMMISSION POINTS FINGER AT GOZ

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE1164

2006-09-21 15:07

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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R 211507Z SEP 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0621

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1320

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1170

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1324

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0081

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0585

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0950

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1378

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3752

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1147

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1795

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1541

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001164

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/21/2015

TAGS: ASEC ECON PGOV PHUM PREL ZI

SUBJECT: STEVENSON ATTACK COMMISSION POINTS FINGER AT GOZ

 

REF: REFTEL: HARARE 933 AND PREVIOUS

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (SBU) Anti-Senate leader Morgan Tsvangirai held a Press

Conference September 20 to announce the findings of the

commission appointed by the anti-Senate MDC to investigate

the July 2 attack on pro-Senate MDC MP Trudy Stevenson.

According to Tsvangirai, the commission concluded that GOZ

security forces most likely were behind the attack. In a

private conversation with us, the CommissionQ,s Chairman said

the report does indeed blame the GOZ. However, he said it

does not rule out the possibility that local anti-Senate MDC

elements were involved in the attack, albeit possibly as a

result of GOZ infiltration and manipulation of the MDC.

While he publicly embraced the reportQ,s evidence of a state

conspiracy, Tsvangirai has rejected some of the commission’s

critical findings concerning his and his factionQ,s

responsibility for violence. The state-controlled media’s

account of the report, meanwhile, falsely claims the report

blames Tsvangirai for the attack. Finally, the pro-Senate

faction of the MDC continues to dismiss the commission and by

extension its report as biased. End Summary.

 

——————————————

Commission Concludes State Likely CulpritQ(

——————————————

 

2. (SBU) Commission Chairman Happias Zhou told poloff on

September 19 the commission had concluded that the Central

Intelligence Organization and police most likely assaulted

the pro-Senate MDC officials on July 2 (reftel). Zhou said

that the sophisticated nature of the attack and the

remarkably swift manner of the police response led the

commission to its conclusion. Zhou added that the seven

suspects charged with the attack appeared to be unconnected

to the assault and to have been coerced by police. (N.B. The

seven are currently on bail and are awaiting a High Court

decision on their application to remove the magistrate

presiding over their trail, whom they accuse of bias.)

 

3. (SBU) Zhou said the commission also found a high level of

intelligence and police infiltration of the local MDC

structures, which further pointed to the state’s involvement,

according to Zhou. During its investigation, the commission

discovered that opposition figures at both the district and

provincial levels Q) the commission did not investigate the

national level Q) maintained frequent contact with supposedly

sympathetic elements of the CIO and police. Zhou said that

these contacts were naQve and gave the state avenues to

manipulate the opposition. Many of the commission’s

recommendations focused on tightening security and preventing

such infiltrations.

 

—————————————–

(But Cannot Dismiss Local MDC Involvement

—————————————–

 

4. (SBU) Zhou said that the commission also developed two

alternative, albeit less likely scenarios. The commission

could not rule out the possibility that anti-Senate MDC MP

Mubawu orchestrated the attack to prevent the other

opposition faction from making inroads into his constituency.

Just before the attack, Mubawu, who has a reputation as a

dirty politician, had declared Tafara-Mabvuku a “no-go” area

for the pro-Senate faction. Likewise, the commission could

not rule out the possibility that district-level anti-Senate

 

HARARE 00001164 002 OF 002

 

 

MDC officials, who had long-standing disagreements with

Mubawu, carried out the attack to tarnish the local MP by

implicating him in the violence.

 

————————————-

Commission Findings Spun By All Sides

————————————-

 

5. (SBU) At a diplomatic briefing to announce the

commission’s findings on September 21, anti-Senate MDC

President Tsvangirai said the report ) which he promised

would be available shortly – unequivocally showed that the

CIO carried out the attack. Tsvangirai, however, said that

he disagreed with some of the commission’s findings, such as

the commission’s criticism of the party’s handling of past

incidents of violence and its perpetrators.

 

6. (SBU) Meanwhile, the state-controlled Herald newspaper on

September 21 ran a front page headline falsely claiming that

the “MDC probe nails Tsvangirai” and proceeds to blame the

opposition leader for fanning violence. The report quoted

Stevenson as saying that Tsvangirai could not be absolved

because the attackers accused her of deserting him. The

Herald also claimed the report found that weaknesses in

Tsvangirai’s leadership led to the attack.

 

SIPDIS

 

7. (SBU) For its part, the pro-Senate faction, which did not

have a part in appointing the commission and has been

critical of it, dismissed the commission’s finding that the

anti-Senate leadership was not to blame. Pro-Senate

spokesman Chaibva was quoted in the independent media saying

that the pro-Senate faction did not “wish to waste time on

the self-serving and cleansing exercise whose findings we

have always maintained were predetermined.”

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

8. (C) Although discounted and distorted by the pro-Senate

faction and the GOZ, we have always believed the commission

to be credible. The three lawyers on the body, all of whom

are well known to the Embassy, are widely respected

throughout the legal community. Furthermore, after its

establishment, the commission received no financial support

or instructions from the MDC. Tsvangirai’s response to the

report ) including his chaffing at the report’s criticisms

and his failure to embrace openly and clearly the calls for

changes within his party ) as well as the party’s

inexplicable delays in its release may be disappointing but

are further proof of the commissionQ,s independence and of

its reportQ,s credibility. We find it entirely plausible

that the CIO was behind the attack, though perhaps through

the agency of some MDC types under their influence.

 

9. (C) In that regard, it should not have come as a

revelation that the CIO and police had infiltrated the

opposition. What was interesting, however, was ZhouQ,s take

on how they had accomplished this penetration, not through

bribery and stealth as one might assume but rather through

regular contact. While there are no doubt genuinely

sympathetic voices in the state apparatus that give valuable

intelligence to the opposition, the commission report should

serve as a wake up call for opposition leaders to take

greater caution in dealing with the CIO and other security

organs.

DELL

 

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