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MDC humiliates Mugabe

The Movement for Democratic Change was ecstatic when it won the Speaker of Parliament post giving it control of the House of Assembly prompting the United States embassy in Harare to comment that Mugabe had been shocked and humiliated by the MDC twice in two days.

“First by the MDC’s success in electing a parliamentary speaker–the first time in Zimbabwe’s history that ZANU-PF has not controlled the speakership–and second by the disrespect shown him in Parliament today,” the embassy said in a cable released by Wikileaks.

The embassy, however, warned the party not to over play its hand.

“It’s still unclear how ZANU-PF will react to these events beyond the arrest of a handful of MDC MPs. While we still believe Mugabe is in control of ZANU-PF, the last two days have demonstrated significant weakness on Mugabe’s part that may well exacerbate fissures in the party which were covered up in a united effort to win the June election.

“As for MDC Tsvangirai, it has become emboldened by its victory as evidenced by its behaviour in Parliament today. It must be careful, however, not to overplay its hand; Mugabe has a well-deserved reputation for irrationally lashing out when he feels cornered or humiliated.”

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE741, MDC TAKES LEAD ROLE IN PARLIAMENT, EVEN AS 5 MPS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE741

2008-08-26 15:46

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8935

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0741/01 2391546

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 261546Z AUG 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3335

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2230

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2350

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0880

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1627

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1983

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2404

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4836

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1499

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000741

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR G. GARLAND

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: MDC TAKES LEAD ROLE IN PARLIAMENT, EVEN AS 5 MPS

ARRESTED

 

REF: A. A. HARARE 622

B. B. HARARE 621

 

Classified By: Ambassador James McGee for reason 1.4(d).

 

—————————————–

MDC Defiant as Mugabe Convenes Parliament

—————————————–

 

1. (C) President Robert Mugabe convened Parliament today.

The MDC, which had earlier indicated it would not attend in

order to avoid recognition of Mugabe, was in attendance. The

decision came after a heated discussion. According to Nelson

Chamisa, MDC spokesperson, the MDC ultimately concluded that

since it had won the election for speaker, it had more right

than Mugabe to be present in Parliament.

 

2. (SBU) The convening of Parliament was broadcast on

Zimbabwean television. MDC parliamentary members arrived

early and took seats on the side historically occupied by

ZANU-PF as the majority party. When Mugabe arrived, ZANU-PF

members stood; MDC members remained seated. In his 30-minute

speech, Mugabe, as is his custom, lambasted the West and

blamed sanctions for Zimbabwe’s economic predicament. He

ironically accused the West of using food as a tool for

regime change. He also promised Zimbabwe would import

necessary foodstuffs and would undertake a farm mechanization

program to improve Zimbabwe’s agricultural production.

 

4. (SBU) In what one veteran Zimbabwean reporter told us was

an unprecedented spectacle, MDC MPs jeered Mugabe throughout

his speech, sang songs, and otherwise attempted to drown him

out. At times, he appeared rattled. As he left the chamber,

ZANU-PF MPs again stood while MDC MPs remained seated.

 

———————————–

MPs arrested after being on the run

———————————–

 

5. (SBU) At least five MDC MPs were arrested today and

yesterday. Two had been arrested previously; the three new

arrests bring the total of MDC MPs arrested since May 1 to

thirteen. These are also the first MDC MP arrests since the

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on July 21

(reftel B). At the time the MOU was signed, it was believed

that the “wanted” list had been suspended to allow political

space for the talks.

 

6. (SBU) Only one MP (Eliah Jembere) was prevented from

being sworn in and casting his vote for Speaker of the House

of Assembly yesterday. All of the arrested MPs had been

either listed as wanted or were re-arrested for old charges

(reftel A). The August 26 edition of The Herald indicated

that police are looking for eight MDC-T officials: Pearson

Mungofa (Highfield East), Broadwin Nyawude (Bindura South),

Edmore Marima (Bikita East), Elton Mangoma (Makoni North),

Mathias Mlambo (Chipinge East), and Peter Takaringofa (Ward

11 councilor for Bikita East). Trevor Saruwaka, one of those

arrested today, was not listed in The Herald as wanted. Four

of those listed in The Herald have not — yet — been

arrested.

 

The details of the most recent incidents of confirmed MP

arrests are as follows:

 

Shuwa Mudiwa, MP from Mutare West

First arrested: June 18, 2008

Charges: Kidnapping a 13-year-old girl. Police allege he

kidnapped the girl on June 7 and locked her in a house; hte

girl escaped and reported it to police. Mudiwa is a former

 

HARARE 00000741 002 OF 003

 

 

ZANU-PF member and Central Intelligence Organization (CIO)

operative who defected to the MDC.

Released: Date uncertain

Re-arrested: August 25, as he was en-route to parliament. He

was held for several hours and then released. He made it

back to Parliament in time to be sworn in and to vote.

Charges: Same as above.

 

Eliah Jembere, MP from Epworth. (previously on the “wanted”

list)

Charges: Rape. The charges were initially thrown out by a

Harare court, but the Zimbabwean Government appealed and put

him on a wanted list on the same charges. According to the

August 26 The Herald, Jembere is charged with raping the wife

of an MDC-T councilor. The article further states that he

was supposed to appear in court on May 27 to face these

charges, but failed to appear, and a warrant for his arrest

was subsequently issued.

Arrested: August 25, 2008. As of August 26, police have not

divulged his location to his lawyer.

 

Broadwin Nyawude, MP from Bindura South (previously on the

“wanted” list)

Charges: Inciting political violence

Arrested: August 26, 2008. His lawyer has had access to him,

but police report that he will be moved from Harare Central

to his home constituency, where the charges arose.

 

Mathias Mlambo, MP from Chipinge North (previously on the

“wanted” list)

Charges: Inciting political violence

Arrested: August 26, 2008. His lawyer has had access to him,

but police report that he will be moved from Harare Central

to his home constituency, where the charges arose.

 

Trevor Saruwaka, MP from Mutasa Central

Arrested: May 11, 2008

Charges: Inciting violence. Saruwaka had gone to Penhalonga

Police Station to look for an MDC youth abducted by war

veterans. He was ordered arrested at the police station

Awarded bail: May 14, 2008

Released from jail: May 20, 2008

Re-arrested: August 26, 2008.His lawyer has had access to

him, but police report that he will be moved from Harare

Central to his home constituency, where the charges arose.

Charges: Inciting political violence. (NOTE: It is unclear

if these are new charges. END NOTE.)

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) Mugabe has been shocked and humiliated twice in two

days: First by the MDC’s success in electing a parliamentary

speaker–the first time in Zimbabwe’s history that ZANU-PF

has not controlled the speakership–and second by the

disrespect shown him in Parliament today. It’s still unclear

how ZANU-PF will react to these events beyond the arrest of a

handful of MDC MPs. While we still believe Mugabe is in

control of ZANU-PF, the last two days have demonstrated

significant weakness on Mugabe’s part that may well

exacerbate fissures in the party which were covered up in a

united effort to win the June election.

 

8. (C) As for MDC Tsvangirai, it has become emboldened by

its victory as evidenced by its behavior in Parliament today.

It must be careful, however, not to overplay its hand;

Mugabe has a well-deserved reputation for irrationally

lashing out when he feels cornered or humiliated. What is

important is a well-thought out and deliberate strategy to

 

HARARE 00000741 003 OF 003

 

 

use its new parliamentary strength in negotiations to achieve

power. END COMMENT.

MCGEE

(5 VIEWS)

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