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MDC rejected recount, warned of violence

Movement for Democratic Change secretary general Tendai Biti denounced reports that the party was considering a government of national unity or a vice-presidential spot for party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and warned that there could be an outbreak of violence.

Biti said the MDC was concerned about three main issues: a possible unlawful recount, discrediting of the MDC through forged documents and the militarisation of a runoff by ZANU-PF.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE313, SITUATION REPORT: MDC REJECTS RECOUNT, LOOKS TO

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE313

2008-04-10 11:52

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8544

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0313/01 1011152

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 101152Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2755

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1905

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2028

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0596

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1305

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1662

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2084

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4515

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1160

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000313

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

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: 04/10/2018

TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: SITUATION REPORT: MDC REJECTS RECOUNT, LOOKS TO

LUSAKA

 

 

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

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Ten days after Zimbabwe’s national

elections, with results of the presidential contest still

outstanding, the Ambassador confirmed the intention of MDC

presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, currently in

Botswana, to travel with President Khama to Lusaka for the

April 12-13 emergency SADC summit on Zimbabwe. On April 9,

MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti held a press conference to

denounce reports in the government newspaper that the MDC

would consider a government of national unity or a

vice-presidential spot for Tsvangirai. Biti reiterated his

call to the international community to intervene in advance

of an outbreak of violence. He went on to raise concerns on

three main issues: a possible unlawful recount, discrediting

of the MDC though forged documents and the militarization of

a runoff by ZANU-PF. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) As Zimbabwe continues to wait for results of the March

29 presidential election, the Ambassador confirmed with

Morgan Tsvangirai on April 10 that the opposition candidate

was in Gaborone, Botswana and planned to travel to the April

12-13 extraordinary SADC summit on Zimbabwe in Lusaka with

Botswana’s new president, Seretse Ian Khama. Tsvangirai

intended to return to Zimbabwe following the summit.

Tsvangirai told the Ambassador that MDC Secretary General

 

SIPDIS

Tendai Biti planned to travel to South Africa over the

weekend to appeal to diaspora MDC backers for additional

financial assistance.

 

3. (SBU) In an April 9 press conference, Biti denied reports

in the government mouthpiece, The Herald, that the MDC would

consider a government of national unity or a

vice-presidential spot for MDC presidential candidate Morgan

Tsvangirai. Biti reiterated the MDC’s stance that Tsvangirai

 

SIPDIS

had won the election outright and again called on the

international community to intervene. He implored SADC, the

African Union and Western nations “not to wait for dead

bodies to litter the streets” of Harare and Bulawayo. Biti

went on to raise concerns on three main issues. First, he

noted that ten days after the March 29 election, with results

still outstanding, ZANU-PF, according to The Herald, had

called for a recount of 21 parliamentary constituencies and

portions of the presidential vote. Biti remarked that this

was proof that ZANU-PF had “opened ballot boxes, moved ballot

boxes and knows what’s inside;” he stated the MDC would

categorically reject any recount as outside the law. Biti

noted that the constitution does not provide for a recount in

a presidential election, and provides for a parliamentary

recount only if requested within 48 hours of declaration of

results. (NOTE: The April 10 edition of The Herald reports

that ZANU-PF did raise concerns over the 21 constituencies

with the electoral commission within the statutory 48 hours;

this has not been independently confirmed. END NOTE.)

 

4. (SBU) Second, Biti accused ZANU-PF’s Central Intelligence

Organization (CIO) of forging and releasing an inflammatory

MDC “Transition Strategy”, allegedly authored by Biti, a copy

of which was distributed at the press conference. Among

other conspiracy-driven items, the document called for

inviting Western leaders, including President Bush “and other

key stakeholders in the People’s Project,” to Morgan

Tsvangirai’s March 31 or April 1 inauguration; as well as for

 

SIPDIS

the dissolution of the security sector and the replacement of

senior military officers with former members of the Rhodesian

Security Forces. Biti denied having prepared any such plan.

(NOTE: Reserve Bank Governor Gono had sent the Ambassador a

copy of this document on 3 April, claiming it was a product

of the MDC that had been “discovered” by the CIO. END NOTE.)

 

5. (C) Third, Biti reported on the widespread

 

HARARE 00000313 002 OF 002

 

 

“militarization” of all of Zimbabwe’s provinces, particularly

in those areas where the MDC reportedly did well during the

March 29 contest. Biti stated that the Mugabe regime, as

part of a systematic campaign of violence and intimidation,

had divided responsibility for each region among 207 mostly

senior military officers, who were each responsible for

commanding war veterans to secure support for Mugabe in a

runoff. The officials and their respective locations were

named in another document distributed by the MDC during the

press conference. According to the MDC, the teams were to be

deployed on April 8. (NOTE: This deployment date tracks with

an uptick in violence perpetrated in rural areas by war

veterans and security forces, as reported by local NGOs

(septel). END NOTE.)

 

6. (C) The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has reportedly

closed its command center — the location provided for the

tallying of votes from the March 29 elections — adding to

anxiety among opposition and civil society members in Harare.

Though rumors that ZEC has been moved to a “secret” location

have been dispelled (ZEC appears to have returned to work in

its regular offices), we have heard reports that the location

of the ballot boxes remains unknown. According to ZEC’s

deputy director, technical delays in counting results

continue and the commission is not yet ready for the

verification phase, during which party agents are allowed to

observe, to begin. Commenting on the arrest of ZEC officials

and other polling agents for incorrect completion of forms,

the deputy director suggested that it would have been

appropriate for ZEC to have conducted an internal

investigation before the police became involved. The deputy

confirmed that there would be a recount in the constituencies

in question by ZANU-PF, and that party agents and observers

would be allowed to be present, information that tracked with

The Herald’s April 10 edition.

 

MCGEE

(18 VIEWS)

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