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MDC supported Tungamirai

The Movement for Democratic Change supported former Air Force chief Josiah Tungamirai, a Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front candidate, when he contested the Gutu-North seat though the party fielded its own candidate Crispa Musoni.

This was said by the MDC action coordinator Dennis Murira, who also came from the Masvingo area.

Murira said the MDC leadership quietly supported Tungamirai but this was not being communicated publicly because the party wanted to bolster its ties and confidence with the military.

According to Murira the party knew that it was not going to win anyway and was not putting in a lot of money on its candidate.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 04HARARE54, MDC PLANNING TO SUPPORT NON-MDC MASS ACTION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE54

2004-01-09 10:21

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000054

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER, D. TEITELBAUM

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 PLANNING TO SUPPORT NON-MDC MASS ACTION

 

REF: A. HARARE 47

B. 2003 HARARE 2455

C. 2003 HARARE 2443

D. 2003 HARARE 2412

E. 2003 HARARE 2313

 

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

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: An MDC official described plans for a prayer

vigil on January 11 as the first in what the MDC hopes will

be a series of similar (mass) actions in the coming weeks or

months. The events would be held under the auspices of the

church rather than the MDC. The official recounted MDC

efforts to build its structures in rural areas, and also

revealed that some in the MDC leadership would be content if

the ruling party candidate won the upcoming parliamentary

by-election in Gutu-North. END SUMMARY.

 

Prayer Vigils in Lieu of Mass Action

————————————

 

2. (C) In a conversation with poloff on January 8, Dennis

Murira, MDC mass action coordinator, and personal assistant

to MDC Party Chairman Isaac Matongo, said that plans were

underway to hold a prayer vigil on January 11 in Kambuzuma, a

high-density suburb of Harare. Murira and Gandi Mudzingwa,

MDC Special Assistant for Presidential Affairs, have in

recent months both described MDC plans to begin holding

prayer vigils early in the new year with the hope that the

GOZ would be reluctant to crack down on church-goers (Ref D).

The events would appear to be church-sponsored, but MDC

structures would be used to generate attendance that Murira

suggested could be 2-500 people for the January 11 event.

Murira said MDC leaders hoped to demonstrate that the MDC was

still a relevant political force and to generate confidence

among the party faithful ahead of the 2005 parliamentary

elections. Murira said stickers already had been printed

which said “faith demands action”.

 

Building Rural Support in Key Constituencies

——————————————–

 

3. (C) Echoing other MDC officials, Murira reiterated that

the party was focused on building its support base in rural

areas. The party would concentrate door-to-door membership

campaigns in 30 pilot constituencies that they had only lost

narrowly in the 2000 and 2002 elections. Murira said the

party had sold thousands of membership cards (signing up

thousands of new members) in the selected areas. He said the

upcoming challenge would be to get old and new members to

register to vote as soon as the GOZ opened the voter’s rolls

for the 2005 elections.

 

MDC Support for ZANU-PF Candidate ?

———————————–

 

4. (C) Murira, who is from the Masvingo area, admitted that

much of the MDC leadership would quietly be happy if ZANU-PF

candidate for the February 2-3 parliamentary by-election in

Gutu North (near Masvingo) Josiah Tungamirai won. He said

that this message was of course not being communicated

publicly, but that the MDC had communicated in the past with

retired Air Chief Marshal Tungamirai in an effort to bolster

its ties and confidence with the military. Murira said MDC

leaders were comfortable with Tungamirai. (Note: MDC public

support for Tungamirai would likely have led to serious

problems for the candidate from within ZANU-PF. End Note.)

Murira said that the MDC was short on cash and, acknowledging

that they were likely to lose anyway, might only send Z$3

million (US$460) to its candidate Crispa Musoni for the

campaign in Gutu North, a traditionally ZANU-PF bastion.

 

Comment:

——–

 

5. (C) Murira’s description of MDC plans for mass action, or

more clearly plans not to undertake mass action in its own

name but rather coordinate discreetly with other civic or

religious organizations, is consistent with the direction

laid out during last month’s party conference (Ref B), and

recent conversations with MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and

other MDC officials (Refs A, D). From the MDC’s perspective,

the vigils area designed more to build confidence within the

party faithful rather than to send a message to the GOZ or to

motivate political change from the regime. They will be an

important test of the MDC’s organizational capabilities,

which the party has quietly been developing since last June’s

failed mass action. The party probably will suffer little

downside should the vigils fail to gather momentum. If they

succeed, the vigils may pose a dilemma for the GOZ, which is

keen not to let the opposition gain credibility but wants to

project an air of growing political calm. Should the GOZ

arrest organizers or take some other overt action against the

vigils or organizers, the challenge will fall back to the MDC

on how to exploit the situation.

SULLIVAN

 

(16 VIEWS)

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