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MDC to put Mugabe to test

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s faction of the Movement for Democratic Change wanted to put President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and Mugabe himself to test by bringing up a series of controversial legislation for amendment though it knew it did not have the numbers to win.

The party wanted to bring up the Public Order and Security Act for amendment because it had been abused by State security agents to limit dissent.

Although the party knew that it would not win the amendment because of its reduced numbers in Parliament, it viewed the move as an opportunity to highlight the need for legislative reform and force ZANU-PF and Mugabe to reject it.

If it succeeded, the MDC was going to bring up similar legislation like the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Broadcasting Services Act and Section 121 of the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Act.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE868, ZIM NOTES 11-02-2009

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE868

2009-11-02 08:05

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

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RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3255

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

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RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000868

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

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NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND J. HARMON

COMMERCE FOR ROBERT TELCHIN

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON ZI

 

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 11-02-2009

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

– SADC Troika Visits Zimbabwe…

– NGO Arrests and Abductions Return to Zimbabwe…

– UN Envoy Deported…

– Teachers Report Mounting Harassment, Militarization…

– MDC to Push for Reform in Parliament…

– Farm Violence Increases, Targets Black Workers…

– Judicial Reform Conference Cancelled…

– Amnesty International Wants SADC Action…

– Human Rights Watch Repeats Calls to Suspend Zim from KP…

– IMF Highlights Risks to Recovery…

– Gono’s Cover Story…

– Dust Settling over Kingdom Meikles…

 

———————————

On the Political and Social Front

———————————-

 

2. SADC Troika Visits Zimbabwe…The foreign ministers of

Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zambia; representing the SADC Organ on

Politics, Defence and Security; and SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz

Salamao arrived in Harare on October 28 to review the implementation

of the Global Political Agreement and to address the political

impasse between ZANU-PF and MDC-T. SADC chairman, DRC President

Joseph Kabila, is expected to join them. MDC-T is skeptical this

visit will accomplish much and wants SADC involvement bumped up to

Troika heads of state and possibly an extraordinary summit of all

SADC heads of state.

 

 

3. NGO Arrests and Abductions Return to Zimbabwe… A number of

events in the last week are raising concerns that ZANU-PF is ramping

up efforts to intimidate civil society and the MDC through its usual

techniques of politically-motivated arrests, abductions, and

intimidation. For instance, Bindura council employees loyal to

ZANU-PF burned 10,000 copies of the MDC’s newsletter The Changing

Times. One MDC employee was abducted and another was nearly abducted

on October 27. Earlier in the week, police in Victoria Falls

arrested the two leaders of the National Association of NGOs (NANGO)

and charged the activists for organizing a political meeting without

police clearance in violation of the Public Order and Security Act

(POSA). The court granted them bail and released them on October 27.

Two members of another NGO, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network

(ZESN) were also arrested under POSA on October 28. See Harare 867

 

4. UN Envoy Deported… UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other

cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, Manfred Nowak, himself became

the victim of degrading treatment when Zimbabwean security officers

refused to grant him entry on October 28. Nowak was already in South

Africa when he learned on October 27 that the government had

rescinded its invitation for his fact-finding mission scheduled to

begin on October 28. Prime Minister Tsvangirai then invited him for

a meeting on October 29. When Nowak arrived in Harare, security

officials said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hadn’t granted

clearance for the meeting and refused him entry. Nowak spent the

night at the airport before being deported on October 29. See Harare

Qnight at the airport before being deported on October 29. See Harare

866

 

5. Teachers Report Mounting Harassment, Militarization… The

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) told us that fears are

mounting in rural areas of renewed harassment of teachers. Teachers

at the Maungwa Secondary School in Gutu North report that the local

militia is forcing children from age 14 and up to participate in

daily military drills. In the Mberengwa area of Midlands, the

 

HARARE 00000868 002 OF 003

 

 

District Education Officer in the Ministry of Education has demanded

teachers “donate” 50 cents to the December ZANU-PF conference. At

Chaona Primary School in Mashonaland Central, teachers fled two

weeks ago fearing mounting anti-MDC rhetoric would lead to renewed

violence. Four of the teachers who spent several weeks in the

hospital as a result of 2008 violence in Chaona came to Harare to

seek protection and transfer from the school.

 

6. MDC to Push for Reform in Parliament… Next week, the MDC-T

caucus in Parliament intends on pushing forward a private member’s

bill which would amend the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) that

has been abused by State security agents to limit public dissent.

While insiders are not optimistic of the amendment’s chances because

of the MDC’s reduced numbers in Parliament, they view it as an

opportunity to highlight the need for legislative reform and force

ZANU-PF and President Mugabe into rejecting it. They may make

similar efforts to amend other abused pieces of legislation such as

the Access to Information and Protection of Information Act (AIPPA),

the Broadcasting Services Act, and Section 121 of the Criminal

Procedures and Evidence Act. See Harare 862

 

7. Farm Violence Increases, Targets Black Workers… During a visit

to central Zimbabwe last week, we witnessed the growing crisis

facing unemployed and evicted farm workers who are increasingly the

victims of Zimbabwe’s chaotic land reform. See Harare 856. We also

met a white farmer the day before a group of drunken ZANU-PF thugs

began a two-day sit-in on his property that eventually resulted in

his eviction from his home of 19 years. When the farmer, one of the

plaintiffs in the SADC Tribunal Campbell case, confronted Defense

Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to seek a reprieve, Mnangagwa told him

that he had brought the invasion on himself because he had taken the

government to court to keep his property. See Harare 857

 

8. Judicial Reform Conference Cancelled… An all-stakeholders

conference to discuss reform of the Zimbabwean justice system was

cancelled after civil society organizations pulled out, citing

repression of their members, particularly the arrests of NANGO

officials. The conference was organized by the ZANU-PF-led Ministry

of Justice and Legal Affairs and was to be attended by government

departments, civil society organizations, and donors. Civil Society

organizations vowed not to participate in the process as long as

government continued to crack down on their members.

 

9. Amnesty International Wants SADC Action… This week Amnesty

International issued a statement lamenting recent arrests,

abductions, and harassment in Zimbabwe and called on SADC to

“recognize this recent deterioration in the human rights situation

and tackle it immediately – before it degenerates further.”

 

 

10. Human Rights Watch Repeats Calls to Suspend Zim from KP… In

anticipation of the Kimberley Process plenary session next week in

Qanticipation of the Kimberley Process plenary session next week in

Namibia, Human Rights Watch has called for Zimbabwe’s full

suspension from the international body responsible for monitoring

rough diamond trade.

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

11. IMF Highlights Risks to Recovery… IMF officials briefed

diplomats in Harare on October 27 at the end of a two-week visit.

While the economy is set to record real growth for the first time in

over a decade, they said important risks threaten Zimbabwe’s

economic recovery. With a widening trade deficit and faltering

capital inflows, instability in the balance of payments could

undermine growth. The IMF remains concerned about weak governance at

the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which has imprudently tapped into the

banks’ reserve deposits in order to meet some of its own

 

HARARE 00000868 003 OF 003

 

 

obligations. See Harare 863

 

 

12. Gono’s Cover Story… In The Herald, ZANU-PF’s idea of a daily

newspaper, RBZ Governor Gideon Gono explained on October 30 that he

was forced to make irregular use of banks’ reserve funds because the

Ministry of Finance provided no financial support. Gono reportedly

claimed that he needed the money to keep Zimbabwe’s electronic

payments system running. While clearly absurd, Gono’s cover story is

par for the course and might even be good enough to let him keep his

job. See Harare 865

 

13. Dust Settling over Kingdom Meikles… An end is in sight to the

months-long public controversy in which Kingdom Meikles Africa

Limited (KMAL), once a blue-chip local conglomerate, saw its

executives accused of corruption and its share price collapse. The

press has reported that rival KMAL executives have reached an

agreement that will split up the company and possibly lead to the

GOZ dropping criminal charges. This is good news for KMAL’s

shareholders, but the GOZ’s heavy-handed intervention has already

done permanent damage to Zimbabwe’s investment climate.

 

—————–

Quote of the Week

—————–

 

14. “What we are seeing now was exactly how the violence began in

the campaign for the presidential run-off elections between March

and June last year. We are beginning to see the formation of another

storm of violence.” MDC-T Spokesman Nelson Chamisa on surging

tensions in Zimbabwe

 

DHANANI

 

(14 VIEWS)

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