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Military said it will not salute anyone without liberation credentials

Zimbabwe’s military and security chiefs announced on 9 January 2002, two months before the presidential elections, that they would not tolerate any president who did not observe the objectives of the liberation struggle.

The security chiefs who included Defence Forces Chief Vitalis Zvinavashe, Army Commander Constantine Chiwenga, Air Force Chief Perrence Shiri and Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, said the highest office in the land was a straightjacket whose occupant was expected to observe the objectives of the liberation struggle.

“We will therefore not accept, let alone support or salute, anyone with a different agenda that threatens the very existence of our sovereignty, our country and our people,” they said in a statement.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 02HARARE104, ANOTHER BAD DAY FOR DEMOCRACY IN ZIMBABWE:

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE104

2002-01-10 12:42

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.

 

101242Z Jan 02

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1661

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00104 01 OF 02 101348Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01

NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PC-01   PM-00

PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00

USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-00   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00

SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————55D9BA 101349Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0703

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000104

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR CHARLES NEARY

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/10/12

TAGS: PGOV PHUM MARR ZI

SUBJECT: ANOTHER BAD DAY FOR DEMOCRACY IN ZIMBABWE:

MILITARY IMPLICITLY BACKS ZANU-PF IN MARCH 9-10

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

 

REF: ’01 HARARE 3689

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER TODD FAULK FOR REASONS:

1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: IN A JANUARY 9 PRESS CONFERENCE,

ZIMBABWE’S SECURITY CHIEFS SAID THEY WOULD NOT TOLERATE

THE ASCENSION OF A PRESIDENT WHO DOES NOT “OBSERVE THE

OBJECTIVES OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE.” THE LENGTHY

STATEMENT MARKED THE MOST DRAMATIC DEPARTURE OF

ZIMBABWE’S MILITARY FROM ITS GENERALLY APOLITICAL

HISTORY. THE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE ANNOUNCED THE DATE OF

THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AS THE WEEKEND OF MARCH 9 AND

10 AND SAID THAT THE HARARE MAYORAL AND COUNCIL

ELECTIONS WOULD BE HELD CONCURRENTLY, IN CLEAR DEFIANCE

OF A SUPREME COURT ORDER. MEANWHILE, PARLIAMENT VOTED

TO SUSPEND ITS OWN STANDING RULES TO PERMIT THE RE-

INTRODUCTION OF ELECTORAL ACT AMENDMENTS VOTED DOWN BY

THE MDC ON JANUARY 8. THE DRACONIAN PUBLIC ORDER AND

SECURITY BILL (POSB) COULD PASS THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY AS

EARLY AS TODAY, JANUARY 10. END SUMMARY.

 

——————————————— ——

REVERSING APOLITICAL STANCE, MILITARY BACKS ZANU-PF

——————————————— ——

 

2. (C) IN A JANUARY 9 PRESS CONFERENCE, ZIMBABWE’S

SECURITY CHIEFS, INCLUDING DEFENSE FORCES CHIEF VITALIS

ZVINAVASHE, ARMY COMMANDER CONSTANTINE CHIWENGA, AIR

FORCE COMMANDER PERENCE SHIRI, AND POLICE COMMISSIONER

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00104 01 OF 02 101348Z

AUGUSTINE CHIHURI, SAID THEY WOULD NOT ACCEPT A

PRESIDENT WHO DID NOT SHARE THE “OBJECTIVES OF THE

LIBERATION STRUGGLE.” THE LENGTHY STATEMENT, READ BY

ZVINAVASHE, OUTLINED THE HISTORY OF THE FIGHT FOR

INDEPENDENCE AND CRITICIZED THE LOCAL MEDIA FOR

PORTRAYING THE MILITARY IN A BAD LIGHT, LISTING SEVEN

CASES OF MEDIA “ABUSES” OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS. IN

AN OVERTLY POLITICAL MOVE, THE MILITARY ALSO ENCOURAGED

PARLIAMENTARIANS “TO ENACT LAWS THAT PROTECT OUR

SOVEREIGNTY AND INDEPENDENCE,” UNDOUBTEDLY REFERRING TO

REPRESSIVE LEGISLATION CURRENTLY BEFORE THE HOUSE.

 

3. (C) ZVINAVASHE CONCLUDED BY SAYING: “… ANY CHANGE

DESIGNED TO REVERSE THE GAINS OF THIS REVOLUTION WILL

NOT BE SUPPORTED … WE WISH TO MAKE IT VERY CLEAR TO

ALL ZIMBABWEAN CITIZENS THAT THE SECURITY ORGANIZATIONS

WILL ONLY STAND IN SUPPORT OF THOSE POLITICAL LEADERS

THAT WILL PURSUE ZIMBABWEAN VALUES, TRADITIONS AND

BELIEFS FOR WHICH THOUSANDS OF LIVES WERE LOST … LET

IT BE KNOWN THAT THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN THE LAND IS A

STRAIGHTJACKET WHOSE OCCUPANT IS EXPECTED TO OBSERVE THE

OBJECTIVES OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE. WE WILL

THEREFORE NOT ACCEPT, LET ALONE SUPPORT OR SALUTE,

ANYONE WITH A DIFFERENT AGENDA THAT THREATENS THE VERY

EXISTENCE OF OUR SOVEREIGNTY, OUR COUNTRY AND OUR

PEOPLE.” (COMMENT: ALTHOUGH PRESIDENT MUGABE AND MDC

PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI WERE NOT MENTIONED BY NAME,

THE MILITARY LEADERS’ LANGUAGE IMPLICITLY STATED THEY

WOULD SUPPORT ONLY MUGABE OR A ZANU-PF SUCCESSOR IN THE

ELECTION AND NOT SOMEONE FROM THE MDC. TSVANGIRAI DOES

NOT HAVE WHAT THE MILITARY WOULD CALL “LIBERATION

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00104 01 OF 02 101348Z

STRUGGLE CREDENTIALS,” I.E. A HISTORY OF FIGHTING THE

IAN SMITH REGIME OF THE 1960S AND 1970S. END COMMENT.)

 

—————————————

PRESIDENTIAL, HARARE ELECTION DATES SET

—————————————

 

4. (C) ON JANUARY 9, THE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE ANNOUNCED

THAT THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WOULD TAKE PLACE ON THE

WEEKEND OF MARCH 9 AND 10, ONE WEEK BEFORE THE LAST

POSSIBLE DATE. THE OFFICE ALSO ANNOUNCED THAT THE

NOMINATION COURT, WHICH HAS 21 DAYS TO OFFICIALLY

RECEIVE NOMINATIONS FOR PARTIES’ CANDIDATES, WOULD BEGIN

SITTING ON JANUARY 31. IN CLEAR DEFIANCE OF A DECEMBER

7 SUPREME COURT DECISION THAT SAID THE HARARE MUNICIPAL

ELECTIONS MUST TAKE PLACE BY FEBRUARY 11 (REFTEL), THE

PRESIDENT’S OFFICE SAID THE HARARE MAYORAL AND COUNCIL

ELECTIONS WOULD OCCUR IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ON MARCH 9 AND 10 FOR REASONS OF

COST.

 

—————————————-

REPRESSIVE LEGISLATION CLOSER TO PASSAGE

—————————————-

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1662

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00104 02 OF 02 101349Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01

NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PC-01   PM-00

PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00

USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-00   DRL-02   G-00

NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————55D9D1 101349Z /38

O 101242Z JAN 02

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0704

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000104

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR CHARLES NEARY

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/10/12

TAGS: PGOV PHUM MARR ZI

SUBJECT: ANOTHER BAD DAY FOR DEMOCRACY IN ZIMBABWE:

MILITARY IMPLICITLY BACKS ZANU-PF IN MARCH 9-10

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00104 02 OF 02 101349Z

 

5. (U) ZIMBABWE’S PARLIAMENT MOVED CLOSER TO PASSING

THREE DRACONIAN BILLS DESIGNED TO MAXIMIZE THE RULING

PARTY’S ADVANTAGES IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. ON

JANUARY 8, THE GENERAL LAWS AMENDMENTS BILL, WHICH WOULD

AMEND THE ELECTORAL ACT, WAS DEFEATED IN A FLOOR VOTE BY

36 TO 22. ACCORDING TO REPORTS, JUSTICE MINISTER

PATRICK CHINAMASA, WHO IS ALSO LEADER OF THE HOUSE,

UNDERESTIMATED THE NUMBER OF ZANU-PF MPS IN ATTENDANCE

AFTER A LONG NIGHT OF DEBATE WHEN HE SUBMITTED THE BILL

FOR A FINAL VOTE. THE RARE SETBACK FOR ZANU-PF IS

TEMPORARY, HOWEVER; ON THE NIGHT OF JANUARY 9, THE HOUSE

VOTED 73-53 TO SUSPEND PARLIAMENT’S STANDING RULES TO

PERMIT THE BILL’S RESUBMISSION TODAY (JANUARY 10).

UNDER THE STANDING RULES, A DEFEATED BILL CANNOT BE

RESUBMITTED UNTIL THE NEXT SESSION OF PARLIAMENT BEGINS,

USUALLY IN JULY. MDC MP DAVID COLTART DESCRIBED THE

SUSPENSION AS “UNCONSTITUTIONAL” AND SAID ZIMBABWE HAD

BECOME “A DEMOCRACY IN NAME ONLY.”

 

6. (C) ON JANUARY 9, HOUSE MEMBERS STAYED THROUGH THE

NIGHT TO DEBATE THE PUBLIC ORDER AND SECURITY BILL

(POSB), WHICH WOULD GIVE THE POLICE SWEEPING POWERS TO

CONTROL AND BAN PUBLIC GATHERINGS AMONG OTHER REPRESSIVE

MEASURES. THE PAPERS OFFICE OF PARLIAMENT TOLD POLOFF

THAT THE BILL MADE IT THROUGH ITS SECOND READING, AND

WAS NOW WITH THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE, WHICH IS

CONSIDERING UNSPECIFIED AMENDMENTS. THE BILL WAS DUE TO

BE TABLED JANUARY 10 FOR A THIRD AND FINAL READING

BEFORE PROCEEDING TO A VOTE. HELEN DINGANI, THE DEPUTY

CLERK OF PARLIAMENT, TOLD POLOFF THAT THE ACCESS TO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00104 02 OF 02 101349Z

INFORMATION BILL WOULD NOT LIKELY BE CONSIDERED UNTIL

NEXT WEEK.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) THE MILITARY’S SUDDEN DECLARATION THAT IT WOULD

NOT SUPPORT A PRESIDENT WITHOUT LIBERATION CREDENTIALS

REPRESENTS A PERILOUS PRECEDENT FOR DEMOCRACY IN

ZIMBABWE. IT IS A SHARP DEPARTURE FROM THE MILITARY’S

LONG, GENERALLY APOLITICAL TRADITION AND CALLS INTO

QUESTION ITS COMMITMENT TO DEMOCRATIC VALUES.   WITHOUT

NAMING NAMES, THE TOP BRASS OF THE SECURITY SERVICES

HINTED THAT THEY WOULD NOT SUPPORT MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI IF HE WERE ELECTED. THE STATEMENT SOUNDS

 

SIPDIS

LIKE A WARNING TO MDC SUPPORTERS: VOTING FOR TSVANGIRAI

WOULD BE POINTLESS SINCE WE WOULD REMOVE HIM IF HE WERE

ELECTED. THE MILITARY CHIEFS IMPLICITLY UNDERSCORED THE

IMPORTANCE THEY ATTACH TO CONTINUED ZANU-PF RULE,

WHETHER MUGABE IS AT THE HELM OR NOT. MOST OF THE

CURRENT MILITARY LEADERS SPRUNG FROM THE ZANLA AND ZIPRA

GUERRILLA MOVEMENTS OF THE 1960S AND 1970S, AND ALL HAVE

BENEFITED FINANCIALLY FROM ZANU-PF’S 22 YEARS OF

UNBROKEN RULE AND PRESUMABLY WOULD PREFER TO MAINTAIN

THE STATUS QUO. WHETHER THE MORE JUNIOR RANKS SHARE

THIS VIEW REMAINS AN OPEN QUESTION. REGARDLESS OF THE

MOTIVES BEHIND THE MILITARY’S POLITICAL STATEMENT, IT

FURTHER CONTAMINATES AN ALREADY POISONED ELECTORAL

ENVIRONMENT.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00104 02 OF 02 101349Z

8. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: AS FOR HOLDING THE HARARE

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS ON THE SAME DATE AS THE PRESIDENTIAL

ELECTION, ZANU-PF IS ONCE AGAIN IGNORING COURT ORDERS IT

FINDS INCONVENIENT AND THEREBY IS DENYING THE MDC ANY

OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD MOMENTUM FROM AN ELECTION IT WOULD

UNDOUBTEDLY WIN BY A LANDSLIDE. DESPITE A FEW SETBACKS

IN PARLIAMENT (INCLUDING ADVERSE REPORTS FROM THE LEGAL

COMMITTEE), ZANU-PF IS BACK ON TRACK FOR PRODUCING THE

LEGAL FRAMEWORK THAT WILL PROVIDE THE GOVERNMENT MAXIMUM

ADVANTAGE FOR THE ELECTION WHILE CLOSING OFF MORE

AVENUES OF DISSENT FOR THE OPPOSITION AND CIVIL SOCIETY.

END COMMENT.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(41 VIEWS)

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