Mtetwa got Mudzuri out


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Elias Mudzuri, who was mayor of Harare at the time, was released after two nights in jail when his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa obtained a High Court order instructing police to produce him in court and make clear the charges against him.

Mudzuri had been arrested together with several other city councillors during a meeting with residents of Mabvuku.

No charges were filed but police said Mudzuri had violated the Public Order and Security Act by not seeking advance permission to hold the meeting.

Mudzuri was released by High Court judge Benjamin Paradza who said he appeared to have no case to answer.

Paradza refused a police request to have Mudzuri kept in detention while investigations continued.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE77, MDC MAYOR OF HARARE SPENDS TWO DAYS IN JAIL

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

03HARARE77

2003-01-13 12:59

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 HARARE 000077

 

SIPDIS

 

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR CNEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/13/2013

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MDC MAYOR OF HARARE SPENDS TWO DAYS IN JAIL

 

REF: A) 1/11/03 BELLAMY-HARRINGTON TELCON B) HARARE 42

 

Classified By: political section chief Matt Harrington. Reasons: 1.5 (

B) and (D).

 

¶1. (U) Action request — see para 5.

 

¶2. (C) Mayor of Harare Elias Mudzuri was released from

detention on January 13 after spending two nights in jail.

He was arrested on January 11 along with his deputy mayor and

several city councillors during a meeting with constituents

in the Harare high density suburb of Mabvuku. Although no

formal charges were filed, a police spokesman told

journalists that Mudzuri had violated the draconian Public

Order and Security Act (POSA) by not seeking advance

permission to hold the meeting. After Mudzuri’s attorney —

Beatrice Mtetwa — was denied access to her client most of

January 12, she was able to obtain a High Court order late

that day instructing police to produce Mudzuri in court and

make clear the charges against him.   In the morning of

January 13, Mudzuri appeared before High Court Judge Benjamin

Paradza, who ordered Mudzuri’s immediate release, saying he

appeared to have no case to answer. A police request that

Mudzuri be kept under detention while investigations

continued apparently fell on deaf ears.

 

¶3. (U) As reported ref B, Mudzuri is one of five mayors

representing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change

(MDC). After he began making noticeable improvements to

Harare’s roads and other infrastructure shortly after his

election in March 2002 by an overwhelming majority, the

Government of Zimbabwe launched a smear campaign to discredit

him with unsubstantiated accusations of corruption and

incompetence. In addition, the Government appointed a

special commission to “help” Mudzuri devise a revitalization

plan for Harare and — in a move widely seen as an effort to

hinder the ability of MDC office-holders to govern —

recently announced its intention to create governorships for

Harare and Bulawayo, both of which are controlled by the MDC.

 

¶4. (C) Comment: Arresting an elected official for meeting

with his constituents is absurd, but it constitutes only the

latest move in a comprehensive Government campaign to harass

and discredit one of the opposition’s most visible

officeholders. Mudzuri had held a series of recent meetings

with Harare taxpayers to discuss the range of challenges

facing the city, including water shortages, and the GOZ

appears to have grown nervous about allowing him a forum for

addressing large groups of disgruntled Zimbabweans or for

correcting GOZ-disseminated attacks on the Mayor in the state

media. This latest move suggests that the GOZ is

increasingly willing to abandon even the pretence of respect

for genuine democratic norms.

 

¶5. (U) Action requested: Per ref A, we believe that

Mudzuri’s arrest warrants strong criticism from the

Department, perhaps in a statement expressing outrage at the

Government of Zimbabwe’s jettisoning of even the appearance

of democratic governance.

 

 

SULLIVAN

 

(11 VIEWS)

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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