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Mugabe calling all the shots

President Robert Mugabe, smarting from his first defeat in the referendum for the new constitution, was calling all the shots as violence escalated in the run-up to the June 2000 elections.

No one, not even his deputy Joseph Msika or Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa or powerful war veterans leader Chenjerai Hunzvi, could stop the violence after Mugabe had said no one was moving from the farms that they had occupied.

The United States embassy said the violence was aimed at one thing- to ensure Mugabe’s victory.

“Mugabe believes he can win only if he continues allowing enough instability in the rural areas to ensure that an intimated electorate sticks with ZANU-PF. Neither the Home Affairs minister nor others in senior government positions are able to influence President Mugabe to stop the election violence,” the embassy said.

“Those who profess abhorrence of the violence, like Dabengwa, are either too afraid for their political careers or too weak to have any impact on the debate. Mugabe is again calling all the shots and no one below him will tell him just how damaging the violence is to the country’s stability and reputation.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE2297, AMBASSADOR PUTS HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER ON NOTICE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE2297

2000-04-27 15:46

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.

 

271546Z Apr 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9915

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02297 01 OF 03 271542Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-01

FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-01   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

LAB-01   L-00     AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00

TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00

NFAT-00 SAS-00     /012W

——————50A48E 271543Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5884

INFO AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 002297

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF A/S SUSAN RICE, DAS SCHNEIDMAN

 

AF/S RENDER, BOOTH, GURNEY

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02297 01 OF 03 271542Z

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/00

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PINS PINR KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR PUTS HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER ON NOTICE

TO STOP THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE

 

REF: A) HARARE 2237, B) HARARE 2221, C) HARARE 2236

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER MAKILA JAMES, REASONS

1.5 B/D.

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: ON APRIL 26 THE MINISTER OF HOME

AFFAIRS REPEATED THE PARTY LINE TO AMBASSADOR MCDONALD

THAT THE OCCUPATIONS OF THE COMMERCIAL FARMS IS A

“POLITICAL ISSUE” WITH WHICH NEITHER HE NOR THE POLICE

MAY INTERFERE, AS LONG AS THE TAKEOVERS ARE PEACEFUL.

DABENGWA MAINTAINS THAT THE POLICE ARE UNDER INSTRUCTION

TO INVESTIGATE AND ARREST THOSE WHO HARM PEOPLE OR

PROPERTY ON THE FARMS. TO DATE, HOWEVER, WE HAVE SEEN

NO EVIDENCE OF ANY ARREST FOR THE MURDERS OF TWO WHITE

COMMERCIAL FARMERS OR THE HUNDREDS OF BLACK FARM WORKERS

WHO HAVE BEEN INTIMIDATED, RAPED, OR KILLED. THE

MINISTER EXPRESSED A GREATER DESIRE TO STOP THE

WIDESPREAD POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN URBAN AREAS, BUT AGAIN

HAS YET TO DEMONSTRATE STRONG LEADERSHIP BY PUBLICIZING

ANY INVESTIGATIONS OR ARRESTS FOLLOWING SEVERAL DEATHS.

OPPOSITION PARTY MEMBERS SAY THE POLICE ARE UNDER

INSTRUCTIONS NOT TO MAKE ARRESTS IN ELECTION-RELATED

CRIMES AS THEY TOO ARE DEEMED “POLITICAL MATTERS.” IN

OUR JUDGMENT, PUTTING AN END TO POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN

ZIMBABWE RESTS WITH PRESIDENT MUGABE WHO CONTINUES TO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02297 01 OF 03 271542Z

SHOW NO INCLINATION TO STOP THE FARM OCCUPATIONS OR THE

ATTACKS ON OPPOSITION PARTY SUPPORTERS. IN RESPONSE,

AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, IN THE STRONGEST TERMS, CHASTISED

THE GOZ AND THE ZANU-PF PARTY FOR ORGANIZING AND

ENCOURAGING THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) FOLLOWING THE APRIL 26 SIGNING OF THE U.S.-

ZIMBABWE EXTRADITION TREATY, AMBASSADOR MCDONALD MEET

PRIVATELY WITH MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS, DUMISO

DABENGWA, TO RAISE OUR CONCERNS OVER THE ONGOING AND

EVER INCREASING POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN ZIMBABWE.

AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, ACCOMPANIED BY POLOFF (NOTETAKER),

EXPRESSED U.S. CONDEMNATION OF AND DISGUST WITH THE

POLITICAL VIOLENCE OCCURRING ON THE OCCUPIED COMMERCIAL

FARMS AGAINST BLACK FARM WORKERS, INCLUDING REPORTS OF

LYNCHINGS, BEATINGS, AND RAPES, AS WELL AS THE DEATHS OF

THE TWO WHITE FARMERS THE WEEK OF APRIL 16, AND GENERAL

INTIMIDATION OF FARM OWNERS BY THE OCCUPYING “WAR

VETERANS” AND THEIR HIRED BACKERS. ADDITIONALLY, THE

AMBASSADOR URGED THE GOVERNMENT TO ACT AGGRESSIVELY TO

STOP THE ESCALATING POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND TO UPHOLD LAW

AND ORDER BY ARRESTING AND PROSECUTING PERPETRATORS OF

THESE CRIMES. SPECIFICALLY, THE AMBASSADOR INQUIRED

ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO THE PETROL BOMB

MURDERS OF TWO MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC)

SUPPORTERS IN BUHERA ON APRIL 15 AND THE FATAL BEATINGS

OF TWO OTHER MDC SUPPORTERS IN KARIBA ON APRIL 25

(REFTEL A). THE AMBASSADOR INFORMED THE MINISTER THAT

HE HAD URGED PRESIDENT MUGABE TO TAKE A LEADERSHIP ROLE

IN STOPPING THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE (REFTEL B).

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 02297 01 OF 03 271542Z

 

3. (C) MINISTER DABENGWA RESPONDED BY EXPRESSING HIS

CONCERN ABOUT THE BREAKDOWN IN LAW AND ORDER, BUT WENT

ON TO SEPARATED THE VIOLENCE ON THE COMMERCIAL FARMS

FROM THE BROADER ELECTION-RELATED ASSAULTS AND DEATHS.

THE MINISTER WEAKLY ARGUED THAT THE OCCUPATIONS OF THE

FARMS BY WAR VETS AND OTHERS WERE THE RESULT OF A

LONGSTANDING POLITICAL PROBLEM IN THE COUNTRY THAT

REQUIRED A “POLITICAL SOLUTION.” IN THE PAST, WHEN

COMMERCIAL FARMS WERE OCCUPIED BY COMMUNAL FARMERS WHO

HAD GROWN IMPATIENT WAITING FOR LAND RESETTLEMENT, LOCAL

POLITICIANS WOULD BE DISPATCHED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO

RESOLVE THE CRISIS AND NEGOTIATE A PEACEFUL REMOVAL.

THE POLICE HAVE NEVER EVICTED FARM OCCUPIERS BASED ONLY

ON A COURT ORDER, DABENGWA ADDED. THE SAME STRATEGY IS

NOW BEING EMPLOYED TO NEGOTIATE A SOLUTION TO THE

OCCUPATIONS BY THE WAR VETS. CONSEQUENTLY, NEITHER HIS

MINISTRY NOR THE POLICE WILL INTERFERE WITH THE

OCCUPIERS AS LONG AS THEY REMAIN PEACEFUL, I.E., IF THE

SQUATTERS REFRAINED FROM INTIMIDATION, PROPERTY DAMAGE,

OR PHYSICAL HARM TO THE RESIDENTS, THE MINISTER STATED.

 

4. (C) WHEN AMBASSADOR MCDONALD PRESSED THE MINISTER ON

POLICE FAILURE TO DO THEIR JOB OR TO DO SO IN A TIMELY

MANNER IN THE DEATHS OF THE TWO COMMERCIAL FARMERS OR IN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9918

 

PAGE 01        HARARE 02297 02 OF 03 271543Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-01

FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-01   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

LAB-01   L-00     AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00

TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00

NFAT-00 SAS-00     /012W

——————50A4A4 271543Z /38

P 271546Z APR 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5885

INFO AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 002297

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF A/S SUSAN RICE, DAS SCHNEIDMAN

 

AF/S RENDER, BOOTH, GURNEY

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02297 02 OF 03 271543Z

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/00

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PINS PINR KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR PUTS HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER ON NOTICE

TO STOP THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE

 

OTHER CASES OF PHYSICAL ASSAULT ON BLACK FARM WORKERS,

THE MINISTER INSISTED THEY POLICE “DID THEIR BEST” IN

LIGHT OF THEIR TRANSPORT AND FORCE SIZE LIMITATIONS.

THE MINISTER’S PERMANENT SECRETARY, TINAYE CHIGUDU,

CHIMED IN THAT WE DID NOT HAVE ACCURATE INFORMATION AND

QUESTIONED WHETHER SOME OF THE INCIDENTS OCCURRED.

AMBASSADOR MCDONALD CUT CHIGUDU SHORT AND INSISTED THE

INFORMATION THE EMBASSY HAD WAS CREDIBLE. DABENGWA SAID

THAT THE POLICE WERE INVESTIGATING THE TWO FARM DEATHS,

AND PROMISED TO SHARE THE REPORT WITH THE AMBASSADOR

WHEN COMPLETED.

 

5. (C) DABENGWA RECOUNTED HOW HE HAD INITIALLY

INSTRUCTED THE POLICE TO REMOVE THE OCCUPIERS DURING THE

FIRST WEEKS OF THE COMMERCIAL FARM INVASIONS THREE

MONTHS AGO. AT THAT TIME, HE SAID HE PERSONALLY TOLD

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE WAR VETERANS ASSOCIATION, CHENJERI

“HITLER” HUNZVI, TO ORDER THE VETS TO VACATE THE FARMS.

HUNZVI WAS REPORTEDLY EN ROUTE TO AN OCCUPIED FARM TO

DELIVER THAT MESSAGE WHEN PRESIDENT MUGABE’S

CONTRADICTORY INSTRUCTION THAT THE VETS COULD REMAIN

PEACEFULLY WAS BROADCAST OVER THE RADIO. AT THAT POINT,

HUNZVI CEASED HIS EFFORTS TO HAVE THE VETS LEAVE THE

OCCUPIED FARMS. THE MINISTER LAMENTED THAT HE DID NOT

HAVE A CHANCE TO CONSULT WITH THE PRESIDENT IN ADVANCE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02297 02 OF 03 271543Z

OF MUGABE’S STATEMENT, AS HE WOULD HAVE TRIED TO TALK

HIM OUT OF TAKING SUCH A POSITION ON THE OCCUPATIONS,

DABENGWA SAID.

 

6. (C) THE MINISTER THEN DESCRIBED UNSUCCESSFUL EFFORTS

BY HIMSELF AND OTHER SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN THE

CABINET AND ZANU-PF POLITBURO TO END THE OCCUPATIONS,

INCLUDING VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH MSIKA’S FLIP-FLOP ON THE

ISSUE. NEVERTHELESS, THE ISSUE OF ESCALATING POLITICAL

VIOLENCE CONTINUED TO BE DISCUSSED AMONG SENIOR

OFFICIALS, MOST RECENTLY IN THE APRIL 25 CABINET AND

POLITBURO MEETING. DABENGWA NOTED THAT THE AMBASSADOR’S

MESSAGE ON THIS ISSUE TO THE PRESIDENT WAS THE MOST THAT

COULD BE DONE, AS MUGABE WAS INSISTING ON NO FORCED

REMOVALS. THE MINISTER RESIGNEDLY SAID HIS HANDS WERE

TIED AS WERE THE POLICE, AS THERE WAS “NO POLITICAL

WILL” TO END THE OCCUPATIONS AT THE MOMENT.

 

7. (C) TURNING TO THE ISSUE OF GENERAL ELECTION

POLITICAL VIOLENCE, DABENGWA INSISTED THAT THE POLICE

WERE CONDUCTING INVESTIGATIONS AND MAKING ARRESTS.

ADDITIONALLY, THE MINISTER SAID HE HAD INSTRUCTED THE

POLICE COMMISSIONER TO PREPARE A WEEKLY SUMMARY OF

POLITICAL VIOLENCE INCIDENTS, INCLUDING ARRESTS, WHICH

HE GAVE US A COPY OF DATED APRIL 16 TO 23. (COMMENT:

THE REPORT MERELY CATALOGS THE NUMBER OF ZANU-PF AND

OPPOSITION PARTY RALLIES, GENERICALLY IDENTIFIES ARRESTS

OF PARTY MEMBERS, AND DRYLY STATES THE NUMBER OF DEATHS.

THERE ARE NO REPORTS OF ANY ARREST IN CONNECTION WITH

THE FARM OR POLITICAL PARTY DEATHS SO FAR. THERE ARE

ALSO NO NAMES OF SUSPECTS OR REFERENCE TO ANY POLICE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 02297 02 OF 03 271543Z

FOLLOW-UP ACTION. END COMMENT.)

 

8. (C) MINISTER DABENGWA INSISTS THAT THE LOCAL POLICE

AUTHORITIES WILL BE GIVEN COPIES OF THESE WEEKLY REPORTS

AND INSTRUCTED TO FOLLOW-UP. DABENGWA ALSO STATED THAT

A ZANU-PF SUPPORTER HAD BEEN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH

THE MURDERS OF THE TWO MDC SUPPORTERS IN BUHERA. THE

AMBASSADOR RESPONDED THAT THE POLICE SHOULD PUBLICIZE

ANY SUCH ARRESTS, AS THERE WAS CURRENTLY NO NEWS ON

POLICE EFFORTS TO END THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE, WHICH, IN

TURN, WAS ENCOURAGING MORE VIOLENCE. DABENGWA SAID HE

INTENDS TO HAVE THE REPORTS OF VIOLENCE AND THE

SUBSEQUENT ARRESTS PUBLISHED IN THE NEWSPAPERS. AT AN

MDC PRESS CONFERENCE ON APRIL 26, HOWEVER, MDC PRESIDENT

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI INSISTED THAT THE POLICE WERE NOT

INVESTIGATING THE ATTACKS ON MDC SUPPORTERS, AS THE

POLICE CLAIM TO BE UNDER INSTRUCTIONS THAT SUCH CRIMES

ARE “POLITICAL MATTERS” AND NOT APPROPRIATE FOR POLICE

INTERFERENCE. THE AMBASSADOR CONCLUDED BY URGING THE

GOVERNMENT TO ACT DECISIVELY TO END THE VIOLENCE ON THE

FARMS AND AMONG POLITICAL PARTY OPPONENTS, AND RETURN TO

AN ORDERLY LAND REFORM PROGRAM AS AGREED TO IN SEPTEMBER

1998 AT THE LAND CONFERENCE. AMBASSADOR MCDONALD WENT

ON TO STATE THAT THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN THE RURAL

AREAS IS DIRECTED AGAINST THE WEAKEST GROUP, THE FARM

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9919

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02297 03 OF 03 271543Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-01

FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-01   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

LAB-01   L-00     AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00

TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00

NFAT-00 SAS-00     /012W

——————50A4AC 271543Z /38

P 271546Z APR 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5886

INFO AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 002297

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF A/S SUSAN RICE, DAS SCHNEIDMAN

 

AF/S RENDER, BOOTH, GURNEY

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02297 03 OF 03 271543Z

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/00

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PINS PINR KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR PUTS HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER ON NOTICE

TO STOP THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE

 

WORKERS, WHO ARE THE LEAST ABLE TO DEFEND THEMSELVES.

 

9. (C) COMMENT: THE ONGOING POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN

ZIMBABWE IS DESIGNED TO SET THE STAGE FOR A ZANU-PF WIN

IN THE UPCOMING PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION. THE BATTLE FOR

THE MAJORITY OF VOTES WILL PLAY OUT IN THE RURAL AREAS

(REFTEL C). CONSEQUENTLY, MUGABE BELIEVES HE CAN WIN

ONLY IF HE CONTINUES ALLOWING ENOUGH INSTABILITY IN THE

RURAL AREAS TO ENSURE THAT AN INTIMATED ELECTORATE

STICKS WITH ZANU-PF. NEITHER THE HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER

NOR OTHERS IN SENIOR GOVERNMENT POSITIONS ARE ABLE TO

INFLUENCE PRESIDENT MUGABE TO STOP THE ELECTION

VIOLENCE. THOSE WHO PROFESS ABHORRENCE OF THE VIOLENCE,

LIKE DABENGWA, ARE EITHER TOO AFRAID FOR THEIR POLITICAL

CAREERS OR TOO WEAK TO HAVE ANY IMPACT ON THE DEBATE.

MUGABE IS AGAIN CALLING ALL THE SHOTS AND NO ONE BELOW

HIM WILL TELL HIM JUST HOW DAMAGING THE VIOLENCE IS TO

THE COUNTRY’S STABILITY AND REPUTATION. THERE IS A

CHANCE THAT THE ZIMBABWEAN DELEGATION WHICH IS PRESENTLY

IN LONDON TO DISCUSS RESUMPTION OF DIALOGUE WITH THE UK

ON LAND REFORM MAY GET A REALITY CHECK, BUT THE ODDS ARE

AGAINST ANY QUICK SHIFT IN THE CURRENT STRATEGY. THE

ISSUE IS A CRITICAL ONE AND A MATTER OF BASIC HUMAN

RIGHTS REGARDING WHICH WE WILL CONTINUE TO SPEAK OUT.

END COMMENT.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02297 03 OF 03 271543Z

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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