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Police and soldiers arrest MDC supporters in run up to presidential elections

Police reportedly raided the Movement for Democratic Change Harare provincial headquarters and arrested 31 supporters claiming that the gathering was illegal under the Public Order and Security Act.

In Marondera, a rally that was to be addressed by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai was cancelled when soldiers beat people overnight, several so severely that they had to be hospitalised according to United States embassy officials.

A diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks says the US embassy team observed about 30 police and soldiers in riot gear outside Marondera. The police and soldiers were reportedly waiting for Tsvangirai who was due to address a rally but this was cancelled because of the high threat of violence in the area.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 02HARARE555, ELECTION DAILY REPORT: POLICE AND SOLDIERS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE555

2002-03-02 06:22

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.

 

020622Z Mar 02

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO1114

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00555 020626Z

ACTION AF-00

 

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

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

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

AC-01   NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00

PC-01   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   IRM-00

STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 IIP-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-00

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————6E570C 020627Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1075

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000555

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR PDAS BELLAMY

 

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRASIER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/28/07

TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: ELECTION DAILY REPORT: POLICE AND SOLDIERS

ARREST AND ASSAULT MDC SUPPORTERS IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY POL TDY AARON TARVER, REASON: 1.5 (B) AND

(D).

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00555 020626Z

POLICE ARREST AND ASSAULT MDC HARARE SUPPORTERS

——————————————— —

 

1. (C) SHORTLY AFTER NOON ON FEBRUARY 28, POLICE RAIDED

THE MDC HARARE PROVINCIAL HEADQUARTERS. PROVINCIAL

ELECTION COORDINATOR DONALD CHIRUNGA TOLD US THAT A

LARGE “LUNCH TIME MEETING” WAS CALLED IN THE INDUSTRIAL

AREAS NEAR COKE CORNER OUTSIDE HARARE, WHERE MDC

PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI SHOWED UP. PROVINCIAL

COORDINATOR DONALD CHIRUNGA TOLD US THAT A POLICE LORRY

STOPPED MDC SUPPORTERS LEAVING THE MEETING, AND A NUMBER

OF ZANU-PF MILITIA CAME OUT OF HIDING AND BEGAN BEATING

THE SUPPORTERS.

 

2. (C) THE POLICE LEFT THE SCENE AND TRAVELED TO THE

MDC HARARE PROVINCIAL HEADQUARTERS, WHERE SUPPORTERS HAD

RETURNED AND JOINED SOME 500-PLUS SUPPORTERS ENGAGED IN

POLLING TRAINING. (NOTE: CHIRUNGA EXPLAINED THAT

POLLING TRAINING FOR A NUMBER OF PROVINCES WAS BEING

CONDUCTED AT HARARE HEADQUARTERS.) UPON ARRIVAL, MDC

INFORMATION OFFICER PERCY MAKOMBE EXPLAINED, POLICE

BEGAN BEATING PEOPLE AT RANDOM. CHIRUNGA EXPLAINED THAT

THE MEMBERS WHO HAD ATTENDED THE LUNCH MEETING ATTEMPTED

TO LOCK THE HEADQUARTERS, BUT POLICE FORCIBLY ENTERED

THE PREMISES, AND PROMPTLY ARRESTED 31 MDC SUPPORTERS,

CLAIMING THE GATHERING WAS ILLEGAL UNDER THE PUBLIC

ORDER AND SECURITY ACT (POSA). NONE OF THE 31

SUPPORTERS INCLUDED PROVINCIAL LEADERS, ACCORDING TO

CHIRUNGA. MDC SPOKESMAN LEARNMORE JONGWE (IN SOUTH

AFRICA) TOLD US THAT THOSE ARRESTED WERE TAKEN TO HARARE

CENTRAL POLICE STATION, BUT MDC HAS BEEN UNABLE TO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00555 020626Z

ASCERTAIN THEIR PRESENT WHEREABOUTS.

 

3. (C) MEDIA LIAISON OFFICER FOR THE COMMONWEALTH

OBSERVER MISSION MWAMBU WANANDEYA TOLD US THAT HE AND

TWO OTHER COMMONWEALTH OBSERVERS ARRIVED ON THE SCENE

SHORTLY THEREAFTER, AND NOTICED POLICE IN RIOT GEAR AT

THE LOCATION. WANANDEYA EXPLAINED THAT WHILE POLICE

WERE UNPLEASANT TOWARDS THE OBSERVERS, THEY DID NOT

ENGAGE IN ANY BEATINGS IN THE OBSERVERS’ PRESENCE

(WANANDEYA WAS QUICK TO CAVEAT THAT THIS NEITHER

CONFIRMS NOR DENIES THAT BEATINGS OCCURRED BEFORE THE

TEAM’S ARRIVAL). THE OBSERVERS INTERVIEWED ONE MAN IN A

WHEELCHAIR WHO DESCRIBED BEATINGS BY POLICE. IN

RESPONSE, THE POLICE ISSUED A STATEMENT CLAIMING THAT

THEY ENTERED THE PARTY HEADQUARTERS ONLY TO ARREST

INDIVIDUALS WHO HAD BEEN INVOLVED IN AN ILLEGAL MEETING,

NOT TO TARGET PARTY LEADERS, AND DENIED THAT ANY

BEATINGS HAD OCCURRED.

 

VIOLENCE FLARING IN MARONDERA

—————————–

 

4. (C) MEANWHILE IN MARONDERA, EMBASSY TEAM LEARNED

THAT OVERNIGHT, THE ZDF BEAT PEOPLE, SEVERAL SO SEVERELY

THAT MANY ARE STILL IN THE HOSPITAL THE MORNING OF MARCH

1. TEAM ALSO HAS HEARD REPORTS OF ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS

STONING VEHICLES HEADED TOWARDS THE MDC RALLY SCHEDULED

FOR NOON TODAY, WHERE MDC PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI WAS

EXPECTED TO SPEAK. EMBASSY TEAM OBSERVED APPROXIMATELY

30 POLICE AND ZDF SOLDIERS IN RIOT GEAR OUTSIDE

MARONDERA. TEAM LEARNED THAT THE SOLDIERS AND POLICE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00555 020626Z

WERE WAITING FOR TSVANGIRAI. ULTIMATELY, TEAM LEARNED

THAT THE RALLY WAS CANCELED, AND THAT MDC SUPPORTERS HAD

GONE HOUSE TO HOUSE TO INFORM PEOPLE OF THE CANCELLED

RALLY, DUE TO THE HIGH THREAT OF VIOLENCE IN THE AREA.

THE TEAM MET SOME MDC YOUTH, BLEEDING FROM ROCKS THROWN

BY ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS (THOSE YOUTH WERE TAKEN TO THE

HOSPITAL WITH A POLICE ESCORT). THE TEAM ALSO NOTICED

MDC PROPAGANDA MATERIALS BURNING THROUGHOUT THE AREA.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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