Tsvangirai, Biti barred from travelling to SADC summit

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, party secretary Tendai Biti and shadow Foreign Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro were barred from leaving Zimbabwe to attend the Southern African Development Community summit by immigration officials at Harare airport.

No reasons were given but they were allowed to leave the airport.

Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front negotiator Nicholas Goche phoned Tsvangirai to apologise for the “mistake” and he was working to undo it.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE684, TSVANGIRAI PREVENTED FROM TRAVELING TO SADC SUMMIT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE684

2008-08-14 13:18

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2213

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2332

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RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1967

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2388

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1481

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000684

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR G. GARLAND

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI PREVENTED FROM TRAVELING TO SADC SUMMIT

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

1. (C) Embassy has confirmed press reports that MDC

president Morgan Tsvangirai, secretary-general Tendai Biti,

and MP elect and shadow foreign minister Eliphas

Mukoneweshuro were detained at Harare International Airport

this afternoon and prevented from traveling to South Africa

for the SADC Summit. According to Mukoneweshuro, the three

checked in and were proceeding through immigration when they

were told they could not travel. Tsvangirai's travel

document was seized (his passport had been seized a couple of

months ago) as well as the passports of Mukoneweshuro and

Biti. All three were then allowed to leave the airport.

 

2. (C) The Ambassador called Tsvangirai who noted he was

traveling at the invitation of SADC. He said he strongly

supported a condemnation of the GOZ by SADC. The Ambassador

said we would encourage SADC to do so.

 

3. (C) Tsvangirai also told the Ambassador he had received a

phone call from ZANU-PF negotiator Nicholas Goche who

apologized for the "mistake" and said he was working to undo

it. The Ambassador then called Goche who, in a brief

conversation, confirmed his conversation with Tsvangirai.

 

4. (C) COMMENT: The airport incident may well have been a

mistake, perhaps initiated by the CIO rather than ZANU-PF

structures. ZANU-PF has been spinning the breakdown in

negotiations as the result of Tsvangirai's unreasonableness

and refusing to let Tsvangirai travel can only create

sympathy for Tsvangira and antipathy toward ZANU-PF.

Nevertheless, the action of authorities, regardless of who

initiated it, is outrageous and should be condemned,

particularly by SADC. We suggest consideration of contacting

SADC capitals to make this point. END COMMENT.

MCGEE

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