Government trying to throttle off MDC

In a move that appeared to be aimed at crippling the Movement for Democratic Change, police and members of the Central Intelligence Organisation raided the offices of the MDC at Eastgate and seized documents and diskettes.

They also downloaded computer files which included MDC membership lists, funding sources and strategies for the parliamentary elections challenge as well as the 2002 presidential elections.

The documents were returned the following day after a court order.

MDC advisor Clive Puzey said police also seized documents containing evidence of the murders that had been committed in the run-up to the elections.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE5270, GOVERNMENT RESORTS TO HAM-FISTED INTIMIDATION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE5270

2000-09-18 16:44

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.

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8680

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05270 01 OF 03 181642Z

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SP-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00

PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

------------------869A42 181642Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7133

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 005270

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/15/10

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI ZANU PF

SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT RESORTS TO HAM-FISTED INTIMIDATION

CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION

 

REF: A) HARARE 5214 B) HARARE 5187

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05270 01 OF 03 181642Z

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MCDONALD. REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND

(D).

 

SUMMARY

-------

 

1. (C) IN THEIR TWO-DAY RAID ON MDC OFFICES, POLICE AND

CIO AGENTS SEIZED PAPER FILES AND DISKETTES, AND

DOWNLOADED COMPUTER FILES. SEIZED DOCUMENTS INCLUDED THE

MDC'S MEMBERSHIP LISTS, FUNDING SOURCES, STRATEGIES FOR

THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL CHALLENGES AND THE 2002

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, AND EVIDENCE GATHERED ON THE

MURDERS AND OTHER VIOLENCE COMMITTED DURING THE PRE-

ELECTION CAMPAIGN. ALL THE SEIZED INFORMATION WAS

RETURNED ON SEPTEMBER 16 ON THE INSTRUCTION OF A HIGH

COURT ORDER. MDC MP TENDAI BITI SPECULATED THAT THE

SERVING OF LEGAL PAPERS ON PRESIDENT MUGABE IN NEW YORK

HAD EMBARRASSED HIM AND LED HIM TO RETALIATE. HOME

AFFAIRS MINISTER JOHN NKOMO IS EXPECTED TO SPEAK TO

PARLIAMENT ABOUT THE RAIDS ON SEPTEMBER 19, AND BITI HAS

HEARD THAT NKOMO MAY LINK SENIOR MDC OFFICIALS TO ILLEGAL

ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING WEAPONS IMPORTATIONS.

 

2. (C) LAST WEEK'S RAIDS WERE THE LATEST CHAPTER IN THE

GOZ'S CAMPAIGN OF INTIMIDATION AGAINST THE MDC. IT IS

UNCLEAR HOW FAR THE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO GO, AND THE USG

NEEDS TO BE PREPARED WITH A STRONG RESPONSE IF IT BECOMES

CLEAR THAT THE GOZ IS TRYING TO ELIMINATE THE MDC AS A

VIABLE OPPOSITION PARTY. NKOMO'S SEPTEMBER 19 SPEECH

SHOULD PROVIDE A GUIDE TO THE GOVERNMENT'S INTENTIONS.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05270 01 OF 03 181642Z

END SUMMARY.

 

DOCUMENTS AND COMPUTER FILES SEIZED

-----------------------------------

 

3. (C) ACCORDING TO MDC ADVISOR CLIVE PUZEY, THE RAID ON

THE OFFICES OF THE OPPOSITION MDC CONCLUDED ON FRIDAY,

SEPTEMBER 15. HE STATED THAT POLICE, ACCOMPANIED BY

AGENTS OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE ORGANIZATION (CIO),

SEIZED ALL OF THE MDC'S PAPER FILES AND COMPUTER

DISKETTES, AND DOWNLOADED ALL OF THE PARTY'S COMPUTER

FILES. INCLUDED IN THE SEIZED INFORMATION, PUZEY SAID,

WERE THE PARTY'S MEMBERSHIP LISTS, FINANCIAL RECORDS,

STRATEGIES FOR THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND FOR

THEIR LEGAL CHALLENGES RELATED TO THE JUNE PARLIAMENTARY

ELECTIONS, AND ALL THE EVIDENCE COLLECTED ON THE MURDERS

AND OTHER SIGNIFICANT VIOLENCE COMMITTED DURING THE PRE-

ELECTION PERIOD.

 

4. (C) LATE ON SEPTEMBER 15, POLOFF SPOKE WITH SEKAYI

HOLLAND, THE MDC'S SECRETARY FOR INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

AND UNSUCCESSFUL PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE. HOLLAND WAS

PRESENT AT THE MDC'S EASTGATE OFFICE AND PROVIDED AN

ACCOUNT OF THE SECOND RAID BY POLICE AND CIO OFFICERS.

HOLLAND REPORTED THAT EARLY IN THE MORNING ON SEPTEMBER 15

THE POLICE ORDERED EVERYONE OUT OF THE BUILDING BUT, AS THE

MOST SENIOR MDC OFFICIAL PRESENT, HOLLAND REFUSED TO LEAVE.

SHE REPORTED THAT THE POLICE, ACCOMPANIED BY THE CIO,

PROCEEDED TO USE RAMMING RODS TO BREAK DOWN THE DOORS TO

SEVERAL OFFICES, INCLUDING THAT OF MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI. THE OFFICERS TOOK THE WHOLE DAY TO REMOVE

 

SIPDIS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 05270 01 OF 03 181642Z

VIRTUALLY ALL THE PAPER AND COMPUTER FILES. THE CIO

OFFICERS THREATENED TO TAKE HOLLAND TO THEIR HEADQUARTERS,

BUT DECIDED NOT TO UPON LEAVING AT THE END OF THE DAY.

HOLLAND WAS SHAKEN, BUT OTHERWISE UNHARMED.

 

5. (C) IN A MEETING ON SEPTEMBER 18 WITH THE AMBASSADOR,

DCM, AND POLOFF, MDC SECRETARY-GENERAL WELSHMAN NCUBE AND

MDC MP (AND SHADOW FOREIGN MINISTER) TENDAI BITI PROVIDED

ADDITIONAL DETAILS ON THE RAID. ACCORDING TO NCUBE, IT

WAS CLEAR THAT THE GRENADE ATTACK ON MDC HEADQUARTERS

EARLIER IN THE WEEK HAD BEEN A PRETEXT FOR THE GOVERNMENT

TO GET ITS HANDS ON LISTS OF MDC PATRONS AND STRATEGIES.

THE MDC SECRETARY-GENERAL AFFIRMED THAT, DURING THE RAID,

THE POLICE AND CIO AGENTS APPEARED TO BE MOST INTERESTED

IN THE DOCUMENTS AND COMPUTER FILES RELATING TO FINANCIAL

TRANSACTIONS AND THE MDC'S FUNDING SOURCES. THEY SEIZED,

INTER ALIA, A LETTER FROM MORGAN TSVANGIRAI TO THE

INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INSTITUTE (IRI) CONCERNING IRI'S

WORKSHOPS FOR NEW MDC MPS, A LETTER THANKING A DUTCH NGO

FOR PROVIDING ASSISTANCE, AND LETTERS OF CONGRATULATIONS

TO THE MDC FROM A VARIETY OF ORGANIZATIONS SENT AFTER THE

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.

 

6. (C) NCUBE INSISTED THAT NONE OF THE SEIZED

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8681

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05270 02 OF 03 181642Z

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IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00

PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

------------------869A53 181643Z /38

O 181644Z SEP 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7134

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 005270

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/15/10

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI ZANU PF

SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT RESORTS TO HAM-FISTED INTIMIDATION

CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION

 

INFORMATION HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH "SECURITY-RELATED

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05270 02 OF 03 181642Z

MATTERS." HE REPORTED THAT THE GOZ HAD NOT OBTAINED ALL

THE COMPUTER FILES AT THE EASTGATE OFFICE, AS THE MDC

STAFF THERE HAD MANAGED QUICKLY TO SWITCH SOME OF THEIR

COMPUTERS WITH A SYMPATHETIC ARCHITECTURAL FIRM NEXT

DOOR. THE PAPER FILES AND 21 COMPUTER DISKETTES WHICH

WERE TAKEN WERE RETURNED TO THE MDC ON SATURDAY

AFTERNOON, SEPTEMBER 16, AFTER A HIGH COURT JUDGE ORDERED

THEM TO DO SO. ACCORDING TO NCUBE, THE HIGH COURT ORDER

ALSO REQUIRED THAT THE MDC RECEIVE NOTIFICATION 48 HOURS

PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ANY ADDITIONAL WARRANTS.

 

WHAT SPARKED IT

---------------

 

7. (C) WHEN ASKED WHY THE POLICE HAD SPENT TWO DAYS

REMOVING FILES, SEKAYI HOLLAND SAID ZANU-PF WAS ALARMED

BY A RESURGENCE OF ANTI-GOVERNMENT RALLIES IN

TRADITIONALLY STRONG ZANU-PF TERRITORY IN RURAL AREAS.

IN PARTICULAR, SHE SAID 15,000 PEOPLE HAD TURNED OUT FOR

AN MDC RALLY IN MBERENGWA EAST, MIDLANDS PROVINCE, THE

PREVIOUS WEEKEND TO CELEBRATE THE "REOPENING" OF THE

MBERENGWA DISTRICT TO MDC SUPPORTERS. MBERENGWA HAD BEEN

DECLARED A "NO-GO" AREA BY ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS DURING THE

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION CAMPAIGN, AND HAD BEEN

PARTICULARLY HARD-HIT BY PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE, ACCORDING

TO HOLLAND. (COMMENT: IT IS A STRETCH TO LINK THE RAID

OF THE MDC OFFICES IN HARARE TO AN MDC RALLY IN MIDLANDS.

HOWEVER, HOLLAND WAS CLEARLY FRIGHTENED BY ONGOING

THREATS AGAINST HER LIFE FROM ZANU-PF, AND THIS MAY HAVE

EXAGGERATED HER RESPONSE TO THE MDC RAIDS. END COMMENT.)

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05270 02 OF 03 181642Z

8 (C) TENDAI BITI SURMISED THAT THE RECENT SERVING OF

LEGAL PAPERS, INITIATED BY MDC MEMBERS, ON PRESIDENT

MUGABE IN NEW YORK LIKELY EMBARRASSED HIM AND LED HIM TO

RETALIATE. IN ADDITION, BITI CONTINUED, THE GOZ HAD

SERIOUSLY UNDERESTIMATED THE MDC'S ABILITY TO PLAY AN

EFFECTIVE ROLE IN PARLIAMENT. FACED WITH A SINKING

ECONOMY AND REGULAR CRITICISMS FROM THE MDC, MUGABE IS

INCREASINGLY DESPERATE AND ONE OF HIS FEW OPTIONS IS TO

COME AFTER THE MDC WITH STRONG-ARM TACTICS. MUGABE, BITI

SAID, HAS ALWAYS USED VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION AS AN

EFFECTIVE TACTIC. NCUBE SURMISED THAT THE GOZ WAS FORCED

TO ACT OVERTLY AGAINST THE MDC BECAUSE THE CIO HAD BEEN

UNSUCCESSFUL AT INFILTRATING THE PARTY.

 

9. (C) BITI EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT THE GOZ MIGHT CLAMP

DOWN ON SENIOR MDC LEADERS IN THE COMING WEEK, AS THE GOZ

DID IN THE EARLY 1980'S WHEN IT PROSECUTED SENIOR ZAPU

OFFICIALS ON TRUMPED-UP WEAPONS CHARGES.   MINISTER OF

HOME AFFAIRS JOHN NKOMO IS SCHEDULED TO ADDRESS

PARLIAMENT ON SEPTEMBER 19 CONCERNING THE GRENADE ATTACK

AND THE POLICE/CIO RAIDS, AND THE MDC HAS HEARD HE MIGHT

LINK THE SENIOR-MOST MDC OFFICIALS TO ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES,

INCLUDING THE IMPORTATION OF WEAPONS. BITI INSISTED THAT

SUCH CHARGES ARE LUDICROUS, AS HE DOES NOT EVEN POSSESS A

GUN.

 

MDC'S NEXT STEPS

----------------

 

10. (C) NCUBE SAID THE MDC'S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE PLANS

TO MEET ON SEPTEMBER 20 TO CONSIDER NEXT STEPS. THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 05270 02 OF 03 181642Z

COMMITTEE WILL CONSIDER LEGAL AND POLITICAL OPTIONS,

INCLUDING CHALLENGING THE GOVERNMENT'S ACTIONS IN COURT

AND ORGANIZING A NATIONAL STRIKE. BITI ADDED THAT THE

SUBSTANCE OF MINISTER NKOMO'S SPEECH ON SEPTEMBER 19

WOULD LIKELY DETERMINE THE MDC'S FUTURE MOVES.

 

COMMENT

-------

 

11. (C) THE GOVERNMENT HAS HARASSED AND INTIMIDATED THE

MDC AT EVERY TURN SINCE ITS FOUNDING LAST YEAR. FACED

WITH THE MDC'S RISING POPULARITY IN THE AFTERMATH OF

FEBRUARY'S CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM DEFEAT, AND THE

PROSPECT OF LOSING CONTROL OF PARLIAMENT, THE GOZ

UNLEASHED A CAMPAIGN OF TERROR FOCUSED ON MDC SUPPORTERS

AND CANDIDATES IN THE RUN UP TO THE JUNE PARLIAMENTARY

ELECTIONS. THE OCCUPATIONS BY SO-CALLED WAR VETERANS OF

COMMERCIAL FARMS, MOST OF WHOM ARE OWNED BY MDC

SUPPORTERS, WERE A KEY ELEMENT IN THE GOZ'S ELECTION

STRATEGY.

 

12. (C) LAST WEEK'S RAID ON MDC OFFICES, AND THE GRENADE

ATTACK WHICH APPARENTLY SERVED AS A PRETEXT FOR IT, WAS

THE LATEST, AND PERHAPS MOST SINISTER, CHAPTER IN THIS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8683

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05270 03 OF 03 181643Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 CIAE-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   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00

PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

------------------869A5B 181643Z /38

O 181644Z SEP 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7135

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 005270

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/15/10

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI ZANU PF

SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT RESORTS TO HAM-FISTED INTIMIDATION

CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION

 

INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN. SPECULATION IS RIFE HERE ON WHAT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05270 03 OF 03 181643Z

MAY HAVE BEEN THE PRECIPITATING EVENT FOR THE GOVERNMENT

ACTION. THE BOTTOM LINE, THOUGH, IS THAT THE MDC IS

GAINING STRENGTH AND IS SUBJECTING THE GOZ TO CRITICISM,

CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY, AND PUBLIC SCRUTINY TO WHICH IT

IS UNACCUSTOMED. THE OPPOSITION PARTY NOW POSES A VERY

REAL THREAT TO MUGABE'S HOLD ON POWER (THE MDC WILL SWEEP

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS EXPECTED LATER THIS YEAR AND LIKELY

WOULD WIN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IF IT WERE HELD TODAY

AND WERE HALF-WAY FAIR AND FREE), AND HE AND HIS CRONIES

WILL DO ALL THEY CAN TO MINIMIZE THAT THREAT. IN A SMALL

PRIVATE LUNCHEON ATTENDED BY FOUR GOVERNMENT MINISTERS

AND OTHER DIPLOMATS ON SEPTEMBER 15, THE AMBASSADOR ASKED

THE REASONS FOR THE GOZ ACTION AGAINST THE MDC. THE

MINISTERS WERE ALL SILENT, WITH NOT A SINGLE ONE

ATTEMPTING TO JUSTIFY THE RAID.

 

13. (C) IT IS APPARENT TO US NOW THAT THE GOZ (ZANU-PF)

NOT ONLY HAS NO INTENTION OF WORKING WITH THE MDC, BUT

WILL RESORT TO VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION TO TRY TO

RECOVER GROUND IT HAS LOST TO ITS UPSTART RIVAL. IT IS

UNCLEAR, THOUGH, HOW FAR THE GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO GO,

BUT THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY TRY TO LINK

THE MDC LEADERSHIP TO ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES -- AND THUS

ARREST THEM -- IS EXTREMELY TROUBLING. AS BITI

MENTIONED, THE GOZ UNDERTOOK A SIMILAR APPROACH IN THE

1980'S IN ELIMINATING ZAPU AS A VIABLE OPPOSITION PARTY.

WE HAVE KNOWN THE MDC LEADERS FOR QUITE SOME TIME AND

FIND IT EXTREMELY UNLIKELY THAT ANY OF THEM WOULD BE

INVOLVED IN IMPORTING WEAPONS.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05270 03 OF 03 181643Z

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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