US ambassador said some reports of violence by MDC were questionable

United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGhee said some reports of violence that were being reported by the Movement for Democratic Change were questionable.

He said Frances Lovemore of Counselling Services Unit, who closely tracked violence in Zimbabwe and treated many of the victims, told the embassy that she questioned the veracity of the Epworth reports, for example.

She said she attempted to discuss the issue with MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, but he refused.

McGhee commented: “The MDC is justified in drawing attention to any and all violence perpetrated by the regime. But in exaggerating, it places its credibility in jeopardy.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE1008, SOME MDC ALLEGATIONS OF INCREASED VIOLENCE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE1008

2008-11-07 11:44

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO5592

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1008 3121144

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 071144Z NOV 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3669

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2417

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2537

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1037

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1813

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2168

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2593

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5021

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1686

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001008

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

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: 08/08/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: SOME MDC ALLEGATIONS OF INCREASED VIOLENCE

UNVERIFIED

 

REF: A. HARARE 1002

B. HARARE 966

 

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

 

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

ZANU-PF Thugs, Police Still Targeting MDC

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

 

1. (SBU) In recent days, MDC has publicly claimed that

ZANU-PF has renewed its campaign of violence against the MDC

and its members. In a November 6 press release, the MDC

claimed that in Epworth, a high density suburb outside of

Harare where ZANU-PF set up pre-election torture and

reeducation camps, ZANU-PF set up new camps and brutally

attacked 25 people on October 27. The MDC also pointed to

the arrest on October 30 of MDC activists in Banket,

Mashonaland West province, and the arrest and detention of

WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu (Ref B).

As a consequence, the MDC charged that ZANU-PF had put an end

to dialogue and (referring to the SADC mediation) should

"openly bury the corpse of these talks."

 

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

Some Allegations Questionable

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

 

2. (C) There is no question that on October 27 police cracked

down on protests outside of the Rainbow Towers Hotel in

Harare where the SADC Troika was meeting. We have received

confirmation of the Banket arrests. And the WOZA leaders

were detained for an extended time before a High Court judge

overruled a magistrate and ordered their release this week.

But we have not been able to confirm violence or the

re-establishment of camps in Epworth. Frances Lovemore of

Counseling Services Units (CSU), who closely tracks violence

in Zimbabwe and treats many of the victims, told us she

questioned the veracity of the Epworth reports. She said she

attempted to discuss the issue with MDC spokesman Nelson

Chamisa, but he refused.

 

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

COMMENT: MDC Posturing for the SADC Summit

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

 

3. (C) As the SADC summit rapidly approaches and ZANU-PF is

alleging that the MDC has operated paramilitary camps outside

of Zimbabwe (Ref A), the MDC appears to be posturing in an

effort to counter ZANU-PF allegations. While violence and

government brutality have unfortunately become the norm in

present day Zimbabwe, we see no evidence of a campaign of

violence that approaches what we saw in the inter-election

period between March and June. The MDC is justified in

drawing attention to any and all violence perpetrated by the

regime. But in exaggerating, it places its credibility in

jeopardy. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

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