Grace Kwinje and Sekai Holland barred from leaving the country

Two injured Movement for Democratic Change officials Grace Kwinje and Sekai Holland were barred from boarding a flight to Johannesburg for treatment.

Lawyers said police claimed that the activists needed Ministry of Health clearance before they could leave the country for treatment.

Kwinje and Holland were first taken to Harare Central Police Station where their passports were seized and then they returned to Avenues Clinic.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE227, GOZ PREEMPTS ACTIVIST'S BURIAL, PROMISES MORE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE227

2007-03-19 17:10

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO9416

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0227/01 0781710

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 191710Z MAR 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1266

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1526

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1384

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1530

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0203

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0792

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1156

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1585

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3989

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1355

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2013

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1747

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000227

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2017

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: GOZ PREEMPTS ACTIVIST'S BURIAL, PROMISES MORE

VIOLENCE

 

REF: REFTEL: HARARE 218 AND PREVIOUS

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher W. Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

-------

Summary

-------

 

1. (C) President Mugabe on March 16 promised ZANU-PF's youth

wing more violence against opposition supporters. GOZ

security forces over the weekend severely attacked the MDC

spokesman, prevented two opposition leaders from seeking

treatment in Johannesburg of their injuries sustained on

March 11, and arrested pro-Senate MDC president Arthur

Mutambara as he also tried to leave the country. In an

attempt to disrupt the funeral procession of slain MDC

activist Gift Tandare, GOZ security officials on March 17

seized his body and forced the family to bury the body in its

rural homestead. End Summary.

 

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

Mugabe Promises More Violence

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

 

2. (SBU) Brushing aside condemnation of the crackdown on

March 11 (ref A), Mugabe promised more violence against the

opposition at meeting of ZANU-PF's youth wing on March 16.

According to press accounts, Mugabe told the youths, who

often act as ruling party shock troops ahead of national

elections, that "the police have the right to bash"

opposition activists. Separately, a business contact

informed us that Mugabe had told the youth wing that ZANU-PF

was at war and that they could use any means they like

against the opposition.

 

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

Further Harassment of Leaders

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

 

3. (SBU) GOZ security officials continued their harassment

of opposition leaders over the weekend. On Saturday, police

stopped Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinje ) the two most

seriously injured of the opposition leaders ) from boarding

a medical flight to Johannesburg for treatment. ZHLR lawyers

informed us that police claimed the activists needed Ministry

of Health clearance before they could leave the country for

treatment. Holland and Kwinje were first taken to Harare

Central Police Station, where their passports were seized,

and then returned to Avenues Hospital. (Note. The

Australian ambassador told us that Holland, who is married to

an Australian citizen, has an infected leg, due to the

beating, and is in danger of losing it absent medical care in

South Africa. End Note.)

 

4. (SBU) Also on Saturday, police arrested pro-Senate MDC

leader Arthur Mutambara as he attempted to leave for

Johannesburg to visit his family there. Mutambara remained

in jail as of this morning, but pro-Senate MDC sources told

us he had not been mistreated. The March 19 edition of the

government-controlled Herald quoted the police spokesperson

as stating that Mutambara violated orders from the Attorney

General's Office that he remain in the country until charges

stemming from the March 11 prayer rally were filed. (Note.

Opposition lawyers had earlier told us that the Attorney

General's Office had refused to issue charges. End Note.)

 

5. (SBU) On Sunday, assailants attacked MDC spokesman and MP

Nelson Chamisa while he was at the airport awaiting a flight

 

HARARE 00000227 002 OF 002

 

 

to Brussels to attend an EU-sponsored meeting of

parliamentarians. The attackers reportedly beat him several

times with a metal rod, causing a fracture to his right eye

socket. Chamisa is currently at Avenues Hospital and

reportedly in stable condition. The attackers left the scene

in an unmarked car and were almost certainly affiliated with

government security services or the ZANU-PF youth militia.

 

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

Corpse Seized Against Taboos

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

 

6. (SBU) Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) agents on

March 17 seized the body of slain MDC activist Gift Tandare

against the wishes of his widow, according to MDC sources.

Instead the CIO forced Tandare's father to bury the body in

his rural homestead in Mt. Darwin, some 200 kilometers north

of Harare. In vain, Tandare's widow and lawyers from

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on March 18 applied

for and received a High Court order forbidding the police

from interfering in Tandare's burial.

 

7. (SBU) The seizure of Tandare's body was a transparent

attempt to scuttle his funeral procession, planned for March

19 in Harare, which could have been a rallying point for the

opposition. Appearing to acknowledge the serious taboos that

the GOZ has broken, the Herald on March 19 attempted to

portray the state's involvement as benevolently assisting the

family to bury Tandare. For the moment, plans for a memorial

service for Tandare appear to have been disrupted. However,

opposition sources tell us it still might occur next weekend.

 

-------

Comment

-------

 

8. (C) MDC and civil society leaders over the past two weeks

have shown great courage in the face of the GOZ's brutal

onslaught. Their unflinching determination appears to have

galvanized their supporters. However, there is a growing

danger that the senior leadership of the opposition may fail

to take advantage of this momentum. Many of the leaders are

still recovering from serious injuries and others are leaving

the country to drum up further international support. In a

meeting with the Ambassador today (septel), Tsvangirai said

the MDC was planning a "retreat" to take stock and plan next

steps.

 

9. (C) More demonstrations and rallies resulting in more

beatings and arrests may not be the way forward but the

opposition needs to find ways to keep the pressure on the

regime and to build on the perception that they have seized

the initiative from Mugabe. In that regard, one of the most

important developments of the past two weeks was the

emergence of a "street" level of pposition leadership. These

individuals mounted solidarity marches across the country

while their senior leaders were in jail and recovering in

hospital. Their emergence means that the opposition is

developing the capacity to stretch the regime's dwindling

resources and to better sustain itself in the face of

government repression and efforts to decapitate the movement.

DELL

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