ZANU-PF upbeat after winning Bikita West by-election

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was ebullient after winning the Bikita West by-election which it had lost to the Movement for Democratic Change the previous year.

Party Secretary for Information Nathan Shamuyarira claimed that the win was evidence that Zimbabweans supported the government's policies on land and the economy, and insisted it foreshadowed "the beginning of the end of the MDC."

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said the result was an indicator of what would happen in future by-elections and the upcoming Presidential election.

Youth Development Minister Border Gezi said: "We would like to demonstrate that the enemy has no chance in any by-election. In fact, these are just the warning shots."

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE292, ZANU RECLAIMS PARLIAMENTARY SEAT FROM OPPOSITION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE292

2001-01-16 15:26

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.

 

161526Z Jan 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4510

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00292 01 OF 03 161527Z

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INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FBIE-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

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/011W

------------------B6E181 161527Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8006

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000292

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 01/16/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU RECLAIMS PARLIAMENTARY SEAT FROM OPPOSITION

IN BIKITA BY-ELECTION

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00292 01 OF 03 161527Z

REF: A) HARARE 181 B) 00 HARARE 7164 C) 00 HARARE 6658

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL IRVING. REASONS: 1.5

(B) AND (D).

 

SUMMARY

-------

 

1. (C) THE RULING ZANU-PF WON A SPECIAL PARLIAMENTARY BY-

ELECTION IN THE RURAL BIKITA CONSTITUENCY JANUARY 13-14,

RECLAIMING THE SEAT FROM THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR

DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC).   TURNOUT WAS HIGHER THAN FOR THE

JUNE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION AND A HEAVY POLICE PRESENCE

HELPED ENSURE THAT VOTING WAS GENERALLY PEACEFUL. HOWEVER,

TACTICS OF INTIMIDATION AND VIOLENCE BY ZANU-PF, AS WELL AS

REPORTED VOTE-BUYING, PRIOR TO THE ELECTION DAYS LIKELY

KEPT MANY POTENTIAL MDC SUPPORTERS AWAY FROM THE POLLS AND

ENCOURAGED A LARGER-THAN-EXPECTED TURNOUT FOR ZANU-PF.

BASED ON THESE SERIOUS IRREGULARITIES, WE CANNOT

CHARACTERIZE THE WEEKEND POLL AS FREE AND FAIR. THE

UNFORTUNATE LESSON THAT ZANU-PF WILL TAKE AWAY FROM THIS

ELECTION IS THAT TERROR, PARTICULARLY IN RURAL AREAS, IS AN

EFFECTIVE SHORT-TERM TOOL IN ITS QUEST TO HOLD ON TO POWER.

POLITBURO MEMBER AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT MINISTER BORDER GEZI

CONFIRMED THAT ZIMBABWE IS LIKELY TO SEE MORE OF THE SAME

TACTICS IN THE RUNUP TO THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WHEN

HE SAID PUBLICLY THAT THE DEVELOPMENTS IN BIKITA WERE ONLY

THE "WARNING SHOTS." END SUMMARY.

 

ZANU RECLAIMS BIKITA SEAT FROM MDC

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

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00292 01 OF 03 161527Z

 

2. (U) THE RULING ZANU-PF WON A SPECIAL PARLIAMENTARY

ELECTION JANUARY 13-14 IN THE RURAL BIKITA WEST

CONSTITUENCY IN MASVINGO PROVINCE, RECLAIMING A SEAT IT HAD

LOST TO THE OPPOSITION MDC IN THE JUNE 2000 PARLIAMENTARY

ELECTIONS. ZANU WON 12,993 VOTES AND THE MDC 7001, AS

ROUGHLY HALF OF THE CONSTITUENCY'S REGISTERED VOTERS CAST

BALLOTS. THE LARGE SIZE OF THE NEARLY 6000-VOTE MARGIN WAS

SURPRISING, GIVEN THAT THE MDC WON BY 281 VOTES LAST JUNE.

5500 MORE PEOPLE VOTED IN THIS BY-ELECTION THAN IN THE

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION.

 

VOTING MOSTLY PEACEFUL, BUT SOME VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION

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

 

3. (C) POLOFF OBSERVED THE ELECTION ALONG WITH

REPRESENTATIVES FROM A NUMBER OF EU MISSIONS, NORWAY, AND

CANADA. LONG QUEUES FORMED AT MOST POLLING CENTERS EARLY

IN THE MORNING OF JANUARY 13, BUT BEGAN TO TAPER OFF IN THE

AFTERNOON AND ON THE SECOND DAY OF VOTING.   POLLING AGENTS

FOR BOTH THE MDC AND ZANU WERE PRESENT INSIDE EVERY POLLING

CENTER, IN ADDITION TO THE ELECTION OFFICIALS AND DOMESTIC

MONITORS. THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF VOTERS WERE WOMEN,

MANY OVER THE AGE OF 40. WE WERE TOLD THAT MOST OF THE

YOUNGER MEN FROM BIKITA WERE EITHER WORKING IN URBAN AREAS

OR HAD BEEN SENT AWAY BY THEIR FAMILIES AS THEY HAD BEEN

THE PRINCIPAL TARGETS OF THE PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE BECAUSE

THEY WERE ASSUMED TO BE MDC SUPPORTERS. THIS FACT MIGHT

ACCOUNT IN PART FOR THE MDC'S POORER SHOWING, IN THE

OPINION OF MANY OBSERVERS WITH WHOM WE SPOKE.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00292 01 OF 03 161527Z

4. (C) IN CONTRAST TO THE PRE-ELECTION PERIOD, THE

ELECTION DAYS WERE GENERALLY PEACEFUL. DESPITE THE

SIGNIFICANT PRESENCE OF HEAVILY-ARMED POLICE THROUGHOUT THE

CONSTITUENCY (POLOFF PASSED THROUGH FIVE ROADBLOCKS MANNED

BY POLICE CARRYING AK-47'S), HOWEVER, THERE WERE SEVERAL

INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION. AT ONE POLLING

STATION, A GROUP OF WAR VETERANS WAS CLEARLY AN

INTIMIDATING PRESENCE, AS THEY STOOD NEAR THE LINE OF

PEOPLE WAITING TO VOTE. ONE OF THE WOMEN STANDING IN LINE

TOLD US SHE HAD ONLY SHOWN UP BECAUSE HER AREA'S HEADMAN,

OR SUBCHIEF, HAD TOLD HER TO DO SO. IN A SEPARATE INCIDENT

THE DAY BEFORE THE ELECTION, WAR VETERANS OCCUPIED ONE

POLLING CENTER (MUTIKIZIZI PRIMARY SCHOOL) AND FORCED THE

MDC 'S POLLING AGENTS AND DOMESTIC ELECTION MONITORS TO

LEAVE. POLICE REINFORCEMENTS ARRIVED SOON THEREAFTER TO

RESTORE CONTROL.

 

5. (C) ON THE FIRST DAY OF VOTING, SOME 20 WAR VETERANS

RETURNED TO MUTIKIZIZI POLLING CENTER, BEAT SEVERELY ONE OF

TWO MDC POLLING AGENTS, AND DROVE OFF WITH HIM. (COMMENT:

WE ARE TRYING TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE POLLING AGENT WAS

SUBSEQUENTLY RELEASED. END COMMENT.) ACCORDING TO A

DOMESTIC MONITOR AT THE SCENE, THE GROUP WAS ACCOMPANIED BY

ZANU-PF MP AND WAR VETERANS LEADER CHENJERAI "HITLER"

HUNZVI, WHO ORCHESTRATED THE GOVERNMENT'S PRE-ELECTION

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4512

 

PAGE 01        HARARE 00292 02 OF 03 161527Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FBIE-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   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-02   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

/011W

------------------B6E194 161527Z /38

P 161526Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8007

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 000292

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 01/16/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU RECLAIMS PARLIAMENTARY SEAT FROM OPPOSITION

IN BIKITA BY-ELECTION

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00292 02 OF 03 161527Z

INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN. HUNZVI WAS UBIQUITOUS DURING THE

VOTING, AS HE TRAVELLED THROUGHOUT THE CONSTITUENCY IN A

ZANU-PF VEHICLE.   HE STOLE ONE MONITOR'S IDENTIFYING VEST

AND HARASSED ANOTHER YOUNG MONITOR, TELLING HER SHE HAD NO

RIGHT TO BE AT THE POLLING STATION.   WE OBSERVED ANOTHER

MAN DRIVING A ZANU-PF VEHICLE WHO ENTERED ONE POLLING

CENTER AFTER ANOTHER WITHOUT CREDENTIALS OF ANY KIND.

 

6. (C) IN ANOTHER INCIDENT, A CAR CARRYING AN EU OBSERVER

SENT FROM BRUSSELS, AS WELL AS DIPLOMATS FROM THE DUTCH AND

CANADIAN EMBASSIES HERE, WAS STOPPED BY A SENIOR POLICE

OFFICER, WHO TOLD THE PASSENGERS THAT DIPLOMATS HAD NO

RIGHT TO BE IN THE CONSTITUENCY. THE EU OBSERVER INFORMED

THE OFFICER THAT THE COMMANDING POLICE OFFICER FOR THE

PROVINCE AND THE NATIONAL AND REGIONAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION

OFFICIALS WERE AWARE OF, AND HAD NO OBJECTIONS TO, THEIR

PRESENCE. DESPITE THEIR EXPLANATION, THE DIPLOMATS WERE

ASKED TO LEAVE BIKITA CONSTITUENCY AND WERE UNABLE TO

SECURE PERMISSION TO RETURN UNTIL THE SECOND DAY OF VOTING.

THE OTHER THREE CARS PARTICIPATING IN THE OBSERVER EFFORT,

INCLUDING POLOFF'S, DID NOT EXPERIENCE SIMILAR DIFFICULTIES

AND WERE ALLOWED TO CIRCULATE FREELY.

 

7. (C) WE OBSERVED TWO TRENDS DURING THE ELECTION WHICH

PROVIDED AN OPPORTUNITY FOR FRAUD OR INTIMIDATION. FIRST,

BETWEEN 4,000 AND 5,000 VOTERS WERE REPORTEDLY TURNED AWAY,

EITHER BECAUSE THEIR NAMES WERE NOT ON THE VOTERS' ROLL OR

BECAUSE THEY PRESENTED INSUFFICIENT IDENTIFICATION. THE

FACT THAT MORE THAN 10% OF REGISTERED VOTERS WERE TURNED

AWAY IS SIGNIFICANT, ALTHOUGH IT IS DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE

WITHOUT ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE WHETHER THEY WERE LEGITIMATELY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00292 02 OF 03 161527Z

DENIED THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE. SECOND, MANY VOTERS WERE

ELDERLY OR INFIRM AND REQUIRED ASSISTANCE IN CASTING THEIR

VOTE. AT EVERY POLLING STATION WE OBSERVED (10 OUT OF 40),

THOSE REQUIRING SUCH ASSISTANCE WERE ASKED TO STATE ALOUD

WHOM THEY WANTED TO VOTE FOR, THEN WERE HELPED IN MARKING

THEIR BALLOTS APPROPRIATELY. IT IS LIKELY THAT THE

OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THESE VOTERS OPTED FOR ZANU-PF, AS

VOTING FOR THE OPPOSITION COULD ENSURE A VISIT LATER FROM

HUNZVI AND HIS THUGS.

 

GOVERNMENT REACTION

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

 

8. (U) GOVERNMENT AND ZANU-PF OFFICIALS WERE EBULLIENT,

HAILING THE BIKITA OUTCOME AS A VINDICATION OF THE

GOVERNMENT'S POLICIES.   ZANU-PF'S SECRETARY OF INFORMATION

NATHAN SHAMUYARIRA CLAIMED THAT THE WIN WAS EVIDENCE THAT

ZIMBABWEANS SUPPORT THE GOZ'S POLICIES ON LAND AND THE

ECONOMY, AND INSISTED IT FORESHADOWED "THE BEGINNING OF THE

END OF THE MDC." SPOKESMAN JONATHAN MOYO SAID THE RESULT

WAS AN INDICATOR OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN FUTURE BY-ELECTIONS

AND THE UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. POLITBURO MEMBER

AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT MINISTER BORDER GEZI'S COMMENTS WERE

THE MOST OMINOUS: "WE WOULD LIKE TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE

ENEMY HAS NO CHANCE IN ANY BY-ELECTION. IN FACT, THESE ARE

JUST THE WARNING SHOTS."

 

COMMENT

-------

 

9. (C) WE WERE NOT SURPRISED BY ZANU-PF'S VICTORY. THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00292 02 OF 03 161527Z

RULING PARTY WAS EMBARRASSED BY ITS LOSS LAST JUNE IN

BIKITA WEST, TRADITIONALLY A RURAL ZANU STRONGHOLD, AND

PULLED OUT ALL THE STOPS TO WIN BACK THIS SEAT, INCLUDING

THE USE OF WIDESPREAD INTIMIDATION AND DISPENSING OF

GOVERNMENT LARGESS. THE MDC LOST SOME 700 VOTES AND ZANU

PICKED UP ALMOST 5500, INDICATING THAT ZANU-PF WAS

SUCCESSFUL NOT ONLY IN SUPPRESSING THE MDC'S SUPPORT BUT

ALSO IN GETTING ITS OWN VOTERS TO THE POLLS. ACCORDING TO

MDC SECRETARY-GENERAL WELSHMAN NCUBE, ZANU INCREASED ITS

VOTE COUNT IN PART BY ORDERING LOCAL TRADITIONAL LEADERS --

WHO ARE ON THE GOVERNMENT PAYROLL -- TO GET OUT THE ZANU

VOTE ON PAIN OF DEATH. THE MDC SECRETARY-GENERAL FURTHER

ALLEGED THAT ZANU-PF ADDED THE NAMES OF APPROXIMATELY 3,000

SUPPORTERS TO THE VOTERS' ROLL AND QUIETLY MOVED THEM INTO

THE AREA BEFORE THE ELECTION. UNFORTUNATELY, ZANU-PF'S

VICTORY HAS VINDICATED THE PARTY'S TACTICS OF SUPPRESSION

AND INTIMIDATION. JUDGING FROM BORDER GEZI'S COMMENTS,

ZIMBABWE IS CERTAIN TO SEE MORE OF THE SAME IN THE RUN-UP

TO THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN

CALL THIS BY-ELECTION FREE AND FAIR, AND WE SUSPECT THE MDC

WILL CHALLENGE THE RESULT IN COURT.

 

10. (C) WITH THE VICTORY IN BIKITA WEST, ZANU NOW CONTROLS

93 SEATS IN PARLIAMENT, ONLY SEVEN FEWER THAN THE NUMBER

REQUIRED TO HAVE A FREE HAND IN PASSING CONSTITUTIONAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4513

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00292 03 OF 03 161527Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00

DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FBIE-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   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-02   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

/011W

------------------B6E199 161527Z /38

P 161526Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8008

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 000292

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 01/16/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU RECLAIMS PARLIAMENTARY SEAT FROM OPPOSITION

IN BIKITA BY-ELECTION

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00292 03 OF 03 161527Z

AMENDMENTS. IF THE SUPREME COURT RULES ON JANUARY 19 THAT

THE MDC CAN PROCEED WITH ELECTORAL CHALLENGES TO 38

PARLIAMENTARY SEATS WON BY ZANU-PF, THE RULING PARTY WILL

DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY TO HOLD ON TO THOSE SEATS. ONE OF

THE MOST DIFFICULT CHALLENGES NOW FACING THE MDC IS

CONVINCING ITS SUPPORTERS THAT VOTING FOR THE OPPOSITION IS

WORTH THE VERY REAL RISK.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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