US embassy monitors government actions during funeral of MDC activist

The United States embassy in Harare said it was planning not only to attend the funeral service of a slain Movement for Democratic Change activist Gift Tandare but it was also going to monitor government actions elsewhere in Harare.

Tandare was to be buried in the affluent suburb of Borrowdale to avoid violence at the funeral which was expected to be attended by the Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube who would be representing the Save Zimbabwe Campaign and well as leaders of the two MDCs Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.

National Constitutional Assembly president Lovemore Madhuku was also expected to attend the “low key” ceremony.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE245, ZIMBABWE UPDATE: MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR SLAIN

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE245

2007-03-26 14:23

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO5541

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DE RUEHSB #0245/01 0851423

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 261423Z MAR 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1294

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1539

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1397

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1543

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0212

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0806

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1169

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1598

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4002

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1368

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2026

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0668

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 1760

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000245

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E.LOKEN

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE UPDATE: MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR SLAIN

ACTIVIST TOMORROW; WEEKEND MDC PRO-SENATE FACTION RALLY

FIZZLES

 

 

------

Summary

-------

 

1. (SBU) The memorial service for slain MDC activist Gift

Tandare will be held tomorrow. The organizers are planning a

low-key event to avoid government intervention. Western

diplomats plan to attend as a further restraint. Separately,

the pro-Senate MDC faction's plans for a weekend rally to

demonstrate opposition to the government fizzled when the

government lifted the ban for the event. End Summary.

 

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

Memorial Service for Slain Activist

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

 

2. (SBU) The Save Zimbabwe Campaign intends to hold a

memorial service March 27 for Gift Tandare, the opposition

activist slain by police on March 11. Catholic Archbishop

Pius Ncube will deliver the main sermon at the service, which

will be held at the Northside Community Church in the low

density suburb of Borrowdale. Speakers will include NCA

president Lovemore Madhuku, and MDC leaders Morgan Tsvangirai

and Arthur Mutambara.

 

3. (SBU) The organizers of the service told us the venue was

selected in order to minimize the threat of government

intervention. Northside Community Church is located in a

low-density area in one of the more affluent areas of Harare.

The organizers said for the same reason there were no plans

to hold a march in connection with the service. Save

Zimbabwe organizers told us they would bus attendees to the

church from their homes in high-density areas. They expected

two to three thousand people to attend.

 

4. (SBU) Organizers were cautiously optimistic that the

service would not provoke arrests or violence by government

security agents. However, the Save Zimbabwe campaign has

issued invitations to the diplomatic community, and Charge,

accompanied by other Embassy officials, will attend. Most of

the European Ambassadors are also planning to attend. (N.B.

We have worked closely with the UK Mission to ensure a large

turnout of diplomats both to forestall the possibility of

violence and to signal that the diplomatic corps in Harare

will do its job regardless of GOZ threats.)

 

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

Pro-Senate rally fizzles

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

 

5. (SBU) The GOZ last week officially annouced a one-month

ban on demonstrations in several arare areas. Police

officials had previously anounced a sweeping three month

ban, which would lkely have been struck down by the courts,

as eve the draconian Public Security and Order Act (POSA

limits such bans to one month. The government then promptly

lifted the ban for a scheduled March 24 rally by the

pro-Senate faction of the MDC in the high-density area of

Chitingwitza.

 

6. (SBU) The rally had been called in the first place to

demonstrate the pro-Senate faction,s willingness to take on

the government and to dampen criticism that they were hiding

behind Morgan Tsvangirai's anti-Senate faction. In any

 

HARARE 00000245 002 OF 002

 

 

event, the pro-Senate leadership apparently decided not to

push the rally and few of their supporters showed. Allowing

the demonstration to proceed appears to have been another

attempt on the part of the GOZ to divide the two MDC factions.

 

-------

Comment

-------

 

7. (SBU) There is a sense that things have calmed down in

Zimbabwe for now. We do not anticipate violence at the

Tandare service. There is, however, a good chance that the

government may try to limit the number of mourners at the

event by stopping the buses from the high-density areas. In

addition to an Embassy presence at the service, we will also

be monitoring government actions elsewhere in Harare. End

Comment.

SCHULTZ

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