Pius Ncube says it’s now time for peaceful resistance

Archbishop Pius Ncube condemned police violence which erupted in March 2007 and said it was now time for peaceful resistance to the Robert Mugabe regime.

He was speaking at a press conference at which the Christian Alliance announced the death of a Movement for Democratic Change activist Itai Manyeruke.

Manyeruke had been beaten by police in Highfield on 11 March and then taken to Harare hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Another MDC activist Gift Tandare was also killed on the same date.

Frances Lovemore, director of the United States government-supported Counselling Services Unit, which provided medical assistance to victims of government violence, said the CSU had treated 150 opposition supporters for a range of injuries sustained at police hands since February 18 when the government cracked down on another MDC rally in Highfield.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE241, ZIMBABWE'S INCREASED VIOLENCE A GOZ CREATION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE241

2007-03-22 14:48

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO2580

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0241/01 0811448

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 221448Z MAR 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1287

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1536

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1394

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1540

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0209

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0802

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1166

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1595

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3999

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1365

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2023

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0665

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1757

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000241

 

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: 03/22/2017

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE'S INCREASED VIOLENCE A GOZ CREATION

 

REF: A. REF A: HARARE 227 AND PREVIOUS

 

B. REF B: HARARE 130

 

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i. Eric Schultz under Section 1.4 b

/d

 

-------

Summary

-------

 

1. (U) While the GOZ has tried to portray the MDC as a

purveyor of violence, largely by trumpeting two alleged

petrol bomb attacks, there is scant evidence to support their

claims. In fact, we hear every day of more and more evidence

of government-sponsored violence. On March 22, Save Zimbabwe

Campaign leaders told us that a second MDC activist had died

as a result of police beatings on March 11. Indiscriminate

police violence also continues in Harare's high-density

suburbs as well as other major cities. While MDC and civil

society demonstrations have been largely peaceful, there are

reports that GOZ brutality has begun to trigger a backlash

from opposition youths. Separately, Sekai Holland and Grace

Kwinjeh arrived in South Africa for treatment today after a

High Court judge ordered police to release their passports.

End Summary.

 

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

"Firebombings" Appear to be GOZ Propaganda

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

 

2. (SBU) The GOZ has attempted to blame the opposition for

two supposed firebombings at police stations in Harare and

Gweru on March 13. However, the links to the opposition are

tenuous. In fact, there is no firm evidence that the attacks

occurred at all. We have heard several rumors that the

"firebombing" at a police camp in Harare on March 13 was

actually an accident, either caused by a paraffin stove or

improperly stored fuel seized from black market dealers.

(Note. Counseling Services Unit (CSU) Director Frances

Lovemore told us the two officers burnt in Harare, whose

faces the GOZ splashed over the front pages of the

government-controlled press, suffered only relatively minor

injuries.)

 

3. (SBU) Meanwhile, police officials in Gweru have sealed

off the barracks where a separate firebombing allegedly

occurred on March 13, according to a ZLHR lawyer, prohibiting

opposition attorneys from confirming the attack. Within

hours of the alleged firebombing police began arresting

opposition leaders despite the lack of eye-witnesses or

evidence. Police quickly rounded up six "suspects",

including an MDC city councilor, two local MDC officials, and

a local NCA leader, according to the opposition lawyer. The

six appeared in court on March 16, charged with "sabotage and

terrorism", and were released on bail.

 

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

Second Victim of March 11 Crack Down Identified

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

 

4. (U) Christian Alliance (CA) pastors at a press conference

on March 22 announced that a second MDC activist, Itai

Manyeruke, had died as a result of injuries he sustained as

police disrupted the March 11 prayer rally. Archbishop Pius

Ncube of Bulawayo, presiding over the CA meeting, condemned

the police violence and said the time was now for peaceful

resistance to the regime.

 

 

HARARE 00000241 002 OF 003

 

 

5. (SBU) On the margins of the briefing, Crisis Coalition

director Jacob Mafume told poloff that the 30-year old

Manyeruke had been beaten by police in Highfield on March 11

and then taken to Harare Hospital, where he was pronounced

dead on arrival. Mafume said he was unaware if a formal

autopsy had been conducted, but said the death appeared to

have resulted from brunt-trauma beatings, as opposed to the

shooting death of Tandare. Mafume said police had taken

Manyeruke's corpse to a mortuary, without notifying the

family. After an extensive search of police stations and

hospitals, Mafume said Manyeruke's family found the body only

a few days ago and buried the body on March 21 during a small

ceremony.

 

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

Government Violence Continues

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

 

6. (SBU) Meanwhile, indiscriminate violence continued,

focused primarily in Harare's high-density suburbs but also

spreading to other cities across Zimbabwe. NCA leader

Lovemore Madhuku on March 20 told us that police in southwest

Harare were randomly enforcing a curfew and harassing people

who had gathered in small groups even to walk to work.

Police, working in concert with local ZANU-PF supports, had

even threatened opposition leaders at their homes. As a

result, some opposition activists had gone into hiding,

fearing further assaults.

 

7. (SBU) Frances Lovemore, Director of the USG-supported

Counseling Services Unit, which provides medical assistance

to victims of government violence, told us March 21 that CSU

has treated 150 opposition supporters for a range of injuries

sustained at police hands since February 18 when the GOZ

cracked down on another MDC rally in Highfield (ref B). More

victims were coming to CSU everyday after initially hiding in

Harare's high density suburbs, fearful of reprisals from

police.

 

8. (C) Madhuku said the indiscriminate police violence had

raised the potential that angry opposition could carry out

reprisal attacks against GOZ and ZANU-PF officials.

Opposition leaders had not sanctioned such violence, and to

his knowledge none had as yet occurred. However, the GOZ had

pushed average Zimbabweans to their breaking point, making

them more likely to strike out in unpredictable ways. In

that regard, Francis Lovemore told us that militant MDC

activists, including some with military ties who had left

Zimbabwe years ago, had begun filtering back in recent weeks.

 

 

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

Court Orders Release, Injured Activists Finally Depart

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

 

9. (SBU) Australian Embassy poloff informed us that

seriously injured MDC activists Sekai Holland ) who is

married to an Australian - and Grace Kwinjeh arrived in

Johannesburg this afternoon for medical treatment. Earlier

in the day a High Court Judge ordered police to release their

travel papers. The two activists finally departed Harare

airport after a delay of almost a week that put Holland's

health in particular in jeopardy. Separately, pro-Senate MDC

president Arthur Mutambara on March 22 informed poloff that

police had also returned his passport which they seized when

they re-arrested him on March 17. Mutambara, who was

released from custody on March 20 after being arrested on

March 17, said he planned to briefly visit his wife and

 

HARARE 00000241 003 OF 003

 

 

children in Johannesburg and then return to Harare this

weekend.

 

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

Memorial Service Planned

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

 

10. (C) Madhuku informed us that the memorial service for

Gift Tandare, the MDC activist killed on March 11, would be

held in Harare on the morning of Tuesday, March 27. The

service has been delayed several times following the

government,s seizure at gunpoint of Tandare,s body this

past weekend. Save Zimbabwe Campaign pastors planned to

identify an appropriate church where the ceremony would be

held; opposition supporters would march to the venue.

Madhuku noted that diplomatic observers would be invited.

 

-------

Comment

-------

 

11. (C) Government propaganda aside it is clear that the

violence of the past few weeks has been instigate by the GOZ

and its security forces. That said, they are meeting

unaccustomed resistance not just from MDC activists but from

ordinary Zimbabweans. The violence may therefore escalate

further and the memorial service could still serve as a flash

point, especially if it involves a public march by the MDC.

We plan to attend the service, though not participate in the

march, and learned today that most of our European colleagues

plan to do so as well.

SCHULTZ

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