He said groups of 20 women, each, had converged on police stations in Harare’s high density suburbs to deliver a petition demanding that the people’s human rights be respected.
They invited the police to join them in a prayer seeking divine assistance in extricating Zimbabwe from its difficulties.
Mudzingwa said some of the women were arrested on minor charges, such as obstructing traffic, but most of them were not, and police at some stations agreed to join the prayer.
He said the objective of this action was to help people overcome their fear of the police and to provide a peaceful method for residents to express their increasing anger and frustration.
Viewing cable 02HARARE2620, MDC MASS ACTION: NEXT STEPS
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 002620
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR CGURNEY
PARIS FOR CNEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/19/2012
SUBJECT: MDC MASS ACTION: NEXT STEPS
Classified By: polchief Matt Harrington. Reasons: 1.5 (B) and (D).
¶1. (C) Gandi Mudzingwa, special advisor to MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, told polchief on November 20 that planning
for mass action is consuming most of his time and attention.
One element of the MDC's efforts on this front, he reported,
had occurred on November 14, when groups of 20 women each had
converged on police stations in Harare's high-density suburbs
to deliver a petition demanding that the people's human
rights be respected. They invited the police to join them in
a prayer seeking divine assistance in extricating Zimbabwe
from its difficulties. Mudzingwa said some of the women were
arrested on minor charges, such as obstructing traffic, but
that most of them were not, and police at some stations even
agreed to join in the prayer. The objective of this action
was to help people overcome their fear of the police and to
provide a peaceful method for residents to express their
increasing anger and frustration.
¶2. (C) Mudzingwa told us that the MDC is working closely
with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to organize
a one-day national work stayaway on December 9. The ZCTU,
he said, planned to announce the stayaway only "a couple of
days" in advance, so that the GOZ would not have significant
lead time in which to disrupt the action. If the stayaway is
successful, Mudzingwa said the MDC would then "go for the
jugular." Asked what he meant by that, Mudzingwa replied
that the next activity would be designed to force Mugabe from
office, but he declined to be drawn on what sort of activity
was being contemplated.
¶3. (C) Mudzingwa told us that, the week of November 11, he
had personally met in South Africa with officials in the
office of South African President Thabo Mbeki to deliver a
letter from Morgan Tsvangirai to Mbeki. The letter (the text
of which is conveyed septel) welcomes South African
engagement on Zimbabwe but expresses concern that the failure
of several recent visiting SAG delegations to engage with the
MDC "compromises your image as an impartial broker." The
letter was particularly critical of recent public remarks by
Foreign Minister Zuma during her recent visit to Zimbabwe and
emphasizes the necessity of solving Zimbabwe's political
crisis. "The Zimbabwe crisis is real and needs resolution
rather than management," Tsvangirai wrote.
¶4. (C) Mudzingwa clearly believes that pressure in the form
of mass action stands the best chance of resolving Zimbabwe's
political crisis. Judging from the November 14 effort at
peacefully targeting police stations, the MDC appears to be
proceeding very carefully in this direction, engaging in
small-scale forms of protest that provide an outlet for party
supporters while avoiding triggering the wrath of GOZ
security services. A successful one-day stayaway would
demonstrate the ability of the labor movement to shut down
the country while avoiding the imposition of too heavy an
economic burden on workers who are already struggling to make
ends meet. We are discreetly checking with our ZCTU sources
to learn more about the status of organizing efforts and will
then be able to provide a better assessment of the chances of
success and possible consequences.
¶5. (C) The Tsvangirai-Mbeki letter reveals an increasing
frustration in MDC circles that President Mbeki is more
interested in helping assuage Zimbabwe's economic implosion
than in brokering a sustainable resolution of the political
crisis which is responsible for it.