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Tensions remain

Most people in rural Zimbabwe remained nervous about the potential for renewed violence more than a year after the 2008 presidential elections run-off which left more than 200 people dead.

The fear was largely because of the complete lack of effort by the police and courts to investigate and hold accountable perpetrators of the 2008 violence.

Zimbabwe African national Union –Patriotic Front youths, war veterans, and soldiers known to be responsible for the violence still circulated in rural communities, pushing the ZANU-PF agenda on issues such as the Kariba Draft and intimidating known Movement for Democratic Change supporters.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE839, UNEASY CALM BLANKETS ZIMBABWE,S RURAL AREAS

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE839

2009-10-21 12:26

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7097

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0839/01 2941226

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 211226Z OCT 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5046

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3106

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3219

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1646

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2480

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2849

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3267

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5714

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2399

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000839

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/21/2018

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: UNEASY CALM BLANKETS ZIMBABWE,S RURAL AREAS

 

HARARE 00000839 001.2 OF 003

 

 

Classified By: CDA Donald K. Petterson for reason 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) A series of Embassy visits across five Zimbabwean

provinces between mid-September and mid-October 2009

confirmed that levels of political violence are currently

quite low, with the exception of invasions of several

contested white-owned commercial farms. Nevertheless, the

potential for renewed violence remains high as core ZANU-PF

structures )- youth militia, war veterans, and the military

— that directed last year’s election-related violence are

still active in rural communities, and in some instances

appear to be stepping-up recruiting and intimidation efforts.

END SUMMARY.

 

————————————-

Uneasy Calm in Zimbabwe’s Rural Areas

————————————-

 

2. (SBU) From mid-September to mid-October, emboffs visited

Mashonaland East, Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands, and

Matabeleland North provinces and had discussions with local

MPs, civil society leaders, school officials, and individuals

implementing Embassy-sponsored Self Help Projects. With the

exception of Matabeleland North, all these provinces suffered

from extensive political violence and intimidation during

last year’s elections.

 

3. (SBU) Our contacts in Shurugwi (Midlands province);

Bikita, Buhera, Gutu (Masvingo province); Chinhoyi

(Mashonaland East province); Nyanyadzi (Manicaland province);

and Binga, Hwange, and Victoria Falls (Matabeleland North

province) consistently told us that there were no current

ZANU-PF orchestrated campaigns of political violence. While

tensions remain and ZANU-PF supporters periodically

intimidate MDC supporters, widespread beatings, abductions,

and deaths have abated.

 

4. (C) However, our visits revealed some notable violent

exceptions — a handful of fiercely-contested farm invasions.

These appear to be individually-motivated instances, as

distinguished from the ZANU-PF-organized violence in 2008.

One example is Friedawil farm near Chinhoyi where MDC-T MP

Stewart Garadhi informed us that South African farmer Louis

Fick was forced off his farm in mid-September by supporters

of the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,

Edward Mashiringwani. Another example, contained in a report

by Justice for Agriculture (JAG), an organization that

defends the legal rights of commercial farmers, is that of

the Charles Lock farm in Mashonaland East. Brigadier General

Justin Mujaji employed approximately 18 army soldiers in

taking over the farm. Soldiers beat numerous farm employees,

shot at least one, raped one woman, and attempted to rape at

least two others during their three-week stay on the Lock

farm. (NOTE: Lock’s farm is co-owned by a German citizen

and should be protected by a signed Bilateral Investment

Promotion and Protection Agreement between Germany and

Zimbabwe END NOTE).

QZimbabwe END NOTE).

 

5. (SBU) Across Zimbabwe, citizens have attempted to regain

property )- often chickens, cows, and farm implements )-

from the ZANU-PF community members who stole them in 2008.

In several instances, these attempts have led to violence

against the claimants. In others, the claimants have been

thrown in jail on charges of extortion for attempting to

regain stolen property.

 

———————————

 

HARARE 00000839 002.2 OF 003

 

 

ZANU-PF Structures Still in Place

———————————

 

6. (C) Despite the current absence of broad-based violence,

numerous contacts cited concerns about the continued

existence of ZANU-PF structures, and in some cases even

increased ZANU-PF presence and activity. Jestina Mukoko, the

director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, which monitors

violence, confirmed to poloff that reports of violence had

declined, but warned that ZANU-PF youth were mobilizing to

support the Mugabe-favored Kariba Draft constitution by

threatening communities with violence if they failed to

support it. In an October 19 meeting with emboffs, leaders

of seven prominent NGOs concurred that people in some rural

areas faced intimidation over the Kariba Draft. They told us

ZANU-PF could manipulate votes in a constitutional referendum

or election through intimidation alone. Wounds from last

year’s violence remained fresh and the mere presence of

ZANU-PF youth and war veterans in rural communities continued

to be a significant deterrent to open affiliation with the

MDC.

 

7. (C) Counseling Services Unit (CSU), a local NGO that

provides treatment and counseling to victims of violence,

informed us of increases in ZANU-PF youth activity in

Mashonaland East province. In the Mudzi constituencies,

ZANU-PF officials have been rounding up young men and taking

them away for “training.” The nature of the training is

unknown, but parents are terrified as the “trainers” were

involved in last year’s violence. Newton Kachepa, Mudzi

North’s ZANU-PF MP, has allegedly been directing these

efforts, according to CSU.

 

8. (SBU) Contacts in the Murehwa district of Mashonaland

East told us villagers were promised seed and fertilizer in

exchange for attending a meeting, but were then forced to

chant ZANU-PF slogans and denigrate MDC leader Morgan

Tsvangirai. They were also told to support the Kariba Draft.

At the meeting’s conclusion, the villagers were threatened

with beheading if they failed to back the Kariba Draft.

 

9. (C) MDC-T MP Stewart Garadhi told us that ZANU-PF youth

continued to infiltrate schools and pressure teachers in

Mashonaland West province. He said that in a nearby district

youths forced a headmaster to allow them the use of a

classroom for “national services.” These services centered

on training and indoctrinating new members and intimidating

MDC supporters. Garadhi and Mukoko also confirmed that bases

used by war veterans, military and youth to torture MDC

supporters during the 2008 election period remained in

existence in some areas.

 

10. (SBU) Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s statement to the press

on October 16 announcing the MDC’s disengagement from ZANU-PF

made clear that the MDC takes these reports seriously; he

cited “extensive militarization of the countryside through

massive deployment of the military and setting up bases of

Qmassive deployment of the military and setting up bases of

violence.” Tsvangirai also mentioned that there are 16,000

ZANU-PF youth on government payrolls.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

11. (SBU) Despite the relative calm thus far in 2009, most

rural people remain nervous about the potential for renewed

violence in Zimbabwe. This stems in large part from the

complete lack of effort by the police and courts to

investigate and hold accountable last year’s perpetrators.

Consequently, ZANU-PF youth, war veterans, and soldiers known

to be responsible for violence still circulate in rural

 

HARARE 00000839 003 OF 003

 

 

communities, pushing the ZANU-PF agenda on issues such as the

Kariba Draft and intimidating known MDC supporters. END

COMMENT.

 

PETTERSON

 

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