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Three killed as violence escalates

Two members of the Movement for Democratic Change and a white farmer were killed as violence escalated in the run-up to the 2000 elections and continued farm occupations.

The two MDC members were killed on 15 April when the truck they were in which carried party supporters was attacked and stopped by gun-totting assailants who went on to firebomb the vehicle.

The two were trapped in the truck and died of burns.

The farmer was shot dead the same day in a clash with war veterans who had been occupying his farm.

The farmer had tried to get the occupiers off his farm with the help of his labourers but the occupiers had reorganised and counter-attacked.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE2120, WEEKEND VIOLENCE NOTCHES UP

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE2120

2000-04-17 15:32

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.

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4183

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02120 01 OF 03 171528Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 SRPP-00 DS-00

VC-01   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00

AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00

PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00   SP-00   IRM-00   TRSE-00

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

/010W

——————4CB326 171534Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5781

INFO NSC WASHDC

SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 002120

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S RICE, AF POAS POWELL,

AF DAS

SCHNEIDMAN, AF/S DIRECTOR RENDER, AF/S DESK

OFFICER GURNEY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 4/17/10

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: WEEKEND VIOLENCE NOTCHES UP

POLITICAL TENSION

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02120 01 OF 03 171528Z

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER JON HOOPER

FOR REASONS 1.5 (B), (0)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. THIS WEEKEND SAW THREE

DEATHS ASSOCIATED WITH POLITICAL ACTIVITY,

APPARENTLY THE START OF WHAT MANY OBSERVERS

THINK WILL BE A SEASON OF ELECTION-RELATED

VIOLENCE FOR ZIMBABWE. PRESIDENT MUGABE

REMAINS INTRANSIGENT IN DEFYING THE COURTS

OVER ONGOING FARM OCCUPATIONS, AND APPEARED

UNMOVED BY THE DEATHS. HIS MAIN POLITICAL

OPPOSITION CONTINUES TO APPEAR MORE NIMBLE

THAN MUGABE IN ATTEMPTING TO GARNER

POLITICAL SUPPORT. WE FORESEE NO QUICK END

TO THE SPORADIC VIOLENCE. END SUMMARY.

 

SOWING THE DRAGON’S TEETH

 

2. (U) TWO MEMBERS OF THE MOVEMENT FOR

DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC), THE MAIN POLITICAL

OPPOSITION PARTY, WERE KILLED APRIL 15 IN

WHAT LOCAL OBSERVERS BELIEVE TO BE A

POLITICALLY-INSPIRED ATTACK. ONE OF THE

DEAD WAS THE OFFICIAL CHAUFFEUR FOR MDC

LEADER MORGAN TSVANGIRAI. HE HAD BEEN

TRANSPORTING MDC SUPPORTERS HOME FROM A

POLITICAL RALLY WHEN HIS TRUCK WAS ATTACKED

AND STOPPED BY GUN-TOTING ASSAILANTS, WHO

PROCEEDED TO FIREBOMB THE VEHICLE. THE TWO

DECEASED WERE TRAPPED IN THE TRUCK AND DIED

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02120 01 OF 03 171528Z

OF BURNS. THE SUPPORTERS THAT HAD BEEN

PASSENGERS ESCAPED LARGELY UNHARMED.

 

3. (C) ALSO ON APRIL 15, A WHITE FARMER

WAS SHOT TO DEATH IN A CLASH WITH SOME OF

THE SO-CALLED “WAR VETERANS” WHO HAD BEEN

OCCUPYING HIS FARM. THIS FIRST FARMER

CASUALTY OF THE GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED

OCCUPATION CAMPAIGN RESULTED WHEN THE FARMER

BACKED UP HIS LABORERS TO ATTEMPT TO GET THE

OCCUPIERS OFF HIS FARM. WHILE HE AND HIS

LABORERS WERE INITIALLY SUCCESSFUL, THE

OCCUPIERS, WITH HELP FROM OTHERS IN THE

AREA, REORGANIZED AND COUNTERATTACKED. IT

IS EVIDENT THAT THE OCCUPIERS ARE PREPARED

TO ESCALATE VIOLENCE IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN

THEIR PRESENCE AGAINST FORCEFUL ATTEMPTS BY

FARMERS TO EVICT THEM AND HAVE ORGANIZED

THEMSELVES TO A CERTAIN DEGREE.

 

MUGABE DEFIANT ON FARM OCCUPATIONS

 

4. (C) PRESIDENT MUGABE RETURNED ON

SUNDAY, APRIL 16, FROM THE G-77 SUMMIT TO A

RENT-A-CROWD RECEPTION AT HARARE AIRPORT,

WHERE HIS PUBLIC REMARKS UNDERLINED HIS

INTRANSIGENCE ON THE LAND OCCUPATION ISSUE.

CONTINUING THE LINE OF ARGUMENT HE MADE AT

THE SUMMIT, MUGABE MADE IT CLEAR THAT HE

WILL NOT SUPPORT ATTEMPTS TO CLEAR THE

OCCUPIERS FROM THE FARMS, MUCH LESS ORDER

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04      HARARE 02120 01 OF 03 171528Z

POLICE TO FOLLOW THE RECENT COURT ORDERS

THAT THEY SHOULD DO SO. THIS CAME IN

COMPLETE CONTRAST TO ACTING PRESIDENT

MSIKA’S APRIL 14 DECLARATION THAT THE

COURT’S RULING TO WITHDRAW FROM THE OCCUPIED

FARMS SHOULD BE HEEDED. IN WHAT MUST HAVE

STRUCK MORE THAN A FEW IMPARTIAL OBSERVERS

AS A NEW LEVEL OF HYPOCRISY, MUGABE ARGUED

THAT ENFORCING THE COURT ORDERS WOULD BE A

DANGEROUS ESCALATION OF VIOLENCE.

 

5. (C) PART OF MUGABE’S AND THE POLICE’S

ARGUMENT AGAINST HAVING THE POLICE FORCE

MOVE AGAINST THE FARM OCCUPIERS HAS BEEN

THAT THE POLICE LACK THE NECESSARY

RESOURCES. CURIOUSLY, WHEN RUMORS FILLED

HARARE THAT A NON-ZANU-PF POLITICAL RALLY

WAS PLANNED FOR SATURDAY, THE POLICE HAD NO

DIFFICULTY MAKING THEIR PRESENCE KNOWN.

THERE WERE ROVING PATROLS OF RIOT-EQUIPPED

OFFICERS IN THE DOWNTOWN BUSINESS AREA,

MOVING IN GROUPS OF FIVE TO TEN. FURTHER

POLICE MANPOWER LOUNGED IN SEVERAL ARMORED

CARS PARKED NEAR PARLIAMENT, AND POLICE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4189

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02120 02 OF 03 171528Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 SRPP-00 DS-00

VC-01   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00

AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00

PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00   SP-00   IRM-00   TRSE-00

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

/010W

——————4CB336 171535Z /38

R 171532Z APR 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5782

INFO NSC WASHDC

SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 002120

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S RICE, AF POAS POWELL,

AF DAS

SCHNEIDMAN, AF/S DIRECTOR RENDER, AF/S DESK

OFFICER GURNEY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 4/17/10

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

 

SUBJECT: WEEKEND VIOLENCE NOTCHES UP

POLITICAL TENSION

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02120 02 OF 03 171528Z

 

ROADBLOCKS ON MAJOR TRAFFIC ARTERIES HEADING

INTO TOWN CAUSED MAJOR TRAFFIC BACK-UPS AS

OFFICERS SLOWLY SEARCHED OR INSPECTED THE

INTERIOR OF ALL PASSING VEHICLES. IN THE

END THERE WAS NO DEMONSTRATION–WE HAVE BEEN

TOLD NONE WAS IN FACT PLANNED–AND HARARE’S

FINEST, RARE RESOURCE THAT THEY APPARENTLY

ARE, SIMPLY HAD A LONG DAY OF DOING NOTHING

MUCH.

 

6. (C) FURTHER TO THE LAND ISSUE, THE

BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER IN HARARE TOLD

AMBASSADOR MCDONALD DURING LUNCH ON APRIL 17

THAT THE BRITISH HAVE PROPOSED TO THE GOZ

THAT THEY SEND A DELEGATION TO LONDON ON

APRIL 27 FOR BILATERAL LAND REFORM

DISCUSSIONS.

 

MDC STILL THINKING AHEAD, ZANU-PF NOT

 

7. (C) IN THE MORE PURELY POLITICAL ARENA,

THE MDC SPONSORED ADS IN MAJOR NEWSPAPERS

THIS WEEKEND URGING THEIR URBAN-BASED

SUPPORTERS TO PICK UP INFORMATION PAMPHLETS

TO TAKE WITH THEM AS THEY RETURN TO THEIR

RURAL FAMILIES OVER THE UPCOMING LONG EASTER

WEEKEND. AS IS COMMON IN MANY AFRICAN

COUNTRIES, MANY EXTENOEO FAMILIES WILL

GATHER IN THEIR VILLAGES THIS HOLIOAY. BY

HAVING INFORMATION PACKETS REAOY TO BE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02120 02 OF 03 171528Z

TRANSPORTED BY THESE WILLING–ANO FREE–

COURIERS, THE MOC IS TAKING A SMALL STEP TO

OVERCOME THE COMMUNICATION GAP THAT

SEPARATES THEM FROM RURAL AREAS, WHERE ONLY

THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLEO ELECTRONIC MEDIA

IS REAOILY AVAILABLE.

 

8. (C) IN CONTRAST, NEWS FROM THE ZANU-PF

FRONT SHOWS THEY HAVE A CONSIDERABLE

OISTANCE TO GO BEFORE THEY ARE IN TUNE WITH

THE MOOO OF THEIR PUTATIVE SUPPORTERS.

ACCOROING TO NEWS REPORTS MONOAY MORNING,

VICE PRESIOENT MSIKA WAS BOOEO OVER THE

WEEKENO WHEN HIS SPEECH AT THE FUNERAL OF

THE EXECUTIVE MAYOR OF BULAWAYO STRAYED INTO

AN ATTACK ON MDC PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI.

 

COMMENT

 

9. (C) THE NO-HOLDS-BARRED POLITICAL

SEASON IS NOW APPARENTLY OPEN IN ZIMBABWE.

OUR READING OF LOCAL REACTION TO THE WEEKEND

VIOLENCE IS THAT THERE IS CONSIDERABLE SHOCK

AND DISMAY THAT THINGS HAVE COME TO THIS

PASS. NO ONE IS LOOKING TO A QUICK END TO

WHAT LOCALS SEE AS A ZANU-PF INTIMIDATION

CAMPAIGN.

 

10. (C) THIS IS A TIME OF TESTING FOR THE

MDC. THEIR RESPONSE TO WHAT APPEARS TO BE

BLATANT AND CLEARLY LIFE-THREATENING

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 02120 02 OF 03 171528Z

PROVOCATION WILL BE TELLING. SO FAR THEIR

OFFICIAL REACTION HAS BEEN LOW KEY. WE HAVE

NOT HEARD OF PLANS FOR RETALIATION. IT IS

STILL TOO EARLY TO TELL WHAT EFFECT THESE

EVENTS WILL HAVE ON THEIR SUPPORTERS, BUT WE

SENSE MANY VOTERS HERE EXPECTED POLITICAL

CONFLICT TO CAUSE LOSS OF LIFE EVENTUALLY,

AND WILL NOT BE PUT OFF BY SPORADIC

VIOLENCE.

 

11. (C) FOR ZANU-PF, THE TIME TO RESCUE

WHATEVER POLITICAL CREDIBILITY THEY HAVE IS

NOW. WE SENSE THERE ARE CONSIDERABLE RIFTS

WITHIN THE RULING PARTY OVER THE FARM

OCCUPATIONS. VICE PRESIDENT MSIKA SURELY

WAS NOT SPEAKING SOLELY FOR HIMSELF WHEN HE

GREETED WITH SOME APPARENT ENTHUSIASM LAST

WEEK’S COURT DECISION THAT POLICE SHOULD

EVICT THE FARM INVADERS–A BLATANT

CONTRADICTION OF WHAT, SINCE MUGABE HAS

SPOKEN, IS NOW OFFICIAL PARTY POLICY. WE DO

NOT KNOW HOW FAR THESE POLICY SPLITS RUN ON

OTHER ISSUES, BUT POLITICIANS WHO EXPECT TO

HAVE A CAREER HERE BEYOND THE MUGABE ERA

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4190

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02120 03 OF 03 171528Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 SRPP-00 DS-00

VC-01   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00

AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00

PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00  SP-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————4CB33A 171535Z /38

R 171532Z APR 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5783

INFO NSC WASHDC

SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 002120

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S RICE, AF POAS POWELL,

AF DAS

SCHNEIDMAN, AF/S DIRECTOR RENDER, AF/S DESK

OFFICER GURNEY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 4/17/10

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

 

SUBJECT: WEEKEND VIOLENCE NOTCHES UP

POLITICAL TENSION

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02120 03 OF 03 171528Z

MUST BE LOOKING WITH SOME CONSTERNATION AT

THE CURRENT GROWTH OF CHAOS. MOREOVER, THE

LONGER AND MORE SEVERE THE VIOLENCE, THE

GREATER WILL BE THE DIFFICULTY IN FINDING

ANY TAKERS FOR THEIR ASSERTION THAT

ELECTIONS WILL BE FREE AND FAIR.

 

12. (C) AMBASSADOR MCDONALD LEARNED LATE

THIS AFTERNOON IN A TELEPHONE CALL WITH DR.

CHARLES UTETE, CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE

CABINET, THAT PRESIDENT MUGABE MAY HAVE AN

ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY REGARDING THE LAND

OCCUPATIONS, WHICH HE SAID “MAY BE OF

INTEREST TO US.” WE WILL LET YOU KNOW IF

SUCH AN ANNOUNCEMENT IS MADE. END COMMENT.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(4 VIEWS)

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