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Tsvangirai advised not to attend Heroes Day for security reasons

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was advised not to attend the Heroes Day celebrations because his security could not be guaranteed.

Several MDC Members of Parliament attended the event.

Tsvangirai criticised President Robert Mugabe for turning the occasion meant to honour Zimbabwe’s national heroes into a purely partisan event.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 02HARARE1833, MUGABE VOWS TO STAY THE COURSE IN PUBLIC SPEECHES

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE1833

2002-08-14 14:15

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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001833

 

SIPDIS

 

FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2012

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL ECON ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: MUGABE VOWS TO STAY THE COURSE IN PUBLIC SPEECHES

 

Classified By: Political Officer Audu Besmer for reasons 1.5(b) and (d)

 

SUMMARY:

——–

1. (C) In his annual Heroes Day Speech on August 12, only

sparsely attended by the diplomatic community, Mugabe showed

no indication of veering from his current disastrous policy

course. He vowed to continue with the fast track

resettlement effort but said that “loyal” commercial farmers

would be allowed to stay. He threatened retaliatory measures

against the EU and United States for their “sanctions” on

Zimbabwe. In a separate speech on August 13, in honor of

Defense Forces Day, Mugabe said the recent DRC-Rwanda

agreement had paved the way for a Zimbabwean withdrawal from

the DRC, although he did not provide a timeline for such

action. We suspect that Mugabe intends to allow only those

farmers who eschew any political involvement and

confrontation with the GOZ to remain on their farms, thus

further strengthening ZANU-PF’s hand in rural areas. End

Summary.

 

LAND

—-

2. (U) Land was the main focus of Mugabe’s August 12 Heroes

Day address, not surprisingly given the August 8 deadline for

many commercial farmers to leave their properties. Mugabe

indicated there was no going back from rectifying historical

wrongs, and he drew parallels between land ownership and

national sovereignty. He said resettlement should be

completed by the end of August, so new farmers can be given

inputs and have seeds in the ground when the rains start in

October. He said that “loyal” commercial farmers, i.e. those

who respect the GOZ, would be allowed to stay.

 

ATMOSPHERICS

————

3. (U) The August 12 event was sparsely attended by the

diplomatic community, although August summer vacations could

be the reason for many of the EU absences. A banner in front

of the diplomatic tent–mostly filled with ZANU-PF

supporters–exclaimed, “Britain, No One Believes Your Lies!”

 

YOUTH SERVICE

————-

4. (C) Mugabe defended young people who “slugged it out” on

the farms along with older war veterans, applauding those

young people as war veterans themselves in the fight for

their land. He insisted that the GOZ would press forward

with a “Youth Service Programme” which he said would build a

cadre of patriotic Zimbabweans who are prepared to defend the

country’s sovereignty and interests. (Comment: This pledge

to establish a national service program has generated

widespread concern in Zimbabwe, given the role played by the

youth militia during the recent presidential campaign. End

Comment.)

 

POINTING THE FINGER, AS ALWAYS

——————————

5. (U) Mugabe’s Heroes Day speech had a full dose of his

standard anti-Britain, anti-EU, and anti-U.S. rhetoric,

referring to the West as the “oppressing nations”.

Predictably, Britain got extra lashes. “We do not kowtow to

imperialists,” he said, mentioning Prime Minister Blair as

the worst culprit. “To those who want to own this country

for Britain… …we say here on this national shrine that

the game is up and it is time for them to go.” he said.

Attempting to divide and rule, Mugabe said he understands

that some EU countries sympathize with the GOZ, but are

finding it difficult to resist British dictates. He also

attempted to separate the British people from the British

government saying, the British people know their government’s

policies are unjust. Mugabe threatened to take retaliatory

steps in response to U.S. and EU sanctions, reminding those

governments that they have interests in Zimbabwe too, which

could be targeted with phased but unspecified

counter-sanctions.

 

OPPOSITION RESPONSE

——————-

6. (C) Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai criticized Mugabe

for turning an occasion meant to honor Zimbabwe’s national

heroes into a purely partisan event. (Comment: We

understand that a substantial number of the MDC’s Members of

Parliament attended the event, but that Tsvangirai was

dissuaded from doing so by advisors who said his security

could not be guaranteed. End Comment.)

 

DEFENSE FORCES DAY

——————

7. (U) During his speech to commemorate Zimbabwean Defense

Forces (ZDF) Day on August 13, Mugabe announced formally

that, due to the recent peace accord between the DRC and

Rwanda, ZDF would be withdrawing from the DRC. He provided

no timeline for such action, however. He said ZDF members

had benefited from the land resettlement program and would

continue to do so. He praised the ZDF for building strong

relationships with communities throughout Zimbabwe, and

called on Zimbabweans to take advantage of business

opportunities in the newly-peaceful DRC.

 

COMMENT:

——–

8. (C) Mugabe gave nothing publicly on land. However, his

remarks suggest he is inclined to declare victory in the next

month or two and to allow those farmers who eschew

confrontation with the government, and sever ties with the

MDC, to continue to earn a living, albeit on truncated pieces

of land. We expect a triage is in the offing, with JAG

members the first targets. Any farmer tainted with

opposition activism, or not willing to live by Mugabe’s rules

will almost certainly have to pack his bags. If the GOZ

follows through on this approach–and it seems determined to

do so–one effect will be to remove a key source of financial

support for the MDC and to eliminate vital rural footholds

for the MDC. End Comment

WHITEHEAD

 

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