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Tsvangirai charged over careless remark about Mugabe

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was charged with inciting violence over a careless remark he made about President Robert Mugabe that if Mugabe did not go peacefully, “we will remove him violently”.

The MDC leader was charged five months after making the remark.

He was asked to pay bail of Z$10000 and ordered to stand trial in the High Court on April 30.

MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe that the party leadership had not decided yet how it would respond to the filing of the charge.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE767, TSVANGIRAI CHARGED WITH INCITING VIOLENCE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE767

2001-02-16 11:57

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.

 

161157Z Feb 01

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO4896

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00767 161156Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00

FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

LAB-01   L-00     VCE-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   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00

DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————C699E8 161157Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8245

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000767

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 02/14/11

TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINS PINR ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI CHARGED WITH INCITING VIOLENCE

 

REFS: A) 00 HARARE 5728, B) HARARE 00 5585

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00767 161156Z

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL IRVING. REASONS: 1.5

(B) AND (D).

 

1. (U) ACCORDING TO PRESS ACCOUNTS, MOVEMENT FOR

DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI WAS, ON

FEBRUARY 15, FORMALLY CHARGED UNDER THE COLONIAL-ERA LAW

AND ORDER MAINTENANCE ACT WITH INCITING VIOLENCE. THE

CHARGE REFERS TO TSVANGIRAI’S REMARK AT A PUBLIC RALLY LAST

SEPTEMBER 30 THAT, IF PRESIDENT MUGABE DID NOT GO

PEACEFULLY, “WE WILL REMOVE YOU VIOLENTLY.” ALTHOUGH

TSVANGIRAI’S STATEMENT WAS CARELESS, HE AND OTHER MDC

 

SIPDIS

OFFICIALS HAVE SINCE CLARIFIED, ON NUMEROUS PUBLIC AND

PRIVATE OCCASIONS, THAT HE MEANT THAT, IF THE PRESIDENT DID

NOT STAND DOWN SOON, A PUBLIC ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED BY THE

BREAKDOWN IN THE RULE OF LAW AND THE SERIOUS ECONOMIC

DECLINE WOULD FORCE HIM FROM OFFICE. TSVANGIRAI WAS

REPORTEDLY ASKED BY THE HARARE MAGISTRATES COURT TO PAY

Z$10,000 (US $150) IN BAIL AND ORDERED TO STAND TRIAL IN

THE HIGH COURT ON APRIL 30.

 

2. (C) MDC SPOKESMAN LEARNMORE JONGWE CONFIRMED THE PRESS

ACCOUNTS IN A FEBRUARY 16 CONVERSATION WITH US. JONGWE

TOLD US THAT THE MDC LEADERSHIP HAS NOT DECIDED YET HOW IT

WILL RESPOND TO THE FILING OF THE CHARGE. TWO

POSSIBILITIES, HE SAID, ARE CHALLENGING THE

CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE LAW AND ORDER MAINTENANCE ACT OR

ACTUALLY PROCEEDING TO TRIAL AND REFUTING THE CHARGE AT

THAT STAGE. THE MDC’S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE HAS SCHEDULED A

MEETING FOR FEBRUARY 21 TO DECIDE HOW TO PROCEED.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00767 161156Z

COMMENT

——-

 

3. (C) THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN HOLDING THIS POTENTIAL

CHARGE OVER TSVANGIRAI’S HEAD FOR NEARLY FIVE MONTHS. THE

FACT THAT IT HAS NOW DECIDED TO PROCEED WITH A CASE IS

EVIDENCE THAT THE GOZ INTENDS TO TURN UP THE HEAT FURTHER

ON THE MDC’S LEADERSHIP. ALTHOUGH WE ANTICIPATE THE COURT

LIKELY WILL DISMISS THE CHARGE, THIS DEVELOPMENT FOLLOWS

LAST WEEK’S POLICE DETENTIONS OF MDC VICE-PRESIDENT GIBSON

SIBANDA AND NATIONAL YOUTH LEADER NELSON CHAMISA, AND THE

BEATING OF MDC SECRETARY FOR SECURITY JOB SIKHALA BY MEN IN

ARMY UNIFORMS. THE RECENT MOVES AGAINST THE MDC, THE

INDEPENDENT MEDIA AND THE JUDICIARY, COMBINED WITH CALLS

THIS WEEK BY SENIOR ZANU-PF OFFICIALS FOR DENYING PASSPORTS

TO OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS AND BLACKLISTING LAW FIRMS

SUSPECTED OF SUPPORTING THE OPPOSITION, ARE SIGNS OF AN

INCREASINGLY DESPERATE GOVERNMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

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