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Tsvangirai escapes ZANU-PF attack- Jongwe suspended

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai escaped injury on October 12 after his convoy was attacked by stone-throwing ZANU-PF supporters.

Two windows of his vehicle were shattered and the vehicle’s body was damaged. Police were unhelpful and failed to arrest or charge any of the perpetrators.

In an unrelated development, four MDC Members of Parliament were on October 13 suspended from the party’s national executive committee pending an investigation into their role in factional disputes simmering for almost a month.

Those suspended were Learnmore Jongwe, party spokesman; Job Sikhala, secretary for security; Tapiwa Mashakada, the shadow minister of finance; and Tafadzwa Musekiwa.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE3062, TSVANGIRAI EMERGES UNSCATHED FROM ATTACK ON HIS VEHICLE;

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE3062

2001-10-15 15:23

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.

 

151523Z Oct 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3586

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03062 01 OF 02 151553Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   CIAE-00 INL-00   DODE-00 SRPP-00

DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   NSAE-00 OIC-02   PRS-00

P-00     SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 DSCC-00 PRM-01

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /007W

——————2F4381 151554Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0026

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 003062

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 10/15/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI EMERGES UNSCATHED FROM ATTACK ON HIS VEHICLE;

MDC SUSPENDS FOUR MPS

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF MATT HARRINGTON. REASONS:

1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

REF: HARARE 2239

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) PRESIDENT MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI ESCAPED INJURY ON OCTOBER 12 AFTER HIS CONVOY WAS

 

SIPDIS

ATTACKED BY STONE-THROWING ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS. TWO WINDOWS IN HIS

VEHICLE WERE SHATTERED AND THE VEHICLE’S BODY WAS DAMAGED. POLICE

WERE UNHELPFUL AND FAILED TO ARREST OR CHARGE ANY OF THE

PERPETRATORS. THE ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS APPEARED TO HAVE PRIOR

KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONVOY’S ROUTE AND TIMING. IN AN UNRELATED

DEVELOPMENT, FOUR MDC MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT WERE ON OCTOBER 13

TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED FROM THE PARTY’S NATIONAL EXECUTIVE

COMMITTEE PENDING AN INVESTIGATION INTO THEIR ROLE IN FACTIONAL

DISPUTES SIMMERING FOR ALMOST A MONTH. END SUMMARY.

 

ATTACK ON TSVANGIRAI

——————–

 

2. (C) ON OCTOBER 12, THE VEHICLE IN WHICH MOVEMENT FOR

DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) LEADER MORGAN TSVANGIRAI WAS RIDING WAS

ATTACKED BY A STONE-THROWING MOB. MDC SECRETARY-GENERAL WELSHMAN

NCUBE, TOLD US THAT TSVANGIRAI HAD BEEN ON HIS WAY TO ADDRESS

PARTY OFFICIALS IN SANYATI, SEVERAL HUNDRED KILOMETERS WEST OF

HARARE, WHEN APPROXIMATELY SEVENTY YOUTHS EMERGED FROM THE BUSHES

AND BLOCKED THE ROAD. THEY THREW STONES AND STICKS, SHATTERING

TWO WINDOWS IN TSVANGIRAI’S VEHICLE, INCLUDING THE ONE IN THE REAR

NEXT TO THE SEAT IN WHICH THE OPPOSITION LEADER WAS SITTING. TWO

STONES LANDED IN THE BACKSEAT BESIDE TSVANGIRAI. ACCORDING TO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03062 01 OF 02 151553Z

NCUBE, THE MOB DISPERSED AFTER A BODYGUARD IN THE SECOND CAR FIRED

A PISTOL IN THE AIR.

 

3. (C) THE CONVOY SPED TO THE NEAREST POLICE STATION, IN KADOMA,

TO REPORT THE INCIDENT. NCUBE TOLD US THAT THE POLICE APPEARED

COMPLETELY INDIFFERENT AND ONLY SEEMED INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT

WHO HAD DISCHARGED THE PISTOL. NONE OF THE MDC REPRESENTATIVES

HAD MENTIONED THAT A SHOT HAD BEEN FIRED, AND THUS THEY ASSUMED

THAT THE POLICE HAD WITNESSED WHAT HAD TAKEN PLACE. NONE OF THE

PERPETRATORS HAS BEEN DETAINED OR CHARGED.

 

4. (C) FORTUNATELY, NEITHER TSVANGIRAI NOR ANYONE ACCOMPANYING

HIM WAS HURT. WHEN POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF ASKED WHETHER THE MDC

CONSIDERED THIS AN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT, TSVANGIRAI’S SPECIAL

ADVISOR GANDI MUDZINGWA REFUSED TO RULE IT OUT AS A POSSIBILITY.

“ANYTIME YOU SEND 75 PEOPLE TO THROW STONES THROUGH A CAR WINDOW,

YOU CANNOT GUARANTEE WHAT THE RESULT WILL BE,” MUDZINGWA SAID.

“FATALITIES COULD OCCUR.” HE POINTED OUT THAT IT IS DIFFICULT TO

CONTROL A STONE-THROWING MOB ONCE IT IS UNLEASHED.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

5. (C) THE OCTOBER 12 INCIDENT IS THE SECOND ATTACK ON A

TSVANGIRAI CONVOY IN LESS THAN THREE MONTHS — THE FIRST OCCURRED

 

SIPDIS

JULY 22 IN BINDURA (REFTEL). THE TACTICS USED IN BOTH INCIDENTS

WERE VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL, WITH AMBUSHES CARRIED OUT IN ISOLATED

LOCATIONS ALONG RURAL STRETCHES OF ROAD, WHILE TSVANGIRAI WAS

TRAVELLING TO PUBLICLY ADVERTISED MEETINGS. THE CIRCUMSTANCES

SUGGEST SOME DEGREE OF PLANNING BY THE ASSAILANTS. WHILE THIS

APPEARED TO BE CONTINUED INTIMIDATION, THE OCTOBER 12 ATTACK

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03062 01 OF 02 151553Z

CLEARLY COULD HAVE KILLED TSVANGIRAI, AN OUTCOME WHICH WOULD HAVE

SPARKED SERIOUS UNREST. AT A MINIMUM, BOTH ATTACKS ARE CONSISTENT

WITH THE PATTERN DURING THE PAST YEAR-AND-A-HALF OF GOVERNMENT-

SANCTIONED VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION AIMED AT THE MDC LEADERSHIP

AND PARTY SUPPORTERS. AFFORDING SOME DEGREE OF DEFENSIVE

PROTECTION TO TSVANGIRAI AS HE TRAVELS ABOUT THE COUNTRY IS HIGHLY

DESIRABLE.

 

MDC OFFICIALS SUSPENDED

———————–

 

6. (U) MEANWHILE, IN AN UNRELATED DEVELOPMENT, FOUR MDC MEMBERS

OF PARLIAMENT WERE ON OCTOBER 13 SUSPENDED FROM THE PARTY’S

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE PENDING AN INVESTIGATION INTO THEIR

ROLE IN FACTIONAL DISPUTES SIMMERING FOR ALMOST A MONTH. THE

SUSPENDED MPS INCLUDE LEARNMORE JONGWE, PARTY SPOKESMAN; JOB

SIKHALA, SECRETARY FOR SECURITY; TAPIWA MASHAKADA, THE SHADOW

MINISTER OF FINANCE; AND TAFADZWA MUSEKIWA. WELSHMAN NCUBE TOLD

JOURNALISTS THAT THE MDC’S NATIONAL EXECUTIVE HAD DECIDED TO

TEMPORARILY SUSPEND THE FOUR, ALONG WITH THE PARTY’S PROVINCIAL

CHAIRMAN IN THE TOWN OF CHITUNGWIZA — ALEX MUSUNDIRE — UNTIL A

SPECIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY HAD CONCLUDED ITS WORK.   THE

BICKERING BETWEEN THE TWO CAMPS IN THIS GROUP, ONE LED BY SIKHALA

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3587

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03062 02 OF 02 151554Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   CIAE-00 INL-00   DODE-00 SRPP-00

DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   LAB-01 L-00     VCE-00   NSAE-00 OIC-02   PRS-00

P-00     SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 DSCC-00 PRM-01

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /007W

——————2F4393 151554Z /38

P 151523Z OCT 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0027

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 003062

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 10/15/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI EMERGES UNSCATHED FROM ATTACK ON HIS VEHICLE;

MDC SUSPENDS FOUR MPS

 

AND THE OTHER BY MASHAKADA, HAS SPILLED VERY MUCH INTO THE PUBLIC

DOMAIN. THEIR SUPPORTERS DISRUPTED THE SEPTEMBER 16 ELECTION OF A

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03062 02 OF 02 151554Z

NEW PARTY EXECUTIVE FOR HARARE PROVINCE, FORCING A POSTPONEMENT OF

THE VOTE, AND CLASHED WITH EACH OTHER IN THE HARARE HIGH-DENSITY

SUBURB OF ST. MARY’S. IN ADDITION, SIKHALA LEAKED TO THE PRESS A

LETTER HE WROTE TO TSVANGIRAI DEMANDING MASHAKADA’S EXPULSION FROM

THE PARTY.

 

7. (C) WELSHMAN NCUBE TOLD US ON OCTOBER 15 THAT THE MDC’S

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE WAS NOT HAPPY THAT THE FOUR MPS HAD CHOSEN TO

AIR THEIR GRIEVANCES IN PUBLIC WITHOUT SEEKING SOME SORT OF

RESOLUTION WITHIN THE PARTY. NCUBE CONFIDED HIS SUSPICION THAT

THESE INCIDENTS ARE PARTLY THE RESULT OF AN ENERGETIC OPERATION BY

THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE ORGANIZATION (CIO) TO DESTABILIZE THE

OPPOSITION PARTY FROM WITHIN. THE MDC LEADERSHIP, HE CONTINUED,

SUSPECTS THAT ONE OF THE FOUR SUSPENDED OFFICIALS IS A KEY

OPERATIVE IN THIS CIO CAMPAIGN. GANDI MUDZINGWA TOLD US THAT HE

DOUBTED THAT THIS SITUATION WOULD INFLICT LASTING DAMAGE ON THE

MDC, SO LONG AS THE PARTY ACTED DECISIVELY AGAINST THOSE INVOLVED.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

8. (C) NCUBE’S CONCERN ABOUT CIO ATTEMPTS TO DESTROY THE MDC FROM

WITHIN IS WELL-FOUNDED, AS THE INTELLIGENCE ORGANIZATION HAS

PREVIOUSLY — AND SUCCESSFULLY — PURSUED THIS APPROACH WITH OTHER

OPPOSITION PARTIES. THE CIO THEORY, HOWEVER, EXPLAINS ONLY PART

OF THE CURRENT SITUATION. SIKHALA AND MASHAKADA ARE ALSO YOUNG,

AMBITIOUS POLITICIANS ATTEMPTING TO SETTLE PERSONAL SCORES AS THEY

JOCKEY AGAINST ONE ANOTHER FOR ADDITIONAL INFLUENCE WITHIN THE

PARTY.

 

9. (C) ALTHOUGH THE SIKHALA-MASHAKADA DISPUTE IS FAR FROM A FATAL

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03062 02 OF 02 151554Z

BLOW TO THE MDC, IT IS AN IMPORTANT TEST OF THE PARTY LEADERSHIP’S

CAPACITY TO RESOLVE INTERNAL CONFLICTS. THERE ARE MEMBERS OF THE

MDC WHO HAVE NOT APPRECIATED THE FACT THAT A PARTY CAN BE

DEMOCRATIC BUT STILL INSIST THAT MEMBERS BE DISCIPLINED AND

RESPECT PARTY POLICIES AND PROTOCOL. THE MDC LEADERSHIP HAS,

UNTIL NOW, BEEN RELUCTANT TO MOVE AGAINST MEMBERS WHO FLOUTED

IMPORTANT PARTY POSITIONS, OUT OF FEAR THAT IT WOULD BE PORTRAYED

AS INTOLERANT OR ANTI-DEMOCRATIC. THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY

PROVIDES A GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO REIN IN WAYWARD MEMBERS AND TO SEND

A STRONG MESSAGE ABOUT HOW THE PARTY WILL HANDLE SIMILAR PROBLEMS

IN THE FUTURE. IN THE MEANTIME, THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED MEDIA

HAVE HAD A FIELD DAY PORTRAYING THE MDC AS A PARTY IN CRISIS.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

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