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Tsvangirai leads march on parliament

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai led a demonstration of between 500 and 1 000 supporters from the party headquarters to Parliament calling for President RobertMugabe to step down.

Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said details of the march were known only to Tsvangirai and a handful of organisers and that the national executive council learned about the march on the morning of the march.

Chamisa said the demonstration’s success would likely lead to further peaceful acts of resistance. The march had also shown opposition supporters that the party’s leadership was firmly behind peaceful resistance.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE1067, TSVANGIRAI LEADS MARCH ON PARLIAMENT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE1067

2006-09-05 13:42

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001067

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/05/2015

TAGS: ASEC PGOV PHUM PREL ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI LEADS MARCH ON PARLIAMENT

 

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

1. (U) Anti-Senate MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai led a

demonstration of between 500 and 1,000 supporters from the

party’s downtown Harare headquarters to Parliament in the

afternoon of September 1. Marchers, many of whom joined the

demonstration in progress, carried placards calling for

Mugabe to step down, and demanding free education and a new

constitution. At the end of the march, Tsvangirai,

accompanied by more than 50 members of the party’s national

executive council, delivered a petition and the party’s

roadmap for democratic change to Speaker of Parliament and

ZANU-PF chairman John Nkomo.

 

2. (SBU) According to press reports, the police appeared to

have been caught off guards by the march and failed to

respond quickly to what was the first MDC march since the

opposition’s fracture last October. Anti-Senate MDC

spokesperson Nelson Chamisa on September 5 told us that

details of the march were known only to Tsvangirai and a

handful of organizers and that the national executive council

learned about the march only that morning.

 

3. (SBU) Chamisa said the demonstration,s success would

likely lead to further peaceful acts of resistance. The

march had moreover shown opposition supporters that the

party’s leadership was firmly behind peaceful resistance.

Other MDC activists tell us the demonstration was only the

most visible of other “water testing” measures. For

instance, in rural Mashonaland West parents were being

encouraged to send their children to school ) which starts

today – even if they cannot pay the new, higher fees.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

4. (C) After a round of well-attended rallies across the

country, Tsvangirai has finally put words into action and

conducted a successful, albeit minor, demonstration. It is

significant on several counts: it is the first march since

the opposition party’s fracture last October; it is the first

major action since Tsvagirai promised a &winter of

discontent8 at the MDC Congress in March; and, unlike MDC

demonstrations before the fracture, Tsvagirai personally led

it. Moreover, the lack of police reaction may boost the

MDC,s confidence and set the stage for future events.

DELL

(13 VIEWS)

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