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Tsvangirai questioned over “Mugabe should go peacefully” remark

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was questioned for two hours over his 30 September 2000 remark that President Robert Mugabe “should go peacefully..if not , we will remove you violently”.

He was not formally charged but his advisor Gandi Mudzingwa said he could face five possible charges. Mudzingwa said police seemed to be casting the net wide before deciding which was the most appropriate charge.

Although Tsvangirai had been allowed to circulate freely, the United States embassy warned that arresting Tsvangirai could trigger widespread anger and public demonstrations which might prove difficult to control.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 00HARARE5728, TSVANGIRAI QUESTIONED AND RELEASED BY POLICE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE5728

2000-10-11 15:39

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     PTQ0186

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05728 111814Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   AID-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00

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

AC-01   NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OMB-01   PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00

ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   SS-00   TRSE-00 T-00

USIE-00 ASDS-01 PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     SAS-00

/006W

——————902378 111814Z /75

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7331

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 005728

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

 

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

TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI QUESTIONED AND RELEASED BY POLICE

 

REF: A) HARARE 5681 B) HARARE 5585

 

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

(B) AND (D).

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05728 111814Z

 

1. (U) AT THE REQUEST OF POLICE, MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI SPENT TWO HOURS ON OCTOBER 10 AT THE CRIMINAL

 

SIPDIS

INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION (CID) ANSWERING QUESTIONS IN

CONNECTION WITH HIS STATEMENT AT A POLITICAL RALLY ON

SEPTEMBER 30.   AS REPORTED REF B, TSVANGIRAI SAID AT THE

RALLY THAT MUGABE “SHOULD GO PEACEFULLY. IF NOT, WE WILL

REMOVE YOU VIOLENTLY.” IN SEVERAL SUBSEQUENT PUBLIC

APPEARANCES, TSVANGIRAI SAID HE HAD MEANT THAT, IF THE

ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT DOES NOT CHOOSE TO GO PEACEFULLY, THE

PUBLIC, ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED BY THE DETERIORATION OF THE

ECONOMY AND BY THE GOVERNMENT’S FAILURE TO ENSURE THE RULE

OF LAW, WILL FORCE HIM TO GO.

 

2. (U) IN A PRESS CONFERENCE AFTER HIS QUESTIONING,

TSVANGIRAI SAID POLICE HAD TREATED HIM WELL. THEY HAD

 

SIPDIS

TAKEN HIS FINGERPRINTS AND INFORMED HIM OF FIVE POSSIBLE

CHARGES THAT MIGHT BE BROUGHT AGAINST HIM. TSVANGIRAI

EXPECTED THE POLICE WOULD SOON PRESENT ITS EVIDENCE TO THE

ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S OFFICE, WHICH WOULD DECIDE WHETHER TO

PROCEED WITH PROSECUTION.

 

3. (C) POLOFF SPOKE ON OCTOBER 11 WITH GANDI MUDZINGWA,

TSVANGIRAI’S CLOSE AIDE WHO ACCOMPANIED THE MDC PRESIDENT

 

SIPDIS

TO CID HEADQUARTERS. MUDZINGWA SAID THE FIVE POTENTIAL

CHARGES MENTIONED BY POLICE RELATED TO CONDUCT INTENDED TO

BRING THE NAME OF THE PRESIDENT INTO DISREPUTE OR LIKELY TO

INCITE VIOLENCE OR HOSTILITY AGAINST THE PRESIDENT.

ACCORDING TO MUDZINGWA, THE POLICE WERE NOT SURE WHICH

CHARGES WERE MOST RELEVANT, SO THEY WERE CASTING A WIDE

NET. IN THE MEANTIME, TSVANGIRAI HAS NOT BEEN FORMALLY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05728 111814Z

CHARGED AND IS CIRCULATING FREELY. ASKED WHETHER HE

THOUGHT THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL WOULD DECIDE TO PROSECUTE,

MUDZINGWA SAID THE GOZ IS INCREASINGLY DESPERATE, AND HE

WAS RELUCTANT TO PREDICT WHAT STEPS PEOPLE IN SUCH A STATE

MIGHT TAKE. HE EXPRESSED CONFIDENCE, THOUGH, THAT MDC

LAWYERS WOULD EASILY BE ABLE TO REFUTE THE CHARGES IN

COURT.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

4. (C) ALTHOUGH TSVANGIRAI HAS BEEN ROUNDLY CRITICIZED —

AND APPROPRIATELY SO — BY OBSERVERS OF ALL POLITICAL

STRIPES FOR HIS CARELESS REMARK ON SEPTEMBER 30, HE AND

OTHER MDC OFFICIALS HAVE MADE IT CLEAR THAT THE OPPOSITION

PARTY DOES NOT ADVOCATE THE VIOLENT OVERTHROW OF PRESIDENT

MUGABE. WE THINK TSVANGIRAI WAS SURPRISED — AND CHASTENED

— BY THE REACTION TO HIS WORDS AND WILL BE MORE CAREFUL IN

THE FUTURE ABOUT WHAT HE SAYS IN PUBLIC. WE CONTINUE TO

BELIEVE THAT THE MDC REMAINS A PARTY COMMITTED TO ACHIEVING

ITS POLITICAL OBJECTIVES USING PEACEFUL MEANS.

 

5. (C) THE BIG QUESTION NOW IS HOW THE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO

PROCEED. THE GOZ MUST BE VERY CAREFUL, AS TSVANGIRAI’S

ARREST COULD TRIGGER WIDESPREAD ANGER AND PUBLIC

DEMONSTRATIONS WHICH MIGHT PROVE DIFFICULT TO CONTROL.   WE

SUSPECT THAT THE PUBLIC REACTION IN THE FRY AFTER PRESIDENT

MILOSEVIC’S RECENT ELECTORAL DEFEAT LIKELY IS A POWERFUL

IMAGE IN THE MINDS OF PRESIDENT MUGABE AND OTHER SENIOR GOZ

OFFICIALS. AS MUDZINGWA PUT IT TO US, THE GOZ MADE SO MUCH

NOISE ABOUT TSVANGIRAI’S COMMENTS THAT IT HAD AT LEAST TO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 05728 111814Z

APPEAR TO BRING HIM TO TASK. THE QUESTIONING BY POLICE,

WHICH OVER THE OCTOBER 7-8 WEEKEND HAD BEEN MANEUVERING

ITSELF INTO A LOSE-LOSE SITUATION THANKS TO ITS SPOKESMAN’S

TUB THUMPING ABOUT RUNNING IN TSVANGIRAI, COULD ALLOW THE

GOVERNMENT TO SAVE FACE WITHOUT HAVING TO COPE WITH THE

VOLATILE CONSEQUENCES OF ARRESTING HIM.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(9 VIEWS)

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