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Tsvangirai said it would be risky to make him disappear

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Tom McDonald that although a lot of people would like to see him “disappear from the face of the earth” this would be quite risky for the government.

Tsvangirai was commenting on the bombing and raids of the MDC offices in September 2000 which he said was an amateurish job aimed at tarnishing the image of the MDC as a subversive organisation.

Two people had since been arrested in connection with the bombings, Zacharia Nkomo, a serving police officer, and Solomon Chikowero an MDC security officer.

Tsvangirai said there was need to improve the security of the MDC leadership and asked the embassy to help. McDonald said the embassy would do whatever it could to help.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 00HARARE5581, MDC PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI CALLS ON AMBASSADOR

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE5581

2000-09-29 15:59

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.

 

291559Z Sep 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3192

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05581 01 OF 03 291557Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-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   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00

OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00

P-00     SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

/010W

——————8BAEC1 291557Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7240

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 005581

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/15/10

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI MDC

SUBJECT: MDC PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI CALLS ON AMBASSADOR

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MCDONALD. REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05581 01 OF 03 291557Z

(D).

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) IN A SEPTEMBER 29 MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR,

MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI CALLED THE BOMBING OF MDC

HEADQUARTERS AND SUBSEQUENT RAIDS ON ITS OFFICES

“AMATEURISH.” THE GOZ HAS NO EVIDENCE AGAINST THE MDC

LEADERSHIP BUT WOULD CONTINUE TO TRY TO PAINT THE PARTY

AS A SUBVERVISE ORGANIZATION. TSVANGIRAI AGREED THAT THE

GOZ WAS TRYING TO USE THE ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT AS A

SCAPEGOAT, BUT THE MDC WOULD TRY TO KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE

GOVERNMENT’S POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC MISMANAGEMENT. HE

LAMENTED THAT ZANU-PF MPS HAVE BEEN UNWILLING TO

COOPERATE WITH THE MDC ON ISSUES OF CRITICAL NATIONAL

IMPORTANCE. TSVANGIRAI EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT THE GOZ IS

USING WAR VETERANS AS A RESERVE ARMY, INDICATED BY THEIR

RECENT PLACEMENT UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY OF

DEFENSE. THE MDC PRESIDENT REPORTED THAT THE MDC IS

PLANNING A RALLY IN HARARE ON SEPTEMBER 30 TO CELEBRATE

THE PARTY’S ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY. THE PARTY’S EXECUTIVE

COMMITTEE WOULD MEET SUBSEQUENTLY TO DISCUSS ORGANIZING

MASS ACTION. THE AMBASSADOR URGED TSVANGIRAI TO EXERCISE

RESTRAINT AND CAUTION WHEN ORGANIZING SUCH ACTIVITIES.

END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI CALLED ON

AMBASSADOR MCDONALD ON SEPTEMBER 29. HE WAS ACCOMPANIED

BY MDC CHAIRMAN ISAAC MATONGO AND SENIOR ADVISOR GANDI

MUDZINGWA. THE AMBASSADOR WAS JOINED BY THE DCM AND

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05581 01 OF 03 291557Z

POLOFF.

 

BOMBING AND RAIDS OF MDC OFFICES

——————————–

 

3. (C) TSVANGIRAI SAID HE HAD REQUESTED THE MEETING

BECAUSE HE WANTED TO TOUCH BASE AND TO RAISE SEVERAL

SPECIFIC POINTS. FIRST, HE SAID, THE RECENT BOMBING OF

MDC HEADQUARTERS AND THE SUBSEQUENT SEARCH OF THE PARTY’S

OFFICES HAD SIMPLY BEEN A PRETEXT TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE

MDC’S RECORDS AND STRATEGIES. TSVANGIRAI REPORTED THAT

TWO PEOPLE HAD BEEN CHARGED IN THE CASE (NOTE: ON TWO

COUNTS OF TERRORISM AND SABOTAGE UNDER THE LAW AND ORDER

MAINTENANCE ACT. END NOTE) — A SERVING POLICE OFFICER

(ZACHARIA NKOMO) AND AN MDC SECURITY OFFICIAL (SOLOMON

CHIKOWERO). NKOMO, WHO ALLEGEDLY THREW THE GRENADE, HAD

PARTICIPATED IN THE MDC’S YOUTH MOVEMENT BUT HAD NEVER

DONE SECURITY WORK FOR THE PARTY, AS ALLEGED BY THE GOZ.

THE GOZ, TSVANGIRAI INSISTED, WAS TRYING TO FABRICATE A

LINKAGE BETWEEN NKOMO AND CHIKOWERO, WHOM IT HAS ACCUSED

OF GIVING THE GRENADE TO NKOMO. TSVANGIRAI SCOFFED AT

THE CHARGES AGAINST CHIKOWERO, WHO HAS BEEN RELEASED ON

BAIL, SAYING THE GOZ HAD NO EVIDENCE AGAINST HIM AND WAS

TRUMPING UP CHARGES AGAINST HIM TO JUSTIFY FURTHER ACTION

AGAINST THE OPPOSITION PARTY.

 

4. (C) WHAT STEPS WAS THE GOZ PLANNING TO TAKE NEXT

AGAINST THE MDC, THE AMBASSADOR ASKED? TSVANGIRAI

DESCRIBED THE WHOLE BOMBING INCIDENT AND SUBSEQUENT RAID

AS “AMATEURISH.” THE GOZ IS TRYING TO PAINT THE MDC AS A

SUBVERSIVE ORGANIZATION SO THAT IT CAN ARREST THE PARTY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 05581 01 OF 03 291557Z

LEADERSHIP. THEIR ATTEMPT HAS FAILED, AS THEY HAVE NO

EVIDENCE, BUT THEY WILL TRY AGAIN. ASKED BY THE

AMBASSADOR WHETHER HE FEELS INCREASINGLY THREATENED,

TSVANGIRAI REPLIED THAT SOME IN THE GOZ WOULD LOVE TO SEE

 

SIPDIS

HIM “DISAPPEAR FROM THE EARTH.” BRINGING THAT ABOUT,

HOWEVER, WOULD BE VERY RISKY FOR THE GOZ. THE MDC WANTS

TO IMPROVE THE PROTECTION OF ITS LEADERSHIP, TSVANGIRAI

NOTED, AND HE HOPED HIS SECURITY DIRECTOR COULD CONTINUE

TO SEEK ADVICE FROM THE EMBASSY’S NEW REGIONAL SECURITY

OFFICER, AS WAS DONE WITH HIS PREDECESSOR. THE

AMBASSADOR STATED THAT, WITHIN OUR LIMITATIONS, WE WOULD

BE PLEASED TO CONTINUE TO ASSIST.

 

ECONOMY

——-

 

5. (C) TSVANGIRAI SAID ZIMBABWEANS ARE GETTING

INCREASINGLY ANGRY ABOUT THE CONTINUED DETERIORATION OF

THE ECONOMY. THERE HAD BEEN SOME HOPE, HE NOTED, WHEN

THE NEW CABINET WAS APPOINTED, BUT THE ECONOMY HAS ONLY

WORSENED. ALTHOUGH HE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT FINANCE MINISTER

SIMBA MAKONI AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INDUSTRY

MINISTER NKOSANA MOYO WERE CAPABLE, THEY ARE PART OF A

CORRUPT SYSTEM AND WILL NOT BE GIVEN THE NECESSARY

AUTHORITY TO MAKE DECISIONS. THE MDC HAD PROVIDED THAT

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3194

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05581 02 OF 03 291557Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-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   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00

OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00 ACE-00

P-00     SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

/010W

——————8BAED5 291557Z /38

O 291559Z SEP 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7241

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 005581

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/15/10

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI MDC

SUBJECT: MDC PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI CALLS ON AMBASSADOR

 

ASSESSMENT TO THE IMF TEAM DURING ITS RECENT VISIT.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05581 02 OF 03 291557Z

 

ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT

———————-

 

6. (C) TSVANGIRAI RAISED THE ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT

(ZDA), NOTING THE GOZ’S ATTEMPTS TO PORTRAY IT AS A

SANCTIONS BILL WHICH UNDERMINES THE COUNTRY’S

SOVEREIGNTY. THE AMBASSADOR AGREED THAT GOZ OFFICIALS

HAVE TRIED TO USE THE ZDA AS A SCAPEGOAT FOR PROBLEMS OF

THEIR OWN MAKING. HE POINTED OUT THAT THE ZDA CONVEYS A

VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE WHICH THE GOZ SHOULD TAKE TO

HEART. ACCORDING TO TSVANGIRAI, THE MDC POSITION IS THAT

THE BILL LAYS OUT, ACCURATELY, THE UNFORTUNATE CURRENT

FACTS OF LIFE IN ZIMBABWE. THE OPPOSITION PARTY, HE

SAID, WOULD CONTINUE TO TRY TO KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE

VIOLENCE IN THE COUNTRY AND THE GOVERNMENT’S REFUSAL TO

RESTORE AND ENSURE THE RULE OF LAW.

 

PARLIAMENT

———-

 

7. (C) TSVANGIRAI NOTED THAT THE MDC MEMBERS OF

PARLIAMENT HAD BEEN “RAISING LOTS OF VOICES,” AND HE

APPEALED FOR ASSISTANCE AIMED AT STRENGTHENING PARLIAMENT

AS AN INSTITUTION. THE AMBASSADOR DESCRIBED THE MDC’S

WINNING OF 57 SEATS IN JUNE AS A VERY POSITIVE

DEVELOPMENT BUT EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT IT MAY BE

DIFFICULT FOR DEMOCRACY TO TAKE HOLD UNDER THE CURRENT

SERIOUS POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS. ZANU-PF,

TSVANGIRAI REPLIED, HAS NOT ACCEPTED THE ELECTION RESULTS

 

SIPDIS

AND THAT IS WHY THE RULING PARTY CONTINUES TO BE SO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05581 02 OF 03 291557Z

CONFRONTATIONAL. HE LAMENTED THAT ZANU-PF MPS HAVE

EVINCED NO WILLINGNESS TO ENGAGE IN BIPARTISAN

COOPERATION, EVEN ON ISSUES OF CRITICAL NATIONAL

IMPORTANCE, SUCH AS LAND, ECONOMY, AND RESTORATION OF THE

RULE OF LAW.

 

WAR VETERANS

————

 

8. (C) TSVANGIRAI CLAIMED THAT THE GOZ IS USING WAR

VETERANS AS A RESERVE ARMY BECAUSE PRESIDENT MUGABE DOES

NOT TRUST THE REGULAR ARMY TO DO HIS DIRTY WORK.

THE RECENT PLACEMENT OF THE WAR VETERANS ASSOCIATION

UNDER THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE, HE SAID, FORMALIZES THEIR

MILITARY ROLE, WHICH WORRIES THE MDC A GREAT DEAL. IN

THE MEANTIME, THE LAWLESSNESS CONTINUES THROUGHOUT THE

COUNTRY AND THE GOZ IS MAKING NO ATTEMPT TO CONTROL IT.

 

MASS ACTION

———–

 

9. (C) THE AMBASSADOR ASKED TSVANGIRAI TO COMMENT ON

REPORTS OF THE MDC’S INTENTION TO ORGANIZE SOME SORT OF

MASS ACTION. THE PARTY, TSVANGIRAI REPLIED, IS PLANNING

TO HOLD A MID-DAY RALLY IN HARARE’S RUFARO STADIUM ON

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 (NOTE: MDC CHAIRMAN ISAAC MATONGO

LATER TOLD DCM AND POLOFF THAT THE PARTY EXPECTS 50-

60,000 PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY TO ATTEND. END

NOTE.) THE PURPOSE OF THE RALLY IS TO CELEBRATE THE ONE-

YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE PARTY’S FOUNDING, TO THANK MDC

SUPPORTERS FOR THEIR COURAGE DURING THE PAST YEAR, AND TO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 05581 02 OF 03 291557Z

DISCUSS THE PARTY’S NEXT STEPS.

 

10. (C) ASKED WHETHER STAYAWAYS WOULD BE ORGANIZED AFTER

THE RALLY, TSVANGIRAI SAID THEY WERE UNAVOIDABLE BUT THAT

NOTHING HAD BEEN PLANNED. THE AMBASSADOR URGED THE MDC

TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT AND CAUTION IN PLANNING THE NEXT

STEPS. THE OPPOSITION PARTY, HE POINTED OUT, HAS BEEN

SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE IT HAS MAINTAINED PUBLIC FOCUS ON

ISSUES WHICH MATTER TO MOST ZIMBABWEANS, WITHOUT TRYING

TO INFLAME AN ALREADY EXPLOSIVE SITUATION. HE EXPRESSED

HOPE THAT THE PARTY WOULD CONTINUE TO TAKE THIS APPROACH

AND WOULD NOT GIVE THE GOVERNMENT AN EXCUSE TO CRACK

DOWN. TSVANGIRAI ACCEPTED THE POINT, BUT SAID HE WAS IN

A DELICATE POSITION — PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE

ANGRY AND ARE DEMANDING ACTION, AS THE CURRENT COURSE OF

EVENTS IN ZIMBABWE IS UNSUSTAINABLE. THE SEPTEMBER 30

RALLY, HE SAID, WOULD SET THE TONE FOR A SUBSEQUENT

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING, WHICH WOULD DECIDE ON THE

PARTY’S FUTURE ACTIONS.

 

11. (C) THE DCM ASKED FOR TSVANGIRAI’S ASSESSMENT OF

PRESIDENT MUGABE’S CURRENT THINKING ON THE 2002

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION — IS HE CONSIDERING STEPPING DOWN

OR WOULD HE SERVE OUT HIS TERM. HE HAS SEEN NO

INDICATION, TSVANGIRAI RESPONDED, THAT MUGABE WILL STEP

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3196

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05581 03 OF 03 291557Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-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   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00

OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00

P-00     SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00   NFAT-00 SAS-00

/010W

——————8BAEDD 291557Z /38

O 291559Z SEP 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7242

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 005581

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/15/10

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI MDC

SUBJECT: MDC PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI CALLS ON AMBASSADOR

 

DOWN. THE ZANU-PF EXTRAORDINARY CONGRESS LATER THIS YEAR

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05581 03 OF 03 291557Z

WOULD FOCUS PRIMARILY ON THE SUCCESSION ISSUE, AND WAS

POTENTIALLY A WATERSHED EVENT. HE THOUGHT MUGABE WOULD

SERVE OUT HIS TERM BUT WOULD AGREE THAT SOMEONE ELSE —

UNDER HIS CONTROL OR INFLUENCE — SHOULD CONTEST THE

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. THE DCM EXPRESSED SOME SKEPTICISM

ABOUT THAT SCENARIO, EMPHASIZING THAT A DECISION TO SERVE

OUT HIS TERM BUT NOT TO STAND FOR REELECTION COULD MAKE

MUGABE A LAME DUCK DURING HIS FINAL TWO YEARS IN OFFICE.

ASKED WHETHER MUGABE IS GROOMING FINANCE MINISTER MAKONI

AS HIS SUCCESSOR, TSVANGIRAI WAS DOUBTFUL, SAYING THAT

MAKONI DOES NOT HAVE A STRONG POLITICAL BASE. TSVANGIRAI

AFFIRMED THAT MUGABE’S DEPARTURE IS INEVITABLE AND THAT

HE MUST BE PERSUADED TO RETIRE. THE PROBLEM IS THAT HE

HAS NOTHING TO LOSE BY EMPLOYING CONFRONTATION AND WILL

ONLY RESPOND TO PRESSURE. THAT, TSVANGIRAI STRESSED, IS

WHY MASS ACTION IS NECESSARY.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

12. (C) TSVANGIRAI WAS SOMEWHAT CALMER THAN THE LAST

TIME WE MET WITH HIM, BUT CLEARLY VERY WORRIED ABOUT

RECENT POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS. IT WAS

OBVIOUS FROM HIS COMMENTS THAT THE MDC IS FEELING INTENSE

PRESSURE FROM ITS SUPPORTERS NATIONWIDE TO TAKE A FIRM

STAND AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT’S FAILURE TO TURN THE

ECONOMY AROUND AND TO RESTORE THE RULE OF LAW. HE IS

UNDERSTANDABLY RELUCTANT, HOWEVER, TO ENCOURAGE LARGE-

SCALE PROTESTS FOR FEAR OF UNLEASHING A GOVERNMENT

CRACKDOWN THAT COULD TURN BLOODY. AT THE SAME TIME, THE

MDC RISKS LOSING LEGITIMACY IF IT DOES NOT RESPOND TO THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05581 03 OF 03 291557Z

ANGER AND FRUSTRATION OF ITS CONSTITUENTS. TSVANGIRAI

AND THE REST OF THE MDC ARE CLEARLY BETWEEN A ROCK AND A

HARD PLACE. THE SEPTEMBER 30 RALLY, AND THE LIKELY

DEMANDS FOR ACTION BY THOSE IN ATTENDANCE, WILL BE A

SIGNIFICANT TEST OF THE MDC LEADERSHIP’S METTLE.

MEANWHILE, WE HAVE ADVISED EMBASSY STAFF AND THE AMERICAN

COMMUNITY TO AVOID THE AREA NEAR THE STADIUM ON SEPTEMBER

30.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(30 VIEWS)

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