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Tsvangirai said Mugabe has pushed the people to the limit

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai said his party was planning a mass stay-away which would only end when President Robert Mugabe had been forced out of office because he had pushed the people to the limit.

That was more than 10 years ago but the MDC was enjoying wide support following its near victory in the 2000 parliamentary elections.

Tsvangirai said the party was under pressure from the membership for direct action because of the government’s refusal to budge from its pre-election positions. He said Mugabe had pushed the people to the point where mass action was not negotiable.

He said the action would be massive and countrywide: the security forces simply did not have the resources to contain it. He added that once the action had begun, it was unlikely that he would be able to control it.

There was no time scale for the mass action but Tsvangirai’s deputy Gibson Sibanda said it would go on until Mugabe was forced out of office.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 00HARARE5460, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI INFORMS BRITISH HIGH

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE5460

2000-09-27 14:59

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.

 

271459Z Sep 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2526

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05460 01 OF 02 271458Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 INL-00   DINT-00

DODE-00 DOEE-00 WHA-00   SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01   L-00

VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00

PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   TRSE-00

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

SAS-00     /008W

——————8A8DF2 271458Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7210

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 005460

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X5,6

TAGS: PGOV ELAB PINS ZI

SUBJECT: MORGAN TSVANGIRAI INFORMS BRITISH HIGH

COMMISSION OF MASS ACTION PLANS

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY DCM EARL M. IRVING FOR REASONS 1.5 B/D.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05460 01 OF 02 271458Z

1. (C) ON SEPTEMBER 27 THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION HERE

SHARED WITH US THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE, CLASSIFIED

“CONFIDENTIAL” AND SENT SEPTEMBER 22, CONCERNING MDC-

SPONSORED MASS ACTION IN ZIMBABWE. PLEASE PROTECT THE

SOURCE. MARK LYALL GRANT, REFERRED TO IN PARA. 2, IS A

SENIOR OFFICER IN THE FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE’S

AFRICA DEPARTMENT.

 

BEGIN TEXT:

 

SUMMARY

 

MDC OPPOSITION PARTY PREPARING FOR MASS ACTION NEXT

MONTH. PROBABLY LONG-RUNNING GENERAL STRIKE.

MEMBERSHIP BEING PREPARED THROUGH MPS’ OUTREACH

MEETINGS. FORMAL NOTICE WILL BE DELIVERED AT MASS RALLY

ON SEPTEMBER 30. PARTY LEADERS ANTICIPATE VIOLENT

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE.

 

DETAIL

 

WITH LYALL GRANT (VISITING) I HAD SEPARATE MEETINGS ON

SEPTEMBER 20 AND 21 WITH MDC LEADER MORGAN TSVANGIRAI

AND HIS DEPUTY, GIBSON SIBANDA, WHO IS ALSO PARTY LEADER

IN PARLIAMENT. OUR CALLS FOLLOWED CLOSELY ON THE POLICE

RAIDS ON THE PARTY OFFICES AND THE STATEMENT BY HOME

AFFAIRS MINISTER NKOMO THAT WEAPONS AND INCRIMINATING

PAPERS HAD BEEN FOUND.

 

WE ASKED THEM TO EXPAND ON TSVANGIRAI’S PASSING

REFERENCES TO MASS ACTION IN HIS REMARKS TO THE PRESS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05460 01 OF 02 271458Z

AFTER NKOMO’S STATEMENT. TSVANGIRAI SAID THE PRESSURE

FROM THE MEMBERSHIP AND THE PUBLIC AT LARGE FOR DIRECT

ACTION WAS HUGE. THE GOVERNMENT’S REFUSAL TO BUDGE FROM

PRE-ELECTION POSITIONS HAD CREATED ANGER AND

FRUSTRATION. MUGABE HAD PUSHED THE PEOPLE TO THE POINT

WHERE MASS ACTION WAS “NOT NEGOTIABLE”.

 

PLANNING WAS WELL ADVANCED. THE CORE FEATURE WOULD BE A

SNAP GENERAL STRIKE. MDC LEADERS ARE STILL UNDECIDED ON

ITS DURATION, BUT ONE OPTION DESCRIBED BY SIBANDA WAS TO

KEEP IT GOING UNTIL MUGABE IS FORCED OUT OF OFFICE. THE

PLAN IS FOR ALL MDC MEMBERS AND LIKE-MINDED PARTIES TO

WORK AS NORMAL UNTIL LUNCHTIME ON A SPECIFIED DAY,

RETURN TO THEIR HOMES AND NOT COME BACK.

 

NEITHER TSVANGIRAI NOR SIBANDA MENTIONED A DATE, BUT THE

MESSAGE WILL BE SPELLED OUT IN PLAIN TERMS AT CROSS-

COUNTRY RALLIES TO BE HELD ON SEPTEMBER 30 TO MARK THE

MDC’S FIRST ANNIVERSARY. THE STRIKE WILL BEGIN WITHIN

ONE OR TWO WEEKS OF THAT EVENT. TSVANGIRAI HAS

CANCELLED A VISIT TO BRUSSELS PLANNED FOR THE FIRST WEEK

OF OCTOBER.

 

MDC MPS AND OFFICIALS HAVE ALREADY BEEN ALERTING

CONSTITUENTS TO THE PLANS FOR MASS ACTION. WITH

PARLIAMENT IN RECESS SINCE YESTERDAY, THEY WILL BE

STEPPING UP THEIR ACTIVITIES NATIONWIDE IN PREPARATION

FOR SEPTEMBER 30.

 

IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER THE STRIKE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED

BY PLANNED RALLIES AND DEMONSTRATIONS, BUT SPONTANEOUS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 05460 01 OF 02 271458Z

ACTION, PARTICULARLY IN THE HIGH-DENSITY AREAS IS NOT

UNLIKELY. TSVANGIRAI AND SIBANDA BELIEVE THAT THE

GOVERNMENT WILL CRACK DOWN ON THE MOVEMENT WITH ALL THE

MEANS AT THEIR DISPOSAL – VIOLENCE, TEARGAS, ARRESTS,

THE WHOLE PANOPLY OF THE POLICE STATE. TSVANGIRAI IS

CONFIDENT THAT THIS WILL NOT BREAK THE MOMENTUM. HE

SAID THE ACTION WOULD BE MASSIVE AND COUNTRYWIDE: THE

SECURITY FORCES SIMPLY DID NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES TO

CONTAIN IT. HE ADDED THAT ONCE THE ACTION HAD BEGUN, IT

WAS UNLIKELY THAT HE WOULD BE ABLE TO CONTROL IT.

 

COMMENT

 

THE MASS ACTION AS DESCRIBED BY THE TWO MDC LEADERS HAS

BEEN IN GESTATION FOR SOME TIME. THEIR ACCOUNT CONFIRMS

THE REPORTS WE HAVE BEEN GETTING OF MDC PLANNING

SESSIONS AND WELL-ATTENDED PREPARATORY MEETINGS IN THE

HARARE CONSTITUENCIES. THE STRATEGY IS A RESPONSE TO

THE INCREASING ANGER OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO THE SEVERE

HARDSHIP OF LIFE IN ZIMBABWE AND THEIR FRUSTRATION AT

WHAT THEY SEE AS THE GOVERNMENT’S REFUSAL TO BUDGE FROM

THE POLICIES AND ATTITUDES WHICH BROUGHT THIS ABOUT.

 

TSVANGIRAI CAN EXPECT MASSIVE SUBSTANTIAL IN THE CITIES

 

SIPDIS

AND MATABELELAND, BUT A KEY FACTOR WILL BE THE RESPONSE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2527

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05460 02 OF 02 271458Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 DINT-00 DODE-00

DOEE-00 WHA-00   SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FBIE-00

VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00

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

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

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

/008W

——————8A8DFD 271459Z /38

O 271459Z SEP 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7211

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 005460

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X5,6

TAGS: PGOV ELAB PINS ZI

SUBJECT: MORGAN TSVANGIRAI INFORMS BRITISH HIGH

COMMISSION OF MASS ACTION PLANS

 

IN THE RURAL AREAS. HE AND SIBANDA DESCRIBED MASS

TURNOUTS AT RECENT MDC RALLIES IN COMMUNITIES WHICH WERE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05460 02 OF 02 271458Z

SERIOUSLY HIT BY PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE AND RETURNED

ZANU-PF MS. TSVANGIRAI HAS NO DOUBT THAT THE CALL FOR

ACTION WILL SWEEP THE COUNTRY.

 

IT IS HIGH RISK. MUGABE’S INSTINCT WILL BE TO RESPOND

WITH THE USUAL BATTERIES OF RIOT POLICE SUPPORTED BY THE

MILITARY. HE WILL WISH TO PUT DOWN THE ACTION IN ITS

EARLY STAGES AND PROBABLY USE IT AS A PRETEXT TO SEIZE

THE MDC LEADERSHIP. AN IMPORTANT QUESTION FOR HIM IS

WHETHER SUCH A TACTIC WILL ALSO REVERSE THE GROUNDSWELL

AGAINST HIM WITHIN ZANU-PF OR WHETHER POTENTIAL

DISSIDENTS AND CHALLENGERS WILL RALLY BEHIND HIM IN THE

FACE OF A COMMON THREAT.

 

WE NEED TO CONSIDER HOW TO RESPOND TO A POSSIBLY

EXTENDED PERIOD OF CIVIL STRIFE AND ASSOCIATED

REPRESSION. IN THE MEANTIME WE ARE REDRAFTING OUR

TRAVEL ADVICE TO ALERT VISITORS TO POSSIBLE TROUBLE

ASSOCIATED WITH THE SEPTEMBER 30 RALLIES.

 

END TEXT.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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