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Tsvangirai said war veterans were no match for MDC youth

Tsvangirai Reveals More

 

SIPDIS

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7. (C) At a May 28 breakfast meeting with the Ambassador and

AF/S Director DeLisi, Tsvangirai at first refused to be

pinned down about exactly when the mass action would begin,

but privately to the Ambassador he acknowledged that June 2

was a realistic start date. Tsvangirai dismissed speculation

that the MDC would make the call for action during the day

with people already in central Harare, and instead suggested

that demonstrations were planned to take place in the

outlying high-density areas. Tsvangirai expressed some

concern about violence, but believed he could keep things

under control on his side. Tsvangirai took some, but not

total, comfort from being allowed to hold recent rallies and

from Interior Minister Mohadi's statement that peaceful

demonstrations would not be prevented. He dismissed war

veterans threats to prevent marches saying the veterans were

too old and would be no match for MDC youth. Although war

veteran leaders have made recent press statements threatening

violence against MDC marchers, in a separate conversation

even Emmerson Mnangagwa, Speaker of Parliament, dismissed

these as hollow.

 

Comment:

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8. (C) It appears the MDC finds itself between a rock and a

hard place. Their membership, and most Zimbabweans, reach

new levels of frustration and desperation daily and are

demanding the MDC leadership do something. The leadership is

still unsure how the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) will

react, and seems constantly unsure if they have prepared and

lobbied enough. Some in civil society doubt that the public

is prepared to take risks to demonstrate and even the

friendly "Daily News" has raised question. The MDC

leadership appears to be purposefully suggesting various

start dates and mass action plans as a way to obfuscate an

organized GOZ response. While there are huge risks to

organizing general protests that may fizzle or turn

uncontrollably violent, if the MDC does not soon guide

people's frustration in a politically positive way,

spontaneous riots over food, fuel or cash, could erupt.

Moreover, ZANU-PF is playing this crisis as if it had all the

time in the world and believes the leadership issue an

internal ZANU-PF matter. End Comment.

SULLIVAN

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