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Tsvangirai was charged with possessing walkie-talkie

In what his lawyer described as pure harassment Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was charged with possessing an unlicenced radio- one of the walkie-talkies used by his bodyguards.

This was a contravention of the Posts and Telecommunications Act and according to his lawyer Innocent Chagonda it carried a fine of up to Z$200 000 or US$600 or two years in jail.

Tsvangirai said the radio was not his personal property but belonged to the party.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE3748, MDC LEADER CHARGED WITH POSSESSING UNLICENSED

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE3748

2001-12-17 20:57

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.

 

172057Z Dec 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO7427

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03748 172155Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 CIAE-00 INL-00   USNW-00

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

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

VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 CAEX-01

PA-00   PC-01   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00

STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-00   DRL-02

G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /011W

——————4CCB70 172156Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0558

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

AMEMBASSY OSLO

AMEMBASSY CANBERRA

AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM

AMEMBASSY KINGSTON

AMEMBASSY ABUJA

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 003748

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 12/17/11

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MDC LEADER CHARGED WITH POSSESSING UNLICENSED

RADIO

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF MATT HARRINGTON.

REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) ON DECEMBER 15, POLICE CHARGED OPPOSITION MOVEMENT

FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) LEADER MORGAN TSVANGIRAI UNDER

THE POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT WITH POSSESSING AN

UNLICENSED RADIO. THE RADIO WAS A WALKIE-TALKIE USED BY

ONE OF HIS BODYGUARDS. AFTER INSTRUCTING TSVANGIRAI TO

WRITE A STATEMENT ACKNOWLEDGING THE PRESENCE OF THE RADIO

IN HIS HOME AND THAT NO LICENSE HAD BEEN OBTAINED FOR IT,

POLICE SAID HE COULD EXPECT A SUMMONS LATER IN THE WEEK TO

APPEAR IN COURT. TSVANGIRAI TOLD JOURNALISTS THAT THE

RADIO BELONGED TO THE MDC AS A PARTY, NOT TO HIM

PERSONALLY. INNOCENT CHAGONDA, TSVANGIRAI’S ATTORNEY, TOLD

US THAT THE POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT PROVIDES FOR

A MAXIMUM PENALTY UPON CONVICTION ON THIS CHARGE OF A FINE

OF UP TO 200,000 ZIMBABWEAN DOLLARS (APPROXIMATELY U.S.

$600) AND/OR UP TO TWO YEARS IMPRISONMENT. HE TOLD US IT

IS NOT CLEAR THAT THE ACT APPLIES IN THIS CASE, AS THE MDC

HAD PURCHASED THE RADIO BEFORE THE LAW CAME INTO EFFECT

LAST YEAR. CHAGONDA DISMISSED THE CHARGE AS PURE

HARASSMENT, AND SAID HE HAD NO DOUBT THAT THE GOZ “WILL

COME UP WITH SOMETHING ELSE AGAINST TSVANGIRAI BY JANUARY.”

 

2. (C) THE FILING OF CHARGES FOLLOWED SEVERAL DAYS OF

POLICE HARASSMENT OF TSVANGIRAI. AT 12:30 A.M. ON DECEMBER

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03748 172155Z

13, POLICE, ARMED WITH A SEARCH WARRANT, SEARCHED THE MDC

LEADER’S HOUSE FOR SOMEONE THEY SAID WAS WANTED IN

CONNECTION WITH THE RECENT MURDER OF BULAWAYO WAR VETERAN

LEADER CAIN NKALA. POLICE DID NOT FIND THE ALLEGED

FUGITIVE BUT MUST HAVE SEEN THE BODYGUARD’S WALKIE-TALKIE

SITTING IN ITS CHARGER, PROVIDING THE PERFECT EXCUSE FOR A

RETURN VISIT. AT 5:30 A.M. ON DECEMBER 14, POLICE RETURNED

TO TSVANGIRAI’S HOUSE, THIS TIME TAKING HIM TO HARARE’S

CENTRAL POLICE STATION. THE MDC LEADER WAS ONLY ASKED TO

PRODUCE A LICENSE FOR THE RADIO, BUT WAS RELEASED AT THAT

POINT WITHOUT CHARGE AFTER THREE HOURS.

 

3. (C) GANDI MUDZINGWA, TSVANGIRAI’S SPECIAL ASSISTANT,

SURMISED THAT THE GOZ IS TRYING TO MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR

TSVANGIRAI TO CAMPAIGN AROUND THE COUNTRY BY KEEPING HIM

 

SIPDIS

TIED DOWN IN HARARE ON CONTRIVED LEGAL MATTERS.   CLIVE

PUZEY, WHO SERVES AS TSVANGIRAI’S INFORMAL INTELLIGENCE

CHIEF, EXPRESSED MORE SERIOUS CONCERN ABOUT THE LENGTHS TO

WHICH AN INCREASINGLY DESPERATE GOVERNMENT MIGHT GO. PUZEY

TOLD US HE HAS ARRANGED TO SPIRIT AWAY THE MDC LEADERSHIP

TO SAFEHOUSES AROUND THE COUNTRY SHOULD THE SECURITY

SITUATION DETERIORATE SIGNIFICANTLY. HE ALSO BELIEVES THE

PARTY OUGHT TO EXPLORE A LAST RESORT OPTION OF ESTABLISHING

A GOVERNMENT-IN-EXILE IN EITHER BOTSWANA OR SOUTH AFRICA

AND IS SEEKING TSVANGIRAI’S GO-AHEAD TO FEEL OUT THOSE TWO

GOVERNMENTS ON THIS POSSIBILITY. PUZEY AND OTHERS AROUND

TSVANGIRAI ARE MORE AND MORE CONCERNED THAT AN INCREASINGLY

 

SIPDIS

DESPERATE MUGABE MIGHT BE DRIVEN TO TAKE HIM OUT OR THAT,

AT THE VERY LEAST, BELLICOSE PRESIDENTIAL RHETORIC MIGHT

ENCOURAGE ZANU-PF SYMPATHIZERS TO MAKE SUCH AN ATTEMPT.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03748 172155Z

COMMENT

 

4. (C) IT IS LIKELY NO CONCIDENCE THAT THE DETENTION OF

TSVANGIRAI OCCURRED AT THE SAME TIME AS THE ZANU-PF   .

 

SIPDIS

CONGRESS IN VICTORIA FALLS, WHERE PRESIDENT MUGABE

OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED HIS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN BY DECLARING

WAR ON THE MDC (SEPTEL). THE TREATMENT OF TSVANGIRAI

CONSTITUTES SIMPLE HARASSMENT OF A LEGITIMATE OPPOSITION

LEADER — THE RADIO POSSESSION CHARGE PROVIDED MERELY A

HANDY PRETEXT — A

ND WAS THE LATEST EPISODE IN THE GOZ’S

ONGOING EFFORT TO KEEP THE MDC LEADERSHIP OFF-BALANCE AND

FORCE IT TO SPEND SCARCE RESOURCES ON LEGAL FEES.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

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(39 VIEWS)

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