The United States was accused of coordinating a terror campaign to fast-track Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai into power.
The accusation was made by the Bulawayo daily, Chronicle, which said the MDC was planning to bomb strategic buildings in Harare and Bulawayo to invoke civil unrest and pave the way for military intervention by Britain and the United States.
The paper said the terrorist attack was being co-ordinated by a ‘political affairs’ officer at the U. S. Embassy.
A US embassy official said the paper specialised in bizarre unsigned articles that relied exclusively on anonymous sources.
The official said the current editor, Stephen Ndlovu, was a protégé of Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.
Viewing cable 02HARARE965, MEDIA REPORT — U.S. ACCUSED OF COORDINATING
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 000965
AF/PD FOR COX AND ROBERTSON, AF/S FOR KRAFT AND
SCHALACHTER. AF/RA FOR SWANN, INR/R/MR, NSC FOR JENDAYI
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT — U.S. ACCUSED OF COORDINATING
TERROR CAMPAIGN IN ZIMBABWE
¶1. The lead story in the April 22 edition of the
government-controlled “Chronicle” accuses the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of
“planning a massive terrorist attack” in Harare and
Bulawayo in a move “to invoke civil unrest and pave way
for military intervention by Britain and the United
States.” The “exclusive” article, based on information
from nameless sources and authored by an anonymous
“Chronicle Reporter,” alleges that the planned
“terrorist attack” is being “co-ordinated by a
‘political affairs’ officer at the U.S. Embassy.”
Under headline “Extreme terror!: Buildings to be
bombed; March to State House on cards,” the paper
¶2. “The opposition MDC, is planning a massive
terrorist attack that will bring down some tall
buildings in Harare and Bulawayo in a series of
bombings, as the increasingly desperate opposition
party steps up its campaign to fast-track Mr. Morgan
Tsvangirai into power by creating a ‘crisis,’ Chronicle
has learnt. Sources within MDC’s national executive
said plans are at an advanced stage to start bombing
strategic buildings in the major cities to invoke civil
unrest and pave way for military intervention by
Britain and the U.S. Targeted are five buildings in
Harare and three in Bulawayo and MDC teams were putting
‘final touches’ to the terrorist attack being co-
ordinated by a ‘political affairs’ officer at the U. S.
Embassy. Sources privy to the details of the plan
dubbed ‘massive economic sabotage’ said the scheme had
been unanimously voted for by MDC’s national executive
at their meeting last week.”
¶3. Comment: The Bulawayo-based, government-owned
“Chronicle” frequently publishes outlandish “news”
stories that have no basis in fact. The paper
specializes in bizarre unsigned articles that rely
exclusively on anonymous sources. Current editor
Stephen Ndlovu is the third person to hold that
position in the last year, and is a protg of
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo. The “Chronicle’s”
circulation has dropped by nearly 50 percent in the 18
months, with current circulation at about 25,000 copies
per day. End comment.