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Vote for Mugabe or else!

This seemed to be the message as the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front launched its campaign for the presidential elections run-off which it said President Robert Mugabe had to win.

The campaign, marred by violence, was being spearheaded by the military and war veterans who reportedly told the people that they should vote for ZANU-PF because the whites were coming back to take their farms and war veterans were going back to war.

The Movement for Democratic Change as well as the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights and the Counselling Services Unit both of which received funding from the United States government documented the cases of violence.

ZADHR said the most common injury treated was extensive soft tissue injury of the buttocks resulting from prolonged beatings with a hard blunt object.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE331, SITUATION REPORT: POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE CONTINUES

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE331

2008-04-16 11:43

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO9588

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0331/01 1071143

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 161143Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2783

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1924

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1926

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2049

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0612

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1326

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1683

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2105

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4536

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1181

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//

RUZEHAA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 000331

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND E. LOKEN

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/16/2018

TAGS: ASEC PHUM PGOV KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: SITUATION REPORT: POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE CONTINUES

 

REF: A. HARARE 00327

B. HARARE 00317

C. HARARE 00314

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR JAMES D. MCGEE FOR REASONS 1.4 (B & D)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (U) The MDC-Tsvangirai party and human rights groups have

reported a massive surge in political violence orchestrated

by senior regime insiders. Soldiers, police, war veterans,

and youth militia have been deployed to rural areas to thrash

the electorate into submission and to intimidate the

opposition ahead of an anticipated presidential runoff

election. Hit squads have been targeting opposition members

and supporters for abductions, assaults, and destruction of

property while forcing the public to attend rallies where

they hear threats of more violence and a return to war if

they do not support ZANU-PF.

 

2. (U) Since March 29, over 150 victims of post-election

violence have required medical treatment — including 30

victims with serious injuries that required hospitalization.

There has been one confirmed death of an MDC-Tsvangirai party

organizer. More than 40 new cases of violence have been

recorded since April 10.

 

3. (SBU) The pattern of attacks and escalating rhetoric is

similar to campaigns unleashed in 2000 and 2002; however, we

do not believe the violence will escalate to the level of, or

take on characteristics of the post-election tribal violence

witnessed recently in Kenya. The violence in Zimbabwe is

systematic and orchestrated by the ruling party. It is

primarily targeted against regime opponents and is not racial

in nature. Further, it is unlikely that the MDC and other

regime opponents will fight back. We do note that the

situation will likely continue to worsen until ZANU-PF is

confirmed in power, most likely through another election it

will not permit itself to lose. END SUMMARY.

 

——————–

Violence on the Rise

——————–

 

4. (U) The MDC-Tsvangirai party and human rights groups have

reported a massive surge in political violence targeting

opposition candidates, polling agents, organizers, and

supporters, as well as the general public since the March 29

elections. There have been widespread reports that senior

regime insiders, including senior military and police

officials, are directing an orchestrated campaign of violence

intended to intimidate the electorate to support ZANU-PF in a

runoff election and to punish opposition members and

supporters. In addition to reports from the opposition

parties and civil society groups, we have directly received

in the Embassy numerous anecdotal accounts of ZANU-PF attacks

and threats.

 

5. (U) At an April 14 press conference, the MDC-Tsvangirai

party distributed a “Post Election Violence Report” which

provided details of attacks against hundreds of MDC

supporters since the March 29 elections, including the

following:

 

— April 6, ZANU-PF youth in Seke attacked MDC local

councilor candidate Shepherd Zhanje and broke his right arm;

— April 7, ZANU-PF supporters in Uzumba burned down the home

of MDC supporter Tendai Muzadai;

— April 8, armed soldiers in Gutu South constituency

threatened a group at gun point that if they voted for MDC

 

HARARE 00000331 002 OF 004

 

 

President Morgan Tsvangirai in the runoff they would be shot;

— April 8, armed soldiers in Kotwa severely assaulted MDC

supporters Paul Mhanza and Filter Chikura who sustained

serious internal injuries and a damaged ear drum,

respectively;

— April 9, ZANU-PF youth abducted an MDC local councilor

candidate in Mutoko North constituency and took him to a

nearby business center where he was heavily assaulted in

front of by-standers;

— April 10, ZANU-PF supporters in Muzarabani South

constituency burned down 10 homes belonging to MDC supporters;

— April 12, ZANU-PF supporters in Mutoko South constituency

assaulted MDC party polling agents Patience Mapuranga and

Mahwisai Chizanga;

— April 12, ZANU-PF supporters in Mudzi West looted the shop

of accused MDC supporter Paradzai Chimutsa;

— April 13, ZANU-PF youth in Mudzi East attacked at least 20

MDC supporters.

 

6. (C) MDC-Tsvangirai Secretary for Welfare Kerry Kay also

told us that Tapiwa Mbwanda, the party organizing secretary

for Hurungwe East district in Mashonaland East province, was

beaten to death by well-known ZANU-PF supporters in the area

(ZANU-PF Youth Chairman Bilo Kaunda, war veteran Jauret

Kazangarare, and Bilo Kaunda’s brother Trust Kaunda).

Mbwanda’s brother was also beaten unconscious during the

attack and remains hospitalized. We have received additional

unconfirmed reports of other deaths as well.

 

7. (U) Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights

(ZADHR) reported on April 15 that its members had treated 157

cases of injury resulting from organized violence and torture

since March 29. Thirty of these victims (15 from the Mudzi

district in Mashonaland East province) remained hospitalized

for serious injuries. The most common injury treated was

extensive soft tissue injury of the buttocks resulting from

prolonged beatings with a hard blunt object. Nine patients

sustained fractures. One victim had multiple abrasions on

his back and multiple fractures of his arms and hands typical

of defensive injuries.

 

8. (C) Dr. Francis Lovemore, director of the Counseling

Services Unit (CSU) and ZADHR board member, told us that

violence was escalating as more than 40 new cases had been

recorded in her hospital unit since April 10. According to

CSU records, the majority of attacks have been in rural areas

of Mashonaland East, Masvingo, and Manicaland provinces —

areas that traditionally have been ZANU-PF strongholds, but

where the opposition won 38 House of Assembly seats compared

with holding only 3 seats prior.

 

9. (C) Dr. Lovemore told us that most victims were threatened

with further retribution if they reported their injuries or

loss of property to authorities. She also expressed concern

about reports that the perpetrators had prevented some

victims from leaving the area to seek medical treatment.

 

10. (C) In addition to physical attacks, many victims have

had their homes and livestock burned and destroyed and with

their families forced to flee. Yeukai Kaseke, the MDC

director for elections in the Mutoko South constituency in

Mashonaland East province, told us that war veterans and

youth militia were holding rallies on a daily basis in the

area. During the rallies, opposition supporters were

identified and beaten in public to demonstrate the

consequences of supporting the MDC. War veterans and ZANU-PF

youth also have been conducting night-time raids on

homesteads suspected of harboring MDC members and supporters.

Many homes have been burned down and livestock killed;

hundreds of people have fled the area fearing further

violence. Kaseke added that anyone who went to police was

told to “solve their own problems” and that a senior police

 

HARARE 00000331 003 OF 004

 

 

officer in the area ordered all his officers not to interfere

when MDC supporters were attacked.

 

——————————————— —

Reorientation Campaign: Vote for Mugabe or Else

——————————————— —

 

11. (SBU) The MDC-Tsvangirai party and human rights groups

have asserted that senior regime insiders — including high

ranking politicians and military officers — are overseeing

the command and control of the violence. We have received

credible reports, for example, that Health Minister David

Parirenyatwa was directly involved in orchestrating acts of

violence and making death threats around his rural Murewa

constituency in Mashonaland East province. There also have

been rumors that Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa is doing

the same in his rural constituency in Manicaland province

where he suffered an embarrassing loss to the MDC-Tsvangirai

candidate by some 3,000 votes.

 

12. (C) Corroborating reports of involvement of senior

military officers, two Embassy employees on a crop assessment

trip April 7 – 12 in Mashonaland East and West provinces

(including the districts of Kotwa, Mudzi and Hurungwe where

numerous attacks have been reported) spoke with an army

lieutenant colonel and self-identified members of teams

involved in the attacks in the area. (NOTE: The employees

were traveling with several civil servants from the Ministry

of Agriculture and the group assumed they were civil servants

as well. END NOTE.) The lieutenant colonel, who is the area

manager for Operation Maguta, a program spearheaded by the

Zimbabwe Defense Forces to supply and control agricultural

inputs and equipment throughout the country, told EmbOffs

that soldiers, war veterans, and other ZANU-PF supporters

were undergoing military training to carry out a

“reorientation campaign” to ensure Mugabe won the runoff

election and to punish and intimidate opposition supporters.

He said that some 400 vehicles had been deployed throughout

the country to support the operation.

 

13. (C) Members of the teams also told our employees that

they were directed from one area to another in a coordinated

fashion. Coincidently, while our staff members were talking

with the group, several members of the teams assaulted two

youth passing by wearing MDC t-shirts. They also witnessed

members of these teams forcing the public in the Kotwa

district to attend a rally where they were addressed by war

veterans and told to support ZANU-PF because “whites were

coming back” to take their farms and they were “going back to

war.”

 

14. (SBU) Additionally, several local Ministry of Agriculture

and Grain Marketing Board (GMB) civil servants that the

employees met with on the trip reported that the political

situation in the area was tense and that stories of the

attacks were circulating in the communities and creating

fear. The employees also noted that the areas they visited

during the trip were stripped of opposition campaign

materials, but ZANU-PF posters were still plentiful.

According to the lieutenant colonel, the reorientation

program was supposed to continue until the runoff election.

 

——–

COMMENT

——–

 

15. (SBU) Preceding the March 29 election, Mugabe and ZANU-PF

opened up a degree of democratic space not seen in previous

elections and allowed rallies and other forms of campaigning

in areas that had previously been &no-go8 areas for the

opposition. Having been surprised by the strength of the

opposition which by all accounts won the election, the regime

 

HARARE 00000331 004 OF 004

 

 

is in full survival mode. Part of this is systematic

violence and intimidation against the opposition, primarily,

but not exclusively, in rural areas, to ensure that in a

runoff election ZANU-PF wins by a comfortable margin.

 

16. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: It bears emphasis that, unlike in

Kenya, this violence is not spontaneous and is not between

rival ethnic groups. It is systematic, orchestrated, and

controlled from the highest levels of the ruling

party/government and is directed primarily against regime

opponents. Further, the opposition has demonstrated in

recent years that it is unwilling and unable to confront the

power of the government. MDC officials, including party

president Morgan Tsvangirai, have confirmed to us that the

MDC will continue to pursue a political and non-violent

strategy. As such, we do not expect the situation to spin

out of control, but to continue steadily until ZANU-PF and

Mugabe have been confirmed in power through another election

that they will not permit themselves to lose. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

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