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Why Mugabe arrested MDC activists

The United States embassy in Harare said there were two primary motives behind government’s arrests of several Movement for Democratic Change and civic activists in December 2008, including MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s special assistant Gandi Mudzingwa.

One was that ZANU-PF had decided a political resolution with the MDC was unlikely to happen and had chosen to unleash a new wave of violence and intimidation to consolidate its position and weaken the MDC.

The other was that elements within the military, police, or CIO were trying to sabotage the possibility of a deal that could weaken their interests or expose them to reprisal.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE1100, RASH OF ABDUCTIONS TARGET HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS AND

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE1100

2008-12-09 14:54

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO1982

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1100/01 3441454

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 091454Z DEC 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3803

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2485

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2609

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1102

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1878

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2233

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2658

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5086

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1750

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001100

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/09/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: RASH OF ABDUCTIONS TARGET HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS AND

MDC

 

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) Since December 3, five individuals with ties to

human rights groups or the MDC have been abducted by armed

men wearing plain clothes and driving unmarked vehicles.

Additionally, the 14 MDC members (and a baby) seized over a

month ago are still missing, as are two MDC members abducted

at the end of November. Human rights groups and lawyers have

been unsuccessful at locating these individuals at police

stations, and speculation abounds that they may have been

seized by the CIO, military intelligence, or police

intelligence. END SUMMARY.

 

———————————

Human Rights Leaders Disappearing

———————————

 

2. (SBU) Otto Saki of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

(ZLHR) confirmed that Broderick Takawira and Pascal Gonzo,

both members of the human rights organization Zimbabwe Peace

Project (ZPP), were abducted from ZPP’s Harare offices the

morning of December 8. According to ZPP chairman Alois

Chaumba, a group of about six men driving an unmarked car

took them without disclosing their destination or whether

they were facing charges. Takawira is the ZPP coordinator

for Harare province and Gonzo is a driver.

 

3. (SBU) Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the national director

of the ZPP, Jestina Mukoko, are still unknown.   Mukoko was

abducted from her home by plain-clothes armed men driving

unmarked vehicles at five AM on December 3. Persistent

inquiries by ZLHR at area police stations yielded a letter

from chief police superintendent Nzombe stating that the

police were not in custody of Mukoko and were treating her

disappearance as a kidnapping.

 

4. (U) On the evening of December 5, Zacharia Nkomo was

seized by four plain clothes men from his home in a Masvingo

township. Nkomo is the brother of a leading human rights

lawyer, Harrison Nkomo.

 

——————————————

Seized MDC Official Raises MDC Total to 18

——————————————

 

5. (SBU) Gandhi Mudzingwa, an aide to MDC leader Morgan

Tsvangirai, was seized by a group of armed men while driving

in Harare on December 8, according to MDC spokesperson George

Sibotshiwe. The group of 14 MDC members (and a baby)

abducted in Banket in Mashonaland West in late October is

still missing. Additionally, according to MDC officials, on

November 25, the MDC’s director of security, Chris Diamini as

well as another MDC member were abducted. The whereabouts of

all the MDC members are unknown.

 

——————————-

Lots of Speculation, No Answers

——————————-

 

6. (SBU) According to ZLHR, the Central Intelligence

Organization, the Central Investigations Department of the

police, and military intelligence all conduct operations

using plain clothes officers and unmarked vehicles. It is

possible the police are unaware of the whereabouts of some or

all of these individuals in which case petitions of habeas

corpus and court orders directed at the police will have no

 

HARARE 00001100 002 OF 002

 

 

effect. (NOTE: A court order was issued to the police to

produce the Banket MDC members; there has been no compliance.

A habeas corpus petition regarding Jestina Mukoko was to be

heard by the High Court today. END NOTE.)

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) The recent surge of abductions appears to be part of

an orchestrated and politically-motivated campaign. We see

two motives for the seizures:

 

i) ZANU-PF has decided a political resolution with the MDC is

unlikely to happen and has chosen to unleash a new wave of

violence and intimidation to consolidate their position and

weaken the MDC; or

 

ii) Elements within the military, police, or CIO are trying

to sabotage the possibility of a deal that could weaken their

interests or expose them to reprisal.

 

8. (C) Whatever the motive, the GOZ–which has been arguing

to SADC that MDC has had insurgent training bases in

Botswana–may try to allege that the recently abducted

individuals are involved in the concocted Botswana

conspiracy. We have received reports that the GOZ is

alleging that the Banket MDC members were involved in

training camps in Botswana, and Jestina Mukoko was reportedly

involved in a human rights training program in Botswana

within the last couple of weeks. END COMMENT.

 

DHANANI

 

(6 VIEWS)

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