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ZANU-PF a step ahead

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was a step ahead in the 2006 rural district council elections when it bagged 455 of the 1 328 seats uncontested.

The Movement for Democratic Change was unopposed in eight seats but the two factions of the MDC claimed that the government had slanted the nomination process to preclude more than 500 would-be candidates between the two from throwing their hats into the ring.

The MDC blamed the new nomination procedure that required candidates to pay Z$2 000 for processing and submitting their fingerprints to police headquarters in Harare for vetting.

They said many MDC candidates were unable to obtain clearance.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 06HARARE1283, UPCOMING RURAL ELECTIONS LIKELY TO DEMONSTRATE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE1283

2006-10-25 09:52

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO9448

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1283/01 2980952

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 250952Z OCT 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0733

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1344

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1196

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1348

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0099

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0609

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0974

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1402

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3780

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1171

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1823

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1565

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001283

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2016

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: UPCOMING RURAL ELECTIONS LIKELY TO DEMONSTRATE

ZANU-PF STRANGLEHOLD

 

REF: REFTEL: HARARE 1235

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher W. Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (SBU) Rural district council elections to be held on

October 28 are expected to reinforce the ruling party’s hold

over the rural areas. ZANU-PF has already secured a third of

the 1,328 council seats after several hundred would-be

opposition candidates were barred from nomination. The

anti-Senate faction of the MDC will field candidates

nationwide, while the pro-Senate faction is confined

primarily to Matabeleland; the two factions will face off in

more than 50 races in those provinces. The Zimbabwe

Electoral Support Network (ZESN), plans to field 520

observers nationwide and to conduct a parallel vote count in

a sampling of wards. End Summary.

 

—————————————

ZANU-PF A Step Ahead In Saturday’s Poll

—————————————

 

2. (U) October 28 marks election day for 1,328 rural

district council seats in all but two constituencies

nationwide ) rural council races in Chikomba and Rushinga

were held earlier this month to coincide with parliamentary

by-elections in those constituencies (retel). Also on the

same day urban council elections will take place in five

cities as well as a mayoral election in Kadoma that pits an

anti-Senate MDC candidate against the ZANU-PF incumbent, who

ZESN observers suggest is likely to eke out a victory.

 

3. (U) The preelection period has been relatively peaceful.

ZESN has confirmed one incident of political violence, while

additional cases alleged by the opposition have been

relatively few as compared to past elections. ZESN also has

reported several instances of intimidation by traditional

leaders in Manicaland and is investigating alleged cases in

other provinces. Additionally, the leader of Zimbabwe’s

traditional chiefs, Forunte Charumbira, is quoted in an

independent online newspaper as saying that opposition

supporters should be evicted by traditional authorities.

 

4. (U) At the close of the nomination courts on September

20, ZANU-PF had emerged the uncontested winner of 455 seats,

while eight opposition candidates were similarly named

victors unopposed. However, both factions of the MDC have

claimed the GOZ slanted the nomination process to preclude

more than 500 would-be candidates between the two from

throwing their hats into the ring. The opposition has

focused its blame on a new nomination procedure that requires

a candidate to secure police clearance. This process

requires that a candidate pay Z$2,000 for processing (US$8 at

the official rate) and submit their fingerprints to police

headquarters in Harare for vetting. Allegedly, many MDC

candidates were unable to obtain the requisite clearance.

 

——————————————— ———

MDC Factions Face Off, ZANU-PF Splinter Party Contends

——————————————— ———

 

5. (SBU) Candidates from the two factions of the MDC will

face off in 52 races nationwide, three-quarters of which are

in Matabeleland and Midlands, potentially splitting votes

there favor of the ruling party candidates. Pro-Senate MDC

officials have told us that they had decided not to field

candidates in many races in the other provinces for fear of

 

HARARE 00001283 002 OF 002

 

 

splitting the vote. (Note: Resource constraints and an

inability to find willing candidates were probably also

important factors.) By comparison, the anti-Senate MDC has

fielded candidates nationwide and its leader, Morgan

Tsvangirai, in the past weeks has held several well-attended

 

SIPDIS

rallies in Ndebele provinces, the de facto home of the

pro-Senate faction.

 

6. (SBU) Also fielding candidates in its first nationwide

elections, former-ruling party official Daniel Shumba’s

United People’s Party (UPP) ) which is widely seen as a

front for ZANU-PF faction leader Emmerson Mnangagwa’s

post-Mugabe succession ambitions – will contest 55 council

seats. The majority of these seats are in Masvingo, the

heartland of the Karanga sub-ethnic group of the Shona, who

are increasingly unnerved by the elevation of rival Zezuru

politicians within ZANU-PF. Additionally, seven candidates

from the marginal ZANU Ndongo party and 18 independents will

run.

 

——————————-

A Real Test For Local Observers

——————————-

 

7. (SBU) ZESN plans to accredit 520 observers across the

country, focusing on the race contested by both MDC factions

in Matabeleland where 176 observers will be deployed. Twenty

of the observers nationwide will be mobile to watch for

potential flare-ups away from polling stations. The

remaining observers will be stationed at polling stations at

a sampling of wards where ZESN will conduct a parallel vote

count. ZESN does not have the resources to mount a parallel

count in all races, but instead will attempt to target those

races it believes could serve as indicators for the rest.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

8. (C) ZANU-PF is likely to retain a large number of the

rural council seats in large part due to its manipulation of

media outlets, traditional leaders, and the campaign process.

However, the opposition may be able to capitalize on growing

discontent over the economy to score some victories ) such

as its victory in a communal area in the Chikomba rural

council elections earlier this month (reftel). Key races to

watch will be in Matabeleland, as an indicator of the

relative strengths of the two MDC factions, and in Masvingo,

where Shumba’s UPP could tap into underlying Karanga unease

over Mnangagwa’s apparent sidelining in the ZANU-PF

succession battle.

DELL

 

(4 VIEWS)

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