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ZANU-PF wins Zengeza

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front won the crucial Zengeza seat but its victory was marred by reports of violence in which ZANU-PF Minister Elliot Manyika was accused of shooting a Movement for Democratic Change youth.

MDC supporters had protested against the imposition of candidate James Makore who lost by just over 1 000 votes.

Manyika was reportedly at his farm in Bindura at the time of the shooting.

Although several people fingered Manyika as the shooter, MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube told a local British diplomat that there were legitimate questions about the accuracy of the eyewitness reports.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 04HARARE553, VIOLENT RULING PARTY VICTORY SETS TONE FOR

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE553

2004-03-30 15:04

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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000553

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER, D. TEITELBAUM

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

DS/OP/AF

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2014

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PINR ASEC ZI MDC ZANU PF

SUBJECT: VIOLENT RULING PARTY VICTORY SETS TONE FOR

UPCOMING ELECTIONS

 

REF: HARARE 540 AND PREVIOUS

 

Classified By: Political Officer Audu Besmer for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: In a demoralizing blow to the opposition,

ZANU-PF took an MDC stronghold in the March 27 – 28

by-election in the urban high-density constituency of

Zengeza. The government press reported that Minister Elliott

Manyika, rumored to be involved in the shooting of an MDC

youth (Ref), was in Bindura during the incident. The

successful use of violence and manipulation in the Zengeza

election will embolden the ruling party to use similar

strategies in upcoming elections. Can the MDC compete? END

SUMMARY.

 

ZANU-PF Wins Zengeza

——————–

 

2. (U) The results of the March 27 – 28 by-election in

Zengeza (a high-density suburb of Harare) were announced late

on March 29. ZANU-PF candidate Christopher Chigumba polled

8,442 votes to defeat the MDC candidate James Makore, who

polled 6,706 votes. Two other candidates from minor

political parties each polled less than 100 votes.

 

3. (C) The government will hold another by-election in the

rural Matabeleland North district of Lupane on May 15 – 16 to

fill a seat vacated by the February 3 death of MDC MP David

Mpala. Emboffs will observe the Lupane by-election with

other diplomats, as they did in Zengeza (Ref).

 

Manyika Establishes Alibi

————————-

 

4. (U) The Government-controlled Herald reported on March 30

that MDC MP Ben Tumbare-Mutasa was arrested in Zengeza on

March 29 for allegedly firing shots at ZANU-PF supporters.

MDC officials said Mutasa fired warning shots into the air in

self-defense. No one was injured in the March 29 incident.

 

5. (U) The article devoted considerable space to defending

ZANU-PF Political Commissar and Minister Without Portfolio

Elliott Manyika against rumors “circulating around the world

and in the country” that he or his bodyguard was involved in

the March 28 shooting death of an MDC youth (Ref). According

to the article Manyika was at his Bindura (Mashonaland

Central) farm at the time — the Electoral Supervisory

Commission Chairman, police officers in Zengeza, officers

manning a roadblock in Mazowe (between Harare and Bindura),

and employees of a Mazowe hotel and Manyika’s farm all

confirmed this alibi. The article went on to say that those

involved in political skirmishes usually did not know each

other and so clashes could happen within parties, not just

between them.

 

6. (C) Harare-based Swedish, Australian and British diplomats

who arrived on the scene of the shooting about two hours

after the event occurred reported that many on the scene

fingered Manyika as the shooter. MDC Secretary-General

Welshman Ncube told a local British diplomat that there were

legitimate questions about the accuracy of the eyewitness

reports, however, and the party was not prepared to accuse

Manyika yet. Party statements denouncing the election and

associated violence have not mentioned Manyika.

 

The Gathering Gloom

——————-

 

7. (C) The Director of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network

(ZESN) Dr. Reginald Matchaba-Hove told emboff on March 29

that the Zengeza election was the most outrageous election

fraud ever perpetrated on the people of Zimbabwe.

 

8. (U) According to the March 30 Herald, in response to the

announced results Chigumba in a speech said Zimbabweans even

in urban areas now know that the British-sponsored opposition

MDC has nothing to offer them. Harare Province Governor

Witness Mangwende said, “this is the beginning of the end for

the MDC”. The article reported that in response to these

speeches some ZANU-PF supporters shouted that MDC supporters

should be deported from Zimbabwe.

 

9. (U) In the March 30 Herald, columnist Donald Charumbira

accused the MDC of being terrorists and asserted that “the

best MDC is a dead MDC”, and “the MDC has no basis to remain

in existence.” The column highlighted the notion that the

interests of ZANU-PF were to empower the masses and build the

nation whereas the inclination of the MDC was to engineer

chaos and usurp power; therefore there was no basis for talks

between the two. Charumbira recommended that the MDC

dissolve itself or join ZANU-PF.

Comment:

——–

10. (C) ZANU-PF’s success in violently taking a solid MDC

urban stronghold may embolden ZANU-PF to use the Zengeza

blueprint of intimidation and manipulation in upcoming

elections. Indeed, Zengeza was consistent with comprehensive

bullying tactics employed by the ruling party in elections

throughout its history. The brazenness of its abuses on this

occasion and the party’s apparently heightened disdain of

diplomatic observers underscores that domestic and

international perceptions of election legitimacy do not

appear to be a serious concern for ZANU-PF. Ruling party

officials’ unapologetic statements and explicit unwillingness

to compromise on electoral issues even superficially, and the

brazenness of abuses, suggest that the ruling party will not

be satisfied to emasculate the MDC in next March’s

parliamentary elections. Instead it may seek to obliterate

the opposition entirely.

 

11. (C) (continued) For the MDC, the demoralizing loss will

likely lead to further despair and frustration within the

already dispirited party. Growing rage and hopelessness born

of the Zengeza experience and rigid structural electoral

imbalances could fuel so-called “adventurist” elements that

MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and other officials have

cautioned about in recent weeks. MDC leaders have confided

to emboffs that they already spend significant time and

energy trying to quell such inclinations. Absent an

unexpected change in the ruling party calculus, the stage

appears to be set for more violence in the run-up to May’s

Lupane by-election and next March’s national parliamentary

elections.

SULLIVAN

 

(11 VIEWS)

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