ZANUPF rampage continues


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War veterans and Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front youths were on the rampage countrywide especially in the former ZANU-PF controlled provinces beating up suspected Movement for Democratic Change supporters and forcing them to attend ZANU-PF rallies.

About 450 victims were reported to be seeking treatment or were being prevented from doing so, just three weeks after March 2008 the elections.

Some of the victims had been abducted from their homes and beaten at ZANU-PF torture camps.

Hundreds of opposition supporters had fled their homes out of fear.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE359, STATE-SPONSORED VIOLENCE CONTINUES; VICTIMS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE359

2008-04-23 07:47

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3690

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0359/01 1140747

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 230747Z APR 08 ZDS ALL POST NUM SVC REQUESTING

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2814

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1932

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1937

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2059

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0622

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1336

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1693

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2115

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4546

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1194

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE 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 000359

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

DCHA/AA FOR MIKE HESS

AFR/AA FOR KATE ALMQUIST AND FRANKLIN MOORE

AFR/SA FOR ERIC LOKEN, LORIE DOBBINS, JENNIFER KOLE

OFDA FOR KY LUU, ANNE CONVERY, AND TRESJA DENYSENKO

PRETORIA FOR JWESSEL, OFDA

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2018

TAGS: PHUM KDEM PGOV PREL ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: STATE-SPONSORED VIOLENCE CONTINUES; VICTIMS

DISPLACED

 

REF: A. HARARE 00331

B. HARARE 00343

 

HARARE 00000359 001.6 OF 004

 

 

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

 

——–

SUMMARY

——–

 

1. (U) Gangs of war veterans and ZANU-PF youth continue a

state-sponsored terror campaign in rural areas burning homes,

beating opposition supporters in public, and forcing

attendance at ZANU-PF rallies. ZANU-PF thugs, and some

security forces, are also victimizing and intimidating urban

opposition supporters. Over 450 victims have requirQAs&Qz[}t sought treatment or have been prevented from

doing so.

 

2. (U) Some victims describe being abducted from their homes

and beaten at ZANU-PF torture camps. Hundreds of opposition

supporters have fled their homes out of fear. Opposition and

human rights groups report shortages of critical supplies and

resources necessary to assist the growing population of

internally displaced persons (IDPs). Post is working closely

with other international donors and our partners to assist.

END SUMMARY.

 

————————–

A Tidal Wave of Casualties

————————–

 

3. (SBU) MDC-Tsvangirai Secretary General Tendai Biti told

reporters at an April 20 press conference in South Africa

that 10 MDC activists had been killed and more than 500

victimized by ZANU-PF supporters and uniformed security

forces since the March 29 elections. Those targeted include

opposition members, polling agents, and party office bearers.

We have been able to confirm only one death to date (Reftel

A.).

 

4. (C) The Counseling Services Unit (CSU), a local NGO that

provides medical and social services to victims of

state-violence, has treated 456 victims since the March 29

elections — including over 100 cases that required

hospitalization and surgical procedures. Dr. Frances

Lovemore, director at CSU, told us on April 22 that CSU

doctors were having trouble keeping up with the “tidal wave

of casualties” coming in for medical treatment. Moreover,

Dr. Lovemore was concerned with two disturbing incidents in

the past few days. First, an ambulance CSU dispatched to

pick up a victim in Kotwa district in Mashonaland East

province was chased away by ZANU-PF supporters and followed

back to Harare by an unmarked truck, typically used by

suspected state intelligence officers. We also have received

additional reports of ZANU-PF supporters preventing victims

from seeking medical attention. Second, for unknown

purposes, a central intelligence officer (CIO) attempted to

gain access to victims hospitalized at a local Harare

hospital.

 

———————————-

Embassy Collects Harrowing Stories

———————————-

 

HARARE 00000359 002.2 OF 004

 

 

 

5. (SBU) In addition to the flood of reports from opposition

and local human rights groups, Post has collected other

accounts of violence firsthand. On April 19 and 20, EmbOffs

from USAID visited Mutare urban, Nyanga, and Chipinge

districts in Manicaland province to conduct interviews with

local opposition officials and victims and to assess the

level of need for humanitarian assistance. (NOTE: The vast

majority of post-election violence has taken place in

Manicaland, Masvingo, and Mashonaland East and West provinces

— former ZANU-PF strongholds where the opposition made

significant gains in these elections. END NOTE.) EmbOffs

obtained photos of IDPs and victims of beatings and torture,

as well as of victim’s homes which were burned by gangs of

war vets and ZANU-PF youths.

 

6. (SBU) In Mutare, the embassy team came across 157 IDPs at

the local MDC-Tsvangirai party offices. At the time of the

visit, there were 106 children under the age of 12 and 113

adults (many of them elderly) camped in the open on the

office grounds — sharing one toilet and minimal available

water. The group was in need of food, cooking oil, tents,

portable toilets, and money for transportation. The IDPs

were all farm workers and their families from the nearby

Muniya farm. According to the victims, Muniya Panganai, a

war vet who seized the farm in 2006, began evictions on April

15 as punishment because the area had overwhelmingly voted

for the MDC. The acting Officer in Charge of the Mutare

police (Mr. Goronga – first name not known) supervised the

evictions at gunpoint.

 

7. (C) At the MDC Offices the team also spoke with the MDC

District Security Officer for Nyanga, Ismael Nyandowe, who on

April 17 had been beaten with iron bars by 30 ZANU-PF youth.

Nyandowe suffered a fractured left foot and head wounds.

Among the assailants were two army soldiers, although

Nyandowe said the majority of the group was made up of war

vets and ZANU-PF youth. Outgoing ZANU-PF MP Paul Kadzinga

was said to be coordinating the violence in the area.

Nyandowe also reported that war vets had established at least

five camps in the Nyanga district for training ZANU-PF youth

and where beatings and torture of MDC supporters take place.

At least 15 MDC activists had reported being abducted and

beaten at camps in the area since April 15.

 

8. (C) In Nyanga, EmbOffs spoke with Methodist ministers who

told us there was a high level of violence and intimidation

in the area. At one point during our discussion, a ZANU-PF

vehicle passed by and the ministers expressed fear for their

own safety and quickly left. A bishop at the Holy Cross

Catholic church also confirmed stories of violence. EmbOffs

received reports from representatives of Zimbabwe Community

Development Trust, a local NGO operating in the area, that

war vets had lists of local election observers and opposition

party polling agents in Nyanga who were targeted for violence.

 

9. (C) In Chipinge, EmbOffs met with civil society

representatives from the National Constitutional Assembly

(NCA) and local MDC-Tsvangirai officials. Both groups

confirmed that many people were being victimized in the rural

areas. One MDC activist in Chipinge said he had been

attacked on April 15 by six ZANU-PF youth and severely

beaten. His attackers kept asking if he had “changed”

(“chinga” in Shona means change and was part of the

MDC-Tsvangirai campaign slogan). There were also reports

that war vets and ZANU-PF youth were setting up roadblocks to

 

HARARE 00000359 003.2 OF 004

 

 

prevent maize from arriving in Chipinge, and that no one

could obtain maize from the local Grain Marketing Board

(GMB), the state-monopoly on grain distribution, unless they

had a “letter from the war veterans.”

 

10. (C) Embassy local employees have received reports from

family members in rural areas that village headmen are

forcing the public to attend daily ZANU-PF rallies. Anyone

who fails to attend a rally is visited during the night by

war vets and ZANU-PF youth and beaten.

 

——————————————— —-

Soldiers, Police Dole Out Beatings In Urban Areas

——————————————— —-

 

11. (C) In addition to widespread attacks in rural areas,

violence and intimidation involving military and police

officers is taking place in urban areas as well. For

example, on April 17, a member of the Embassy’s local

security staff was driving through Chitungwiza, a

high-density suburb and opposition stronghold outside Harare,

and witnessed five uniformed soldiers with AK-47 rifles

assaulting two pedestrians. The soldiers instructed the two

pedestrians to lie on the ground and then severely beat them

with truck fan belts. Another 20 soldiers — all carrying

AK-47s and fan belts — were seen moving in groups of two

throughout other parts of the area that same morning.

Numerous photos received from opposition and human rights

groups have shown victims with severe lash marks on their

backs and buttocks.

 

12. (C) Also in Chitungwiza, on April 20 at approximately

3:00 am, a group of 12 uniformed men entered the home of

Evelyn Jaka, a PSI nurse counselor (PSI is a USAID HIV/AIDS

program partner). The assailants forced Jaka and her family

outside the house where they were blindfolded and made to lie

on the ground. Jaka’s 15-year-old son was assaulted and then

taken away; he was returned an hour later shaken but not

injured. The assailants also took Jaka’s husband. He was

released at 8:00 am the same day from a nearby police station

and admitted to a local hospital for injuries resulting from

being severely beaten with iron bars while in custody.

 

——————-

State Says Prove It

——————-

 

13. (U) In response to the loud outcry from the opposition,

human rights groups, and some foreign governments (including

the United States and the United Kingdom), the April 22

headline of the government-run newspaper The Herald demanded

“Prove violence claims — Govt.” Justice Minister Patrick

Chinamasa, rumored to be one of the senior ZANU-PF officials

orchestrating the terror campaign, was quoted as saying that

it was possible that the MDC-Tsvangirai party “was behind the

cases of political violence as a part of a propaganda

campaign to justify international intervention in the

country.”

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

14. (C) Post is working with the European Commission, the

British, and other like-minded international donors to

compile joint findings on post-election violence and the

 

HARARE 00000359 004.2 OF 004

 

 

potential humanitarian crisis which could be passed to SADC

and Africa Union leaders to make the case for their greater

involvement in resolving the Zimbabwe crisis. SADC has

focused, as at the Lusaka Summit, on the delay in announcing

election results, and has not addressed the continuing and

growing violence. Additionally, we have asked our local

human rights and humanitarian assistance partners to deploy

resources to volatile rural and urban areas to assist victims

and IDPs (Reftel B.).

 

15. (C) While there have been some reports of violence

perpetrated by the military and police, we believe that

ZANU-PF youth and war vets are mainly responsible and that

this violence is orchestrated by ZANU-PF party structures.

There are isolated reports that police have arrested ZANU-PF

members alleged to have committed criminal violence against

MDC supporters. More common, as reported by our Embassy

team, is inaction by the police in failing to investigate

reports and arrest suspects; for the most part police have

not been involved in violence.

 

16. (C) Despite the disturbing reign of terror in rural areas

and some townships, Harare remains calm and the Embassy

continues to conduct business as usual. END COMMENT.

 

DHANANI

(30 VIEWS)

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