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Zvobgo says Tsvangirai case will be dismissed

Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Masvingo provincial supremo Eddison Zvobgo said the treason case against Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was going to be dismissed because of the inadmissibility of the implicating videotape.

Zvobgo claimed that the tape had been heavily edited to show only the most harmful statements. And it was also often inaudible.

He said the questionable tape and the lack of credibility of the state’s chief witness, Ari Ben-Menashe, would compel the judge to dismiss the case before it really started based on the absence of a reasonable suspicion of guilt.

He was, however, concerned that if the case landed with one of the new inexperienced judges it could drag on for six to eight months before a final ruling to dismiss the case was issued.

A protracted case would ruin Tsvangirai’s reputation and might damage the MDC.

He also said ZANU-PF was going to win the Insiza by-election, which was previously held by the MDC because of its shenanigans.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 02HARARE2256, MEETING WITH EDDISON ZVOBGO

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE2256

2002-10-10 13:30

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 002256

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PARIS FOR NEARY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/08/2012

TAGS: PGOV PINR ZI

SUBJECT: MEETING WITH EDDISON ZVOBGO

 

REF: A. A) HARARE 2193

 

B. B) HARARE 1992

 

Classified By: Political Officer Kimberly Jemison. Reasons 1.5 (b) and

(d).

 

1. (C) Summary: In an October 7 meeting, Eddison Zvobgo,

provided insight into the upcoming Insiza by-election and the

treason case against Morgan Tsvangirai. He also had many

interesting things to say about the food situation and its

likely affect on rural support for ZANU-PF. Zvobgo said

ZANU-PF would win the Insiza by-election and that the treason

case against Morgan Tsvangirai would be dismissed. Zvobgo

also said the deteriorating food situation, particularly in

the rural areas, would erode ZANU-PF support as deaths

increase. End Summary.

 

Food Crisis Dominates

———————

 

2. (C) On October 7, Amb and Poloff met with Dr. Eddison

Zvobgo, an elder statesman in the ruling party who has been

estranged from President Mugabe since 2000, and his daughter

Karina. Zvobgo lamented the fact that there was no food in

his province of Masvingo and that there were increasing signs

of malnutrition among the population–confirming similar

assessments of the food situation we made in Matabeleland

North and South and Manicaland during our pre-rural council

election tours (reftel A). Zvobgo said he thought there

would be starvation deaths by the end of October.

 

3. (C) Zvobgo said that increasing levels of starvation and

deaths in the rural areas would eventually weaken the ZANU-PF

base. He also expressed concerns about urban riots because,

unlike the rural population, the urban population will not

suffer silently. Zvobgo did reiterate his claim during a

previous conversation with Polchief and Poloff (See reftel B)

that ZANU-PF supporters are bearing the brunt of food

shortages, since they are concentrated in rural districts.

Both he and his daughter seemed to think MDC supporters who

are concentrated in urban areas are in much better shape.

 

4. (C) The Ambassador asked whether food was being used as a

weapon as it had been in Matabeleland during the early 1980s.

Zvobgo replied that food has been and still is being used as

a weapon, particularly in Masvingo, southern Manicaland, and

Matabeleland–all areas that did not fully support ZANU-PF in

the presidential elections. Zvobgo said Mashonaland Central

is getting the most food because the province voted most

strongly for ZANU-PF in the presidential election. NOTE: The

Zimbabwe Election Support Network reported that Mugabe

received 84 percent of all votes cast in Mashonaland Central

while in Masvingo and Midlands provinces he received 70 and

63 percent, respectively. END NOTE.

 

5. (C) The Ambassador also pointed out the length of time it

took to get the Memorandum of Understanding with WFP on food

imports signed and he wondered if certain elements within the

Cabinet did not want international food assistance. Zvobgo

did not appear surprised at the length of time it took to get

the MOU signed. He did say that the party elite did not have

a problem with international aid per se but with the lack of

control ZANU-PF would have over distribution.

 

6. (C) Zvobgo and Karina gave anecdotal evidence about the

depth of the food crisis. Karina said she would bring corn

meal to Harare from Masvingo occasionally to the nurses she

works with because they cannot find any corn meal. They have

the money for purchase but there is little or no corn meal

available in Harare. Zvobgo said that a 50-kg bag of corn

was selling for a minimum of 1300 Zimbabwe dollars, 1.5 times

the official controlled price, and some businessmen were

selling it for 1700.

 

PARLIAMENTARY BY-ELECTIONS

————————–

 

7. (C) Asked about the upcoming October 26-27 by-election to

replace a recently deceased MDC MP from Insiza constituency,

Zvobgo thought that ZANU-PF would win because of shenanigans.

Zvobgo said the vote would be evenly split even though the

Matabeleland South constituency is heavily pro-MDC and the

MDC ought to win in a free and fair process.

 

8. (C) The Ambassador brought to Zvobgo,s attention that

there were probably some within ZANU-PF who were trying to

regain the party’s two-thirds majority (100 votes) in

Parliament before the 2005 elections in order to have enough

votes to change the constitution. Zvobgo did not seem to

think this possible because ZANU-PF would have to get rid of

seven MDC MPs and then win all seven Parliamentary

by-elections.

 

TSVANGIRAI TREASON CASE LIKELY TO BE DISMISSED

 

SIPDIS

——————————————— –

 

9. (C) Zvobgo thought the treason case against MDC President

Morgan Tsvangirai, scheduled for November 11, would be

dismissed because of the inadmissibility of the implicating

videotape. According to Zvobgo, MDC attorneys finally

received the state,s evidence against Tsvangirai last week.

Among the papers was the tape, which Zvobgo claimed had been

heavily edited to show only the most harmful statements.

Even then it was often inaudible. Zvobgo thought the

questionable tape and the lack of credibility of the state’s

chief witness, Ari Ben-Menashe, would compel the judge to

dismiss the case before it really starts based on the absence

of a reasonable suspicion of guilt. NOTE: Zimbabwe law

dictates that (oral) testimony be incontrovertible and in its

totality. END NOTE.

 

10. (C) Zvobgo reiterated his view that even Zimbabwe’s

altered judicial system could not convict an innocent person

of a serious crime. However, he was concerned that the case

might not be dismissed immediately if one of the new,

inexperienced judges hears the case and it could drag on for

6-8 months before a final ruling to dismiss the case is

issued. Zvobgo said he thought a protracted case would ruin

Tsvangirai,s reputation and might damage the MDC.

 

SIPDIS

 

11. (C) COMMENT: While there is not much new in Zvobgo’s

views, he is always interesting as one of the few major

figures who talks to both sides of the political divide. END

COMMENT.

SULLIVAN

 

(8 VIEWS)

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