Jonathan Moyo unmoved by MDC victory in Masvingo

The Movement for Democratic Change won the Masvingo mayoral seat when its candidate Alois Chaimiti beat the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front candidate Jacob Chademana, but Information Minister Jonathan Moyo brushed off the victory saying the council was still in the hands of ZANU-PF.

Chaimiti’s victory made him the first MDC mayor in the country.

The MDC's national director of elections, Paul Themba Nyathi said the results demonstrated that Zimbabweans want political change.

"This shows that the people of Zimbabwe are now aware that the power to change is in their hands," Nyathi said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE1620, OPPOSITION WINS MASVINGO MAYORAL ELECTION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE1620

2001-05-15 15:09

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.

 

151509Z May 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7783

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01620 151502Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DINT-00 DODE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01

NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00

ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 IIP-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

/010W

------------------EBF372 151503Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8880

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001620

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 05/07/11

TAGS: PGOV KDEM PINS ZI

SUBJECT: OPPOSITION WINS MASVINGO MAYORAL ELECTION

 

REF: A) HARARE 1584   B) HARARE 1556

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01620 151502Z

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL IRVING. REASONS: 1.5

B) AND (D).

 

1. (U) THE CANDIDATE FOR THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC

CHANGE (MDC) OVERCAME A CONCERTED CAMPAIGN EFFORT BY THE RULING

ZANU-PF, INCLUDING SIGNIFICANT LEVELS OF VIOLENCE AND

INTIMIDATION (REFTELS), TO WIN THE MASVINGO MAYORAL ELECTION MAY

12-13.   THE MDC'S ALOIS CHAIMITI, A RETIRED ENGINEER, RECEIVED

4,532 VOTES, WHILE 2,188 VOTES WENT TO JACOB CHADEMANA OF ZANU-

PF. THE THREE INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES WERE ONLY A MINOR FACTOR,

POLLING 664 VOTES AMONG THEM.   ONLY SOME 7,000 PEOPLE OUT OF

27,000 REGISTERED VOTERS CAST THEIR BALLOTS, WHILE MORE THAN

3,000 VOTERS WHOSE NAMES DID NOT APPEAR ON THE VOTERS ROLL WERE

TURNED AWAY. CHAIMITI, ZIMBABWE'S FIRST MDC MAYOR, PLEDGED TO

WORK COOPERATIVELY WITH THE NINE ZANU-PF REPRESENTATIVES AND ONE

INDEPENDENT ON THE CITY COUNCIL FOR THE BETTERMENT OF MASVINGO.

 

MDC'S REACTION

--------------

 

2. (U) THE MDC LEADERSHIP WAS UNDERSTANDABLY ELATED AT THE

OUTCOME. PARTY PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI TOLD JOURNALISTS THE

PEOPLE OF MASVINGO HAD SENT A CLEAR MESSAGE THAT "THOSE PARTIES

THAT RELY ON VIOLENCE IN THEIR QUEST FOR PUBLIC OFFICE ...HAVE NO

PLACE IN THE NEW DEMOCRATIC DISPENSATION...NEVER AGAIN SHOULD THE

PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE LEGITIMIZE VIOLENCE." THE MDC'S NATIONAL

DIRECTOR OF ELECTIONS, PAUL THEMBA NYATHI, SAID THE RESULTS

DEMONSTRATED THAT ZIMBABWEANS WANT POLITICAL CHANGE. "THIS

SHOWS," NYATHI INSISTED, "THAT THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE ARE NOW

AWARE THAT THE POWER TO CHANGE IS IN THEIR HANDS."

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01620 151502Z

 

REACTION OF GOVERNMENT AND ZANU/PF

----------------------------------

 

3. (U) SAMUEL MUMBENGEGWI, ZANU-PF CHAIRMAN FOR MASVINGO

PROVINCE AND NATIONAL MINISTER OF EDUCATION, SPORTS, AND CULTURE,

BLAMED THE LOSS ON MDC-PERPETRATED VIOLENCE, WHICH HE SAID HAD

SCARED THE RULING PARTY'S SUPPORTERS AWAY FROM THE POLLS, AND ON

THE ALLEGEDLY POOR STATE OF THE VOTERS ROLL. THE GOVERNMENT'S

CHIEF PROPAGANDIST -- INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY MINISTER JONATHAN

MOYO -- DISMISSED THE MDC VICTORY, SAYING WHAT REALLY MATTERED

WAS THAT THE CITY COUNCIL REMAINED IN ZANU-PF'S HANDS.

 

COMMENT

-------

 

4. (C) WE WERE NOT SURPRISED AT THE LARGE PERCENTAGE OF VOTERS

WHO STAYED AWAY FROM THE POLLS, GIVEN THE TENSE POLITICAL

ATMOSPHERE WHICH PRECEDED THE ELECTION. IN CONTRAST TO THE

HISTORICAL PATTERN, HOWEVER, ZANU-PF DID NOT BENEFIT THIS TIME

FROM THE LOW VOTER TURNOUT. THE FACT THAT THE MDC RECEIVED 8,000

FEWER VOTES IN MASVINGO THAN IT DID IN THE JUNE 2000

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION, WHILE ZANU-PF'S TALLY DECREASED BY FEWER

THAN 1,000 VOTES, IS LIKELY NOT A REFLECTION OF ERODING SUPPORT

FOR THE OPPOSITION PARTY. RATHER, MANY MASVINGO RESIDENTS -- THE

MAJORITY OF WHOM WERE CLEARLY MDC SUPPORTERS -- TOLD A VISITING

EMBASSY OFFICER THAT IT WAS NOT WORTH RISKING POSSIBLE

RETALIATION TO VOTE IN THE MAYORAL RACE. INSTEAD, THEY WERE

BIDING THEIR TIME UNTIL THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, WHEN THEY

PLANNED TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS FOR THE PRIZE WHICH REALLY

MATTERED. IN THE SHORT TERM, THE MASVINGO OUTCOME WILL BOOST THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01620 151502Z

MORALE OF MDC SUPPORTERS NATIONWIDE, WHO WILL SEE THAT VICTORY IS

POSSIBLE EVEN IN THE FACE OF INTENSIVE INTIMIDATION, AND

INDICATES THAT THE MDC MIGHT HAVE THE UPPER HAND FOR NOW IN THE

PROVINCE THAT BOTH MAJOR PARTIES CONSIDER CRUCIAL TO THEIR

PRESIDENTIAL RACE PROSPECTS.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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