Chiredzi South by-election expected to bolster Mnangagwa


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A 2007 by-election in Chiredzi South in which the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was fielding an ex-army officer, Killian Gwanetsa, was expected to bolster Emmerson Mnangagwa who was reportedly trying to increase his support within the military as well as his influence in Masvingo Province.

This was said by Movement for Democratic Change secretary for national security Giles Mutsekwa who said Gwanetsa had been selected by Mnangagwa.

The two factions of the MDC were each fielding a candidate but were already resigned that ZANU-PF would win because its manipulation of food aid and pressure on voters.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE115, ZANU-PF FLEXES MUSCLES IN UPCOMING BY-ELECTION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE115

2007-02-13 15:07

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000115

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

USAID FOR M. COPSON AND E. LOKEN

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2017

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF FLEXES MUSCLES IN UPCOMING BY-ELECTION

 

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.5 b/d

 

1. (SBU) Summary. ZANU-PF is expected to win the February 17

Chiredzi South by-election, also being contested by

candidates from both MDC factions and the United People’s

Party (UPP), a ZANU-PF off-shoot. The MDC and UPP candidates

are from the area and belong to its dominant Shangaan ethnic

group; the ZANU-PF candidate is from the Kaanga ethnic group

and from outside of Chiredzi. ZANU-PF’s muscle, including

party structures, inimidation from the national council of

chiefs, pessure from local chiefs, and manipulation of food

aid, is likely to trump voters’ ethnic loyalties,antipathy

toward an &outside8 candidate, and lac of support for the

present government, and to rsult in a ZANU-PF victory. The

ZANU-PF candidate, a newly retired army colonel, was selected

by ZANU-PF faction leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, and his victory

would bolster Mnangagwa’s power base in Masvingo Province and

Mnangagwa’s standing with the military. End Summary.

 

————————————

Chiredzi South: A ZANU-PF Stronghold

————————————

 

2. (U) A parliamentary by-election for the Chiredzi South

constituency in Masvingo Province is scheduled for Saturday,

February 17. The seat was vacated with the death of the

ZANU-PF MP Aaron Baloyi in September 2006. Masvingo is a

traditional ruling party stronghold; Baloyi easily won the

Chiredzi South seat in March 2005 with 14,165 votes over the

6,170 votes received by MDC candidate Immaculate Makondo and

the 778 votes received by independent candidate Nehemiah

Zanamwe.

 

3. (C) Chiredzi South is dominated by the Shangaan ethnic

tribe, and the late ZANU-PF MP was Shangaan. According to

Giles Mutsekwa, MDC national security director and an ex-Army

major who maintains ties with the military, Mnangagwa, from

neighboring Midlands Province, instigated the current ZANU-PF

candidacy of Kilian Gwanesta, a Karanga and ex-army officer.

Mutsekwa told us that Mnangagwa, who is also a Karanga, was

seeking to increase his support within the military and his

influence in Masvingo Province.

 

——————————————— —-

The Primaries: Outsider Steamrolls Local Favorite

——————————————— —-

 

4. (U) In the January ZANU-PF primary run-off election in

Chiredzi South, Gwanetsa, who is not from Chiredzi, defeated

local favorite Ben Baloyi, a Shangaan. (Ben Baloyi is no

relation to the late MP Aaron Baloyi). Gwanetsa enjoyed

support from Mnangagwa and other ruling party bigwigs. Also,

according to the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN),

he had military backing, including the use of military

vehicles and military campaign workers.

 

—————————————

The General Election: ZANU Win Expected

—————————————

 

5. (U) In the general election, Gwanesta faces three

opposition candidates from the Shangaan tribe. Makondo and

Zanamwe, both defeated by Aaron Baloyi in the March 2005

general elections, are contesting for the seat again. This

time, Makondo, who ran as the MDC candidate in 2005, is the

anti-Senate MDC candidate and Zanamwe, who ran as an

 

HARARE 00000115 002 OF 002

 

 

independent in 2005, is the pro-Senate MDC candidate.

Savious Chauke is running as the UPP candidate.

 

6. (SBU) Ruling party elite and the military have been

hitting the campaign trail for Gwanesta. Politburo members

retired General Vitalis Zvinanashe and Dzikami Mavhaire spoke

at ZANU-PF campaign rallies insisting that failure to support

Gwanesta would be tantamount to “cursing” those who fought

and died for independence. According to ZESN, Gwanesta

continues to have military support as he campaigns, sometimes

in military vehicles with civilian license plates. Also,

according to ZESN, President of the Council of Chiefs Fortune

Charumbira has ordered local chiefs to pressure voters to

support Gwanesta or face restrictions on the distribution of

food aid. Relatedly, MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa told us

army personnel had been seen distributing food at Gwanesta’s

recent campaign rallies. (Comment: Food security in the area

is a critical issue due to lack of rains and the local

population is particularly susceptible to such pressure. End

Comment.)

 

——————————

The Opposition Remains Divided

——————————

 

7. (C) Both anti-Senate faction spokesman Chamisa and

pro-Senate faction leader Arthur Mutambara acknowledged to us

the lack of cooperation between the two MDC factions resulted

in both fielding candidates. Both men hoped for

reunification, or at least implementation of the Code of

Conduct between the two factions, to prevent this situation

occurring in the future. For now, both Chamisa and Mutambara

said they expect to lose due to ZANU-PF pressures on voters

and manipulation of food aid, but noted the MDC was using the

election to build party structures in the constituency.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

8. (SBU) The Chiredzi South by-election demonstrates that

ZANU-PF’s time-worn strategy of intimidation and manipulation

of food aid is alive and well–and once again expected to be

successful in this rural constituency. It also demonstrates

that free and fair elections depend not only on the absence

of intimidation and violence on election day, but in ensuring

fair campaigning in the run-up to the election.

 

9. (SBU) Also disturbingly, the military, which has

insinuated itself into many Zimbabwean institutions, is

playing a direct role in the election. Not only is the

ZANU-PF candidate ex-military, but the military has lent

equipment and personnel, apparently at Mnangagwa’s

instigation, to support the cause.

DELL

(71 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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