Chombo, Border Gezi and Chanetsa competed to gain favour with Mugabe


0

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, Mashonaland Central governor Border Gezi and Mashonaland West governor Peter Chanetsa embarked on an unprecedented wave of violence in the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary elections to gain favour with President Robert Mugabe, a cable released by Wikileaks says.

In its critique of the violence leading up to the elections, which were marred by violence following the first national defeat of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front when people voted against the new constitution in a referendum in February, United States embassy officials said the political violence in Mashonaland was being systematically organised by key ZANU-PF officials, including Border Gezi, who was in competition with Chanetsa and Chombo “for turf and political favour with President Mugabe”.

Business people from the area said Gezi personally spearheaded the violence in the two provinces, and others, though not as violent as Gezi, were encouraging their supporters to forcefully assure the party of victory in the elections.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE3078, POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE: SHOCKING

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE3078

2000-06-07 16:12

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.

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7570

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03078 01 OF 04 071608Z

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INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00

COME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 ANHR-00 SRPP-00 DS-00

EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00

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

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

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

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

/011W

——————602F4F 071608Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6235

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY ROME

NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 003078

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/07/00

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM EAGR PINR ZI

SUBJECT: POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE: SHOCKING

PERSONAL TESTIMONIALS FROM COMMERCIAL FARMERS,

BUSINESSPEOPLE, AND MDC ACTIVISTS

 

DEPT FOR A/F PDAS POWELL AND DAS SCHNEIDMAN, AF/S RENDER

AND GURNEY

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03078 01 OF 04 071608Z

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

DEPT PASS TO USTR FOR ROSA WITAKER

 

ROME PASS VATICAN

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER MAKILA JAMES, REASONS

1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

REFTEL: A) HARARE 2961, B) HARARE 2560

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: SEVERAL WHITE COMMERCIAL FARMERS AND

BUSINESSPEOPLE TOLD AMBASSADOR MCDONALD JUNE 5 OF THE

CONTINUING POLITICAL VIOLENCE ON THEIR OCCUPIED

PROPERTIES AND THE SURROUNDING AREAS, DURING PRIVATE

MEETINGS WITH THEM IN MASHONALAND WEST PROVINCE. A

BLACK MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) OFFICIAL ALSO

INFORMED THE AMBASSADOR ABOUT THE LEVEL OF POLITICAL

VIOLENCE IN THIS AREA, WHICH HE SAID WAS ORCHESTRATED BY

SENIOR OFFICIALS OF ZANU-PF AND CARRIED OUT BY HIRED

THUGS ON BEHALF OF THE RULING PARTY. THE BASIC MESSAGE

WAS THAT THE FARM OCCUPATIONS HAVE NOTING TO DO WITH

LAND REFORM, BUT MERELY PROVIDED A PRETEXT UNDER WHICH

TO MOVE “WAR VETERANS” ON TO COMMERCIAL AND COMMUNAL

LANDS IN ORDER TO TERRORIZE PEOPLE INTO SUPPORTING ZANU-

PF DURING THE RUN-UP TO THE JUNE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION.

THE CONSENSUS WAS THAT IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO PURSUE

SERIOUS LAND REFORM DISCUSSIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03078 01 OF 04 071608Z

UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION. NEVERTHELESS, THESE CONTACTS

MAINTAIN THAT THE MDC CONTINUES TO HAVE BROAD SUPPORT IN

THESE COMMUNITIES AND WILL WIN A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF

SEATS. THE GOVERNMENT, HOWEVER, IS MOVING TO

DISENFRANCHISE PRIMARILY WHITE VOTERS BY OMITTING THEIR

NAMES FROM THE VOTERS’ ROLLS AND MISINFORMING THEM ABOUT

THEIR RIGHT TO CORRECT SUCH OMISSIONS. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) ON JUNE 5 AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, ACCOMPANIED BY

POLOFF AND THE RSO ASSISTANT, TRAVELED TO SOME OF

ZIMBABWE’S MOST PRODUCTIVE COMMERCIAL FARMLAND, IN THE

MASHONALAND WEST PROVINCE IN THE TOWNS OF BANKET,

CHINOYI AND DOMA. MANY OF THESE FARMS ARE ON THE LIST

OF 804 PROPERTIES PROPOSED FOR IMMINENT GOVERNMENT

ACQUISITION (REFTEL A). THIS PROVINCE HAS ALSO SEEN

SOME OF THE MOST EXTREME POLITICAL VIOLENCE, INCLUDING

THE DEATH OF TWO MDC ORGANIZERS IN KARIBA TOWN, AND

BRUTALIZATION OF FARM WORKERS IN RAFFINGORA AND OTHER

AREAS (REFTEL B). AMBASSADOR MCDONALD MADE UNANNOUNCED

CALLS ON SEVERAL BUSINESS PEOPLE WHO WERE EAGER AND

PLEASED TO TALK ABOUT THE ONGOING POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN

THE AREA. IN BANKET WE STOPPED AT ITICON IRRIGATION

CONSULTANTS, WHICH SUPPLIES IRRIGATION EQUIPMENT TO MOST

OF THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS IN THE AREA. THE MANAGERS

WITH WHOM WE SPOKE SAID THERE HAD BEEN WIDESPREAD

POLITICAL INTIMIDATION IN THE AREA, PARTICULARLY THE

COMMUNITY OF RAFFINGORA. SIMILARLY, WE HEARD OF MORE

POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN OUR CONVERSATIONS WITH THE OWNER

OF THE BANKET FARMERS’ CENTER, A PROSPEROUS LOOKING FARM

EQUIPMENT SUPPLY COMPANY, WHO IS AN ADMITTED MDC

ORGANIZER AND FINANCIAL BACKER IN THAT COMMUNITY. YET

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03078 01 OF 04 071608Z

MORE ATTACKS AND INCIDENTS OF HUMILIATION OF FARM OWNERS

AND WORKERS WERE DESCRIBED TO US DURING A CALL ON

OFFICIALS AT THE ELECTRO-ELECT COMPANY IN CHINHOYI,

WHICH PROVIDES ELECTRICAL FIXTURES AND REPAIRS

AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT FOR THE AREA’S COMMERCIAL FARMS.

 

3. (C) ACCORDING TO THESE BUSINESSPEOPLE AND COMMERCIAL

FARMERS:

 

— COMMERCIAL AND COMMUNAL FARM WORKERS ARE FORCED TO

ATTEND ALL NIGHT ZANU-PF POLITICAL RALLIES AND BEATEN

FOR ANY SIGNS OF RESISTANCE OR OPPOSITION PARTY SUPPORT.

WHILE THOSE BEATINGS OCCURRED ON ALL OCCUPIED

PROPERTIES, THE CURRENT STRATEGY IS FOCUSED ON THE MORE

ISOLATED WORKERS IN THE COMMUNAL AREAS, TEACHERS AND

NURSES;

 

— MANY FARM WORKER WOMEN HAVE BEEN RAPED ON THE FARMS,

AS WELL AS AT LEAST ONE MDC SUPPORTER WHO WAS TAKEN TO A

NOW NOTORIOUS HOTEL IN KARIBA, THE ZAMBEZI VALLEY HOTEL,

WHERE SHE WAS GANG RAPED BY ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS. THE

FEMALE MAYOR OF KARIBA AND HER HUSBAND, WHO WERE FORCED

TO ALLOW THEIR PREMISES TO BE USED BY ZANU-PF THUGS,

REPORTEDLY OWN THIS HOTEL. THESE RAPE VICTIMS HAVE BEEN

GENERALLY AFRAID TO REPORT THEIR ORDEAL.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7571

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03078 02 OF 04 071608Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00

COME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 ANHR-00 SRPP-00 DS-00

EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00

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

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

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

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

/011W

——————602F5A 071608Z /38

P 071612Z JUN 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6236

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY ROME

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 04 HARARE 003078

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/07/00

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM EAGR PINR ZI

SUBJECT: POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE: SHOCKING

PERSONAL TESTIMONIALS FROM COMMERCIAL FARMERS,

BUSINESSPEOPLE, AND MDC ACTIVISTS

 

— FARM OWNERS AND MANAGERS ARE HUMILIATED BY FORCING

THEM TO COVER THEMSELVES IN WATER AND DIRT AND ROLL

AROUND ON THE GROUND, MEN WERE MADE TO WEAR DRESSES,

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03078 02 OF 04 071608Z

FARMERS AND THEIR WIVES FORCED TO DANCE TO REVOLUTIONARY

SONGS, DENOUNCE THE MDC AND PLEDGE LOYALTY TO ZANU-PF,

AND FARMERS WERE FORCED TO FEED THE OCCUPYING VETS AND

TO FERRY THEIR WORKERS TO ZANU-PF RALLIES;

 

— WHITE FARMERS AND BUSINESSPEOPLE WHO ARE BELIEVED TO

BE SUPPORTERS OF THE MDC HAVE HAD THEIR BUSINESSES

ATTACKED BY STONE-THROWING CROWDS, HAVE BEEN THREATENED

WITH PHYSICAL HARM IF THEY FAILED TO STOP SUPPORTING THE

OPPOSITION, HAD THEIR PHONES ARE TAPPED, AND CENTRAL

INTELLIGENCE ORGANIZATION (CIO) MEMBERS FOLLOW THEM.

WHILE SOME OF THESE BUSINESS PEOPLE WILL TEMPORARILY

LEAVE ZIMBABWE OR CLOSE UP DURING THE VOTING AND POST-

ELECTION PERIOD, MOST HAVE NO PLACE TO GO PERMANENTLY

AND WILL REMAIN;

 

— NON-ZIMBABWEAN FARM LABORERS HAVE BEEN THREATENED

WITH DEPORTATION BACK TO THEIR COUNTRIES OR DEATH IF

THEY VOTE AGAINST ZANU-PF IN THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION.

 

THREATS AGAINST MDC

——————-

 

4. (C) THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE HAS BEEN SYSTEMATICALLY

ORGANIZED BY KEY ZANU-PF OFFICIALS, INCLUDING THE

GOVERNOR FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL, BORDER GEZI, WHO HAS

BEEN IN COMPETITION WITH THE MASHONALAND WEST GOVERNOR,

PETER CHANESTA, AND THE MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND

TECHNOLOGY, IGNATIUS CHOMBO, FOR TURF AND POLITICAL

FAVOR WITH PRESIDENT MUGABE, ACCORDING TO THESE

MASHONALAND BUSINESSPEOPLE. CONSEQUENTLY, GEZI HAS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03078 02 OF 04 071608Z

PERSONALLY SPEARHEADED VIOLENCE ON THE BORDER OF THE TWO

PROVINCES, WHICH HAS SPILLED OVER TO RAFFINGORA AND

CENTENARY, SITES OF THE MOST BRUTAL POLITICAL VIOLENCE

IN THE AREA. THE OTHER RULING PARTY POLITICIANS, WHILE

NOT AS VIOLENT AS GEZI, HAVE ENCOURAGED THEIR SUPPORTERS

TO FORCEFULLY ASSURE THE PARTY’S VICTORY IN THE

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION. THE MANAGER OF THE BANKET

FARMERS’ CENTER GAVE US A COPY OF A LETTER WRITTEN BY A

LOCAL CATHOLIC PARISH PRIEST TO THE ZANU-PF CANDIDATE

FOR BANKET, PLEADING WITH HIM TO STOP ADVOCATING

VIOLENCE, SPECIFICALLY THE CANDIDATE’S CALL FOR DEATH TO

MDC SUPPORTERS. THE BUSINESSPEOPLE URGED OUR STRONG

SUPPORT FOR DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORS

TO ENSURE THAT THE VOTE WAS NOT STOLEN.

 

5. THE BANKET MANAGER TOLD US THAT DESPITE THE VIOLENCE

AND INTIMIDATION, HE AND OTHER WHITE BUSINESSMEN

CONTINUED TO SUPPORT THE MDC. HE SAID HE HELPED MDC

CANDIDATES GET ON THE BALLOT FOR THE PARLIAMENTARY VOTE

AND SOLICITED FUNDS FOR THE OPPOSITION PARTY. THE MDC

OFFICIAL WHO WAS TO APPROVE THE CANDIDACY OF MDC

REPRESENTATIVES AT THE NOMINATING CENTER ON JUNE 3 WAS

RUN OFF THE ROAD THAT MORNING, BUT SURVIVED AND ARRIVED

IN TIME TO ENSURE THE REGISTRATION OF THE OPPOSITION

PARTY CANDIDATES, HE INFORMED. BASED ON AN ANALYSIS OF

EACH CONSTITUENCY IN THE AREA, THE MDC ORGANIZER

ESTIMATED THAT THE MDC WOULD TAKE BETWEEN 75 TO 80

PERCENT OF THE KEY AREAS IN MASHONALALAND WEST, WITH THE

EXCEPTION OF ZVIMBA SOUTH, MUGABE’S HOME AREA. MDC

CANDIDATES IN THE AREA CANNOT CAMPAIGN, HOWEVER, BECAUSE

OF THE THREATS AGAINST THEM AND THEIR SUPPORTERS BY WAR

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03078 02 OF 04 071608Z

VETERANS, ACCORDING TO THIS BUSINESSMAN.

 

REGISTRATION AND CAMPAIGN CONCERNS

———————————-

 

6. (C) ALL THE BUSINESS PEOPLE EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT

WHETHER THEY WOULD BE INCLUDED ON THE VOTERS’ ROLLS.

THEY NOTED THAT NO REGISTRATION RECEIPTS HAD BEEN

ISSUED, AS WAS THE NORM IN PREVIOUS ELECTIONS. THERE IS

HOWEVER, NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT TO ISSUE SUCH RECEIPTS SO

COURT CHALLENGES TO THE OMISSION OF THEIR NAMES WOULD BE

DIFFICULT. ADDITIONALLY, IT WAS WIDELY BELIEVED THAT

THE GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO REMOVE EUROPEAN SOUNDING NAMES

FROM THE ROLLS, AND HAS STATED THAT IT WILL UNILATERALLY

STRIKE THE NAMES OF ANYONE BELIEVED TO STILL HOLD A

BRITISH PASSPORT. SOME OF THE WHITE BUSINESS PEOPLE

SAID THEIR NAMES WERE NOT ON THE ROLLS WHEN THEY

INSPECTED IT RECENTLY, DESPITE HAVING SIGNED UP ALONG

WITH ALL THEIR BLACK EMPLOYEES AT THEIR WORK PLACE.

THESE WHITES SAID THE INSPECTION OFFICIALS SAID THEY

COULD NOT VOTE IN THE UPCOMING PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

AND THAT ANY CORRECTION WOULD ONLY APPLY TO FUTURE

ELECTIONS. THIS INFORMATION CONTRADICTS THE REGISTRAR

GENERAL’S PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THE VOTERS’ ROLLS,

WHICH ARE OPEN FOR INSPECTION FORM JUNE 1 TO 13 ACROSS

THE COUNTY, WILL BE AMENDED DURING THE ELEVEN DAYS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7574

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03078 03 OF 04 071608Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00

COME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 ANHR-00 SRPP-00 DS-00

EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00

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

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

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

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

/011W

——————602F6D 071609Z /38

P 071612Z JUN 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6237

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY ROME

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 04 HARARE 003078

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/07/00

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM EAGR PINR ZI

SUBJECT: POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE: SHOCKING

PERSONAL TESTIMONIALS FROM COMMERCIAL FARMERS,

BUSINESSPEOPLE, AND MDC ACTIVISTS

 

BEFORE VOTING TO CORRECT OMISSIONS. THERE HAS ALSO BEEN

ONLY A LIMITED CAMPAIGN ON THE NEED FOR ALL VOTERS TO

INSPECT THE ROLLS, CONSEQUENTLY, IT IS HARD TO TELL AT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03078 03 OF 04 071608Z

THIS POINT HOW WIDESPREAD VOTER DISENFRANCHISEMENT MAY

BE OR WHETHER PEOPLE ARE BEING ALLOWED TO CORRECT

ERRORS. EVEN SOME MDC CANDIDATES WERE ORIGINALLY

OMITTED FROM THE ROLLS AND WERE SUBSEQUENTLY ALLOWED TO

HAVE THEIR NAMES ADDED. THIS MAY NOT, HOWEVER, BE THE

CASE FOR THE AVERAGE VOTER.

 

7. (C) AN MDC EXECUTIVE MEMBER WHO IS EMPLOYED AT ONE

OF THE COMPANIES WE VISITED TOLD US THAT HIS PARTY IS

UNABLE TO CAMPAIGN IN PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, SPECIFICALLY

MASHONALAND WEST AND CENTRAL, BECAUSE OF THE ATTACKS ON

THEIR CANDIDATES AND VOTERS. THE MDC CAN NO LONGER GO

INTO CERTAIN RURAL AREAS TO ADDRESS THE WIDESPREAD VOTER

INTIMIDATION OR TO CORRECT MISINFORMATION BEING SPREAD

ABOUT ITS PARTY, HE ADDED. THE MDC OFFICIAL THEN

RECITED A HORRIFIC STORY OF AN MDC ORGANIZER IN KARIBA

BEING DRAGGED FROM HIS WORKPLACE AND BEATEN TO DEATH BY

ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS, DRIVEN AROUND TOWN, AND THEN HIS

CORPSE HAVING BEEN DUMPED AT HIS HOME. SIMILARLY, THE

MDC OFFICIAL AND OTHERS IN THE AREA ECHOED STORIES OF

TORTURE OF OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS AT THE ZAMBEZI VALLEY

HOTEL IN KARIBA, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF A LOCAL WARLORD,

“REX JESUS.” REX JESUS AND 14 OTHERS WERE ARRESTED FOR

THE MURDER OF THE KARIBA MDC OFFICIAL, BUT FEW EXPECT

HIM TO BE PROSECUTED. THE MDC REPRESENTATIVE SAID EVEN

SENIOR POLICE OFFICIALS IN KARIBA WERE INVOLVED IN

COVERING UP THE ATTACKS ON OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS IN THE

AREA. MDC SUPPORTERS WERE EVEN FREQUENTLY BEATEN IN ONE

POLICE STATION IN KARIBA BY ZANU-PF OFFICIALS, UNTIL

COMPLAINTS WERE MADE TO POLICE HEADQUARTERS AND THE

COMMISSIONER, IDENTIFIED BY THE SURNAME “MBUNDU” WAS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03078 03 OF 04 071608Z

TRANSFERRED. THE MDC OFFICIAL SAID THE VICTIMIZATION

CAMPAIGN HAD SHIFTED FROM GROUPS, I.E., WHITE FARMERS,

TO INDIVIDUALS FARM WORKERS OR OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS.

 

SECRECY OF BALLOT QUESTIONED

—————————-

 

8. (C) AN ADDITIONAL AREA OF GREAT CONCERN WAS THE

CONFIDENTIALLY OF THE BALLOT. SEVERAL OF THE WHITE

 

SIPDIS

BUSINESSMEN EXPRESSED FEARS THAT THE BALLOT PAPERS WOULD

BE NUMBERED TO CORRESPOND WITH THE NAMES OF THE VOTERS,

THUS PINPOINTING THEM FOR RETRIBUTION AFTER THE

ELECTION. OTHERS NOTED THAT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND

RULING PARTY SUPPORTERS WERE TELLING ILLITERATE RURAL

VOTERS THAT THEIR VOTE WOULD BE MONITORED AND THAT

ENTIRE COMMUNITIES WOULD BE PUNISHED IF ANY OF ITS

MEMBERS VOTED FOR THE OPPOSITION. WHILE SOME CIVIL

SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS ARE PLANNING A MODEST CIVIC

EDUCATION EXERCISE TO UNDERSCORE THE SECRECY OF THE

BALLOT, THEY DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE ELECTRONIC MEDIA,

PARTICULARLY THE STATE-OWNED RADIO, AND WILL HAVE ONLY A

LIMITED REACH IN THE RURAL AREAS. THE LEGAL RESOURCES

FOUNDATION (LRF) IS ONE SUCH GROUP THAT HAS PREPARED A

MILLION COPIES OF A CARTOON FLYER TO PROMOTE THE SECRET

BALLOT. THIS IDEA WAS PROPOSED TO LRF BY CAMBODIAN

HUMAN RIGHTS LEADER, DR. KEK GALABRU, ONE OF THE EXPERTS

WHO VISITED ZIMBABWE LAST MONTH UNDER THE EMBASSY’S

“EMINENT PERSONS PROGRAM.”

 

FARM INVASIONS NOT ABOUT LAND REFORM

————————————

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03078 03 OF 04 071608Z

 

9. (C) IN DOMA, THE AMBASSADOR HAD A LUNCHEON WITH

SEVEN TOBACCO AND OTHER COMMERCIAL FARMERS WHO

REPRESENTED PROPERTY OWNERS FROM A SUBSTANTIAL AREA

NORTH OF HARARE, COVERING TWO PROVINCES, AND FROM

OCCUPIED FARMS IN THOSE AREAS. THE LUNCHEON HOST’S FARM

WAS NOT OCCUPIED, HOWEVER, A FACT THAT HIS FAMILY

ATTRIBUTED TO LUCK AND PERHAPS A REPUTATION FOR GOOD

EMPLOYEE RELATIONS, BUT ADMITTED THAT HE DID NOT KNOW

HOW THEY ESCAPED THE SQUATTERS. THE UNEQUIVOCAL

CONSENSUS OF EVERYONE WITH WHOM WE SPOKE WAS THAT THE

FARM INVASIONS WERE NOT ABOUT LAND REFORM AT ALL, BUT A

MERE PRETEXT FOR MOVING WAR VETERANS AND ZANU-PF

SUPPORTERS INTO THE RURAL AREAS TO INTIMIDATE PEOPLE

INTO SUPPORTING THE RULING PARTY DURING THE

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION. LAND REFORM DISCUSSIONS CANNOT

BEGIN IN EARNEST UNTIL AFTER THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

WHEN THE GOVERNMENT IS MORE LIKELY TO ABANDON ITS

STRATEGY OF OCCUPATIONS TO GET OUT THE VOTE, THESE

CONTACTS OPINED. THEY SAID THEY HAD ALREADY OFFERED

SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF FARMS TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR LAND

REFORM THROUGH THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION (CFU), BUT

THE GOVERNMENT HAD NO DESIRE TO SETTLE THE LAND QUESTION

DURING THIS POLITICAL SEASON. THEY ANTICIPATED THAT

THESE DISCUSSIONS WOULD MOVE FORWARD AFTER THE ELECTION.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7577

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03078 04 OF 04 071609Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00

COME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 ANHR-00 SRPP-00 DS-00

EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00

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

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

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

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

/011W

——————602F7F 071609Z /38

P 071612Z JUN 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6238

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY ROME

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 04 OF 04 HARARE 003078

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/07/00

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM EAGR PINR ZI

SUBJECT: POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE: SHOCKING

PERSONAL TESTIMONIALS FROM COMMERCIAL FARMERS,

BUSINESSPEOPLE, AND MDC ACTIVISTS

 

10. (C) ONE TOBACCO FARMER RECOUNTED HOW HE HAD BEEN

INVADED AND EVICTED OFF HIS FARM ON THREE SEPARATE

OCCASIONS BY WAR VETS UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF ANOTHER

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03078 04 OF 04 071609Z

WARLORD, “JESUS TWO.” DURING THESE SESSIONS, HE WAS

BEATEN AND DEMEANED. COMMERCIAL FARMERS NATIONALLY HAVE

ESTABLISHED A RADIO NET ON WHICH THEY PROVIDE EMERGENCY

INFORMATION ON OCCUPATIONS AND A NIGHTLY SITUATION

REPORT. THE BANKET FARMERS SAID THEIR NET ALONE HAS 200

CALL SIGNS. DURING SEVERAL OCCUPATIONS IN THE AREA, THE

BESIEGED FARMER WOULD RADIO FOR HELP AND OTHER FARMERS

CALLED FOR POLICE HELP AND THEN DROVE TO THE LOCATION TO

MONITOR THE SITUATION AS IT DEVELOPED. THE ASSISTING

FARMERS SAID THEY ALWAYS CAME UNARMED AND GENERALLY

REFRAINED FROM DIRECT INVOLVEMENT, AS THE 100 TO 200 WAR

VETS WHO COME OUTNUMBER THEM. ONE OF THE INVADED

FARMERS TOLD US MOST OF THE OCCUPIERS WERE COMMUNAL FARM

WORKERS WHO WERE FORCED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE INVASIONS

OUT OF FEAR OF REPRISAL AGAINST THEM. HE HELD NO ILL

WILL AGAINST THEM, HE SAID. THE OCCUPIERS MAKE THEIR

DEMANDS KNOWN, NEGOTIATE THEIR PRESENCE ON THE LAND

(I.E., WHAT RATIONS THE FARMER WILL PROVIDE) AND THEN

RETREAT TO A SECTION OF THE FARM. THE SUBSEQUENT

VIOLENCE THAT OCCURS IS ORGANIZED BY A HAND-FULL OF

“EXCITABLE YOUTH” OR ASPIRING WARLORDS, BUT NOT GENUINE

WAR VETS. THE WAR VETS ARE FACTION-RIDDEN, WITH STRONG

ETHNIC AND ZANU/ZAPU TENSIONS ACCOUNTING FOR THE LACK OF

ANY CONSISTENT STRATEGY OR STABILITY ON THE OCCUPIED

FARMS, THE FARMERS ADDED.

 

THE ECONOMIC FUTURE

——————-

 

11. (C) THE FARMERS AND BUSINESS PEOPLE DESCRIBED THE

FINANCIAL LOSSES THEY WERE SUFFERING AS A RESULT OF THE

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PAGE 03       HARARE 03078 04 OF 04 071609Z

FARM INVASIONS AND GOVERNMENT PLANS TO ACQUIRE 804

PRODUCTIVE FARMS. THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS URGED THE U.S.

TO CONSIDER AN ECONOMIC “RECOVERY PLAN” FOR FARMERS

AFTER THE ELECTION, INCLUDING INTEREST-FREE, OFFSHORE

LOANS. AMBASSADOR MCDONALD EXPLAINED THAT SUCH AN

ARRANGEMENT WOULD NOT HAPPEN, BUT STRESSED THAT WITHIN

OUR FINANCIAL MEANS THE USG WANTED TO CONTINUE TO

SUPPORT LAND REFORM.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

12. (C) AMBASSADOR MCDONALD USED THIS TRIP TO REITERATE

OUR STRONG CONDEMNATION OF THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND TO

INFORM THESE ZIMBABWEANS OF OUR SUPPORT FOR DOMESTIC AND

INTERNATIONAL MONITORING EFFORTS. ALTHOUGH WE HAVE

KNOWN FOR SOME TIME THAT THESE GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN

RIGHTS WERE OCCURRING AND HAVE REPORTED THEM, IT IS

SHOCKING TO HEAR IT FROM THESE PERSONAL TESTIMONIALS.

IT IS HEARTENING TO KNOW THAT THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN

VICTIMIZED ARE STILL OPTIMISTIC ABOUT ZIMBABWE’S FUTURE

AND INTEND TO STAY. THE VISIT WAS VERY WELL RECEIVED

SHORING UP THOSE WE MET AND IS LIKELY TO HAVE THE DUAL

EFFECT OF APPRISING THE GENERAL ELECTORATE, AS WELL AS

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, THAT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

IS AWARE OF THE STATE-ORCHESTRATED VIOLENCE IN THE

COUNTRYSIDE. THE GENERAL SENSE WE GOT WAS THAT DESPITE

THE PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE THE OPPOSITION REMAINS POISED

TO TAKE A SIZEABLE NUMBER OF SEATS. TO DATE, WE HAVE

CONSERVATIVELY ESTIMATED AROUND 30 SEATS. THAT NUMBER

MAY NEED TO BE REVISED UPWARDS, WITH INDICATIONS THAT

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PAGE 04       HARARE 03078 04 OF 04 071609Z

MDC COULD GET AS MANY AS 45 TO 55 SEATS.

 

13. (C) THERE REMAINS A GREAT CONCERN THAT THE RULING

PARTY WILL RIG THE VOTE COUNT TO PREVENT ANY MDC

MAJORITY FROM SITTING IN THE PARLIAMENT. IF THAT

HAPPENS, THE BIGGEST THREAT TO PEACE IN THE COUNTRY WILL

BE THE POST-ELECTION PERIOD WHEN THE GOVERNMENT AND

OPPOSITION ARE LIKELY TO DISPUTE THE RESULTS. NO ONE

CAN SAY WITH CERTAINTY WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT THAT POINT,

BUT THE MILITARY HAS TWICE DISTANCED ITSELF FROM ANY

PERCEPTION THAT IT HAS AN INTEREST IN THE OUTCOME OF THE

ELECTION. END COMMENT.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(113 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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