The head of the Counselling Services Unit, Frances Lovemore, told United States embassy officials that the biggest mistake of the West was that it did not know the depths of evil of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front structures.
She said that the Joint Operations Command had abundant resources and influence as they allowed ZANU-PF youths to take grain and livestock from villagers during the violence that erupted in the run-up to the presidential elections run-off in 2008.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was reported to be in charge of the JOC, was extraordinarily wealthy, having brought home a huge war coffer from Zimbabwe’s excursions in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the late 1990s, she said.
The CSU was an organisation that looked after victims of violence in Zimbabwe. It received some funding from the United States government.
Dr Lovemore said the level of violence in the run up to the presidential elections run-off was reminiscent of the liberation struggle, where citizens were forced to attend ZANU-PF rallies and sing songs throughout the night.
Viewing cable 08HARARE489, ZIM VIOLENCE INCREASING AND MORE SEVERE
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STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/06/2018
SUBJECT: ZIM VIOLENCE INCREASING AND MORE SEVERE
Classified By: Ambassador James McGee for reason 1.4(d).
¶1. (C) The Zimbabwean director of the Counseling Services
Unit (CSU) describes the increasingly severe and numerous
injuries inflicted on Zimbabwean citizens as the worst
violence Zimbabwe has seen since CSU’s opening in 1993.
Describing the increased use of weapons and severe beatings,
Dr. Frances Lovemore opined that the ZANU-PF infrastructures
that are propagating the violence are highly organized and
increasingly fearless as they target MDC leaders and members
without fear of punishment or imprisonment. CSU is an
excellent provider of medical care and is also very careful
in documenting injuries and deaths. While its employees have
not been targeted, Lovemore knows the Zimbabwean Central
Intelligence Organization (CIO) has an office across the
street and regularly photographs CSU’s office. END SUMMARY.
Injuries Increasing in Number and Severity
¶2. (C) On June 4, 2008, poloffs met with Dr. Lovemore at
CSU’s main office in downtown Harare. Dr. Lovemore reported
that CSU has treated 1,700 victims of violence since the
March 29 presidential election between the incumbent,
ZANU-PF’s Robert Mugabe, and the Movement for Democratic
Change’s (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai. The volume of patients has
increased since election results were released on May 2. CSU
saw more than 100 people each day in May versus their 10 per
day average in April. The severity of injuries has increased
as well. CSU notes a marked increase in head injuries,
falange (beating on the soles of the feet), and long bone
fractures — all indicative of extreme use of force. In
addition, at least seven people have been shot by
military-style rifles in May (versus one in April).
¶3. (C) Currently, 200 CSU patients are in the hospital in
the Harare area, mainly with deep soft tissue wounds,
multiple fractures, head injuries, and lacerations. CSU has
seen axe injuries as well. In some victims their deep soft
tissue wounds have resulted in renal failure that may be
permanent. Many who have been injured require multiple
surgeries and expensive long-term care. CSU has opened
additional beds at a hospital in the suburb of Chitungwiza to
accommodate the increased number of patients.
54 Dead – and Counting
¶4. (C) CSU is meticulous in its procedures to confirm each
reported death and injury. Dr. Lovemore confirms 54 deaths
in the politically-motivated post-election violence. She
acknowledges the actual number is likely much higher. Health
care workers in rural areas are often watched and cannot
communicate what they are seeing to CSU or others in Harare.
Lovemore said that the ability of doctors, ambulances and
others to move patients is limited and unpredictable, and
largely dependent on the strength of the ZANU-PF structure in
a given community. The greatest challenge is bringing
victims to Harare for appropriate treatment. Consequently,
the injuries of victims staying in their rural communities
often go undocumented and untreated.
The Evil of the ZANU-PF Structures
HARARE 00000489 002 OF 002
¶5. (C) Dr. Lovemore spoke with passion and frustration as
she decried the political nature of the violence. She noted
that violence has moved closer to Harare. As the ZANU-PF
youths move each night, attacking different villages or
neighborhoods, the location of the victims and the “no-go”
areas shift. She also said that “soft” police officers are
moved daily to ensure roadblocks are “appropriately” staffed.
Poloff asked about rumors of ZANU-PF militia posing as MDC
rally leaders and use these “rallies” to gather names of MDC
supporters who are later targeted. Dr. Lovemore confirmed
she had heard “hundreds” of similar reports.
¶6. (C) Normally a composed, even-toned woman, Dr. Lovemore
raised her voice and declared that, “the biggest mistake of
the West is that (we) do not know the depths of evil of the
ZANU-PF structures.” She said the level of violence is
reminiscent of the liberation struggle, with citizens forced
to attend ZANU-PF rallies and sing songs throughout the
night. She further explained that the GOZ’s Joint Operation
Command (JOC) retains abundant resources and influence as
they allow ZANU-PF youths to take grain and livestock from
villagers. She cited Emmerson Mnangagwa (reported to be in
charge of the JOC), in particular, as being extraordinarily
wealthy, having brought home a huge war coffer from
Zimbabwe’s excursions in the Democratic Republic of Congo in
the late 1990s.
¶7. (C) Dr. Lovemore’s anger and frustration with the
political situation is growing as the number of injuries and
deaths rise. While CSU’s meticulousness in tracking
statistics inevitably means that some un-confirmed data is
left out, the dramatic increase in patients seen daily (from
10 per day in April to 100 per day in May) and the number of
those needing hospitalization is testament to the
increasingly brutal tactics of ZANU-PF as it endeavors to
cling to power. END COMMENT.