Coltart says Mugabe will manipulate the elections in his favour


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Movement for Democratic Change legislator David Coltart said President Robert Mugabe was going to manipulate the 2002 presidential elections in his favour.

One of the ways would be to deny the urban voters the right to vote by providing fewer polling stations while favouring the rural areas where he had more support.

He said another way was for the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front to arrange for its supporters to double or triple vote.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE2970, MDC MP PREDICTS JANUARY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE2970

2001-10-05 08:07

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.

 

050807Z Oct 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8793

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02970 01 OF 02 051316Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 EUR-00   VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   L-00     AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01   PA-00

PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SS-00   TRSE-00

T-00     USIE-00 PMB-00   DRL-02   G-00     SAS-00     /005W

——————2A5A4D 051316Z /07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9892

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002970

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 09/28/11

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: MDC MP PREDICTS JANUARY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF MATT HARRINGTON. REASONS:

1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN JANUARY?

———————————

 

1. (C) IN A BRIEF SEPTEMBER 27 CONVERSATION WITH POLITICAL

SECTION CHIEF, MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) MEMBER OF

PARLIAMENT DAVID COLTART SHARED HIS VIEWS ON SEVERAL SIMMERING

POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS. REGARDING THE STILL UNSCHEDULED 2002

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, THE MDC MP SAID IT WOULD BE VERY CLOSE, AND

MOBILIZATION OF VOTERS WAS CRUCIAL FOR BOTH ZANU-PF AND THE MDC.

HE NOTED THAT THE CONSTITUTION REQUIRES THAT THE ELECTION BE HELD

WITHIN 90 DAYS PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF THE CURRENT PRESIDENT’S

MANDATE. SINCE MUGABE’S MANDATE EXPIRES ON APRIL 1, 2002, THE

ELECTION MUST BE HELD BETWEEN JANUARY 1 AND MARCH 31.   CURRENT

ELECTORAL LAW REQUIRES ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE ELECTION BETWEEN FIVE

AND EIGHT WEEKS IN ADVANCE, AND COLTART SAID SEVERAL SIGNS POINTED

TO AN EARLY JANUARY ELECTION. FIRST, IT WILL BE EASIER FOR RURAL

VOTERS — ZANU-PF’S TRADITIONAL STRONGHOLD — TO GET TO POLLING

STATIONS IN JANUARY, WHEN THERE IS NORMALLY A LAPSE IN THE RAINY

SEASON, AS OPPOSED TO FEBRUARY AND MARCH, WHEN THE RAINS ARE

HEAVIEST. IN ADDITION, THE IMPENDING MAIZE SHORTAGE IS EXPECTED

TO HIT HARDEST TOWARD THE END OF THE 90-DAY PERIOD. THIRD, IT

MIGHT BE DIFFICULT TO MOUNT AN EFFECTIVE INTERNATIONAL OBSERVATION

EFFORT SO SOON AFTER THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS. LAST, IF THE RESULTS

OF A JANUARY ELECTION ARE INCONCLUSIVE, MUGABE WOULD HAVE TWO

MONTHS — UNTIL HIS TERM EXPIRES — TO MANIPULATE THE PROCESS IN

HIS FAVOR.

 

ELECTORAL MISCHIEF

——————

 

2. (C) ACCORDING TO COLTART, ZANU-PF’S BOTTOM-LINE STRATEGY IS TO

INCREASE THE VOTE IN COMMUNAL FARMING AREAS — WHERE ITS SUPPORT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02970 01 OF 02 051316Z

IS STRONGEST — AND TO SUPPRESS THE URBAN, COMMERCIAL FARMER, AND

FARMWORKER VOTE — AMONG WHOM THE MDC ENJOYS SOLID SUPPORT.

COLTART HAD THE DAY BEFORE VISITED HWEDZA, A TOWN APPROXIMATELY

150 KM SOUTHEAST OF HARARE TORN IN RECENT WEEKS BY AN INTENSIFIED

CAMPAIGN AGAINST FARMERS AND FARMWORKERS. FARMING ACTIVITY HAD

CEASED ENTIRELY ON 24 OF THE 45 COMMERCIAL FARMS IN THE AREA,

COLTART REPORTED. ON 19 OF THOSE 24, THERE WERE NO WORKERS LEFT,

AS THEY HAD BEEN FORCQINTO HIDING BY ZANU-PF’S MILITIA. COLTART

SAID HE HAS TOLD THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION (CFU) LEADERSHIP

THAT THEY MUST DO MORE TO PUBLICIZE WHAT IS HAPPENING IN HWEDZA

AND IN OTHER AREAS. TOWARD THAT END, HE SUGGESTED THAT THE CFU

HOLD WEEKLY NEWS CONFERENCES AT WHICH THEY SHOW VIDEO FOOTAGE, BUT

HE SAID THE ORGANIZATION PREFERS TO KEEP A LOW PROFILE AND AVOID

BURNING ITS BRIDGES WITH GOVERNMENT.

 

3. (C) ASKED WHETHER VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION WOULD KEEP URBAN

VOTERS AWAY FROM THE POLLS, COLTART SAID NO, BUT MENTIONED OTHER

TACTICS WHICH COULD KEEP THEM AT HOME ON ELECTION DAY. ONE WOULD

BE TO REDUCE SIGNIFICANTLY THE NUMBER OF POLLING STATIONS IN URBAN

AREAS, MAKING ACCESS TO THE BALLOT BOX DIFFICULT FOR THOSE WITHOUT

RELIABLE MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. HE NOTED THAT 170 POLLING

STATIONS WERE USED IN BULAWAYO FOR THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN

JUNE 2000, IN CONTRAST TO 71 FOR THE SEPTEMBER 2001 MAYORAL VOTE,

ONE POSSIBLE EXPLANATION FOR THE LOW TURNOUT IN THE LATTER

ELECTION. COLTART ALSO EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT ZANU-PF MIGHT

ARRANGE FOR ITS SUPPORTERS TO DOUBLE- OR TRIPLE-VOTE. ONE

APPROACH THEY MIGHT EMPLOY, COLTART SURMISED, WOULD BE TO ENSURE

THAT SELECTED POLLING STATIONS ARE SUPERVISED BY SYMPATHETIC

PRESIDING OFFICERS WILLING TO OVERLOOK THE INDELIBLE INK PLACED ON

VOTERS’ HANDS WHEN THEY CAST A BALLOT.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 02970 01 OF 02 051316Z

U.S. TRIP

———

 

4. (U) COLTART MENTIONED THAT HE WOULD BE IN NEW YORK ON PERSONAL

BUSINESS FOR SEVERAL DAYS BEGINNING OCTOBER 9. HE ALSO PLANS TO

VISIT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 15-16, WHEN HE WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR

MEETINGS WITH USG OFFICIALS.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

5. (C) THE RULING PARTY’S STRATEGY OF INCREASING TURNOUT IN RURAL

COMMUNAL AREAS AND SUPPRESSING THE URBAN VOTE IS PROBABLY THE BEST

METHOD AVAILABLE TO ZANU-PF IN ITS QUEST TO RETAIN POWER. URBAN

VOTERS ARE UNLIKELY TO BE DETERRED, HOWEVER, BY MANY OF THE

OBSTACLES THROWN IN THEIR WAY, AND WE EXPECT THEM TO TURN OUT IN

LARGE NUMBERS ON ELECTION DAY. THE RESIDENTS OF CITIES AND TOWNS

HAVE THUS FAR BORNE THE BRUNT OF ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMIC COLLAPSE, AND

THEY ARE ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE OPPORTUNITY TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS.

 

6. (C) REGARDING THE TIMING OF THE ELECTION, COLTART MAKES A

LOGICAL CASE FOR EARLY JANUARY. HOWEVER, A LAPSE IN THE RAINY

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8801

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02970 02 OF 02 051317Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 EUR-00   VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   L-00     AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01   PA-00

PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SS-00   TRSE-00

T-00     USIE-00 PMB-00   DRL-02   G-00     SAS-00     /005W

——————2A5A7D 051317Z /07

P 050807Z OCT 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9893

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 002970

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 09/28/11

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: MDC MP PREDICTS JANUARY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

 

SEASON IS FAR FROM A SURE THING; IN 2000, A DRY SPELL OCCURRED IN

DECEMBER AND NONE AT ALL THE YEAR BEFORE THAT. ZANU-PF’S CHIEF

WHIP IN PARLIAMENT, JORAM GUMBO, TOLD US ON OCTOBER 2 THAT THE

RULING PARTY WOULD NOT BE READY FOR A JANUARY ELECTION AND NOTED

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02970 02 OF 02 051317Z

THAT A THIRD OF THE COUNTRY LIKELY WOULD BE INACCESSIBLE THEN,

MAKING CAMPAIGNING — AND VOTING — IMPOSSIBLE IN ZANU-PF’S

HEARTLAND. GUMBO SAID THE PARTY’S PREFERENCE WOULD BE APRIL (N.B.

WHICH WOULD BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL), BY WHICH TIME THE RAINS USUALLY

HAVE SLACKENED. WE CAN ONLY SURMISE THAT GUMBO HAS YET TO FACTOR

THE LOOMING FOOD SHORTAGES EXPECTED NEXT SPRING INTO HIS CALENDAR.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(19 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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