Former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell, the man who was reportedly sent to Zimbabwe to effect regime change, said the effectiveness of demonstrations by the National Constitutional Assembly was questionable because of the non-involvement of other opposition groups.
Dell described, the NCA, a civic organisation, as the only opposition group willing to organise and participate in street demonstrations.
NCA leader Lovemore Madhuku had just reported that a demonstration that was intended for a small group at the South African embassy had failed to materialise because police arrived at the embassy before the demonstration.
Another demonstration was blocked by police and about 30 people were arrested.
Madhuku said most other opposition organisations stayed away from the demonstrations, although they were informed about both in advance.
Viewing cable 04HARARE1497, CIVIL SOCIETY A NO-SHOW AT NCA DEMONSTRATION
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
021132Z Sep 04
UNCLAS HARARE 001497
AF/S FOR BNEULING
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVELLE, D. TEITELBAUM
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: CIVIL SOCIETY A NO-SHOW AT NCA DEMONSTRATION
REF: A. HARARE 778
¶B. HARARE 220
¶1. (SBU) The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) had
planned two demonstrations for September 1, according to NCA
Chairman Lovemore Madhuku. The first, intended to be a
demonstration by a small group in front of the South African
Embassy, failed to materialize. An NCA member delivered a
letter to the South African Ambassador before the
demonstration, and by the time he emerged the police had
arrived. The second, planned to include about 500 NCA members
and individuals from other organizations, occurred in
downtown Harare. According to Madhuku, about 200 NCA members
participated in the demonstration while a larger group of
about 300 was blocked by police from participating. Madhuku
said about 30 were arrested and several demonstrators were
¶2. (SBU) Madhuku said most other opposition organizations
stayed away from the demonstrations, although they were
informed about both in advance. He said another demonstration
would be planned for the near future, for which he hoped to
get better turnout.
¶3. (SBU) COMMENT: NCA continues to be the only part of the
opposition willing to organize and participate in street
demonstrations (see reftels). As evidenced by the lack of
turnout, members of other organizations and ordinary citizens
are not willing to risk physical and economic consequences.
Without the involvement of other opposition groups, the
effectiveness of the demonstrations is questionable. END