Dell said time was on the democratic forces’ side


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Former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell said democratic forces in Zimbabwe should remain steadfast against government repression because time was on their side as the country’s economic collapse sapped the government’s ability to crack down on them.

He was commenting after police and ZANU-PF militia cracked down on demonstrators from the National Constitutional Assembly who were protesting against the crackdown on their colleagues from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions a week earlier.

The demonstrators said that “the state had no shame in keeping in custody bleeding citizens” and that “the state seeks to silence all pro-democracy forces by naked brutality”.

Dell commented: “The violent response to the NCA march, like the ZCTU action before it, shows a weakening and fearful regime that is increasingly determined to suppress any open opposition, however lawful and peaceful.

“The challenge for Zimbabwe’s democratic forces is to remain steadfast against government repression and to realise that time is on their side as the country’s economic collapse further saps the regimes ability to crack down.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE1162, GOZ BRUTALLY REACTS TO NCA MARCHES

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

06HARARE1162

2006-09-21 14:04

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO5976

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1162 2641404

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 211404Z SEP 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0617

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1316

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1166

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1320

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0077

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0581

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0946

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1374

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3748

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1143

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1791

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1537

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001162

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/21/2015

TAGS: ASEC PGOV PHUM PREL ZI

SUBJECT: GOZ BRUTALLY REACTS TO NCA MARCHES

 

REF: REFTEL: HARARE 1143

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

1. (SBU) The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) staged

marches in key cities across Zimbabwe on September 20

triggering a violent police and ZANU-PF youth militia

reaction in Mutare and, to a lesser extent, Harare. Smaller

numbers of NCA supporters also marched in Gweru and Masvingo,

where some were arrested and briefly detained.   These

marches came exactly one week after the security forces

preempted nationwide marches by the Zimbabwe Congress of

Trade Unions (ZCTU) and severely beat several union leaders

(reftel). In a statement issued before the marches, the NCA

expressed solidarity with the ZCTU and said that “the state

had no shame in keeping in custody bleeding citizens” and

that “the state seeks to silence all pro-democracy forces by

naked brutality.

 

2. (SBU) The largest crackdown occurred in Mutare, where

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights lawyer Trust Manda told

poloff that approximately 170 demonstrators were arrested and

released later that night after paying admission of guilt

fines. (N.B. An independent online newspaper estimates that

about 300 activists marched in Mutare.)   NCA spokesperson

Madock Chivasa told us that many had been beaten and

assaulted while in custody. Amani Trust director Francis

Lovemore added between 13 and 20 activists were seriously

injured and were in medical treatment.

 

3. (SBU) In Harare, Chivasa said that five NCA members had

been arrested on September 20 by police, who subsequently

turned the activists over to ZANU-PF militia members for a

beating. NCA activists described the assaults in Harare as

the most brutal of that day and said some of the marchers had

been held at ZANU-PF headquarters. Chivasa said they were

released a few hours later.

 

4. (SBU) NCA Chairman Lovemore Madhuku suggested to us on

September 21 that the pressure group would be back on the

streets tomorrow or early next week.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

5. (C) The violent response to the NCA march, like the ZCTU

action before it, shows a weakening and fearful regime that

is increasingly determined to suppress any open opposition,

however lawful and peaceful. The challenge for Zimbabwe’s

democratic forces is to remain steadfast against government

repression and to realize that time is on their side as the

country,s economic collapse further saps the regimes ability

to crack down.

DELL

 

(3 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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