Madhuku beaten up but refused to go to hospital


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National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku was severely beaten when police violently dispersed an NCA demonstration nearly 10 years ago but he refused to be taken to hospital because he was afraid the authorities would come after him again.

Police arrested 118 demonstrators calling for a new constitution and beat up about 50.

Madhuku was beaten severely by police before being dumped, bleeding and semi-conscious, on a roadside on the edge of Harare.

His injuries included bruises all over his body, a deep cut on his head, and chest pains.

Madhuku said that the police beating him had said that they would have to “eliminate” him at some stage, but then backed off and were helping him to staunch his bleeding before they dumped him out of their truck.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 04HARARE220, NCA MARCH VIOLENTLY SUPPRESSED; LEADER BEATEN

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

04HARARE220

2004-02-05 11:59

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

051159Z Feb 04

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000220

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR SDELISI, LAROIAN, MRAYNOR

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER, DTEITELBAUM

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR CNEARY

NAIROBI FOR TPFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2009

TAGS: PHUM PGOV SOCI ZI

SUBJECT: NCA MARCH VIOLENTLY SUPPRESSED; LEADER BEATEN

 

REF: 03 HARARE 2100

 

Classified By: Political Officer Win Dayton under Section 1.5(b)(d)

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Police on February 4 quickly and violently

dispersed an early afternoon demonstration organized by the

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) in support of a new

constitution.   According to a local human rights lawyer,

police arrested 118 protesters and beat up about 50. At

least one was reported to be unconscious and still in the

hospital on February 5. Embassy has e-mailed to the

Department a list furnished by the Zimbabwe Human Rights

Lawyers Association of 34 individuals beaten and injured by

police. An NCA representative claimed that the demonstration

drew participants from Bulawayo and Mutare and numbered 2500

but bystanders estimated the crowd at 100-150. The

representative advised that the organization had not applied

for a permit for the event. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (SBU) The human rights lawyer told the Embassy that those

arrested were being charged under the Miscellaneous Offenses

Act, not the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). He said

that a senior official of the police’s Law and Order Unit

(which is charged with enforcing POSA) had refused at the

station to book them under POSA, insisting instead that other

police charge them under the lesser offense. According to

the lawyer, the official had said he “was tired” of dealing

with demonstrators and that POSA bookings were a “waste of

time.” (Comment: Historically, POSA has been used as a

pretext to arrest and detain regime opponents briefly but not

to convict or imprison them for any length of time. End

comment.) The lawyer expected all those detained to be

released on February 5 or 6, perhaps after paying nominal

fines.

 

3. (SBU) Beaten but not arrested was NCA President Lovemore

Madhuku, who was taken from the scene of the protest and

beaten severely by police before being dumped, bleeding and

semi-conscious, on a roadside on the edge of town. Retrieved

later in the day by supporters, he refused to seek admission

to hospital out of fear that authorities would come after him

again, according to the lawyer. His injuries included

bruises all over his body, a deep cut on his head, and chest

pains. Madhuku told a foreign diplomat February 5 that the

police beating him had said that they would have to

“eliminate” him at some stage, but then backed off and were

helping him to staunch his bleeding before they dumped him

out of their truck. He told the diplomat that he planned to

go back to work on February 6.

 

4. (C) COMMENT: Keeping to form, the GOZ has responded to a

non-violent opposition event with just enough brutal but

non-lethal force to disperse the event quickly and to project

a deterrent message. The Law and Order Unit’s reported lack

of enthusiasm suggests an ambivalence among many police

toward Zimbabwe’s frequent but modest efforts at civil

disobedience. Indeed, much of Zimbabwe’s protest activity

has become ritualized, with protesters and police becoming so

familiar with their roles and with each other that they joke

among themselves on the margins of many events and at the

police station. Such ambivalence and chumminess, however,

alarms the heavily politicized higher police echelons, who

reportedly are responding with personnel moves to politicize

the department’s mid-ranks more deeply in an effort to assure

a more disciplined reaction to opposition activities.

Concerns for police discipline and capacity also fuel the

GOZ’s reportedly increasing reliance on the military and the

youth militia to suppress opposition activities, including

political campaigning.

 

5. (C) COMMENT (CONT’D): The NCA continues to be one of the

more confrontational of Zimbabwe’s numerous non-violent

politically oriented NGOs. Some of the opposition MDC

party’s principals are former principals of the NCA, and the

NCA made a strong solidarity statement at December’s MDC

party conference. The NCA nonetheless openly opposes any

constitutional talks between the MDC and ZANU-PF and

self-consciously distances itself from the MDC at times. The

iconoclastic constitutional scholar Madhuku, who has been

arrested ten times for acts of civil disobedience, can be

counted on to continue his public campaign for a new

“people’s” constitution with varying degrees of coordination

with the MDC. For its part, the MDC is comfortable with

having the NCA and civil society bear the brunt of the GOZ’s

brutal intolerance as it continues to evaluate the

environment for a party-engineered mass action.

SULLIVAN

 

(26 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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