Madhuku is not a saint either


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The National Constitutional Assembly constitution had to be amended to allow Lovemore Madhuku to contest despite existing term limits raising concerns among the organisation’s supporters about the “anti-democratic” implications of the move.

That was seven years ago and Madhuku remains at the helm.

Madhuku said that the flap over his election at would not impair his stature with Zimbabwe’s democratic forces or effectiveness against the government.

The NCA says it will now be turned into a political party since the country has approved a new constitution.

It will be interesting to see what the name of the new party will be as it cannot continue to be called the NCA, just like it will be interesting to see whether the MDC will continue to be a Movement for Democratic Change even if it is elected to power.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE725, MADHUKU ON NCA PLANS, ATMOSPHERICS FOR CIVIL

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

06HARARE725

2006-06-16 09:22

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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PP RUEHMR

DE RUEHSB #0725/01 1670922

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RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1710

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1457

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

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RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000725

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

AFR/SA FOR E. LOKEN

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2011

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MADHUKU ON NCA PLANS, ATMOSPHERICS FOR CIVIL

RESISTANCE

 

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Eric T. Schultz under Section 1

.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Chairperson

Lovemore Madhuku on June 14 told poloff that his organization

would organize street demonstrations in the capital within

three weeks, with or without collaboration from the

opposition MDC and others in civil society. The NCA planned

to expand protests to other venues before launching national

action in late July. Madhuku conceded that public

inclination to act was subdued despite wide support for

change, including in rural areas. He also acknowledged that

despite growing police sympathy for democratic forces, the

intelligence apparatus’s were loyal to the regime and still

capable. The constitutional lawyer dismissed criticism of

his re-election at the NCA’s recent Annual General Meeting

(AGM) and emphasized the importance of concerted civil action

before ZANU-PF consolidated itself behind Mugabe,s chosen

successor in the run-up to an election he expected to occur

in 2008. End summary.

 

—————————–

Street Action in Coming Weeks

—————————–

 

2. (C) One of civil society’s foremost leaders, Madhuku said

his organization planned to put people back on the streets

within two or three weeks. With the dust settling on the

organization’s AGM, he expected to get up to 300 individuals

demonstrating in Harare initially, with other actions to

follow in the following month in Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, and

Masvingo. The NCA would also be interspersing smaller

actions periodically in Harare’s high density suburbs. As in

the past, constitutional reform would be the group’s

principal focus.

 

3. (C) Madhuku continued that the various protests would

lead up to a larger coordinated national action he hoped to

launch in late July. The lead-up protests would be

unannounced; the national action would be advertised. The

NCA was meeting separately on strategy with other democratic

forces, such as ZINASU (the student union) and the MDC’s

anti-senate faction, but the “broad alliance” of NGOs, unions

and the MDC had not gotten together formally since April.

Madhuku said that the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions

(ZCTU) had been out of the picture since long before its May

Congress and he did not expect them to re-engage in the near

term.

 

4. (C) Madhuku elaborated that MDC anti-senate faction

president Tsvangirai and his followers remained rhetorically

committed to a late-July resistance effort but he had seen

little evidence of any mobilization or preparation on their

part. Indeed, after blaming the NCA for dragging its feet on

civil resistance in April, the anti-senate faction now

appeared reluctant to engage in civil resistance. The NCA

would proceed with or without them, Madhuku asserted.

 

5. (C) Elaborating on the national mood and the setting for

civil resistance, Madhuku commented that Zimbabweans were

largely supportive of the democratic forces but still not

inclined to action out of a mixture of fear and apathy. In

rural and urban areas alike, he maintained, people recognized

him and were enthusiastically encouraging. Getting more than

 

HARARE 00000725 002 OF 003

 

 

a few hundred into the streets at one time, however, would

take more education and confidence-building — assuming no

unanticipated spark otherwise lit a fire under the broader

populace.

 

———————-

Tapping Rural Elements

———————-

 

6. (C) Centrally important to the NCA’s civil resistance

campaign was its growing effort to penetrate and mobilize

rural areas, according to Madhuku. Since October, the NCA

had conducted at least three workshops in each of the

country’s 120 constituencies. In the coming three months,

they would hold two more in each. Attended by 50 – 300

people, each workshop demonstrated connections between regime

misrule and community misery at the local level. The

workshops also empowered rural residents politically by

offering them promise of support by NCA structures and legal

representation should they run into trouble for political

participation.

 

7. (C) Madhuku assessed that the rural population remained

a largely untapped resource. Like most urban counterparts,

they were suffering and unhappy. Although many were under

the sway of ruling party patronage and propaganda, they could

in many cases be engaged. He asserted that the best

demonstrations conducted by the NCA were those in which rural

participants were bussed in because, unlike urban residents,

“they had nowhere to run.” Madhuku said resource constraints

kept them from playing a more regular or expanded role.

 

——————————————— ————

Security Forces Ambivalent, Intelligence Apparatus Strong

——————————————— ————

 

8. (C) Militating in favor of civil resistance was the

increasing ambivalence of the security forces, according to

Makhuku. He estimated that the level of outright support for

democratic forces within the police was approaching 50

percent. Indeed, he said he and other democratic players

regularly got invaluable tips from sympathetic police.

“Free-lance” violence was increasingly rare and few police

were overtly hostile absent direct orders from above. The

NCA had been around long enough that people recognized it for

what it was despite GOZ propaganda and even many in the GOZ

were comfortable with it, he explained.

 

9. (C) At the same time, Madhuku said he was impressed by

the continuing vitality of the GOZ intelligence apparatus.

Despite petrol shortages and other resource constraints,

their assets around the country kept the authorities very

well-informed. He said that the line of police questioning

during each of his more than dozen arrests demonstrated

extensive knowledge of all his activities. Further evidence

that arrests were intelligence and not law enforcement

exercises, he and any NCA member upon arrest always faced

extensive grilling about NGO activities and financing — but

never anything about the activity for which each purportedly

was arrested.

 

———————————–

AGM Flap Won’t Impair Effectiveness

———————————–

 

10. (C) Madhuku asserted that the flap over his election at

the NCA’s recent Annual General Meeting would not impair his

stature with Zimbabwe’s democratic forces or effectiveness

 

HARARE 00000725 003 OF 003

 

 

against the regime. The organization’s constitutional

amendment that permitted him to run again despite existing

term limits reflected the overwhelming majority of NCA

members. It had been spotlighted disingenuously by the GOZ.

The MDC pro-senate faction had for political reasons also

criticized him, but most other major players in civil society

had overtly endorsed or accepted his re-election without

objection. He conceded that several donors had expressed

concern about the apparent “anti-democratic” implications of

the exercise, but he was working to allay their fears.

 

—————————————-

Possible Internal ZANU-PF Rapprochement?

—————————————-

 

11. (C) Madhuku predicted that Mugabe would get ZANU-PF’s

warring Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions to reach some kind of

accommodation with a view to stepping down in 2008. Mugabe

could not afford to allow one to prevail over the other,

which could fracture the party and leave Mugabe essentially

unprotected. At the same time, neither faction nor the

populace as a whole would tolerate Mugabe staying on after

2008. Under the circumstances, Mugabe’s interests would be

best served by forging party unity with a promise to step

down in 2008 and yielding to an anointed successor. He

predicted Mnangagwa ultimately would accept Mujuru’s

succession chiefly because Mugabe would order it, but also

because she would prove a weak president and an easier

adversary for Mnangagwa than a Vice President Mujuru under

the status quo.

 

12. (C) Madhuku warned that a Mujuru candidate supported by

a “retiring” Mugabe would be a formidable electoral foe, even

assuming the nation’s economic crisis continued. People

would be so happy to usher the old man out, many would

“reward” him by voting for his chosen successor, even without

regard to the traditional illicit tools ZANU-PF employed to

manipulate elections. Factional tensions would be an issue

in the upper echelons but the party’s grassroots voters were

“homogeneous” and “good at taking orders”. Prospects for

such a scenario made action by democratic forces all the more

urgent now, Madhuku asserted, as the ruling party would begin

to close democratic space in the year before the 2008

election.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

13. (C) Many in civil society have voiced concerns about the

ham-handed inattention to process concerns in Madhuku’s

re-election as chair of an organization dedicated to

constitutionalism. Nonetheless, he remains respected at the

grassroots as one of civil society’s foremost street

organizers and someone who mans the trenches with his troops.

With their respective congresses behind them, the MDC and

ZCTU will be under pressure to support NCA demonstrations but

may proceed cautiously, sharing Madhuku’s assessment of the

public’s reticence to act as well as the regime,s residual

if declining ability to react.

SCHULTZ

 

(17 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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