National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku organised a stay-away to protest against Operation Restore Order (Murambatsvina) through the Broad Alliance, which was reportedly a grouping of civic organisations and opposition parties including the Movement for Democratic Change.
He said the stay-away was just the first step with follow on street protests planned.
Gandhi Mudzingwa, MDC Director of Presidential Affairs, confirmed that Lovemore Madhuku was the impetus behind the stay-away.
He said that the party could not go against it and would thus support it but that he, personally, and many in the party felt that there should be more preparation before any mass action.
Mudzingwa said even if the stay-away did not fully succeed it could project a message that the opposition was still active, and might thereby give people hope.
Viewing cable 05HARARE788, STAY-AWAY PLANNED FOR JUNE 9 AND 10
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
071226Z Jun 05
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000788
AF FOR DAS T. WOODS
AF/S FOR B. NEULING
OVP FOR NULAND
NSC FOR DNSA ABRAMS, SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2010
SUBJECT: STAY-AWAY PLANNED FOR JUNE 9 AND 10
Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i. Eric T. Schultz under Section 1.
¶1. (C) The “Broad Alliance” of civil society and opposition
groups, including the MDC, is organizing a mass work stoppage
for June 9 and 10, as a first step toward possible later mass
protests. However, the National Constitutional Assembly’s
(NCA) Lovemore Madhuku appears to the stay-away’s driving
force, rather than the MDC. End Summary.
First Large-Scale Mass-Action Planned
¶2. (C) Through the Broad Alliance, Madhuku is organizing a
mass stay-away June 9 and 10, calling for citizens to stay
home from work those days to protest Operation Restore Order.
Madhuku told emboffs that, depending on the response to the
stay-away, the Broad Alliance would organize follow-on mass
protests next week. He said that the organizations under the
Broad Alliance were trying their best to disseminate
information about the stay-away, adding that those with
Internet access would certainly receive the information but
that he was worried that ordinary industrial workers would
not get the message.
¶3. (C) Madhuku said not all in the Broad Alliance were giving
equal effort to getting the message out, which he attributed
to a delay in forming a consensus as to the timing of the
stay-away. However, Madhuku expressed confidence that it
would be successful and said the stay-away was just the first
step, with follow-on street protests planned for next week.
(N.B. In a positive development, the independent weekly The
Standard reported the stay-away plans in a front-page article
June 5, providing much needed publicity for the mass action.)
¶4. (C) Gandhi Mudzingwa, MDC Director of Presidential
Affairs, confirmed that Lovemore Madhuku was the impetus
behind the stay-away. He said that the party could not go
against it and would thus support it but that he, personally,
and many in the party felt that there should be more
preparation before any mass action. That said, although the
MDC was not planning any particular activity as a party it
was trying to spread word of the stay-away through the
party,s structures. He added that even if the stay-away did
not fully succeed it could project a message that the
opposition was still active, and might thereby give people
¶5. (C) The success of the stay-away may be hard to measure.
With economic activity at such a low level, even if most
employed Zimbabweans stay away from work, the impact may not
be very noticeable. The opposition hopes to turn downtown
Harare, as well as other major cities, into ghost towns, but
Operation Restore Order has already accomplished that to some
extent. Moreover, the plan,s passivity fails to tap into
the anger of the tens of thousands who have lost their homes
and businesses through the GOZ’s recent actions. That said,
the opposition had to start somewhere and the stay-away has
the advantage of avoiding direct confrontation with the
regime while potentially building momentum. For its part,
the MDC,s unwillingness to a leading role in this event will
likely reinforce the perception of many Zimbabweans that the
party remains paralyzed by the March parliamentary election
results and is unable to respond effectively to the