Magistrate said Mukoko should remain at clinic


0

Harare magistrate Gloria Takundwa ruled that Jestina Mukoko and FidelisChiramba should remain at Avenues Clinic for examination and treatment until both the prison doctor and their own doctors deemed them fit to return to Chikurubi prison.

Mukoko, Chiramba, and Ghandi Mudzingwa had been taken to Avenues, treated for several hours, and then taken back to Chikurubi by prison officials. The officials, however, relented and allowed the three to return to Avenues where they were admitted.

Takundwa insisted on visiting Mukoko and Chiramba at Avenues Clinic, together with lawyers for both sides.

Prosecutor Florence Ziyambi said the State was not prepared for the hearing because they had not yet received opinions from all medical experts but Takundwa refused to delay the hearing.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE130, ZANU-PF HARDLINERS USE ARRESTS TO MAINTAIN PRESSURE

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

09HARARE130

2009-02-18 05:39

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4998

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0130/01 0490539

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 180539Z FEB 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4054

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2638

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2760

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1237

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2029

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2385

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2809

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5237

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1930

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000130

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/17/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF HARDLINERS USE ARRESTS TO MAINTAIN PRESSURE

 

REF: A. HARARE 115

¶B. 08 HARARE 1147

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4(b) and (d).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

¶1. (C) On Friday Feburary 13, MDC Treasurer and nominee for

Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Roy Bennett, was arrested at

an airport outside Harare and taken in a high speed getaway

to the eastern city of Mutare. Although lawyers were assured

he would be brought to court on Monday February 16, the

hearing was delayed while hundreds of MDC supporters

maintained a 24-hour vigil outside the courthouse and

adjoining jail where Bennett continues to be held. In other

court cases on the 13th and 16th for abduction victims, the

State continued its attempts to deny abductees medical care

and to delay hearings and a trial date. ZANU-PF hardliners

may be using continued arrests and intimidation as a

bargaining chip to secure amnesty for human rights abuses.

END SUMMARY.

 

—————————

Details of Bennett’s Arrest

—————————

 

¶2. (U) On the afternoon of February 13, Bennett and a group

of friends were in a small plane, cleared for takeoff at

Prince Charles Airport, a small airport just outside Harare,

when the control tower told the plane to return to the

terminal. Bennett, the MDC’s treasurer and nominee for

Deputy Minister of Agriculture had recently openly returned

from South Africa where he was in self-imposed exile after

fleeing in 2006 when police wanted to question him in

connection with an arms cache. The arms cache was discovered

in 2006 at the home of friend and colleague Peter Hitschman.

The state alleged that Bennett and Peter Hitschman conspired

to use the arms (found at Hitschman’s Mutare home) to destroy

a government communications tower. Hitschman faced trial and

was found not guilty of the insurgency charge but was found

guilty of possessing weapons without a license. Hitschman

remains in the Mutare remand prison, where MDC supporters

contine to bring him food on a daily basis, and is due to be

released in June 2009. Bennett had gone into hiding in

Harare after learning there was a warrant for his arrest

based on the 2006 charges and was en route back to South

Africa. He was planning to return to Harare for his

swearing-in.

 

¶3. (C) After the plane returned to the terminal, Bennett was

taken to Goromonzi police station (near Harare) and charged

with treason. He was then driven at high speed towards

Mutare. A strong network of MDC supporters followed the

truck he was in to the Mutare police station. (NOTE:

Witnesses told us police later took off the civilian license

plates, revealing a Ministry of Lands license plate

underneath – indicating the vehicle originated from the

Reserve Bank. END NOTE.)

 

¶4. (U) According to Zimbabwean law, an accused person must be

brought to court to face charges and be granted the

opportunity to apply for bail within 48 hours of arrest, or

96 hours over the weekend. Bennett’s team of lawyers was

Q96 hours over the weekend Bennett’s team of lawyers was

assured he would appear in court on the morning of Monday

February 16 at 10:00 a.m. A group of diplomats (American,

German, Dutch, and European Commission) went to Mutare for

the hearing and found hundreds of well-wishers and numerous

journalists on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse.

Mid-morning, the State was granted a warrant for 48

additional hours’ detention. Local police officials informed

 

HARARE 00000130 002 OF 003

 

 

Bennett’s lawyers that a prosecutor from Harare (presumably

Florence Ziyambi, the GOZ’s lead prosecutor) was coming to

present the State’s argument. Despite the fact that Bennett

was not brought to court on Monday, the local prosecutor

informed his attorneys that the State was changing the

charges from treason to attempting to commit acts of

insurgency, banditry, sabotage, or terrorism.

 

¶5. (SBU) On Tuesday, Bennett appeared in court in Mutare and

was charged with banditry and violating the immigration act

by leaving and returning to the country illegally. The

hearing continued for several hours in the afternoon. (NOTE:

We will provide an update with details from the afternoon

portion when the hearing is over. END NOTE)

 

———————————–

MDC Manicaland Organizes Supporters

———————————–

 

¶6. (C) When Bennett arrived at the Mutare police station on

Friday evening, a crowd of approximately 200 MDC supporters

gathered outside the station. Word quickly spread that they

planned on moving Bennett to a secret location. When the

truck that had brought Bennett to Mutare began to leave the

station, the singing crowd moved to block it. Police, who

included reinforcements brought from nearby Birchenough

Bridge and Harare, forced the crowd back. Several MDC

supporters told us that the Mutare officers held batons

threateningly while imploring in peaceful whispers “please

back up” — while supervising officers from Harare looked on

from a distance. The MDC believed that reinforcements were

brought in because police knew the Mutare officers would not

act violently against their fellow citizens. The officers

from Birchenough Bridge brought three German Shepherd dogs —

usually used to control diamond diggers in Chiadzwa — to

control the crowd. One person was bitten by one of the dogs,

but MDC supporters beat the officer and stole his tear gas

canisters from his belt. Another MDC supporter was badly

beaten. In retaliation, MDC supporters broke windows at

several ZANU-PF affiliated businesses in downtown Mutare. On

Monday, the security presence around the courthouse and jail

remained high; police also drove in two water cannon trucks

from Harare which were conspicuously driven past the

courthouse during the day.

 

¶7. (U) On Saturday, 10 MDC supporters who participated in the

Friday protest were arrested, including the man bitten by the

dog. They remain in custody.

 

¶8. (SBU) Since Bennett’s arrest, hundreds of MDC supporters

have gathered outside the court in a calm 24-hour vigil.

Throughout the day on Monday, Mutare’s Mayor Brian James and

several MPs and Senators from Manicaland stayed at the

courthouse, sharing information with lawyers, diplomats,

journalists, and MDC supporters. The attention, organization

and massive support from both high-level MDC officials and

average citizens stood in stark contrast to the abduction

cases in Harare; very few senior-level MDC supporters have

Qcases in Harare; very few senior-level MDC supporters have

attended any of the numerous court hearings since 18

abductees appeared in Harare jails on December 23. On Monday,

Mayor James took the unusual step of arranging for someone to

bring food to the courthouse to feed police, who had not

eaten and were only paid $37 trillion last month — less than

USD1.

 

————————————-

Abductee Update: No Closer to Release

————————————-

 

¶9. (C) Separately, on Friday February 13 Magistrate Gloria

Takundwa ruled in Harare that Jestina Mukoko and Fidelis

Chiramba should remain at Avenues Clinic for examination and

 

HARARE 00000130 003 OF 003

 

 

treatment until both the prison doctor and their own doctors

have deemed them fit to return to Chikurubi prison. Their

continued detention will be reviewed again on February 27.

Mukoko, Chiramba, and Ghandi Mudzingwa (whose medical orders

were issued by the High Court) were taken to Avenues mid-day

Thursday February 12, treated for several hours, and then

taken back to Chikurubi by prison officials (ref A). Late on

the night of the 12th, prison officials relented and allowed

the three to return to Avenues where they were admitted and

remain.

 

¶10. (U) In the Friday hearing, Takundwa took the unusual step

of insisting on visiting Mukoko and Chiramba at Avenues

Clinic, together with lawyers for both sides. Initially,

prosecutor Florence Ziyambi said the State was not prepared

for the hearing because they had not yet received opinions

from all medical experts. Takundwa, however, refused to

delay the hearing.

 

¶11. (U) After returning from the hospital, the State called

one witness, Dr. Makadza, the doctor from Chikurubi prison.

Dr. Makadza told the court that he believed Mukoko and

Chiramba should remain in hospital for at least one week for

tests and treatment. He explained that Chiramba has severe

high blood pressure that he could not control with

medication, congestive heart failure, and renal failure. He

also told the court that Mukoko suffered from a high

temperature from an undetermined cause, high blood pressure,

high blood sugar, and thrombophlebitis — injury-induced

swelling on the soles of her feet (NOTE: These injuries were

likely caused when Mukoko was tortured by state agents in

mid-December (ref B). END NOTE.). Prosecutor Florence Ziyambi

attempted to contest the evidence and opinions set forth by

Dr. Makadza and requested additional time to call another

doctor who was “unavailable” at the time. Takundwa refused.

 

¶12. (C) On Monday, the seven men accused of bombing police

stations (Chris Dhlamini and others) were due to appear for a

bail hearing. The State requested a postponement of the

earing, as the prison did not have fuel to bring the

prisoners. Magistrate Takundwa deferred the hearing to

February 18, but told the State to ensure the prisoners were

present.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

¶13. (C) Bennett’s arrest and the State’s continued use of

delay tactics with respect to the abductees continue to

frustrate hopes for the unity government. It is not yet

clear whether Mugabe ordered or acquiesced in Bennett’s

arrest or whether hardliners, including security chiefs, and

Emmerson Mnangagwa, are going around Mugabe to attempt to

sabotage the government through refusing to release detainees

and actions such as the arrest of Bennett. END COMMENT.

MCGEE

 

(7 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
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.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *