Matinenga on target list?


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The government had drawn up a target list of newly elected Movement for Democratic Change Members of Parliament whom it was to arrest in an intimidation campaign in the run-up to the presidential elections run off.

This was said by former Mutare mayor Misheck Kagurabadza who was fired by the government in 2005 but had returned to national politics after being elected MP for Mutasa South.

The United States embassy said Kagurabadza was correct that there was a target list as another legislator Ian Kay had been arrested.

Others arrested included the leader of the smaller faction of the MDC Arthur Mutambara and the new MP for Buhera Eric Matinenga.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE478, NEW MDC MP FEARS FOR SAFETY, HOPES FOR ELECTION

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

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE478

2008-06-02 15:49

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO9067

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0478/01 1541549

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 021549Z JUN 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2975

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2017

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2138

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0680

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1415

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1773

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2194

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4625

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1280

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000478

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

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

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/02/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: NEW MDC MP FEARS FOR SAFETY, HOPES FOR ELECTION

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i. Glenn Warren for reasons 1.4 (b,

d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Newly elected MDC MP for Mutasa South,

Michek Kagurabadzwa is in hiding, fearing arrest and

detention. Press reports indicate that five MDC MPs have

been jailed in recent weeks. Despite the ongoing violence in

the countryside, including in his own constituency,

Kagurabadzwa remains optimistic that Zimbabweans will vote

MDC in the upcoming June 27 presidential runoff. He praised

Voice of America’s Studio 7 news show as a vital source of

information to rural voters and recognized the need to plan

now for MDC polling officials in the coming runoff. END

SUMMARY.

 

——————————-

Newly Elected MDC MP in Hiding

——————————-

 

2. (C) On May 29, Embassy officials met with Michek

Kagurabadzwa, the newly elected Movement for Democratic

Change (MDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Mutasa South – a

rural constituency in the eastern province of Manicaland.

The MDC won Mutasa South handily in the March 29 election.

Kagurabadzwa, who was removed by the Government of Zimbabwe

(GOZ) from his position as mayor of Mutare in 2005, said he

won his parliamentary seat by about 8,000 to his opponents

3,000 votes; MDC presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai

also carried the constituency handily.

 

3. (C) Kagurabadzwa reported that he had been in hiding in

Harare for one week, staying in a safe house. He reported

that he is on the same target “list” as another newly elected

MDC MP, Iain Kay from Marondera in nearby Mashonaland East.

(NOTE: According to press reports, Kay was arrested two weeks

ago on charges of “inciting violence” and he continues to be

held in prison in Mutoko, over an hour from Harare. Kay was

granted bail on May 23, but the State’s appeal means he will

stay in jail at least until a second hearing on June 4.

Several other MDC MPs have also been arrested in the last

couple of weeks. END NOTE.) Kagurabadzwa said unknown

individuals (possibly police) had been to his home twice, his

office three times, and friends’ homes in the last week

looking for him. Despite his fears, he planned on returning

home soon to continue campaigning for Tsvangirai for the June

27 presidential runoff.

 

4. (C) The new MP believes that he is being targeted, in

part, because of the shelter he provided to victims of

Operation Murambatsvina, the 2005 government campaign to

destroy opposition strongholds that left some 700,000

displaced. As the mayor of Mutare, the main city along the

Mozambican border, he provided shelter to some of these

internally displaced people (IDPs). He also took the United

Nations representatives to the high density areas in Mutare

where the IDPs were staying and gave interviews to the New

York Times, in direct violation of orders from central

authorities in Harare. Shortly thereafter, Kagurabadzwa was

fired from his position as mayor by the GOZ.

 

———————————–

Optimistic about the June 27 runoff

———————————–

 

5. (C) Regarding the June 27 runoff, Kagurabadzwa remains

optimistic that his constituency will come out and vote

again. He declared that people will not vote for ZANU-PF if

given the chance to vote. The MDC needs to focus its efforts

on sending polling agents to rural areas, as some polling

places were without MDC monitors during the March 29

elections. Within his own area, he will move urban agents to

rural polling places to both ensure broad coverage and reduce

 

HARARE 00000478 002 OF 002

 

 

the potential for rural intimidation on the local MDC polling

official. He said that all MPs would meet on May 30 to

coordinate their strategies for distributing agents.

 

—————————–

Rural Constituency Craves VOA

—————————–

 

6. (C) Kagurabadzwa praised Studio 7 (the local Voice of

America news program that airs in English and local languages

once a day) as playing a significant role in informing people

and as an alternative to the GOZ-sponsored media. Despite

the crucial role Studio 7 plays, he said that there were not

enough radios in rural areas. Unfortunately, many had been

confiscated by the government late last year. He reported

that rural voters in his area relied on hand-crank radios

supplied by a local farm workers union, General Agricultural

and Plantation Workers of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ). He asked that

we look into repeating the Studio 7 broadcast, as it is

sometimes partially or completely jammed by the GOZ. (NOTE:

Starting June 1, Studio 7 will broadcast twice daily. END

NOTE.)

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) Kagurabadzwa is certainly correct about the existence

of a “list” of targeted officials. In addition to Iain Kay’s

recent arrest, MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara was

arrested on Sunday as was Eric Matinenga, a prominent lawyer

and newly-elected parliamentarian for Buheru. ZANU-PF

appears to be complementing its campaign of violence,

designed to intimidated MDC supporters, with an effort to

destroy MDC organizational capacity through the arrest of

officials and parliamentarians. END COMMENT.

 

Warren

 

(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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