MDC majority threatened by arrests


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The Movement for Democratic Change was in danger of losing its parliamentary majority because of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front’s strategy of engineering criminal convictions against MDC legislators.

This was said by the United States embassy after MDC legislator Shuwa Mudiwa of Mutare West was convicted of kidnapping a 12-year old girl.

Mudiwa was the third MDC legislator to be convicted in three months. Three other legislators had pending criminal charges against them.

MDC treasurer, Roy Bennett, who had been appointed senator was also facing charges and could lose his seat if convicted.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE522, ANOTHER MDC MP CONVICTED

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE522

2009-06-29 09:26

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4650

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2331

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2911

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RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2293

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2660

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3078

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5521

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2206

RUZEHAA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

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RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

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RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000522

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR M. GAVIN

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

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PHUM ASEC KDEM PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: ANOTHER MDC MP CONVICTED

 

——-

SUMMARY

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1. (SBU) In a growing pattern of criminal conviction of MDC Members

of Parliament (MPs), Shua Mudiwa MP for Mutare West (which includes

the Chiadzwa diamond fields) was convicted on kidnapping charges on

June 20. Mudiwa remains in custody awaiting a potential life

sentence on June 27. He denies the charges and plans to appeal the

conviction. Mudiwa is the third MDC-T MP convicted in the last six

months. END SUMMARY.

 

——————————————— —-

Mudiwa’s Kidnapping Charges Instigated by Zanu-PF

——————————————— —-

 

2. (SBU) The charges against Mudiwa were first raised during the

election campaign period in 2007. It was alleged that he had

kidnapped a 12-year-old girl and kept her locked in a house for

three days. The police, finding no evidence of wrong doing, released

Mudiwa and the case remained dormant until June 2008 when the

charges were revived.

 

3. (SBU) Mudiwa’s lawyer and fellow MDC-T MP Douglas Mwonzora told

us that the charges against Mudiwa are politically motivated and are

engineered by ZANU-PF. He said that in 2007 and after the police

refused to investigate, Christopher Mushohwe, the ZANU-PF

parliamentary candidate for the same seat, took the complainant to

his rallies where she narrated her ‘kidnapping ordeal.’ Mushohwe

still lost the election to Mudiwa and the High Court subsequently

dismissed his petition to set aside the election result. Once he

lost the petition he influenced the ZANU-PF-aligned Attorney General

(AG) Tomana to prosecute Mudiwa in hopes of recapturing the seat if

a by-election was ordered.

 

——————————————— —-

Mudiwa Police Witnesses Prevented from Testifying

——————————————— —-

 

4. (SBU) The two police officers Mudiwa was with at the time of the

alleged kidnapping and who initially exonerated him were later

transferred to an unknown post before trial and were unavailable to

give evidence on behalf of Mudiwa. Mwonzora said that the police

refused to tell him where the officers were transferred. Had the two

police officers testified Mudiwa could have been acquitted.

 

5. (SBU) Mwonzora told us that it was clear that Mushohwe, a

senior Zanu-PF member and Governor for Manicaland was behind the

transfer of the police officers to ensure Mudiwa was convicted in

hopes that a by-election would be won by Zanu-PF.

 

6. (SBU) In a move viewed by Mudiwa’s lawyers as evidence of

Zanu-PF interference and manipulation, Magistrate Hlekani Mwayera

was promoted to Acting Chief Magistrate following her handling of

the case. She was transferred to Harare. Mwonzora said that the

promotion was payback for her role in convicting Mudiwa on dubious

Qpromotion was payback for her role in convicting Mudiwa on dubious

evidence.

 

—————————————

Mudiwa denied clothing in Remand Prison

—————————————

 

7. (SBU) While Mudiwa awaits sentencing on June 27, he remains

 

HARARE 00000522 002 OF 002

 

 

in the Mutare remand prison. This is the same dirty facility where

MDC-T official Roy Bennett was jailed earlier this year. We spoke to

fellow MDC-T MP for Makoni South Pishai Muchauraya who told us that

for several days the remand prison authorities denied Mudiwa proper

clothing. Instead they gave him a piece of a dirty blanket which he

wrapped around his body all day. Muchauraya said Mudiwa was

depressed and demoralized.

 

————————————-

MDC Parliamentary Majority Threatened

————————————-

 

8. (SBU) The MDC’s majority in Parliament is in danger of being

upset by Zanu-PF’s strategy of engneering criminal convictions. To

date three MDC MPs have been convicted and at least three others

have pending criminal charges against them. In the short term, the

convicted MPs will keep their seats while their appeals are pending

but will lose them if the convictions are upheld by the appellate

courts.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

9. (SBU) The ongoing crackdown on MDC MPs by ZANU-PF-aligned

police and the AG demonstrates the continued fragility of the

inclusive government and the MDC’s parliamentary majority. In a

meeting on June 23, the MDC referred Mudiwa’s arrest to SADC, but

that referral is unlikely to result in any action in the immediate

future. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

 

(6 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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