MDC says it was not involved in Shiri assassination attempt


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The Movement for Democratic Change said it was not involved in the assassination attempt of Air Force chief Perrence Shiri adding that as a party it condemned the use of violence in any form.

Shiri was reportedly ambushed while driving to his farm on 13 September.

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi said the attack appeared to be part of targeted terrorist attacks to destabilise the country.

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti said that the party leadership was divided on whether the attack was a ploy or an actual attack resulting from ZANU factionalism related to succession.

In either case, the MDC was concerned that the attack could be used as part of the justification for a declaration of a state of emergency and a crackdown on the party.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE1128, ALLEGED SHIRI ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

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

08HARARE1128

2008-12-17 11:49

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8365

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1128 3521149

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 171149Z DEC 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3833

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2502

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2625

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1118

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1894

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2249

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2674

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5102

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1769

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001128

 

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

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ALLEGED SHIRI ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

 

REF: A. A) TD 314/090816-08

B. B) IIR 6 926 0054 09

 

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (d)

 

1. (U) The GOZ newspaper The Herald reported on December 16

that Air Force Marshal Perrance Shiri survived an

assassination attempt on September 13. According to The

Herald, Shiri was ambushed while driving to his farm at 8:30

pm and suffered a gunshot wound to his right hand. The paper

quoted Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Hohadi who, referring

to bombings of a police station and railroad bridge in August

and of a police station in November, said that the attack on

Shiri appeared to be part of targeted terrorist attacks to

destabilize the country.

 

2. (U) The Shiri shooting comes after allegations from

ZANU-PF that the MDC is operating paramilitary training camps

in Botswana. Reacting to this, MDC secretary-general Tendai

Biti has claimed that MDC officials abducted in Banket on

October 30 have been tortured into confessing involvement in

such camps.

 

3. (SBU) With regard to the Shiri shooting, the MDC issued a

press statement that reads in part: “The MDC notes with

disbelief the assassination attempt of Air Marshall Perence

(sic) Shiri as reported in The Herald…As a party, we

condemn the use of violence in any form whatsoever as an

instrument of navigating any political crisis…We therefore

wish Perence (sic) Shiri a quick recovery wherever he is.”

During a diplomatic briefing on December 17, Biti said that

the MDC leadership was divided on whether the attack was a

ploy or an actual attack resulting from ZANU factionalism

related to succession. In either case, however, the MDC was

concerned it could be used as part of the justification for a

declaration of a state of emergncy and a crackdown on the

MDC.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

4. (C) There is considerable doubt that the shooting of

Shiri was an assassination attempt. Two close Embassy

contacts with ties to ZANU-PF told us after talking with

individuals close to Shiri that it was not. Additionally,

reports indicate that Shiri was drving alone and was accosted

near his farm at a choke point. It should have been

relatively easy to kill him if that was the intent (Refs).

 

5. (C) Assuming this was not an assassination attempt, the

motive remains unclear. Along with allegations of MDC

training camps in Botswana, this could have been a ZANU-PF

orchestrated attempt to blame the MDC for destabilization

efforts. and possibly set the stage for a declaration of a

state of emergency. Mohadi’s statement in The Herald

suggests as much. It is also possible this was a personal

matter, divorced from politics.

 

6. (C) Although there have been some unusual incidents

recently, particularly the Shiri shooting and soldiers’

recent attacks on banks and moneychangers, the GOZ still

appears confident it has firm control of overall security.

There is no noticeable increase in police presence in Harare

since the alleged attack on Shiri.

 

DHANANI

 

 

(61 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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