Mudzuri, Mtetwa out to score a point


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Former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri reported for work for two days although he had been arrested on the first day and told not to report for work because he wanted to publicise the lack of rule of law in Zimbabwe to the African Union summit that was being held in Maputo, his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said.

He also wanted to attract the attention of United States President George Bush who was on a five-nation African tour.

Mudzuri, who had just returned from the United States and Britain, was arrested on his return to work and released without charge after half an hour and was warned that he would be arrested if he returned to his office.

He returned to his office the following day with his lawyer and was met by riot police who took his to the Harare central Police Station for questioning.

Mudzuri’s trip to the United States was partly sponsored by the United States embassy’s Voluntary Visitor programme.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE1381, HARARE MAYOR ARRESTED, RELEASED AND RE-ARRESTED

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1381

2003-07-08 13:16

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

081316Z Jul 03

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001381

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

DAKAR AND PRETORIA FOR A/S KANSTEINER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2013

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR ZI

SUBJECT: HARARE MAYOR ARRESTED, RELEASED AND RE-ARRESTED

 

REF: HARARE 863

 

Classified By: Political Officer Audu Besmer for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

Summary:

——–

 

¶1. (C) In his first days back at work following a trip to the

U.S. and the UK, Harare Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri was

arrested by police at his office both on July 7 and 8.

Minister of Local Government Ignatious Chombo attempted to

suspend Mudzuri in April 2003 for alleged incompetence and

malfeasance; however, the matter is still pending in the

courts. Mudzuri returned to his office on July 7 and 8, in

spite of his pending suspension and facing arrest, to

publicize the lack of rule of law in Zimbabwe. This could be

one of the few times an elected MDC official has turned an

attack by the GOZ to his own political advantage. End

Summary.

 

¶2. (C) On his first day back at work following a trip to the

U.S. and the UK, Harare Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri was

arrested by police at his office on July 7. Police held

Mudzuri for about half an hour, then released him without

charge. Police warned him that if he returned to his office,

he would spend the night in a police cell. On July 8 the

Mayor again went to his office with his lawyer, and was met

by riot police who took him to the notorious Law and Order

section of Harare Central Police Station for questioning.

According to his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, the Mayor went to

his office on both days to confront arrest, in order to

publicize the lack of rule of law in Zimbabwe to the Africa

Unity (AU) Summit currently ongoing in neighboring Maputo,

and to President Bush currently on a five-nation Africa

visit.

 

¶3. (SBU) This is the latest salvo in an ongoing attack on the

Mayor by the Minister of Local Government, Ignatious Chombo.

Chombo attempted to suspend Mudzuri in April 2003 for

allegedly failing to properly hire and fire city employees,

alleged mismanagement of city funds, and alleged failure to

provide Harare residents with basic services. Mudzuri’s

lawyer argued in an urgent court application on May 29 that

the suspension was contrary to Zimbabwe’s Urban Councils Act,

and that, in fact, the GOZ was obstructing the Mayor in his

efforts to provide basic services to the city’s residents.

Mudzuri has stated publicly that Minister Chombo’s real

objection is to his exposure of ZANU-PF corruption in jobs

and contracts. The high court judge who heard the case has

inexplicably not yet issued a judgment. The Combined Harare

Residents Association (CHRA) has rejected the mayor’s

suspension.

 

¶4. (C) The Mayor visited the U.S. recently on a trip partly

sponsored by the Embassy’s Voluntary Visitor program, and

partly sponsored by other organizations (Ref). His trip

included a conference of mayors in Denver, CO, the Corporate

Council on Africa annual meeting in Washington, DC, and a

Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government

leadership training course for public officials.

 

Comment:

——–

 

¶5. (C) Mayor Mudzuri suffers from high blood pressure, and

his trip was in part timed to reduce the stress he

experienced daily from harassment by police and other

government officials. Emboffs spoke to the Mayor on July 7,

and the Ambassador spoke to him on July 8; all observed that

he had returned from his trip refreshed and combative.

Notwithstanding his medical condition, as one of Zimbabwe’s

most prominent public officials, he is confident and enjoys a

good fight. He will likely continue to use his controversial

suspension as a platform for public protest. This could be

one of the rare times an elected MDC official has turned an

attack by the GOZ to his own p

 

(16 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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