Mugabe threatened to put Ian Smith on trial for war crimes


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President Robert Mugabe blasted Zimbabwe’s whites and threatened to revoke the government’s reconciliation policy and put former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith and other whites on trial for genocide and other war crimes committed during the liberation struggle.

Mugabe was reacting to a motion in Parliament to impeach him.

The motion cited among other things:

  • wilful violation of the constitution by failing to uphold the laws of Zimbabwe;
  • deliberately, and in some cases callously, encouraging, condoning, inciting, and supporting breaches of the law;
  • failing to expel farm invaders following a High Court ruling;
  • masterminding pre-election violence;
  • corruption and deploying troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 00HARARE6082, PROCESS TO IMPEACH ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT BEGINS

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

00HARARE6082

2000-10-26 14:38

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

261438Z Oct 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1837

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06082 01 OF 02 261438Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00   DINT-00 DODE-00

DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00  FAAE-00 FBIE-00

VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01

NSAE-00 OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00

P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /006W

——————972735 261439Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7459

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 006082

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/10

TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ZI

SUBJECT: PROCESS TO IMPEACH ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT BEGINS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06082 01 OF 02 261438Z

 

REFS: A) HARARE 5951, B) HARARE 5692 (NOTAL)

 

CLASSIFIED BY DCM EARL M. IRVING FOR REASONS: 1.5 (B)

AND (D).

 

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: THE OPPOSITION MDC TABLED A MOTION IN

PARLIAMENT OCTOBER 25 THAT BEGINS THE PROCESS FOR

PRESIDENT MUGABE’S IMPEACHMENT. THE DOCUMENT CITED IN

DETAIL “VIOLATIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION” AND “GROSS

MISCONDUCT” RELATED TO THE PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE, AMONG

OTHER THINGS, AS THE GROUNDS FOR IMPEACHMENT. IN

RESPONSE, MUGABE ISSUED A STATEMENT SAYING THAT HIS

GOVERNMENT’S RECONCILIATION POLICY WITH WHITES IS IN

JEOPARDY AND COULD BE REVOKED. MUGABE ALSO THREATENED

TO ARREST WHITE MDC MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT AND PUT ON

TRIAL IAN SMITH AND OTHER LEADERS OF THE WHITE RHODESIAN

REGIME FOR WAR CRIMES. THERE HAS BEEN NO DISCERNIBLE

PUBLIC REACTION TO THESE EVENTS IN THE FORM OF PROTESTS

OR CELEBRATIONS. IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS, THE MDC IS DUE

TO TABLE A SECOND MOTION THAT WOULD ESTABLISH THE

PROCEDURE FOR IMPEACHMENT, WHICH IS NOT CLEARLY

STIPULATED IN THE CONSTITUTION. THE IMPEACHMENT

MEASURES RAISE THE LEVEL OF POLITICAL TENSION ANOTHER

NOTCH AND SET THE STAGE FOR A FINAL SHOWDOWN BETWEEN

MUGABE AND THE OPPOSITION. END SUMMARY.

 

¶2. (C) GIBSON SIBANDA, MDC VICE-PRESIDENT AND MP FOR

THE NKULUMANE SECTION OF BULAWAYO, INTRODUCED IN

PARLIAMENT OCTOBER 25 A MOTION THAT SEEKS TO INVESTIGATE

THE GROUNDS FOR THE IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT MUGABE.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06082 01 OF 02 261438Z

THE MDC PRESENTED THE DOCUMENT ALONG WITH THE SIGNATURES

OF 56 MDC PARLIAMENTARIANS, THEREBY OBVIATING THE NEED

FOR A FLOOR VOTE (ACCORDING TO THE CONSTITUTION, 51

VOTES, OR MORE THAN ONE-THIRD OF PARLIAMENT, ARE

REQUIRED TO BEGIN IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS). ACCORDING

TO EDDIE CROSS, THE MDC’S SECRETARY FOR ECONOMIC

AFFAIRS, THE FLOOR ERUPTED INTO AN UPROAR WHEN SPEAKER

MNANGAGWA ACCEPTED THE PETITION AND PROMISED TO “STUDY

ITS CONTENTS.” ACCORDING TO ONE OUR PRESS CONTACTS,

MNANGAGWA ANNOUNCED IN PARLIAMENT OCTOBER 26 THAT HE

WOULD FORM AN IMPEACHMENT COMMITTEE NEXT WEEK TO

INVESTIGATE THE CHARGES. TENDAI BITI, MDC MP FOR HARARE

EAST, HINTED TO US THAT IF MNANGAGWA OBSTRUCTS THE

OPERATION OF THE COMMITTEE, THE MDC WILL TAKE HIM TO

COURT.

 

¶3. (U) DESPITE MNANGAGWA’S WARNING NOT TO PUBLISH THE

CONTENTS OF THE MOTION, ITS DETAILS APPEARED IN OCTOBER

26’S EDITION OF THE “DAILY NEWS.” THE MOTION STIPULATES

THAT MUGABE HAS WILLFULLY VIOLATED THE CONSTITUTION BY

FAILING TO UPHOLD THE LAWS OF ZIMBABWE AND HAS

“DELIBERATELY, AND IN SOME CASES CALLOUSLY, ENCOURAGED,

CONDONED, INCITED, AND SUPPORTED BREACHES OF THE LAW.”

IT CITES MUGABE’S FAILURE TO ENFORCE THE APRIL HIGH

COURT RULING TO EXPEL FARM INVADERS, AS WELL

COUNTERMANDING HIS MINISTERS’ ORDERS TO THE POLICE TO

UPHOLD THE COURT RULING. THE DOCUMENT ALLEGES THAT

MUGABE MASTERMINDED THE CAMPAIGN OF PRE-ELECTION

VIOLENCE AND CITES HIS PUBLIC THREATS OF DEATH TO THOSE

WHO WOULD OPPOSE HIM. THE DOCUMENT STATES THAT SHOULD A

COMMITTEE FIND THAT THESE ACTIONS DO NOT WARRANT A

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 06082 01 OF 02 261438Z

“WILLFUL VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION,” THEN MUGABE

SHOULD BE IMPEACHED ON THE GROUNDS OF “GROSS MISCONDUCT”

FOR ABUSING HIS POWER OF CLEMENCY (REFERRING TO HIS

RECENT PARDON OF THE PERPETRATORS OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE-

-SEE REF B), FOR DEPLOYING TROOPS TO THE DRC, AND FOR

CORRUPTION.

 

¶4. (U) PRESIDENT MUGABE’S REACTION WAS SWIFT AND

BELLICOSE. THE ZANU-PF YOUTH WING ASSEMBLED A GROUP OF

ABOUT 200 DEMONSTRATORS IN FRONT OF PARLIAMENT LATE ON

OCTOBER 25 TO DENOUNCE THE MDC. IN ADDRESSING THE CROWD

AFTER THE IMPEACHMENT MOTION WAS TABLED, MUGABE BLASTED

ZIMBABWE’S WHITES AND THEIR WESTERN SUPPORTERS, SAYING

THAT HE MAY REVOKE THE GOVERNMENT’S RECONCILIATION

POLICY. HE THREATENED TO PUT ON TRIAL IAN SMITH AND

OTHER WHITES FOR GENOCIDE AND OTHER WAR CRIMES COMMITTED

DURING THE LIBERATION WAR STRUGGLE OF THE 1960S AND

1970S. MUGABE FURTHER STATED THAT WHITES, SUCH AS MPS

DAVID COLTART AND MICHAEL AURET, WOULD “NOT BE FREE FROM

ARREST.” HE ALSO BLAMED THE BRITISH AND AMERICANS FOR

HELPING THEIR WHITE FRIENDS TO DERAIL LAND REFORM AND

FOR TRYING TO “RE-COLONIZE” ZIMBABWE.

 

¶5. (C) BITI TOLD US OCTOBER 26 THAT THE MDC WILL

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1838

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06082 02 OF 02 261439Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00   DINT-00 DODE-00

DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00

VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01

NSAE-00 OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00

P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /006W

——————972747 261439Z /38

O 261438Z OCT 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7460

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 006082

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/10

TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ZI

SUBJECT: PROCESS TO IMPEACH ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT BEGINS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06082 02 OF 02 261439Z

 

APPROACH LEADER OF THE HOUSE PATRICK CHINAMASA TO SEE IF

THE ZANU-PF SIDE WILL WORK WITH THE MDC IN ESTABLISHING

THE PROCEDURE FOR IMPEACHMENT BEHIND THE SCENES. (THE

PROCEDURE IS NOT SPELLED OUT IN DETAIL IN THE

CONSTITUTION.) IF THEY WILL NOT AGREE, THEN THE MDC

WILL TABLE A SECOND MOTION ON OCTOBER 31 ASKING THE

STANDING RULES COMMITTEE FOR THE FOLLOWING: 1) AN

IMPEACHMENT COMMITTEE COMPRISED OF HOUSE MEMBERS IN

PROPORTION TO THE NUMBER OF EACH PARTY’S ELECTED SEATS,

2) THAT THE COMMITTEE THAT OPERATES IN A QUASI-JUDICIAL

MANNER BY CALLING WITNESSES TO A PUBLIC HEARING, 3) THAT

THE COMMITTEE RELEASE A REPORT OF ITS FINDINGS BY

DECEMBER 31, 2000 AND THAT THE FINDINGS BE OPENED UP FOR

DEBATE TO THE FULL HOUSE, AND 4) THAT THE VOTE OF

IMPEACHMENT BE CARRIED OUT BY SECRET BALLOT RATHER THAN

BY DIVISION (WHERE MPS STAND AND MOVE TO THE “YEA” OR

“NAY” SIDE OF THE CHAMBER).

 

¶6. (C) SHOULD AN IMPEACHMENT VOTE REACH THE FLOOR AND

PASS WITH A MINIMUM OF 100 VOTES, MUGABE WOULD

IMMEDIATELY CEASE TO HOLD OFFICE. THE SENIOR VICE-

PRESIDENT (SIMON MUZENDA) WOULD BECOME ACTING PRESIDENT

UNTIL A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION COULD BE HELD WITHIN 90

DAYS. BITI SAID THAT HE DOES NOT EXPECT MANY ZANU-PF

MPS TO CROSS THE AISLE AND VOTE FOR IMPEACHMENT (AT

LEAST 43 WOULD HAVE TO DO SO FOR THE MEASURE TO PASS)

BECAUSE MUGABE MOST LIKELY ISSUED VEILED THREATS AT HIS

CAUCUS WITH THEM OCTOBER 25. THE MDC DOES NOT

REALISTICALLY EXPECT PARLIAMENT TO REMOVE MUGABE FROM

OFFICE, BITI REITERATED, BUT ITS OBJECTIVES IN PURSUING

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06082 02 OF 02 261439Z

IMPEACHMENT ARE TO BRING PRESSURE AGAINST MUGABE TO

RESIGN, TO EXPOSE HIS MISDEEDS OF THE LAST YEAR, AND TO

FORMALLY SPELL OUT THE PROCEDURE FOR PRESIDENTIAL

IMPEACHMENT. EDDIE CROSS, ONE OF THE MDC’S MORE RADICAL

MEMBERS, TOLD US THAT IF MUGABE DOES NOT AGREE TO STEP

DOWN BY THE END OF THE YEAR AND CALL NEW ELECTIONS, THE

MDC WILL ORGANIZE MASS PROTESTS TO FORCE HIM OUT.

 

¶7. (C) COMMENT: ALTHOUGH WE HAVE SEEN NO DISCERNIBLE

PUBLIC REACTION TO THESE EVENTS IN THE FORM OF PROTESTS

OR CELEBRATIONS, THE POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE IN HARARE HAS

BECOME MORE TENSE. PERHAPS AGAINST THE WISHES OF ITS

MORE MODERATE MEMBERS, THE MDC APPEARS TO BE

ACCELERATING TO ITS END-GAME OF FORCING MUGABE FROM

OFFICE. BY PURSUING IMPEACHMENT NOW, IT LEAVES ITSELF

FEW ALTERNATIVES TO MASS ACTION IF IT WISHES TO HOLD ON

TO ITS CREDIBILITY BEFORE THE SCHEDULED 2002

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. IT RISKS RAISING PUBLIC

EXPECTATIONS TO A DANGEROUSLY HIGH LEVEL WHEN MUGABE

SHOWS NO SIGNS OF RELINQUISHING POWER. MUGABE’S PUBLIC

STATEMENTS ARE BECOMING INCREASINGLY EXTREME AS HE

BECOMES MORE ISOLATED DOMESTICALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY,

AND CONVEY AN AIR OF DESPERATION. IT WOULD NOT BE VERY

PRACTICAL FOR MUGABE TO ABROGATE THE 1979 AMNESTY

AGREEMENT THAT PARDONED BOTH SIDES, HIMSELF INCLUDED, OF

CRIMES COMMITTED IN THE LIBERATION WAR STRUGGLE. IT

REMAINS UNCLEAR HOW FAR MUGABE IS WILLING TO GO TO HOLD

ONTO POWER, BUT THE LAST TWO MONTHS OF THIS YEAR COULD

POTENTIALLY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT IN DETERMINING

ZIMBABWE’S FUTURE.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 06082 02 OF 02 261439Z

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(24 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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