Mutsekwa arrested for organising stay-away


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Movement for Democratic Change legislator for Mutare north Giles Mutsekwa was arrested with eight other MDC supporters for allegedly helping to organise a stay-away ordered by the party.

Mutsekwa’s arrest and those of hundreds of other MDC activists was said to be part of a nationwide campaign to crackdown on the opposition party which was pressing for reform and fresh elections because the Zimbabwe African national union-patriotic front had stolen the 2002 presidential elections.

Mutsekwa was also the MDC Shadow Minister for Defence.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 03HARARE591, MILITARY, POLICE AND CIO LAUNCH NATIONWIDE

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

03HARARE591

2003-03-21 10:51

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000591

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2013

TAGS: PHUM PGOV ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: MILITARY, POLICE AND CIO LAUNCH NATIONWIDE

CRACKDOWN ON STAYAWAY PLANNERS

 

REF: A. HARARE 570

B. HARARE 557

C. HARARE 546

D. HARARE 515

 

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

 

Summary:

——–

1. (C) There are credible reports that the GOZ has undertaken

a campaign of retribution against MDC activists and

supporters across the country since the first day of the

MDC-organized stayaway on March 18. Police have arrested

over a hundred MDC supporters, and the Zimbabwean Defense

Forces (ZDF), ZRP, and ZANU-PF youths have beaten dozens of

perceived MDC supporters. We anticipate that the GOZ may

continue to use the stayaway as an excuse to arrest

ever-higher MDC officials in the coming weeks. End Summary.

 

Harare

——

2. (U) By March 21, according to the MDC and independent

press, police in Harare had arrested over 100 suspected MDC

activists and supporters. The government-owned The Herald

reported that only 53 people were arrested in Harare for

incidents relating to the mass action. The MDC also reported

on March 21 that 83 supporters had sought medical help from

the MDC social welfare division, and had received vouchers

for medical services at a Harare hospital. Other observers

reported seeing dozens of people seeking medical attention

for beating wounds at local clinics. Military helicopters

were still patrolling the skies over Harare on March 21.

 

Kadoma

——

3. (U) On March 19, according to the official press and MDC

sources police in Kadoma arrested the MDC MP for Kadoma

Austin Mupandawana and about 33 MDC youths who were marching

in Kadoma with anti-Mugabe banners and placards. The MDC

made efforts to contact Mupandawana and the youths; however,

they were apparently transferred to undisclosed police

stations and their whereabouts were still unknown as of March

21.

 

Masvingo

——–

4. (U) On March 18 police arrested and released on the same

day the MDC MP for Masvingo Central Silas Mangono with other

MDC youths in Masvingo. Mangono was arrested and released

again on March 19.

 

5. (U) By March 21 the independent press and the MDC reported

that ZDF soldiers beat about 10 people in Masvingo in

incidents related to the stayaway. On March 19 ZANU-PF

youths stoned and destroyed the house of the MDC provincial

chairman for Masvingo, Ms. Masekesa.

 

Mutare

——

6. (U) On March 19 according to the independent and official

press, and MDC sources, police arrested the MDC MP for Mutare

North and MDC Shadow Minister of Defense Giles Mutsekwa and

eight other MDC supporters. Police accused Mutsekwa of

helping to organize the stayaway, at that point in its second

day, and questioned him about its planning. He was still in

police custody on March 21.

 

One Dead

——–

7. (U) On March 18, suspected CIO officers abducted Steven

Tonera and two other workers from MDC MP for Chimanimani Roy

Bennett’s commercial farm near Epworth (a suburb of Harare)

accusing them of burning a parastatal Zimbabwe United

Passenger Company (ZUPCO) bus earlier that day in Epworth.

All three were beaten severely, Tonera died during the

beating. On March 19, 50-60 ZDF soldiers arrived at the farm

and beat 30 other workers, some severely, including a 55-year

old woman, with batons and batons covered with barbed wire.

 

Other Areas

———–

8. (U) By March 21 the independent and official press, and

the MDC, reported that police had arrested 18 people in

Gweru, and 13 in Bulawayo in incidents related to the

stayaway.

 

9. (U) By March 21, the MDC reported that police, ZANU-PF

youth, and ZDF soldiers had arrested, beaten, and destroyed

the homes of dozens of MDC provincial chairman, MDC

officials, lawyers, supporters and activists in the past

2-days, accusing them of helping to plan and carry out the

March 18-19 mass stayaway.

Comment:

10. (C) The GOZ appeared taken aback by the success of the

March 18 – 19 stayaway and now seems determined to exact

retribution from those responsible for organizing it. The

Herald reported that police were moving in on the MDC

leadership who organized it, and we would anticipate that the

GOZ will continue to use the stayaway as an excuse to crack

down on ever higher MDC officials in the coming weeks, most

likely accusing them under the draconian Public Order and

Security Act, (POSA) of instigating public violence. End

Comment.

SULLIVAN

 

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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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