Mutsekwa arrested in connection with arms caches


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Mutare North legislator Giles Mutsekwa was arrested with former MP Roy Bennett following the discovery of arms caches in Mutare. Reports said ten more suspects had also been arrested in connection with the case.

Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson Chamisa denied the involvement of party officials saying the arrests were an attempt to disrupt the party’s congress scheduled for following week.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights attorney Trust Manda said he was representing four individuals arrested March 7: Michael Peter Hitschmann, at whose home the cache was found, MDC provincial treasurer Brian James, MDC provincial youth chairman Knowledge Nyamhuka, and MDC activist Thando Sibanda.

Manda said all four were being held at Mutare Central Police Station and had been charged under a Public Order and Security Act (POSA) section pertaining to the illegal procession of weapons for purposes of banditry, sabotage, and terrorism.

He said fellow lawyer Lawrence Chibwe the day before had seen police escorting Mutsekwa to Mutare Police Station, but that the authorities had subsequently denied they were holding him.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE303, MORE ARRESTS, SUPPOSED MDC LINKS IN ARMS SEIZURE

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

06HARARE303

2006-03-09 16:16

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3620

RR RUEHMR

DE RUEHSB #0303 0681616

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 091616Z MAR 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9728

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1145

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 0977

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1149

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0409

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0769

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1203

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3547

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0975

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1603

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1360

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000303

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/09/2015

TAGS: ASEC PGOV PHUM PREL ZI

SUBJECT: MORE ARRESTS, SUPPOSED MDC LINKS IN ARMS SEIZURE

 

REF: HARARE 297

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

1. (U) The GOZ-controlled Herald newspaper on March 9

reported that ten more suspects had been arrested in

connection with the March 7 discovery of arms in Mutare

(reftel). The article did not identify all of those

reportedly in custody but claimed that a number of MDC

officials had been arrested, including Mutare North MP Giles

Mutsekwa and former MP Roy Bennett. The pro-government Daily

Mirror, by contrast, buried the story on page three and the

semi-independent weekly Financial Gazette, which was

published March 9, gave prominent coverage to the statement

of MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa (of the Tsvangirai faction)

denying involvement and claiming that the arrests were an

attempt to disrupt the party,s congress, scheduled for next

week.

 

2. (C) Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Attorney Trust

Manda confirmed to Post March 9 that he has been retained as

the attorney for the four individuals arrested March 7:

Michael Peter Hitschmann, at whose home the cache was found,

MDC provincial treasurer Brian James, MDC provincial youth

chairman Knowledge Nyamhuka, and MDC activist Thando Sibanda.

Manda said all four were being held at Mutare Central Police

Station and had been charged under a Public Order and

Security Act (POSA) section pertaining to the illegal

procession of weapons for purposes of banditry, sabotage, and

terrorism. The charges carried a potential life sentence.

 

3. (C) Manda told us that all four of his clients had given

the police statements under coercion and without a lawyer

present. He claimed that police had beaten Nyamhuka and

Sibanda with boots and closed fists, but that the others,

including Hitschmann, had not been mistreated. Hitschmann

had nonetheless given the police &a lot of information,”

which Manda said he was not at liberty to discuss. Manda

said he had successfully demanded that new statements be

taken but worried that the original statements might be used

in court against his clients.

 

4. (C) Manda said fellow lawyer Lawrence Chibwe the day

before had seen police escorting Mutsekwa to Mutare Police

Station, but that the authorities had subsequently denied

they were holding him. Post is working to ascertain

Mutsekwa,s whereabouts. Manda also reported that the police

had invited but not subpoenaed Bennett to appear and the

ex-MP remained at liberty.

——-

Comment

——-

 

5. (C) The GOZ appears intent on exploiting the arms seizure

to discredit the Tsvangirai wing of the MDC. In particular,

the government appears to want to focus on Bennett, the

widely popular and influential MDC Chairman for Manicaland,

who has backed Tsvangirai in his dispute with the pro-Senate

MDC faction.

DELL

 

(9 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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