Mutsekwa linked to Mugabe assassination plot


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Mutare North MP Giles Mutsekwa was charged with seven others under the Public Order and Security Act in connection with the seizure of arms caches in Mutare and for allegedly plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe during his birthday celebrations in that city.

Others charged were: Michael Peter Hitschmann, MDC provincial youth chairman Knowledge Nyamhuka, MDC activist Thando Sibanda, and four police officers who allegedly sold Hitschmann weapons.

MDC provincial treasurer Brian James was not charged and was released after police failed to link him to the weapons.

Defence lawyer Trust Manda said that Hitschmann was a licensed arms dealer, who in the course of normal business possessed large numbers of weapons.

He said that police had pressed Nyamhuka and Sibanda to implicate former-MDC MP Roy Bennett in the alleged assassination plot.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 06HARARE317, ARMS CACHE SUSPECTS CHARGED, LINKED TO

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

06HARARE317

2006-03-14 16:53

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXYZ0043

RR RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHSB #0317/01 0731653

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 141653Z MAR 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9746

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1153

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 0985

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1157

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0013

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0417

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0777

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1211

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3555

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0983

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1611

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 1368

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000317

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/14/2015

TAGS: ASEC PGOV PHUM PREL ZI

SUBJECT: ARMS CACHE SUSPECTS CHARGED, LINKED TO

ASSASSINATION PLOT

 

REF: REFTEL: HARARE 303 AND PREVIOUS

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i. Eric T Schultz under Section 1.4

b/d

 

1. (SBU) The GOZ on March 11 charged eight suspects connected

to last week,s arms seizure in Mutare (reftel). The eight

were charged under Public Order and Security Act (POSA)

prohibitions against processing weapons to commit banditry,

sabotage, or terrorism. Appearing in a Mutare court to be

charged were Michael Peter Hitschmann, MDC MP for Mutare

North Giles Mutsekwa, MDC provincial youth chairman Knowledge

Nyamhuka, MDC activist Thando Sibanda, and four police

officers who allegedly sold Hitschmann weapons. Although

initially arrested, MDC provincial treasurer Brian James was

not charged and was released on Sunday after police failed to

link him to the weapons.

 

2. (SBU) The GOZ-controlled Sunday Mail highlighted supposed

plans by the suspects to kill President Mugabe during the

leader’s birthday celebration in Mutare last month. The

state-controlled Sunday Mirror added a new wrinkle by quoting

an unidentified source who said that Taiwan was behind the

plot in an effort to “neutralize Chinese influence in

Southern Africa.” The independent paper The Standard also

recounted the government allegations, adding that the eight

had supposedly planned to spill oil on the mountainous

highway to Mutare to cause Mugabe’s motorcade to crash, and

to disrupt the birthday celebrations with tear gas. The

Standard, however, gave equal coverage to defense statements

that several of the suspects had been tortured and

confessions coerced. The Standard also quoted defense lawyer

Trust Manda who said that Hitschmann was a licensed arms

deals, who in the course of normal business possessed large

numbers of weapons.

 

3. (C) Manda told poloff on March 14 that Hitschmann was

providing information to police and that authorities were

continuing to interrogate Nyamhuka and Sibanda with the

threat of further beatings. (N.B. Manda does not represent

the four police officers and could not comment on their

condition.) Contrary to standard procedures, Nyamhuka and

Sibanda were returned to the police station after their court

appearance on Saturday and forced to sign a statement without

their lawyers present. Manda said that police held a gun to

Nyamhuka’s head to force him to sign.

 

4. (C) Manda said that police had pressed Nyamhuka and

Sibanda to implicate former-MDC MP Roy Bennett in the alleged

assassination plot. Bennett’s supposed role has received

intense coverage in the state media, with the Sunday Mirror

quoting a source that “a senior MDC official who is a former

legislator” planted the seed money in a Mozambique bank for

Hitschmann. The media has also portrayed Bennett as evading

an intense police search, although Manda noted that the

police had yet to officially indicate that Bennett was a

suspect. MDC contacts inform us that Bennett ) who

according to MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa has been nominated

unopposed as party treasurer to be formally elected at the

Congress this weekend – is still free. The Australian Charge

told the CDA today that Bennett has left the country.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

5. (C) The GOZ’s charges do not add up. The weapons cache

consists of a dozen or so hunting rifles and assorted

ammunition and radio equipment ) hardly the stuff of a coup

attempt. The more likely explanation is that the weapons are

 

connected to Hitschmann,s work as a firearms dealer.

Moreover, the accounts we have heard about Hitschmann suggest

that he is an unlikely participant in such a conspiracy, let

alone an organizer. Furthermore, spilling oil on the road to

cause an accident is more the brainchild of Willie-Coyote

than would-be coup plotters, even those as half-baked as

Hitschmann. All evidence at this point would suggest that

the GOZ is deliberately, and unfortunately successfully,

using this incident to undermine the MDC ahead of its

Congress on Friday, in which Bennett was to have played an

instrumental role.

SCHULTZ

 

(22 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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