Police warned Mtetwa against stage managing protests


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Police warned human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa that they were considering bringing charges against the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights for “stage managing” protests to embarrass the country.

This was after demonstrations by Women of Zimbabwe Arise in Bulawayo and in Harare to mark International Refugee Day.

Eight people were arrested in Bulawayo and five in Harare on charges of disturbing the peace.

Three journalists, including one from The Herald, were also detained but later released.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE506, ZIM NOTES 06-19-09

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE506

2009-06-19 13:35

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4140

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0506/01 1701335

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 191335Z JUN 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4634

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2323

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2898

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3017

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1449

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2280

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2647

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3065

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5508

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2193

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000506

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

TREASURY FOR D. PETERS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LDOBBINS AND JHARMON

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM EAGR ECON EFIN ZI

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 06-19-09

 

—————————-

SUMMARY – Topics of the week

—————————-

 

– Tsvangirai Delegation Heads to Europe…

– Moyo Attacks Tsvangirai…

– Western Governments Declared Responsible for “Sticking Issues”…

 

 

– Senior MDC-T Official Arrested for Perjury…

– Amnesty International Secretary General Slams Zim…

– Ambassador Bids Farewell to VP Mujuru…

– … And Says Hello to the “First Lady of the Army”…

– WOZA Protesters Beaten, Arrested, Denied Medical Care…

– ZLHR Wins Another Major Award…

– Constitutional Outreach Starts Next Week…

– Massive Blackout Hits Zim…

– Gold and Economic Recovery…

– World Bank Mining Mission on its Way…

– Rate of Deflation Slows…

– Business Eager to Produce, but Still Thwarted…

– Cost of Registering a Company Falls…

– Quote of the Week:

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

—————————–

 

¶1. Tsvangirai Delegation Heads to Europe… Following last week’s

visit to the U.S., Prime Minister Tsvangirai turned his attention to

contnental Europe, spending this week meeting with senior European

officials. Justice Minister Chinamasa and Foreign Affairs Minister

Mumbengegwi of ZANU-PF were both granted visas by the EU to attend

the discussions after Mugabe threatened to cancel the trip if

Zimbabwe was only to be represented by MDC officials. The EU

response to the delegation has been welcoming, but tempered by

persistent concerns of farm invasions and human rights abuses.

After meeting with German Chancellor Merkel earlier in the week, the

German government pledged an additional US$35 million of governance

and food aid which will be channeled through the World Bank.

Tsvangirai heads to the UK this weekend.

 

¶2. Moyo Attacks Tsvangirai… Former Minister of Information

Jonathan Moyo attacked PM Tsvangirai in an online article this week,

calling Tsvangirai’s trip to the U.S. a “personal disaster” and “a

complete waste of time.” Moyo said Tsvangirai appeared as a

supplicant and embarrassed Zimbabwe. He also attacked the new

newsletter from the PM’s office that hit the streets this week,

saying it was clearly a “USAID pamphlet.”

 

 

¶3. Western Governments Declared Responsible for “Sticking Issues”

… The Herald published its list of “sticking issues” this week.

The ZANU-PF-controlled paper listed sanctions as the number one

issue and declared MDC-T and Western governments responsible for

resolving the issue. According to the list, MDC-T and Western

governments are also responsible for the third issue, “pirate radio

stations and hostile websites.”

 

¶4. Senior MDC-T Official Arrested for Perjury… MDC-T Director

General Tondepei Shonhe was arrested on June 16 on charges of

perjury. He allegedly committed the offense in an affidavit

submitted as part of a high court case involving the three MDC-T

Qsubmitted as part of a high court case involving the three MDC-T

activists who were re-abducted by police on June 2. Although

granted bail by a magistrate, the AG’s office, as it routinely does,

appealed. Shonhe will remain in jail at least a week until the

appeal is heard. See Harare 503.

 

 

HARARE 00000506 002 OF 003

 

 

¶5. Amnesty International Secretary General Slams Zim… Amnesty

International’s Secretary General Irene Khan wrapped up a six-day

visit to Zimbabwe on June 18. In a press conference in Harare, Khan

noted the continued shortfalls of the inclusive government in

improving human rights in Zimbabwe. Notably, she criticized

elements of the MDC that are ignoring human rights concerns for “the

sake of political expediency.” See:

www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/

without-justice-there-can-be-no-real-healing- in-

zimbabwe-20090618.

 

¶6. Ambassador Bids Farewell to VP Mujuru… Ambassador McGee met

with Vice President Joice Mujuru on Wednesday in advance of his

departure in July. See Harare 500.

 

¶7. … And Says Hello to the “First Lady of the Army” …   Jocelyn

Chiwenga, wife of Army Commander General Constantine Chiwenga,

phoned up Ambassador McGee this week to berate and threaten him. See

Harare 502.

 

¶8. WOZA Protesters Beaten, Arrested, Denied Medical Care… During

a Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) march in Bulawayo on Wednesday,

eight were arrested on charges of disturbing the peace and three

required medical treatment from police-inflicted injuries. The

eight are expected to appear in court on June 19. In a second march

in Harare on Thursday, five women were detained along with three

journalists, including one from The Herald. The journalists and one

woman were released, but the remaining four women were badly beaten

by police and are being denied medical care and remain in the filthy

police station. Police reportedly warned human rights lawyer

Beatrice Mtetwa that police are considering bringing charges against

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) for “stage managing” the

protests to “embarrass the country.” The protests marked

International Refugee Day, which WOZA marks annually, arguing

Zimbabweans are like refugees in their own country.

 

¶9. ZLHR Wins Another Major Award… The 2009 American Bar

Association (ABA) Rule of Law Award will be given to ZLHR at the

ABA’s Rule of Law meeting in Chicago on August 1. ZLHR lawyers are

renowned for their courageous defense of Zimbabwe’s human rights

defenders in the face of significant threats and harassment by the

government.

 

¶10. Constitutional Outreach Starts Next Week… The Parliamentary

Select Committee announced this week that public meetings on the

constitution will be held throughout Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces between

June 24 and 27. ZANU-PF has attempted to delay the process.

 

¶11. Massive Blackout Hits Zim… Most of Zimbabwe lost power on

Monday night and early Tuesday after the country’s two main power

stations went down, reportedly due to a fault in Zambia. Power woes

are likely to persist as regional power utilities threaten to cut

off exports to Zimbabwe due to unpaid debts to regional power

suppliers estimated at around US$57 million. For its part, the

Qsuppliers estimated at around US$57 million. For its part, the

Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) announced it will cut

off power to local consumers who have not paid their bills (a flat

US$30/month for residents of high-density neighborhoods, whether

they have had service or not) since February this year.

 

————————–

Economic and Business News

————————–

 

¶12. Gold and Economic Recovery… Allowing producers to market

their gold at today’s high world price, eliminating foreign exchange

surrender requirements, plus a policy of no royalties on gold, have

all helped position the industry to contribute to economic recovery.

Nevertheless producers still lack capital due to the GOZ’s US$30

 

HARARE 00000506 003 OF 003

 

 

million arrears to the industry and overall tight credit, power

outages that led to the flooding of mines, and a lack of technical

skills, though indications point to more mine workers now returning

to Zimbabwe from developed countries than leaving. Gold production

could double this year to 6-7 MT and increase further in 2010, but

empowerment legislation needs to be more foreign-investor friendly

as the sector cannot recapitalize on the domestic market alone. See

Harare 499.

 

¶13. World Bank Mining Mission on its Way… A World Bank Mission

will be in Zimbabwe from June 22-26 to assess challenges in reviving

the mining sector and the need for technical assistance. The

Mission will meet with mining companies, the mining ministry and

other key government agencies to identify priority issues and

actions. It will also hold discussions with cooperating partners on

coordinated approaches to addressing the sector’s needs.

 

¶14. Rate of Deflation Slows… The Central Statistical Office

reported that the monthly rate of decline in consumer prices slowed

from 1.1 percent in April to 0.1 percent in May. While food prices

continued to fall, costs rose for utilities, fees for municipal

services, transport and health care.

 

¶15. Business Eager to Produce, but Still Thwarted… Business

leaders are eager to rebuild the economy and are much more

optimistic about the future since introduction of dollarization and

other policy changes earlier this year. In a series of meetings in

Harare, Gweru, and Bulawayo this week with embassy staff, executives

identified labor demands, access to and terms of credit, high

utility costs, and the political environment as the main constraints

on recovery.

 

¶16. Cost of Registering a Company Falls… The Ministry of Justice

and Legal Affairs reduced company registration fees from

US$800-1,000 to a minimum US$100 this week. While a welcome

improvement, most informal traders have scant capital and will still

not be able to formalize their businesses. Expanding the country’s

tax base continues to present a huge challenge to the

revenue-strapped inclusive government.

 

¶17. Quote of the Week:

 

“Persistent and serious human rights violations, combined with a

failure to introduce reform of the police, army and security forces

or address impunity and the lack of clear commitment on some parts

of the government, are real obstacles that need to be confronted…

Whenever we raised the issue of human rights change, the government

answered that it needed more resources. Ending attacks on human

rights defenders, lifting restrictions on the media, and allowing

public protests do not require money – they only require political

will.”

 

— Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan,

in a press release issued at the end of her six-day visit to

Zimbabwe on June 18, 2009.

 

Q

MCGEE

 

(17 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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