POSA-the curse of the MDC MP


After losing the Kuwadzana and Highfield seats the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front appeared to have stepped up its harassment of Movement for Democratic Change legislators.

Several MDC legislators were charged with contravening the Public Order and Security Act and could face penalties of up to 20 years in jail.

Here is a list of who was facing what:


Full cable:



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Reference ID






2003-04-07 14:11

2011-08-30 01:44


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 03 HARARE 000685









E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2013






C. 02 HARARE 2478

D. 02 HARARE 2354



ND (D).





1. (C) The Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC) victory

in the Kuwadzana and Highfield by-elections held on March 29

and 30 is a blow to the Zimbabwe African National Unity

Patriotic Front,s (ZANU-PF) plans to engineer a two-thirds

majority in Parliament needed to change the constitution.

ZANU-PF will have to step up its campaign of harassment into

exile or arrests of MDC MPs, pry loose at least three more

seats to contest (in addition to two currently vacated

seats), and win the subsequent by-elections if it is to

achieve this goal. The likelihood that this confluence of

events will occur is low, particularly if the by-elections

are in urban areas, and ZANU-PF may have to come up with an

alternative plan. End summary.



Two-thirds is a Long Shot


2. (U) The Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC) victory

in the Kuwadzana and Highfield by-elections held on March 29

and 30 is a blow to the Zimbabwe African National Unity

Patriotic Front,s (ZANU-PF) plans to engineer a two-thirds

majority in Parliament needed to change the constitution.

ZANU-PF currently holds 93 seats, the MDC holds 54, and

ZANU-Ndongo, one. ZANU-PF could still manage to finagle a

two-thirds majority if they win the two upcoming

by-elections, and can open three more seats by convicting MDC

MPs on trial or charged with felonies, and imprisoning them

for six months or more. (Note: The Zimbabwe constitution

states that if a Member of Parliament is convicted of a crime

and sentenced to death or imprisonment for a term of six

months or more, the MP will cease to exercise that function.

The seat will become vacant after 30 days from the date of

the sentence. End note.)


——————————————— —

Next By-Elections Won,t Change Balance of Power

——————————————— —

3. (U) ZANU-PF will have two more opportunities to try to

bully Harare area residents into voting for the ruling party

in Harare Central and Zengeza. Mike Auret, MDC MP for Harare

Central, resigned in February for health reasons but a

by-election date has yet to be scheduled. Tafadzwa

Musekiwa,s seat will be open soon too. Musekiwa fled to the

U.K. on 22 November 2002 after receiving death threats.

According to the Zimbabwe constitution, an MP cannot be

absent from Parliament for 21 consecutive sittings.

Musekiwa,s 21 days were up on March 20. These urban area

elections, where MDC garnered more than 75 percent and 73

percent of the 2000 parliamentary vote for Harare Central and

Zengeza, respectively, will most likely result in MDC

victories but ZANU-PF will probably employ some of its

heavy-handed tactics, at least in the high-density suburb of



4. (U) In addition to these MDC vacancies, two ZANU-PF MP

positions opened up. Swithun Mombeshora, MP for Makonde and

Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, died on March 17

and a by-election will be held there. ZANU-PF suspended the

MP from Chiredzi South, Aaron Baloyi, but he is appealing the

decision. ZANU-PF received 61.7 percent of the vote during

the 2000 elections and 71.2 during the presidential election.

The results of these by-elections will most likely not

change the balance of power in Parliament.



POSA – The Curse of the MDC MP


5. (U) The wildcard in the parliamentary shuffle is the

outcome of the many criminal charges levied against MDC MPs.

Most of the charges are for alleged violations of the Public

Order and Security Act (POSA), which can carry a penalty of

up to 20 years imprisonment. To date, two MDC MPs are on

trial: Fletcher Dulini Ncube from Lobengula-Magwegwe and

Renson Gasela from Gweru Rural. Job Sikhala, MP for St.

Mary,s; Nelson Chamisa, MP for Kuwadzana; Bennie

Tumbare-Mutasa, MP for Seke; Moses Ndlovu, MP from

Bulilimamangwe North; Gibson Sibanda, Vice President of MDC

and MP from Nkulumane; Peter Nyoni, MP from Hwange East;

Silas Mangono, MP from Masvingo Central; Paul Madzore, MP

from Glen View; Abedinico Bhebhe, MP from Nkayi; and Austin

Mupandawana, MP from Kadoma Central have at least one case

pending. Chamisa, Sikhala and Madzore have more than 2 cases


The following is a summary of charges levied against MDC MPs,

when known, and the MDC margin of victory in the 2002

presidential election:


–Ncube is charged, along with five other MDC party

officials, with the November 2001 murder of Cain Nkala, a

Bulawayo area war veteran leader. The MDC received 83.4

percent of votes cast during the 2002 elections.


–Gasela is charged, along with Morgan Tsvangirai and

Welshman Ncube, with treason. The MDC received 69.7 percent

of the vote in 2002 but only 59.3 percent during the 2000

parliamentary elections.


–Sikhala was charged on February 24 with assaulting a police

officer and thus contravening POSA. The case is remanded to

June 26. The MDC got 73.4 percent of the 2000 vote and 74.5

percent of the 2002 vote.


–Chamisa, the newly elected MP for Kuwadzana, was charged on

March 10 with attempting to overthrow the ZANU-PF government,

in contravention of POSA. The MDC received 70.9 percent of

the vote, compared to 76.9 percent in 2000 and 77.9 percent

in 2002.


–Tumbare-Mutasa was charged on March 17 with discharging a

firearm within 50 meters of the public, in contravention of

the Firearms Act. The MDC only got 44.8 percent of the vote

during the 2002 elections and 45.6 percent during the 2000



–Ndlovu was charged with assaulting a war veteran sometime

last year, in violation of POSA. The MDC got 57.6 percent of

the vote in the 2000 elections and 56.3 percent in the 2002



–Gibson Sibanda, vice-president of the MDC and MP for

Nkulumane, is being charged under section 5 of POSA for his

role in planning the stay-away on March 18 and 19. The MDC

got 82.2 percent of the 2000 vote and 78.4 percent of the

2002 vote.


–Madzore is being charged under POSA. He has at least three

cases pending. The MDC got 81.2 percent of the 2000 vote and

85.4 percent of the 2002 vote.


–Mangongo was arrested for allegedly gathering MDC activists

during the March stay away. Mangongo is one of two MDC MPs

from Masvingo province (out of 14) and the only one from the

three Masvingo districts. The MDC got 59.8 percent of the

2000 vote and 59.6 percent of the 2002 vote.


–Mupandawana was arrested in March for allegedly destroying

property during the two-day stay away. Mupandawana is one of

two MDC MPs from Mashonaland West (out of 12), a ZANU-PF

stronghold, and the only one from the three Kadoma districts.

The MDC got 67.4 percent of the 2000 vote and 59.8 percent

of the 2002 vote.


–Bhebhe and Nyoni were arrested in February for allegedly

carrying offensive weapons, a violation of POSA. The MDC got

65.8 and 77.9 percent of the 2000 vote and 54.9 and 73.4

percent of the 2002 vote for Nkayi and Hwange East,




Questionable ZANU-PF MPs


6. (U) A possible glitch in ZANU-PF,s quest for a two-thirds

majority is the High Court ruling that nullified several

election results because the elections did not occur in a

free and fair environment, if ZANU-PF chooses not to ignore

this. Despite the ruling, none of the ZANU-PF MPs have

stepped down, arguing that because they are appealing to the

Supreme Court, they do not have to. The constituencies are

Buhera North, Hurungwe East, Mutoko South, Chiredzi North,

Gokwe North, and Gokwe South. All are ZANU-PF. The Buhera

North and Chiredzi North parliamentary elections were

relatively close, with the ZANU-PF candidate garnering 53.6

and 51 percent of the vote, respectively (53.7 and 68.2

percent for the 2002 elections).





7. (C) After losing the Kuwadzana and Highfield elections,

ZANU-PF effort to grab a two-thirds majority in Parliament is

a long shot. As the most recent by-elections have shown, it

will be very difficult for ZANU-PF to win an urban

by-election, even if they resort to intimidation and

vote-buying. (See Reftels) ZANU-PF would have a much better

chance of taking some of the MDC’s rural constituencies

(Gweru rural, Seke, Bulilimangwe North, Nkayi, Kadoma, and

Masvingo Central), since the margins of victory for the MDC

were smaller and ZANU-PF could more discreetly manipulate the

system to win these seats, using the bare-knuckle tactic they

perfected in Insiza in October 2002. (See Reftels). End




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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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