Trevor Ncube gets passport back


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Publisher Trevor Ncube was given his passport back on 14 December after the attorney-general ruled that the seizures were unlawful.

Ncube, however, said the Central Intelligence Organisation had already achieved the desired result as the passport seizures had had a chilling effect on the travel plans of many Zimbabwean opponents of the Robert Mugabe regime.

He himself now had to decide whether he would be more effective remaining in South Africa or returning periodically to Zimbabwe at the risk of losing his freedom of movement.

Ncube said he might have to begin looking into securing a second passport, possibly from South Africa.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 05HARARE1692, ATTORNEY GENERAL CALLS PASSPORT SEIZURES UNLAWFUL;

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

05HARARE1692

2005-12-15 14:48

2011-08-30 01:44

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 HARARE 001692

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

AFR/SA FOR E. LOKEN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2010

TAGS: PHUM PGOV KPAO ZI

SUBJECT: ATTORNEY GENERAL CALLS PASSPORT SEIZURES UNLAWFUL;

SOME PASSPORTS RETURNED

 

REF: (A) HARARE 1681 (B) HARARE 1679

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

1. (C) Trevor Ncube, publisher of Zimbabwe’s independent

Standard and Independent weeklies and South Africa’s Mail and

Guardian, confirmed to the Ambassador on December 15 that GOZ

authorities had returned his seized passport (ref B) on

December 14. Ncube reported that he would be leaving for

South Africa the next day. (See septel for report of other

topics discussed.)

 

2. (C) Ncube said that as reported in the press, the

Attorney General’s office (AG) had indeed concluded that the

seizures were unlawful and had ordered all seized passports

returned, pending the legislature’s enactment of a statute to

implement the constitutional amendment authorizing the

seizure of passports. (N.B. Authorities also returned

opposition figure Paul Themba Nyathi’s passport on December

14, but the same day seized the passport of ZCTU leader

Raymond Majongwe, which has yet to be returned.)

 

3. (C) Ncube said that immigration officials, acting at the

behest of the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) had

refused to release his passport despite the AG ruling. Ncube

and his attorney, former Legal Society President Sternford

Moyo, had been compelled to pursue the court case they had

filed two days earlier. The judge in the case, Chinembiri

Bhunu, had ruled in his favor and had ordered the government

to return the passport and pay Ncube,s court fees. Ncube

expressed surprise at the ruling, noting that Bhunu was a war

veteran who could have been expected to side with the GOZ.

 

4. (C) Ncube said had been told by a source in the CIO that

he was the real target of the list and that the “securicrats”

in the GOZ were determined to go after the independent press.

He believed the elements in the government that had

advocated seizing the passports had acted prematurely. This

had given other elements within ZANU-PF who opposed the new

policy time to mobilize. It was not at all clear that an

implementing act could or would be passed.

 

5. (C) That said, Ncube concluded that the CIO had already

achieved the desired result as the passport seizures had had

a chilling effect on the travel plans of many Zimbabwean

opponents of the regime. He himself now had to decide

whether he would be more effective remaining in South Africa

or returning periodically to Zimbabwe at the risk of losing

his freedom of movement. In that regard, he said he might

have to begin looking into securing a second passport,

possibly from South Africa.

 

6. (C) COMMENT: Coming on the heels of a ruling party

resolution urging aggressive seizure of the passports of

Zimbabwe’s internal “demonizers” (ref A), the AG’s action is

further evidence of disarray within the government in

implementing policy. It may also be indicative of something

more positive, that pockets of resistance remain within the

GOZ to the trampling of civil liberties by the security

forces.

DELL

(26 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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