Tsvangirai gets caught up in excitement of the moment


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Movement for Democratic Change president Morgan Tsvangirai told a rally to celebrate the party’s first anniversary that “Mugabe should go peacefully, if he does not, we will remove him violently” because he had been caught up “in the excitement of the moment”.

This was the view of United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Tom McDonald who said the remark could be misinterpreted by those who sought to do so.

“Although we continue to believe that Tsvangirai is committed to the democratic process and the change of government through peaceful, democratic means, he has given a government salivating for a chance to lock him up an excuse to do so with a veneer of legality,” the ambassador said.

A Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front spokesman criticised Tsvangirai’s remarks as a “shocking statement from a person who claims to be democratic” and vowed that his party would “answer violence with violence”.

MDC chairman Isaac Matongo said Tsvangirai had meant that President Mugabe should go peacefully but if not, Zimbabweans, who were fed up with the country’s economic decline and political instability, would force him to go.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE5585, PEACEFUL MDC RALLY, BUT CONTROVERSY OVER TSVANGIRAI’S

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE5585

2000-10-02 10:20

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.

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO1759

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05585 021019Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00

DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————8C5CCA 021019Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7245

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 005585

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/02/10

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: PEACEFUL MDC RALLY, BUT CONTROVERSY OVER TSVANGIRAI’S

REMARKS

 

REF: HARARE 5581

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02        HARARE 05585 021019Z

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MCDONALD. REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

RALLY

—–

 

1. (C) APPROXIMATELY 20,000 PEOPLE ATTENDED A PEACEFUL RALLY HELD

BY THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) ON SEPTEMBER

30 TO CELEBRATE THE PARTY’S ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY. MDC MEMBER OF

PARLIAMENT TENDAI BITI TOLD POLOFF THAT POLICE HARASSMENT HAD NOT

BEEN AS BAD AS HE EXPECTED. HIS ONLY COMPLAINT WAS THAT POLICE

ROADBLOCKS MOUNTED AROUND TOWN FOR A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE RALLY MIGHT

HAVE SCARED SOME PEOPLE AWAY. ACCORDING TO BITI, RALLY PARTICIPANTS

CALLED OVERWHELMINGLY FOR MASS ACTION AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. THIS

WEEK THE MDC’S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE WILL DISCUSS WHAT KIND OF ACTION

TO ORGANIZE AND WHEN IT WILL TAKE PLACE.

 

TSVANGIRAI’S CONTROVERSIAL COMMENTS

 

SIPDIS

———————————–

 

2. (U) BOTH THE INDEPENDENT AND GOVERNMENT PRESS QUOTED TSVANGIRAI

AS DECLARING AT THE RALLY THAT “MUGABE SHOULD GO PEACEFULLY. IF HE

DOES NOT, WE WILL REMOVE HIM VIOLENTLY.” GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

REACTED STRONGLY, WITH POLICE SPOKESMAN WAYNE BVUDZIJENA ANNOUNCING

THAT TSVANGIRAI COULD FACE ARREST AND PROSECUTION FOR ADVOCATING THE

VIOLENT OVERTHROW OF THE PRESIDENT. A ZANU-PF SPOKESMAN CRITICIZED

TSVANGIRAI’S REMARKS AS A “SHOCKING STATEMENT FROM A PERSON WHO

 

SIPDIS

CLAIMS TO BE DEMOCRATIC” AND VOWED THAT HIS PARTY WOULD “ANSWER

VIOLENCE WITH VIOLENCE.”

 

3. (C) MDC CHAIRMAN ISAAC MATONGO SAT BESIDE TSVANGIRAI AT THE

RALLY. HE TOLD POLOFF ON OCTOBER 2 THAT TSVANGIRAI HAD MEANT THAT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05585 021019Z

PRESIDENT MUGABE SHOULD GO PEACEFULLY BUT IF NOT, ZIMBABWEANS, WHO

ARE FED UP WITH THE COUNTRY’S ECONOMIC DECLINE AND POLITICAL

INSTABILITY, WOULD FORCE HIM TO GO. THE MDC, TSVANGIRAI HAD

IMPLIED, WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO CONTAIN PEOPLE IF MUGABE CONTINUED TO

HOLD ON TO POWER. MATONGO EMPHASIZED THAT THE MDC PRESIDENT HAS

RESISTED AND WOULD CONTINUE TO RESIST CALLS FROM MDC SUPPORTERS TO

RESORT TO VIOLENCE AGAINST THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT. THE GOZ, MATONGO

SAID, WAS TWISTING TSVANGIRAI’S WORDS IN ORDER TO HAVE AN EXCUSE TO

CRACK DOWN ON HIM AND THE OPPOSITION PARTY.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

4. (C) AT THE SEPTEMBER 30 RALLY, TSVANGIRAI APPARENTLY GOT CAUGHT

UP IN THE EXCITEMENT OF THE MOMENT AND SAID SOMETHING THAT COULD BE

MISINTERPRETED BY THOSE WHO SEEK TO DO SO. ALTHOUGH WE CONTINUE TO

BELIEVE THAT TSVANGIRAI IS COMMITTED TO THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND

THE CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT THROUGH PEACEFUL, DEMOCRATIC MEANS, HE HAS

GIVEN A GOVERNMENT SALIVATING FOR A CHANCE TO LOCK HIM UP AN EXCUSE

TO DO SO WITH A VENEER OF LEGALITY. POLICE SAY THEY ARE STUDYING

HIS SPEECH TO DETERMINE IF THERE IS JUSTIFICATION FOR BRINGING

CHARGES AGAINST HIM. MEANWHILE, WE WILL STAY IN CLOSE TOUCH WITH

THE MDC AS THE PARTY DEVELOPS ITS PLANS AND TIMETABLE FOR MASS

ACTION. ADDITIONALLY, THE AMBASSADOR WILL CONTINUE TO URGE

TSVANGIRAI TO ACT IN A MEASURED WAY AND EXERCISE RESTRAINT. END

 

SIPDIS

COMMENT.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(14 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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