Tsvangirai pressured Mugabe to release Mukoko


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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who was under pressure from his lieutenants to deal with President Robert Mugabe, pressured Mugabe to release human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and others after they had been sent back to jail on the instructions of attorney-general Johannes Tomana.

Mugabe summoned Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa and instructed him to facilitate their release.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE372, MDC FOCUSES ON OUTSTANDING ISSUES; DETAINEES

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

09HARARE372

2009-05-06 14:52

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7801

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0372/01 1261452

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 061452Z MAY 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4448

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2803

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2924

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1367

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2187

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2552

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2972

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5413

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2096

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000372

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/06/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MDC FOCUSES ON OUTSTANDING ISSUES; DETAINEES

RELEASED

 

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for Reason 1.4 (d)

 

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Following a May 6 MDC Standing Committee

meeting, party Secretary General Tendai Biti held a press

conference to announce that the MDC expected action in the

next ten days on outstanding issues under the Global

Political Agreement, including the appointments of the

Reserve Bank (RBZ) Governor and the Attorney General.

Separately, after Tsvangirai raised the issue with Mugabe,

the detainees who were returned to jail on May 5 were

released. It appears the MDC’s patience is wearing thin but

it is not yet clear what the party will do if its demands are

not met. END SUMMARY.

 

¶2. (C) The MDC’s Roy Bennett briefed us on the MDC Standing

Committee meeting held today. The Committee is comprised of

the 12 highest MDC officials; 9 attended the meeting. Biti

and Chamisa in particular pressured Tsvangirai to resolve

outstanding issues. The Committee agreed that all

outstanding issues should be resolved at a meeting of

principals on May 11, which should be the last principals

meeting on these issues. If all are not resolved, the MDC

National Council, scheduled to meet on May 17, will consider

next steps.

 

¶3. (C) Of note regarding outstanding issues, the Committee

took the position that Attorney General Tomana, in addition

to RBZ Governor Gono, should go. The MDC’s position is that

both were appointed in violation of the September 15

Inter-Party Agreement and that their positions should be

filled by Mugabe and Tsvangirai acting together. As to

Bennett, the MDC position is that since under Zimbabwean law

he is innocent until proven guilty, Mugabe cannot use pending

charges against him as an excuse not to swear him in.

Tsvangirai instructed him to report to work as Deputy

Minister of Agriculture next Monday.

 

¶4. (SBU) Subsequent to the Committee meeting, Biti in his

capacity as MDC Secretary General held a press conference and

summarized the decisions taken by the Committee. In addition

to outstanding issues, he emphasized that Tsvangirai was due

respect as prime minister by the security forces — a respect

which has been pointedly lacking. He also decried a

continuing media war by the government press, radio, and

television that refuses to acknowledge the MDC as equal

partners in government.

 

¶5. (SBU) Biti was directly asked if, in light of continuing

problems, the new governmental arrangement had failed. He

firmly rejected the premise of the question, and stated that

on balance the forces of change and progress outweighed the

negative. He acknowledged there were “land mines” that

needed to be cleared.

 

¶6. (C) MDC sources told us that at a principals meeting

yesterday that had already been scheduled, Tsvangirai raised

the issue of the remand to custody of Jestina Mukoko and

others. Mugabe summoned Minister of Justice Patrick

Chinamasa and instructed him to facilitate their release. We

understand that defense attorneys subsequently met with

Qunderstand that defense attorneys subsequently met with

Attorney General Tomana who promised they would be released

today.

 

¶7. (SBU) We learned that, with the exception of the three at

Avenues Clinic under police guard, all were released. The

three are subject to a separate court process since they were

already in custody when the others were remanded yesterday.

They have bail hearings scheduled tomorrow.

 

——-

COMMENT

 

HARARE 00000372 002 OF 002

 

 

——-

 

¶8. (C) Tsvangirai has preferred a low-key approach to

resolving outstanding issues. Biti, Chamisa, and others,

have become impatient and are forcing the issue by pressuring

Tsvangirai, and going public and giving Mugabe a deadline.

Since the MDC has resolved to stay in government, the

unanswered question is what it will do if it does not receive

satisfaction on the clearly-defined outstanding issues. END

COMMENT.

 

DHANANI

(4 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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