Two by-elections critical to ZANU-PF succession planning


0

With 93 seats in Parliament, only seven short of attaining a two-thirds majority, by-elections in Kuwadzana and Highfield were viewed as key to the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front succession planning.

The party could play around with the country’s constitution which it had failed to amend in 2000 if it attained a two-thirds majority.

But ZANU-PF was facing a stiff challenge as it had lost both seats to the Movement for Democratic Change in 2000.

The MDC was fielding its charismatic youth chairman Nelson Chamisa in Kuwadzana and businessman David Mungofa in Highfield.

ZANU-PF was fielding businessman David Mutasa in Kuwadzana. Mutasa had been dishing out food in the area. Party heavy but intellectual flyweight Joseph Chinotimba was standing in Highfield.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE636, TWO BY-ELECTIONS CRITICAL TO ZANU-PF PRESIDENTIAL

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

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE636

2003-03-28 10:10

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 SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000636

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2013

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR ASEC ZI ZANU PF

SUBJECT: TWO BY-ELECTIONS CRITICAL TO ZANU-PF PRESIDENTIAL

SUCCESSION PLANNING

 

REF: A. HARARE 322

B. HARARE 159

C. HARARE 151

 

Classified By: Political Officer Audu Besmer for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

Summary:

——–

 

1. (C) Upcoming parliamentary by-elections pit the MDC’s

National Youth Chairman, Nelson Chamisa, against ZANU-PF

businessman David Mutasa in Kuwadzana, and MDC businessman

Pearson Mungofa against ZANU-PF heavy Joseph Chinotimba. The

pre-election period has been marred by violence perpetrated

mostly by members of the ruling party, and an estimated

19,000 voters have been added to the rolls in the two

constituencies. Given the importance of the two seats to

ZANU-PF in its bid to regain a two-thirds parliamentary

majority, and the tactics it has employed thus far, we fully

expect a ZANU-PF sweep of these two MDC strongholds. End

Summary.

 

The Candidates

————–

 

2. (C) The upcoming parliamentary by elections on March 29 –

30 in two Harare high-density suburbs pit the MDC’s National

Youth Chairman, Nelson Chamisa, against ZANU-PF businessman

David Mutasa in Kuwadzana, and MDC businessman Pearson

Mungofa against ZANU-PF heavy (and intellectual flyweight)

Joseph Chinotimba. Chamisa is the charismatic MDC national

youth leader, who has pressed for a more confrontational but

peaceful approach to the regime. David Mutasa is an

established Kuwadzana businessman / grain miller, who is

licensed to distribute maize, which he has done repeatedly to

ZANU-PF cardholders since the by-election was announced in

January. Mutasa told Poloff on March 25 that it was “a fact”

that he had already won the seat. Mungofa, the MDC candidate

for Highfield, owns a diamond cutting firm and stationery

supply house; he is an ex-ZAPU member, who lost a

parliamentary election bid for Hwedza in 2000. War Veteran

Chinotimba was the self-described leader of the farm and

factory invasions and the right-hand man of the late war vet

leader, Hitler Hunzvi.

 

The Carrot

———-

 

3. (C) Even before the dates for the by-elections were

announced in January, the independent press reported that the

Grain Marketing Board (GMB) was distributing maize in

Highfield and Kuwadzana only to ZANU-PF cardholders. For

most of the campaign period, Mutasa reportedly distributed

maize at the controlled low price to ZANU-PF cardholders

only. According to ZANU-PF supporters at a March 25 rally

attended by Poloff, the message was clear–Mutasa’s provision

of maize demonstrates that he is taking care of us.

 

The Stick

———

 

4. (C) The pre-election period in Kuwadzana and Highfield has

been marred by violence perpetrated predominately on members

of the opposition by ruling party supporters. National Youth

Service members (“green bombers”) deployed months in advance

have operated out of ZANU-PF offices and public buildings, to

beat and harass dozens of MDC supporters, including some MDC

MPs, and the leadership of the USAID-funded Combined Harare

Residents’ Association (CHRA). Agents of the Central

Intelligence Organization and police officers have also been

implicated in violence (Ref B). On March 27, Polchief

witnessed the stoning of a vehicle carrying the MDC

candidate’s campaign manager.

 

5. (C) Of four rallies that the MDC scheduled for Kuwadzana,

only one took place without disruption. On March 16, when

ZANU-PF supporters tried to prevent an MDC rally from taking

place, and tensions rose, the police fired tear gas and live

ammunition into the air. In the ensuing melee the car in

which MDC candidate Chamisa was riding, overturned and struck

a pedestrian, killing her. ZANU-PF rallies have come off

almost daily without serious incident, save for people

jockeying in queues for maize handouts.

 

Extra Voters

————

 

6. (C) Despite numerous attempts to acquire copies of the

voters’ rolls, the MDC was able to obtain them less than a

week before the elections after a High Court judge ordered

the Registrar-General to produce the rolls. According to a

preliminary MDC audit of the lists, there are 8,000

additional voters on the Kuwadzana roll, and 11,000

additional voters on the Highfield roll, as compared to the

rolls for the March 2002 presidential election. In addition,

the opposition party has found that many names have been

changed slightly–which would prevent those individuals from

voting–or stricken from the list altogether. While a

complete audit has been impossible in the limited time

between the release of the rolls and the polling days, MDC

officials have traveled door-to-door and confirmed that many

of the added voters were unknown at the residence addresses

provided, raising serious concern that large numbers of ghost

voters have been added.

 

Other Irregularities

——————–

 

7. (C) The MDC has also charged that the GOZ has delivered

large supplies of maize and sugar to the constituencies and

intends to sell these at the very low controlled prices on

the voting days at locations distant from the polling places

in an attempt to lure ordinary voters away from voting.

Another well-placed source has reported that residents in the

rural areas of Mount Darwin, Mutoko and Magunji have been

told by their village heads to be ready to travel to

Kuwadzana and Highfield in Harare to vote in the

by-elections.

 

8. (C) Officials of the government-appointed Electoral

Supervisory Commission (ESC) said they have been traveling

door-to-door in the constituencies explaining to residents

how, if they cannot read, they can vote anyway. The adult

literacy rate is 88 percent in Zimbabwe. Feigning illiteracy

has been encouraged by the ruling party as a way to allow

government polling officials to cast votes for the ruling

party on a voter’s behalf.

 

Comment: Likely Outcomes

————————

 

9. (C) The GOZ appears determined to regain a two-thirds

parliamentary majority in order to pass a constitutional

amendment allowing President Mugabe to appoint his successor.

We predict, therefore, that although the MDC won these

constituencies by huge margins in the 2000 parliamentary

elections and the 2002 presidential election, ZANU-PF will

undertake the necessary electoral manipulation to win both

seats this time around. Announcement of ZANU-PF victories in

the MDC strongholds on March 31–the day the results are

expected and the expiration of the MDC ultimatum to the

GOZ–could be a recipe for unrest. If the ruling party wins

Kuwadzana and Highfield and employs similar tactics in two

other by-elections to be held soon–Harare Central and

Zengeza–the ruling party would be one seat away from

regaining the two-thirds parliamentary majority. As the

ruling party has demonstrated on numerous occasions in the

past, it is prepared to use tactics necessary to force

by-elections in a MDC-held constituencies and to “win” these

seats. End Comment.

SULLIVAN

(21 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
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.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *