Was MDC director general sacrificed for Chagonda?


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Movement for Democratic Change director general Toindepi Shonhe was arrested because attorney-general Johannes Tomana had failed to arrest lawyer Innocent Chagonda and his partner Chris Mhike.

Chagonda told United States embassy officials that Tomana initially planned to arrest him and Mhike in connection with their representation of MDC abductees Fanny Tembo, Lloyd Tarumbwa, and Terry Musona.

Chagonda said that he wrote to Judge President Rita Makarau, who intervened and prevented the lawyers’ arrest.

Having failed to arrest Chagonda and Mhike, Tomana settled for Shonhe. Shonhe was summoned to the Harare central police station where he was questioned and later arrested on charges of perjury in connection with the abduction and release of three MDC members.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE503, ATTORNEY GENERAL ORDERS ARREST OF SENIOR MDC OFFICIAL

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

09HARARE503

2009-06-19 09:28

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3768

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0503/01 1700928

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 190928Z JUN 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4624

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2321

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2896

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3015

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1447

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2278

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2645

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3063

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5506

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2191

RUZEHAA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000503

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR M. GAVIN

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND E.LOKEN

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PHUM ASEC KDEM PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: ATTORNEY GENERAL ORDERS ARREST OF SENIOR MDC OFFICIAL

 

REF: A. HARARE 466, B. HARARE 461

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana is continuing his

pursuit of attorneys and MDC officials who seek to protect and

defend the MDC officials who were abducted late last year. On June

16, at the behest of Tomana, senior MDC-T official Toendepi Shonhe

was arrested on charges of perjury. Tomana contends Shonhe made

false statements under oath in a high court hearing on June 6 when

he testified that three MDC officials who had been abducted last

year had been re-abducted on June 2. Separately, human rights

lawyer Alec Muchadehama – responding to a summons issued by the AG –

arrived at court to face charges of obstruction of justice on June

17 only to learn the AG’s office wasn’t yet ready to begin the

trial. END SUMMARY.

 

——————————————— —-

AG Orders Arrest, Denial of Bail for MDC Official

——————————————— —-

 

2. (SBU) Shonhe was summoned to the Harare central police station on

June 16 where he was questioned; late in the day he was arrested on

charges of perjury. The allegations stem from an affidavit Shonhe

submitted in the High Court on June 6 that three MDC members,

previously abducted and then released, had been re-abducted on June

2 (Ref A). The State contends the three were not re-abducted.

 

3. (SBU) Shonhe appeared before Magistrate Munyonga on June 17

where the prosecutors from AG Tomana’s office opposed bail on

grounds that Shonhe would interfere with witnesses. Prosecutors

presented evidence from notorious policeman Detective Inspector

Henry Dowa who said he wanted Shonhe to remain in custody until he

finished investigations, which he said would go on for an

“unspecified” period. Defense lawyers Alec Muchadehama and Innocent

Maja argued the AG’s refusal to consent to bail was vindictive and

intended to punish Shonhe for exposing the AG’s illegal plan to

force MDC abductees to testify falsely against their colleagues. On

June 18, Magistrate Munyonga granted bail, but the prosecutor

immediately filed notice that the AG would appeal, forcing Shonhe to

remain in jail. Shonhe’s supporters in the crowded courtroom

collectively groaned in dismay when the prosecutor announced his

intent to appeal.

 

———————————

AG Targeting Human Rights Lawyers

———————————

 

4. (SBU) On June 16, human rights lawyer Innocent Chagonda told us

that Tomana initially planned to arrest him and his law partner

Chris Mhike in connection with their representation of MDC abductees

Fanny Tembo, Lloyd Tarumbwa, and Terry Musona. Chagonda said that

he wrote to Judge President Rita Makarau, who intervened and

prevented the lawyers’ arrest. Having failed to arrest Chagonda and

Qprevented the lawyers’ arrest. Having failed to arrest Chagonda and

Mhike, Tomana settled for Shonhe.

 

5. (SBU) Separately, human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama appeared

in court on the morning of June 17, prepared to stand trial on

obstruction of justice charges relating to the release on bail of of

abductees Chris Dhlamini, Ghandi Mudzingwa, and Andrisson Manyere

(Ref B). According to Muchadehama’s attorney, Beatrice Mtetwa, on

the morning of the trial the prosecutor arrived in court, said he

wasn’t ready for trial, and left. Mtetwa described the prosecutor’s

 

HARARE 00000503 002 OF 002

 

 

behavior as bizarre and a blatant violation of court procedure. The

prosecutors have reportedly claimed they want to prosecute someone

else along with Muchadehama.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

6. (SBU) Notwithstanding the formation of the inclusive government

in February, ZANU-PF continues to use the AG’s office to harass its

opponents and to deny them their civil and political rights. By

attacking the handful of human rights lawyers that are actively

defending MDC officials and victims, the AG’s office is continuing

with its relentless attack on Zimbabwe’s brave dissenting voices.

This state of affairs will surely continue and possibly worsen

unless there is full implementation of the Global Political

Agreement, particularly the replacement of Tomana with an impartial

Attorney-General. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

 

(80 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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