ZANU-PF imports voters and wins


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The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was reported to have imported voters and the youth militia to win the Insiza by-election.

Movement for Democratic Change Shadow Minister for Justice David Coltart said many commercial farmers in Matabeleland South had reported that settlers had disappeared from their farms allegedly to travel to Insiza to vote for ZANU-PF.

Fundisani Jamela, who was said to be a graduate of the Border Gezi youth militia training camp, was in Filabusi to bolster security in the district and was staying at the Pangani Vocational Training Camp with many other Border Gezi graduates who were in Insiza for the election period.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE2354, ZANU-PF WINS BY-ELECTION IN INSIZA

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE2354

2002-10-28 15:05

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 03 HARARE 002354

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/28/2012

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL EAID ECON ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: ZANU-PF WINS BY-ELECTION IN INSIZA

 

 

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

 

SUMMARY

——-

1. (C) The official media characterized Poloff’s recent trip

to the Insiza area ahead of by-elections there as “meddling”.

Able to concentrate its resources on one province, and

through a campaign of vote-buying with food, violence,

intimidation, restricting the movements of MDC officials,

theft of MDC campaign resources and denial of wrongdoing

ZANU-PF assured its victory in Insiza. With a famine

looming, food was the main issue. With WFP food distribution

halted in Insiza, and the government’s Grain Marketing Board

(GMB) giving it out at ZANU-PF rallies the message was clear,

vote for us, or go it alone. End Summary.

 

2. (U) Together with diplomats from the U.K. Sweden, and

Spain, Poloff traveled to the Insiza area to take the

political temperature during the October 26-27 by-election

held for a parliamentary seat left vacant after the death of

an MDC M.P. in August. Poloff’s trip was covered in the

official media which reported that despite meddling by

foreign diplomats, the election was peaceful and orderly.

 

ZANU-PF WIN SEALED

——————

3. (C) MDC officials predicted privately that by controlling

the pre-election period, Zanu-PF would win the election even

though in 2000 the district elected George Ndlovu, from the

recently formed MDC party by a margin of 7,000 votes. That

margin narrowed to 3,000 votes during the March 2002

presidential election. Reports late on October 28 were that

ZANU-PF won the seat with 11,000 votes to MDC’s 5,000. There

are reportedly 41,000 registered voters in Insiza.

 

MDC SUPPORTERS DENIED FOOD

————————–

4. (C) There have been widespread reports that the ruling

party has distributed maize at political rallies, and that

GMB maize is distributed to ZANU-PF cardholders only–charges

that ZANU-PF officials have repeatedly denied. On October

25, Poloff attended a ZANU-PF rally in Bekezela (about 60

kilometers southeast of the constituency capital of Filabusi)

where at least 140 50-kg bags of GMB maize-meal, and an

unknown number of maize seed bags were distributed after the

ZANU-PF candidate, and Politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu,

encouraged a gathering of approximately 200 people to vote

for ZANU-PF. According to a GMB official present for the

distribution, GMB had coordinated all of its recent food

distribution in Insiza with rallies for the ZANU-PF candidate

Andrew Langa. MDC officials reported that on various

occasions, including a registered MDC rally in Maholehole on

October 23, ZANU-PF supporters disrupted MDC rallies by

distributing maize nearby. (Comment: These can be an

effective campaign tactics in an area such as Insiza, which

has been particularly hard hit by food shortages. End

Comment.)

 

MDC SUPPORTERS ATTACKED

———————–

5. (C) On October 15, ZANU-PF candidate Langa shot MDC youth

Darlington Kadengu, in the back, at a range of 6 meters while

Kadengu was inside Filabusi Police Station making a report of

stolen MDC resources (see below). Kadengu was subsequently

arrested while Langa continued to campaign freely. (Note:

On October 24 Poloff interviewed Kadengu who was in good

condition and due to have the bullet removed shortly. End

Note.) On October 22 in Kwatemba Police severely beat MDC

member Roderick Mtyida while demanding Mtyida reveal the

sources and carriers of MDC money. On October 22, suspected

ZANU-PF supporters fired gunshots at the MDC candidate,

Siyabonga Ncube, as he traveled by car in the district

capital Filabusi. On October 20, ZANU-PF militia members

stoned Ncube’s car outside the police station in Filabusi.

MDC leaders described the area as “dangerous” for them, and

cautioned Poloff and his group about traveling there.

 

MDC SUPPORTERS RESTRICTED ACCESS

——————————–

6. (C) On October 22, police stopped MDC candidate Siyabonga

Ncube and other MDC vehicles at a roadblock and forced them

to acquire a police pass to enter Insiza province from the

Officer in Charge at West Nicholson police station. Police

prevented the MDC Vice President, Secretary General,

Elections Chief, Provincial Chairman, and Ncube’s campaign

manager from entering Insiza, and denied entry intermittently

to many other MDC officials. The independent press reported

that 23 MDC activists were arrested in Insiza in the run-up

to the elections on a variety of trumped-up charges. There

were no reports of any ZANU-PF supporters arrested.

 

MDC ELECTION COMMAND CENTER SHUT DOWN

————————————-

7. (U) On October 19, ZANU-PF youth attacked the MDC election

command center in Filabusi with stones. MDC youth

effectively repelled the nighttime attack by shining vehicle

headlights at the attackers, and hurling stones back. Police

subsequently raided the command center, and arrested many MDC

activists. The command center was then shut down due to

damage and lack of personnel.

 

MDC CAMPAIGN RESOURCES STOLEN

—————————-

8. (U) On October 15 at 11:00 PM suspected ZANU-PF supporters

forcibly stopped an MDC car and stole 1000 MDC campaign

T-shirts, and about ZWD$5 million (about US$5,000) to have

been used to pay stipends for MDC polling agents. The MDC

members present, including Kadengu, reported the crime at the

Filabusi police station where Kadengu was then shot by the

ZANU-PF candidate (see above).

 

ZANU-PF IMPORTS TEMPORARY RESIDENTS

———————————–

9. (C) On October 25 Poloff spoke with Fundisani Jamela, a

recent graduate of a Border Gezi youth militia training camp

in Mount Darwin who was in Filabusi to ‘bolster security’ in

the district. Jamela reported that he was staying at the

Pangani Vocational Training Camp in Filabusi with many other

Border Gezi graduates who were assigned to Insiza for the

election period. On October 26, David Coltart, MDC shadow

Minister of Justice and M.P. for Bulawayo South district,

reported that many commercial farmers in the Matabeleland

South province reported that settlers had disappeared from

commercial farms in the past two weeks allegedly to travel to

Insiza and vote for the ruling party. MDC officials

complained that once again, contrary to the Electoral Act,

they had been denied access to voter rolls.

 

ZANU-PF OFFICIALS DENY WRONGDOING

AND STATE-MEDIA ACCUSE THE VICTIMS

———————————-

10. (C) The government-controlled media reported throughout

that preparations for, and voting in the election were

carried out peacefully. Even more cynically, state

television carried police and state journalists’ comments

that the only violence in the district was carried out by

MDC. State media also accused the British High Commissioner

of seeking to divert food in Insiza to the MDC, although he

never visited the district. Though Poloff met various

ZANU-PF officials during the visit, including two politburo

members and a Minister, none had any complaints about the

elections. In a meeting with the Electoral Supervisory

Committee (ESC), whose members are appointed by the

President, Poloff raised concerns that food was being used to

induce votes for ZANU-PF, and that the MDC candidate was

being restricted from entering the constituency. Without

investigating, ESC Director Douglas Nyikayaramba dismissed

the food distribution charge saying the gathering in question

at which the ZANU-PF candidate addressed the crowd and asked

for their votes was “not a registered rally” and therefore

not precluded by Zimbabwe’s Electoral Act. Nyikayaramba also

denied that the MDC candidate was restricted from entering

the constituency, and when presented with a copy of the pass

issued by the West Nicholson Officer in Charge, denied that

the pass was issued to the candidate.

 

COMMENT

——-

11. (C) ZANU-PF is seven votes shy of a two-thirds

parliamentary majority required to pass a constitutional

amendment. Thus the Insiza by-election for a vacant MDC seat

carried extreme importance, revealed by the fact that most

ruling party heavyweights–including at least seven cabinet

members–made campaign appearances. Many observers noted

that a by-election would be impossible for the MDC to win

given that ZANU-PF could concentrate all of its resources on

one district. Even though Insiza elected an MDC M.P. in

2000, through a comprehensive campaign of violence,

intimidation and vote-buying ZANU-PF secured the vacant seat.

 

12. (C) With a famine looming, food was the main campaign

issue, and ZANU-PF’s most potent weapon in its bid to win the

Insiza parliamentary seat. With all GMB maize distributions

coordinated with ZANU-PF rallies, WFP food distribution

halted in the area, and a hot wind drying an already parched

scrubland–the message to voters was clear: vote for ZANU-PF,

and we will feed your children; vote against, and you will go

it alone.

 

13. (C) State media criticism of U.S. and EU diplomats’

presence in Insiza, notwithstanding meetings with ZANU-PF and

ESC officials and MFA encouragement to visit Insiza, is

likely an effort to preempt expected Western criticism of

ZANU-PF’s conduct of the elections.

SULLIVAN

(2 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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