ZANU-PF vs. ZANU-PF


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Police tear-gassed about 4000 people led by ZANU-PF militia and war veterans who had besieged the Grain Marketing Board depot in Bulawayo demanding transparency in the distribution of maize.

Movement for Democratic Changes secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, who was also the Member of Parliament for Bulawayo North East, said the demonstrators had told him that they were frustrated and despondent over the lack of food in the city.

The demonstrators told a news reporter that maize was only going to top ZANU-PF politicians.

 

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 03HARARE30, FOOD CLASHES IN URBAN AREAS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE30

2003-01-06 15:48

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000030

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV EAGR ZI

SUBJECT: FOOD CLASHES IN URBAN AREAS

 

1. SUMMARY: Last week, police, national youth service

members, and ordinary citizens clashed over food in two of

Zimbabwe’s most populous cities–Bulawayo and Chitungwiza.

The two incidents signal an increased level of tension

surrounding food availability and access, particularly in the

case of Bulawayo where ZANU-PF youths and war veterans

attacked the Grain Marketing Board depot. END SUMMARY.

 

——————————————— ——

BULAWAYO: ZANU-PF VS. ZANU-PF – A BATTLE FOR ACCESS

——————————————— ——

2. On January 2, police tear-gassed about 4000 people–led

by ZANU-PF militia (Green Bombers) and war veterans–who had

besieged the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot demanding

transparency in the distribution of corn, according to the

independent newspaper The Daily News.   Daily News reporter,

Chris Gande, told us that the demonstrators had complained to

him that the corn was only going to the top ZANU-PF

politicians.

 

3. Thirty-nine people were arrested on Friday, January 3,

placed in custody and were being arraigned on Monday, January

6, when PolOff spoke with Gande. Gande said the Green

Bombers and war veterans tried to hold another demonstration

near the courthouse on January 6 but were dispersed by riot

police. Gande also claimed riot police and roadblocks had

been deployed on roads leading to the courthouse. (NOTE:

PolOff has not been able to corroborate this last claim. END

NOTE.)

 

4. Welshman Ncube, MDC Secretary-General and MP of Bulawayo

North East, told us the demonstrators were attacked by police

at the GMB depot. Ncube said demonstrators told him they

were frustrated and despondent over the lack of food in the

city.

 

——————————————— ———

CHITUNGWIZA: ZANU-PF VS. POLICE – A BATTLE FOR CONTROL

——————————————— ———

5. In Chitungwiza, ZANU-PF youth attacked police manning a

corn meal queue at an area shopping center on January 5.

According to Executive Mayor of Chitungwiza, Misheck Shoko,

the youths wanted to control the distribution of the corn

meal. Members of the public helped the police fend off the

Green Bombers, who sought refuge in a nearby church. After

getting reinforcements from the church members, the Green

Bombers returned and attacked people and shops

indiscriminately.

 

6. In a telephone conversation with PolOff, Shoko said he

had spoken with police and asked them why they had not

arrested anyone. The police claimed they could not arrest

the youths and church members because they were outnumbered

and would be overwhelmed. Shoko also told PolOff that some

members of the church had been arrested after they went to

the police station claiming that the MDC instigated the

melee. Shoko–who witnessed the entire event–said there

were no discernible MDC members in the area–just ordinary

residents trying to buy corn.

 

7. PolOff asked Shoko about the mood in Chitungwiza and

whether he thought additional food disturbances might be

expected. Shoko said the situation is very tense but that he

does not think riots will happen in the near future. He said

the army is patrolling the shopping center in question and

that people are too afraid to be at the forefront of a battle

with the police or armed forces. Even though Shoko did not

believe riots were imminent, he did think that one day the

GOZ would be unable to control the frustrations and

desperation of area residents and riots would ensue.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

8. Although independent press reports somewhat overplayed

these incidents, the food clashes over the last week suggest

a growing popular frustration with food shortages and with

profiteering by ruling party politicians with access to

scarce supplies. The Bulawayo incident with ZANU-PF

supporters marching on the ZANU-PF-run GMB to demand

transparency in distributions is most likely indicative of

the sentiments of a larger proportion of the ruling party

constituency. In Chitungwiza, the intervention of ordinary

residents on behalf of the police suggests a diminishing

threshold for willingness to confront their tormentors. The

incidents in Bulawayo and Chitungwiza reveal the potential of

growing food queues as likely flashpoints for civil unrest.

END COMMENT.

SULLIVAN

 

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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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