US embassy cable - 00HARARE1969

AMBASSADOR URGES GOVERNMENT RESTRAINT IN DEALING WITH OPPOSITION

Identifier: 00HARARE1969
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE1969 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-04-11 15:27:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL PINS PHUM KDEM ZI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2729

PAGE 01        HARARE  01969  01 OF 02  111521Z 
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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5719
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001969 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR AF/S - CHARLES GURNEY 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/11/09 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINS, PHUM, KDEM, ZI 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR URGES GOVERNMENT RESTRAINT IN 
DEALING WITH OPPOSITION 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD REASONS 1.5 B/D. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  01969  01 OF 02  111521Z 
 
REF:  HARARE 1778 
 
1.  (C) AMBASSADOR MCDONALD HAD A CORDIAL, BUT SPIRITED, 
1 1/2-HOUR CONVERSATION WITH MINISTER OF LOCAL 
GOVERNMENT AND NATIONAL HOUSING AND ZANU-PF PARTY 
CHAIRMAN, JOHN NKOMO, ON APRIL 7 DURING A FLIGHT BACK 
FROM SOUTH AFRICA.  THE AMBASSADOR EXPRESSED THE USG'S 
SERIOUS CONCERN OVER THE VIOLENCE THAT OCCURRED ON APRIL 
1 IN HARARE WHEN ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS ATTACKED A "PEACE 
MARCH" ORGANIZED BY THE NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY 
(NCA) (REFTEL).  THE AMBASSADOR STRESSED THAT THE USG 
ALONG WITH THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL 
COMMUNITY FIND THE GOVERNMENT'S INACTION IN THE FACE OF, 
AND, INDEED, SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF ATTACKS ON 
PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATORS ABHORRENT.  HE NOTED THAT RIGHT 
THINKING MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY URGED 
THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT TO TAKE RESPONSIBLE STEPS TO 
CURB SUCH VIOLENCE IN THE FUTURE.  MINSTER NKOMO 
DEFENDED THE POLICE FAILURE TO PROTECT THE NCA 
PROTESTORS, ARGUING THAT THE ORGANIZATION HAD BEEN 
WARNED OF THE COMPETING DEMONSTRATION BY THE WAR 
VETERANS ON APRIL 1, BUT INSISTED ON HOLDING ITS MARCH 
ANYWAY.  MOREOVER, NKOMO ACCUSED THE NCA OF PROVOKING 
THE WAR VETS THROUGH "LOUD TALK AND SONGS" WHICH 
CRITICIZED THE VETERANS' OCCUPATION OF WHITE-OWNED 
COMMERCIAL FARMS. 
 
2.  (C) THE AMBASSADOR STATED UNEQUIVOCALLY THAT THE 
GOVERNMENT'S ABDICATING ITS RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT 
PEACEFUL PROTESTORS WAS UNACCEPTABLE.  AMBASSADOR 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  01969  01 OF 02  111521Z 
MCDONALD STRESSED THAT WE ARE LOOKING TO THE GOVERNMENT 
OF ZIMBABWE TO RESPECT THE OPPOSITION'S RIGHT TO FREEDOM 
OF SPEECH AND ASSEMBLY, AND SPECIFICALLY URGED THE 
GOVERNMENT TO TAKE STEPS TO ENSURE THAT NO HARM COMES TO 
MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) PRESIDENT, MORGAN 
TSVANGIRAI.  NKOMO RESPONDED THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAD NO 
 
SIPDIS 
INTENTION OF HARMING TSVANGIRAI, BUT WARNED, WITHOUT 
ELABORATING, THAT THE MDC PRESIDENT NEEDED TO "BE 
CAREFUL." 
 
3.  (C) THE AMBASSADOR THEN TOLD MINISTER NKOMO THAT 
WASHINGTON WAS ALSO DISTURBED ABOUT THE COMMERCIAL FARM 
INVASIONS AND THE GOVERNMENT'S HAND IN FACILITATING THE 
OCCUPATIONS BY THE WAR VETERANS AND THEIR SUPPORTERS. 
NKOMO DID NOT DENY THAT THE GOVERNMENT, THROUGH ZANU-PF 
OFFICIALS, WAS SUPPORTING THE OCCUPATIONS.  "WHAT WAS 
THE POINT OF OUR FIGHTING A WAR OF LIBERATION IF WE 
CANNOT CONTROL OUR LAND," NKOMO ASKED RHETORICALLY.  THE 
MINISTER THEN BLAMED THE LACK OF FUNDS WITH WHICH TO 
PURCHASE FARMS AND THE WHITE COMMERCIAL FARMERS' LEGAL 
CHALLENGES TO THE GOVERNMENT'S LAND REFORM PROGRAM AS 
THE CAUSE OF THE CURRENT OCCUPATIONS.  THE AMBASSADOR 
RESPONDED THAT THE USG WOULD NOT TOLERATE THE VIOLATION 
OF THE RULE OF LAW WITH RESPECT TO THE TAKING OF FARM 
LAND WITHOUT COMPENSATION AND SAW THE OCCUPATIONS AS 
PART OF THE GOVERNMENT'S POLITICAL AGENDA, TO WHICH 
MINISTER NKOMO DID NOT REPLY.  AMBASSADOR MCDONALD ALSO 
UNDERSCORED USG SUPPORT FOR LAND REFORM AS AGREED TO AT 
THE DONOR'S CONFERENCE IN SEPTEMBER 1998. 
 
4.  (C) THE CONVERSATION THEN TURNED TO GENERAL 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  01969  01 OF 02  111521Z 
POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS WITHIN THE RULING PARTY AND 
PRESIDENT MUGABE'S FUTURE PLANS.  NKOMO TOLD THE 
AMBASSADOR THAT HE WAS FINDING THE POSITION OF ZANU-PF 
PARTY CHAIRMAN A VERY DIFFICULT ONE AND THEN CRITICIZED 
THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION (CFU) FOR ITS SUPPORT OF 
THE MDC.  NKOMO ASSERTED THAT THE CFU AS A GROUP HAD NO 
RIGHT TO SUPPORT A POLITICAL PARTY, ALTHOUGH HE CONCEDED 
ITS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS COULD DO SO.  THE ZANU-PF PARTY 
CHAIRMAN THEN STATED THAT IT WAS NO LONGER CLEAR WHETHER 
PRESIDENT MUGABE WOULD STEP DOWN AT THE END OF HIS TERM 
IN 2002.  PRIOR TO THE FEBRUARY DEFEAT OF THE 
CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM, THE PLAN WAS FOR MUGABE TO 
PAVE THE WAY FOR A SUCCESSOR AND THEN MAKE A GRACEFUL 
EXIT BY THE YEAR 2002.  WITH THE DEFEAT OF THE DRAFT 
CONSTITUTION, AND ITS PROVISIONS FOR A PRIME MINISTER 
AND PRESIDENT OF A SENATE, "ALL BETS ARE OFF" AS TO WHAT 
MUGABE WILL DO, ACCORDING TO NKOMO.  NKOMO STATED: "THE 
NEW CONSTITUTION PROVIDED MUGABE WITH COVER TO ANNOUNCE 
HIS PLANNED RETIREMENT."  MOREOVER, NO ONE IN THE 
GOVERNMENT WILL EVEN RAISE THE ISSUE OF THE PRESIDENT'S 
FUTURE PLANS WITH HIM, NKOMO SAID. 
 
5.  (C) COMMENT: MINISTER NKOMO, LIKE MANY OTHER SENIOR 
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, HAS CHOSEN NOT TO SEEK REELECTION 
IN THE UPCOMING PARLIAMENTARY RACE.  NKOMO SAYS HE WILL 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2730 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  01969  02 OF 02  111521Z 
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      TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   L-00     AC-01    NSAE-00 
      NSCE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00 
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O 111527Z APR 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5720 
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 001969 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR AF/S - CHARLES GURNEY 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/11/09 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINS, PHUM, KDEM, ZI 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR URGES GOVERNMENT RESTRAINT IN 
DEALING WITH OPPOSITION 
 
CONCENTRATE ON RULING PARTY MATTERS.  MANY OTHERS, 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  01969  02 OF 02  111521Z 
HOWEVER, SEE THE WRITING ON THE WALL FOR ZANU-PF AND 
HAVE JUST RESIGNED.  NKOMO, LIKE MANY OTHERS IN THE 
RULING PARTY, ARE ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED THAT ZANU-PF IS 
FACED WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF LOSING TO THE MDC -- A 
PARTY THEY SEE CONSISTING OF POLITICAL UPSTARTS WITH 
WHITE FINANCIAL BACKING.  THESE ZANU-PF OFFICIALS ARE 
LASHING OUT AT OPPOSITION, WHITE FARMERS, AND ANY ONE 
WHO SUPPORTS THOSE GROUPS IN THE RUN-UP TO THE ELECTION. 
IN THIS REGARD, WE NOTE THAT AT AN APRIL 10 MEETING OF 
WESTERN DONOR COUNTRY POLITICAL OFFICERS AND DEVELOPMENT 
ASSISTANCE OFFICERS IN HARARE, THERE WAS NO INDICATION 
THAT ANY OF THE RESIDENT MISSIONS INTENDS TO DELIVER 
TOUGH BILATERAL MESSAGES IN SUPPORT OF RESTRAINT AND 
NON-VIOLENCE TO THE GOVERNMENT.  NEVERTHELESS, THE 
AMBASSADOR WILL CONTINUE TO ENGAGE OUR CIVIL SOCIETY 
ORGANIZATION, OPPOSITION AND GOVERNMENT INTERLOCUTORS TO 
PRESS FOR A PEACEFUL PRE- AND POST-ELECTION CAMPAIGN 
SEASON. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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