US embassy cable - 00HARARE2297

AMBASSADOR PUTS HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER ON NOTICE TO STOP THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE

Identifier: 00HARARE2297
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE2297 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-04-27 15:46:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL PHUM PINS PINR 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.

271546Z Apr 00


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9915

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5884
INFO AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 002297 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR AF A/S SUSAN RICE, DAS SCHNEIDMAN 
 
AF/S RENDER, BOOTH, GURNEY 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA GAYLE SMITH 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  02297  01 OF 03  271542Z 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, PINS, PINR, KDEM, ZI 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR PUTS HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER ON NOTICE 
TO STOP THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE 
 
REF:  A) HARARE 2237, B) HARARE 2221, C) HARARE 2236 
 
CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER MAKILA JAMES, REASONS 
1.5 B/D. 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY: ON APRIL 26 THE MINISTER OF HOME 
AFFAIRS REPEATED THE PARTY LINE TO AMBASSADOR MCDONALD 
THAT THE OCCUPATIONS OF THE COMMERCIAL FARMS IS A 
"POLITICAL ISSUE" WITH WHICH NEITHER HE NOR THE POLICE 
MAY INTERFERE, AS LONG AS THE TAKEOVERS ARE PEACEFUL. 
DABENGWA MAINTAINS THAT THE POLICE ARE UNDER INSTRUCTION 
TO INVESTIGATE AND ARREST THOSE WHO HARM PEOPLE OR 
PROPERTY ON THE FARMS.  TO DATE, HOWEVER, WE HAVE SEEN 
NO EVIDENCE OF ANY ARREST FOR THE MURDERS OF TWO WHITE 
COMMERCIAL FARMERS OR THE HUNDREDS OF BLACK FARM WORKERS 
WHO HAVE BEEN INTIMIDATED, RAPED, OR KILLED.  THE 
MINISTER EXPRESSED A GREATER DESIRE TO STOP THE 
WIDESPREAD POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN URBAN AREAS, BUT AGAIN 
HAS YET TO DEMONSTRATE STRONG LEADERSHIP BY PUBLICIZING 
ANY INVESTIGATIONS OR ARRESTS FOLLOWING SEVERAL DEATHS. 
OPPOSITION PARTY MEMBERS SAY THE POLICE ARE UNDER 
INSTRUCTIONS NOT TO MAKE ARRESTS IN ELECTION-RELATED 
CRIMES AS THEY TOO ARE DEEMED "POLITICAL MATTERS."  IN 
OUR JUDGMENT, PUTTING AN END TO POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN 
ZIMBABWE RESTS WITH PRESIDENT MUGABE WHO CONTINUES TO 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  02297  01 OF 03  271542Z 
SHOW NO INCLINATION TO STOP THE FARM OCCUPATIONS OR THE 
ATTACKS ON OPPOSITION PARTY SUPPORTERS.  IN RESPONSE, 
AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, IN THE STRONGEST TERMS, CHASTISED 
THE GOZ AND THE ZANU-PF PARTY FOR ORGANIZING AND 
ENCOURAGING THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION. END 
SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) FOLLOWING THE APRIL 26 SIGNING OF THE U.S.- 
ZIMBABWE EXTRADITION TREATY, AMBASSADOR MCDONALD MEET 
PRIVATELY WITH MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS, DUMISO 
DABENGWA, TO RAISE OUR CONCERNS OVER THE ONGOING AND 
EVER INCREASING POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN ZIMBABWE. 
AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, ACCOMPANIED BY POLOFF (NOTETAKER), 
EXPRESSED U.S. CONDEMNATION OF AND DISGUST WITH THE 
POLITICAL VIOLENCE OCCURRING ON THE OCCUPIED COMMERCIAL 
FARMS AGAINST BLACK FARM WORKERS, INCLUDING REPORTS OF 
LYNCHINGS, BEATINGS, AND RAPES, AS WELL AS THE DEATHS OF 
THE TWO WHITE FARMERS THE WEEK OF APRIL 16, AND GENERAL 
INTIMIDATION OF FARM OWNERS BY THE OCCUPYING "WAR 
VETERANS" AND THEIR HIRED BACKERS.  ADDITIONALLY, THE 
AMBASSADOR URGED THE GOVERNMENT TO ACT AGGRESSIVELY TO 
STOP THE ESCALATING POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND TO UPHOLD LAW 
AND ORDER BY ARRESTING AND PROSECUTING PERPETRATORS OF 
THESE CRIMES.  SPECIFICALLY, THE AMBASSADOR INQUIRED 
ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO THE PETROL BOMB 
MURDERS OF TWO MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) 
SUPPORTERS IN BUHERA ON APRIL 15 AND THE FATAL BEATINGS 
OF TWO OTHER MDC SUPPORTERS IN KARIBA ON APRIL 25 
(REFTEL A).  THE AMBASSADOR INFORMED THE MINISTER THAT 
HE HAD URGED PRESIDENT MUGABE TO TAKE A LEADERSHIP ROLE 
IN STOPPING THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE (REFTEL B). 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  02297  01 OF 03  271542Z 
 
3.  (C) MINISTER DABENGWA RESPONDED BY EXPRESSING HIS 
CONCERN ABOUT THE BREAKDOWN IN LAW AND ORDER, BUT WENT 
ON TO SEPARATED THE VIOLENCE ON THE COMMERCIAL FARMS 
FROM THE BROADER ELECTION-RELATED ASSAULTS AND DEATHS. 
THE MINISTER WEAKLY ARGUED THAT THE OCCUPATIONS OF THE 
FARMS BY WAR VETS AND OTHERS WERE THE RESULT OF A 
LONGSTANDING POLITICAL PROBLEM IN THE COUNTRY THAT 
REQUIRED A "POLITICAL SOLUTION."  IN THE PAST, WHEN 
COMMERCIAL FARMS WERE OCCUPIED BY COMMUNAL FARMERS WHO 
HAD GROWN IMPATIENT WAITING FOR LAND RESETTLEMENT, LOCAL 
POLITICIANS WOULD BE DISPATCHED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO 
RESOLVE THE CRISIS AND NEGOTIATE A PEACEFUL REMOVAL. 
THE POLICE HAVE NEVER EVICTED FARM OCCUPIERS BASED ONLY 
ON A COURT ORDER, DABENGWA ADDED.  THE SAME STRATEGY IS 
NOW BEING EMPLOYED TO NEGOTIATE A SOLUTION TO THE 
OCCUPATIONS BY THE WAR VETS.  CONSEQUENTLY, NEITHER HIS 
MINISTRY NOR THE POLICE WILL INTERFERE WITH THE 
OCCUPIERS AS LONG AS THEY REMAIN PEACEFUL, I.E., IF THE 
SQUATTERS REFRAINED FROM INTIMIDATION, PROPERTY DAMAGE, 
OR PHYSICAL HARM TO THE RESIDENTS, THE MINISTER STATED. 
 
4.  (C) WHEN AMBASSADOR MCDONALD PRESSED THE MINISTER ON 
POLICE FAILURE TO DO THEIR JOB OR TO DO SO IN A TIMELY 
MANNER IN THE DEATHS OF THE TWO COMMERCIAL FARMERS OR IN 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9918 
 
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P 271546Z APR 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5885 
INFO AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
NSC WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 002297 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR AF A/S SUSAN RICE, DAS SCHNEIDMAN 
 
AF/S RENDER, BOOTH, GURNEY 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA GAYLE SMITH 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  02297  02 OF 03  271543Z 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, PINS, PINR, KDEM, ZI 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR PUTS HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER ON NOTICE 
TO STOP THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE 
 
OTHER CASES OF PHYSICAL ASSAULT ON BLACK FARM WORKERS, 
THE MINISTER INSISTED THEY POLICE "DID THEIR BEST" IN 
LIGHT OF THEIR TRANSPORT AND FORCE SIZE LIMITATIONS. 
THE MINISTER'S PERMANENT SECRETARY, TINAYE CHIGUDU, 
CHIMED IN THAT WE DID NOT HAVE ACCURATE INFORMATION AND 
QUESTIONED WHETHER SOME OF THE INCIDENTS OCCURRED. 
AMBASSADOR MCDONALD CUT CHIGUDU SHORT AND INSISTED THE 
INFORMATION THE EMBASSY HAD WAS CREDIBLE.  DABENGWA SAID 
THAT THE POLICE WERE INVESTIGATING THE TWO FARM DEATHS, 
AND PROMISED TO SHARE THE REPORT WITH THE AMBASSADOR 
WHEN COMPLETED. 
 
5.  (C) DABENGWA RECOUNTED HOW HE HAD INITIALLY 
INSTRUCTED THE POLICE TO REMOVE THE OCCUPIERS DURING THE 
FIRST WEEKS OF THE COMMERCIAL FARM INVASIONS THREE 
MONTHS AGO.  AT THAT TIME, HE SAID HE PERSONALLY TOLD 
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE WAR VETERANS ASSOCIATION, CHENJERI 
"HITLER" HUNZVI, TO ORDER THE VETS TO VACATE THE FARMS. 
HUNZVI WAS REPORTEDLY EN ROUTE TO AN OCCUPIED FARM TO 
DELIVER THAT MESSAGE WHEN PRESIDENT MUGABE'S 
CONTRADICTORY INSTRUCTION THAT THE VETS COULD REMAIN 
PEACEFULLY WAS BROADCAST OVER THE RADIO.  AT THAT POINT, 
HUNZVI CEASED HIS EFFORTS TO HAVE THE VETS LEAVE THE 
OCCUPIED FARMS.  THE MINISTER LAMENTED THAT HE DID NOT 
HAVE A CHANCE TO CONSULT WITH THE PRESIDENT IN ADVANCE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  02297  02 OF 03  271543Z 
OF MUGABE'S STATEMENT, AS HE WOULD HAVE TRIED TO TALK 
HIM OUT OF TAKING SUCH A POSITION ON THE OCCUPATIONS, 
DABENGWA SAID. 
 
6.  (C) THE MINISTER THEN DESCRIBED UNSUCCESSFUL EFFORTS 
BY HIMSELF AND OTHER SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN THE 
CABINET AND ZANU-PF POLITBURO TO END THE OCCUPATIONS, 
INCLUDING VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH MSIKA'S FLIP-FLOP ON THE 
ISSUE.  NEVERTHELESS, THE ISSUE OF ESCALATING POLITICAL 
VIOLENCE CONTINUED TO BE DISCUSSED AMONG SENIOR 
OFFICIALS, MOST RECENTLY IN THE APRIL 25 CABINET AND 
POLITBURO MEETING.  DABENGWA NOTED THAT THE AMBASSADOR'S 
MESSAGE ON THIS ISSUE TO THE PRESIDENT WAS THE MOST THAT 
COULD BE DONE, AS MUGABE WAS INSISTING ON NO FORCED 
REMOVALS.  THE MINISTER RESIGNEDLY SAID HIS HANDS WERE 
TIED AS WERE THE POLICE, AS THERE WAS "NO POLITICAL 
WILL" TO END THE OCCUPATIONS AT THE MOMENT. 
 
7.  (C) TURNING TO THE ISSUE OF GENERAL ELECTION 
POLITICAL VIOLENCE, DABENGWA INSISTED THAT THE POLICE 
WERE CONDUCTING INVESTIGATIONS AND MAKING ARRESTS. 
ADDITIONALLY, THE MINISTER SAID HE HAD INSTRUCTED THE 
POLICE COMMISSIONER TO PREPARE A WEEKLY SUMMARY OF 
POLITICAL VIOLENCE INCIDENTS, INCLUDING ARRESTS, WHICH 
HE GAVE US A COPY OF DATED APRIL 16 TO 23.  (COMMENT: 
THE REPORT MERELY CATALOGS THE NUMBER OF ZANU-PF AND 
OPPOSITION PARTY RALLIES, GENERICALLY IDENTIFIES ARRESTS 
OF PARTY MEMBERS, AND DRYLY STATES THE NUMBER OF DEATHS. 
THERE ARE NO REPORTS OF ANY ARREST IN CONNECTION WITH 
THE FARM OR POLITICAL PARTY DEATHS SO FAR.  THERE ARE 
ALSO NO NAMES OF SUSPECTS OR REFERENCE TO ANY POLICE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  02297  02 OF 03  271543Z 
FOLLOW-UP ACTION.  END COMMENT.) 
 
8.  (C) MINISTER DABENGWA INSISTS THAT THE LOCAL POLICE 
AUTHORITIES WILL BE GIVEN COPIES OF THESE WEEKLY REPORTS 
AND INSTRUCTED TO FOLLOW-UP.  DABENGWA ALSO STATED THAT 
A ZANU-PF SUPPORTER HAD BEEN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH 
THE MURDERS OF THE TWO MDC SUPPORTERS IN BUHERA.  THE 
AMBASSADOR RESPONDED THAT THE POLICE SHOULD PUBLICIZE 
ANY SUCH ARRESTS, AS THERE WAS CURRENTLY NO NEWS ON 
POLICE EFFORTS TO END THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE, WHICH, IN 
TURN, WAS ENCOURAGING MORE VIOLENCE.  DABENGWA SAID HE 
INTENDS TO HAVE THE REPORTS OF VIOLENCE AND THE 
SUBSEQUENT ARRESTS PUBLISHED IN THE NEWSPAPERS.  AT AN 
MDC PRESS CONFERENCE ON APRIL 26, HOWEVER, MDC PRESIDENT 
MORGAN TSVANGIRAI INSISTED THAT THE POLICE WERE NOT 
INVESTIGATING THE ATTACKS ON MDC SUPPORTERS, AS THE 
POLICE CLAIM TO BE UNDER INSTRUCTIONS THAT SUCH CRIMES 
ARE "POLITICAL MATTERS" AND NOT APPROPRIATE FOR POLICE 
INTERFERENCE.  THE AMBASSADOR CONCLUDED BY URGING THE 
GOVERNMENT TO ACT DECISIVELY TO END THE VIOLENCE ON THE 
FARMS AND AMONG POLITICAL PARTY OPPONENTS, AND RETURN TO 
AN ORDERLY LAND REFORM PROGRAM AS AGREED TO IN SEPTEMBER 
1998 AT THE LAND CONFERENCE.  AMBASSADOR MCDONALD WENT 
ON TO STATE THAT THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN THE RURAL 
AREAS IS DIRECTED AGAINST THE WEAKEST GROUP, THE FARM 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9919 
 
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P 271546Z APR 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5886 
INFO AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
NSC WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 002297 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR AF A/S SUSAN RICE, DAS SCHNEIDMAN 
 
AF/S RENDER, BOOTH, GURNEY 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA GAYLE SMITH 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  02297  03 OF 03  271543Z 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/27/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, PINS, PINR, KDEM, ZI 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR PUTS HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER ON NOTICE 
TO STOP THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE 
 
WORKERS, WHO ARE THE LEAST ABLE TO DEFEND THEMSELVES. 
 
9.  (C) COMMENT: THE ONGOING POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN 
ZIMBABWE IS DESIGNED TO SET THE STAGE FOR A ZANU-PF WIN 
IN THE UPCOMING PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION.  THE BATTLE FOR 
THE MAJORITY OF VOTES WILL PLAY OUT IN THE RURAL AREAS 
(REFTEL C).  CONSEQUENTLY, MUGABE BELIEVES HE CAN WIN 
ONLY IF HE CONTINUES ALLOWING ENOUGH INSTABILITY IN THE 
RURAL AREAS TO ENSURE THAT AN INTIMATED ELECTORATE 
STICKS WITH ZANU-PF.  NEITHER THE HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER 
NOR OTHERS IN SENIOR GOVERNMENT POSITIONS ARE ABLE TO 
INFLUENCE PRESIDENT MUGABE TO STOP THE ELECTION 
VIOLENCE.  THOSE WHO PROFESS ABHORRENCE OF THE VIOLENCE, 
LIKE DABENGWA, ARE EITHER TOO AFRAID FOR THEIR POLITICAL 
CAREERS OR TOO WEAK TO HAVE ANY IMPACT ON THE DEBATE. 
MUGABE IS AGAIN CALLING ALL THE SHOTS AND NO ONE BELOW 
HIM WILL TELL HIM JUST HOW DAMAGING THE VIOLENCE IS TO 
THE COUNTRY'S STABILITY AND REPUTATION.  THERE IS A 
CHANCE THAT THE ZIMBABWEAN DELEGATION WHICH IS PRESENTLY 
IN LONDON TO DISCUSS RESUMPTION OF DIALOGUE WITH THE UK 
ON LAND REFORM MAY GET A REALITY CHECK, BUT THE ODDS ARE 
AGAINST ANY QUICK SHIFT IN THE CURRENT STRATEGY.  THE 
ISSUE IS A CRITICAL ONE AND A MATTER OF BASIC HUMAN 
RIGHTS REGARDING WHICH WE WILL CONTINUE TO SPEAK OUT. 
END COMMENT. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  02297  03 OF 03  271543Z 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 

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