US embassy cable - 00HARARE2609

NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY PEACE RALLY UNCLASSIFIED

Identifier: 00HARARE2609
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE2609 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-05-15 16:15:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PHUM PGOV PREL 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.

151615Z May 00


                           UNCLASSIFIED     PTO3169

PAGE 01        HARARE  02609  151611Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   AMAD-01  ACQ-00   CIAE-00  SMEC-00  
      INL-01   DODE-00  DOEE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    EUR-01   
      UTED-00  VC-01    H-01     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   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    STR-00   
      TRSE-00  USIE-00  R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   
      G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /014W
                  ------------------570AC2  151616Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6049
INFO AMEMBASSY LILONGWE 
AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 
AMEMBASSY LUSAKA 
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 
AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
UNCLAS HARARE 002609 
 
SIPDIS 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM, PGOV, PREL, KDEM, ZI 
SUBJECT: NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY PEACE RALLY 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  02609  151611Z 
VIOLENTLY DISRUPTED BY THE POLICE AND WAR VETERANS 
 
1.  ON MAY 13, THE CIVIL SOCIETY UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION, THE 
NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY'S (NCA), "PEACE RALLY," 
WHICH WAS TO BE HELD IN HARARE'S SPORTS STADIUM, WAS 
DISRUPTED AFTER THE POLICE AND ABOUT 50 WAR VETERANS 
VIOLENTLY DISPERSED PEOPLE ATTEMPTING TO ENTER THE VENUE. 
EYEWITNESSES TOLD EMBOFFS THAT THE VETERANS BEGAN BEATING 
THOSE ATTENDING THE RALLY WITH STICKS, IRON BARS, AND 
STONES.  ATTENDEES AT THE ABORTED RALLY, INCLUDING AN FSN 
AND MISSION EMPLOYEE, REPORT THAT THE POLICE, WORKING IN 
CONJUNCTION WITH THE WAR VETERANS, TOLD THE GATHERING CROWD 
THAT THE MEETING WAS CANCELED.  THE GOVERNMENT-INFLUENCED 
"THE HERALD" NEWSPAPER, AND THE ZIMBABWE BROADCASTING 
CORPORATION (ZBC) REPORTED THAT THE NCA RALLY HAD "FLOPPED" 
BECAUSE OF POOR ATTENDANCE AND MADE LITTLE MENTION OF THE 
REPORTS OF POLICE AND WAR VETERANS THREATENING AND 
DISPERSING THE NCA CROWD EVEN BEFORE THE RALLY BEGAN.  THE 
INDEPENDENTLY OWNED "THE SUNDAY STANDARD", HOWEVER, CARRIED 
A TOTALLY CONTRADICTORY HEADLINE ACCUSING THE POLICE AND 
WAR VETS OF ATTACKING THE NCA. 
 
2.  SEVERAL CONTACTS REPORTED THAT THE WAR VETERANS ARRIVED 
IN TWO "ZANU-PF TRUCKS" AT THE STADIUM, TWO HOURS BEFORE 
THE RALLY AND BEGAN TO BEAT UP AND HARASS THE NCA ADVANCE 
SECURITY TEAM AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WHO HAD BEGUN 
TO ASSEMBLE AS EARLY AS 8 AM.  THE NCA NATIONAL 
COORDINATOR, ISAAC MAPHOSA, TOLD EMBOFFS THAT TWO 
SYMPATHETIC CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS (CIO) HAD COME TO 
THE NCA OFFICE AT 9:00 AM ON THE DAY OF THE RALLY TO INFORM 
HIM OF "ZANU-PF'S PLAN" TO DISRUPT THE RALLY.  MAPHOSA 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  02609  151611Z 
IMMEDIATELY RUSHED TO THE STADIUM TO CHECK ON THE SITUATION 
AND FOUND PANDEMONIUM, AS PEOPLE WERE FLEEING FROM THE WAR 
VETERANS WHO WERE ATTACKING THEM.  MAPHOSA SAID THAT SOME 
NCA MEMBERS QUICKLY FLED THE SCENE WITH HIM IN HIS VEHICLE, 
AT WHICH POINT THE WAR VETERANS IMMEDIATELY CHASED THE NCA 
COORDINATOR'S CAR.  THE VETS PURSUED THE NCA MEMBERS IN 
THEIR OWN VEHICLE FOR MORE THAN 20 MINUTES THROUGH THE CITY 
CENTER UNTIL THE NCA GROUP MANAGED TO ESCAPE FROM THEM. 
 
3.  MEANWHILE, AT THE STADIUM, THE POLICE CONTINUED TURNING 
AWAY THE NCA SUPPORTERS, INCLUDING A LARGE NUMBER OF 
UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE STUDENTS WHO HAD COME INTO TOWN, 
INFORMING THEM THAT THE RALLY HAD BEEN CANCELED.  THE NCA 
LEADERS ALSO TOLD EMBOFFS THAT THERE WERE TWO BUSES FULL OF 
ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS AT THE RULING PARTY'S HEADQUARTERS 
WAITING TO BE TRANSPORTED TO THE NCA RALLY TO DISRUPT THE 
PROCEEDINGS.  IN LIGHT OF THIS INFORMATION, THE NCA 
LEADERSHIP CONCLUDED THAT IT WAS NO LONGER SAFE TO CONTINUE 
WITH THE RALLY AND THEN CANCELED IT. 
 
4.  COMMENT: THE NCA'S MAY 13 RALLY WAS THE FIRST MASS 
ACTION THE ORGANIZATION HAS ATTEMPTED SINCE WAR VETERANS 
AND ZANU-PF YOUTH ATTACKED A PEACEFUL NCA MARCH THROUGH 
DOWNTOWN HARARE ON APRIL 1, SERIOUSLY INJURING SEVERAL 
PEOPLE.  THIS LATEST ATTACK LENDS MORE SUBSTANCE TO 
ACCUSATIONS THAT ZANU-PF IS CONTINUING TO ENGAGE IN VICIOUS 
PHYSICAL ASSAULTS ON OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS, AS WELL AS 
ESCALATING ITS VITRIOLIC CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANYONE DEEMED TO 
BE OPPOSED TO THE GOVERNMENT.  CONSEQUENTLY, THE RULING 
PARTY IS MOVING TO THWART ANY DISSENT OR PUBLIC PROTEST OF 
ANY KIND.  THE NCA, HOWEVER, HAS VOWED NOT TO BE SILENCED 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  02609  151611Z 
BY THE WAR VETERANS AND SAYS IT WILL FIND OTHER WAYS OF 
PROTESTING THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND LACK OF DEMOCRACY IN 
ZIMBABWE IN THE RUN-UP TO THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
> 

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