US embassy cable - 00HARARE2953

MINISTER OF STATE TELLS AMBASSADOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE IS ZANU-PF ELECTION STRATEGY

Identifier: 00HARARE2953
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE2953 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-06-02 10:52:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM EAGR PINR ZI ZANU
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.

021052Z Jun 00


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1179

PAGE 01        HARARE  02953  01 OF 02  021048Z 
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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6197
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002953 
 
SIPDIS 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA GAYLE SMITH 
DEPARTMENT FOR PDAS POWELL, DAS SCHNEIDMAN, AF/S 
DIRECTOR RENDER AND ZIMBABWE DESK OFFICER GURNEY 
DEPARTMENT PASS TO USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/02/2010 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  02953  01 OF 02  021048Z 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, EAGR, PINR, ZI, ZANU-PF 
SUBJECT: MINISTER OF STATE TELLS AMBASSADOR POLITICAL 
VIOLENCE IS ZANU-PF ELECTION STRATEGY 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER MAKILA JAMES, REASONS 
1.5 (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY: MINISTER OF STATE IN THE OFFICE OF THE 
PRESIDENT RESPONSIBLE FOR INDIGENIZATION (BLACK ECONOMIC 
EMPOWERMENT), CEPHAS MSIPA, TOLD AMBASSADOR MCDONALD 
JUNE 1 THAT ZANU-PF'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION STRATEGY IS 
TO USE THE "WAR VETERANS" TO INTIMIDATE THE PUBLIC INTO 
SUPPORTING THE RULING PARTY CANDIDATES.  A "SPECIAL 
COMMITTEE" OF CABINET MINISTERS EXISTS TO ORCHESTRATE 
THE WAR VETS COMMERCIAL FARM OCCUPATIONS, WHICH INCLUDES 
THE MINISTERS OF JUSTICE AND STATE SECURITY.  THE ZANU- 
PF ORGANIZED POLITICAL VIOLENCE COULD RESULT IN A 
PROTEST VOTE FOR THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE 
(MDC), ACCORDING TO MSIPA.  AMBASSADOR MCDONALD STRONGLY 
CONDEMNED THE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS PRESENTLY 
OCCURRING, EMPHASIZED THE DAMAGE THE ONGOING POLITICAL 
VIOLENCE WAS DOING TO INVESTOR CONFIDENCE IN ZIMBABWE, 
AND URGED THE MINISTER TO CONVEY THAT MESSAGE TO OTHER 
SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) MINISTER OF STATE FOR INDIGENIZATION, CEPHAS 
MSIPA, HAD A CANDID AND CORDIAL CONVERSATION WITH 
AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, ACCOMPANIED BY POLOFF, ON JUNE 1 IN 
WHICH HE EXPLAINED ZANU-PF'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION 
STRATEGY.  MINISTER MSIPA BEGAN BY EXPLAINING HIS OWN 
RECENT DEFEAT AS THE RULING PARTY'S PARLIAMENTARY 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  02953  01 OF 02  021048Z 
CANDIDATE, AFTER SEVERAL PRIMARY RERUNS, WHICH HE 
ATTRIBUTED TO THE WORK OF JUSTICE MINISTER, EMMERSON 
MNANGAGWA.  MNANGAGWA HAD ORGANIZED A CAMPAIGN AGAINST 
THE INDIGENIZATION MINISTER IN THE MIDLANDS PROVINCE, 
WHERE MSIPA IS FROM, IN RETALIATION FOR MSIPA HAVING 
SUPPORTED THE CURRENT ZANU-PF CHAIRMAN, JOHN NKOMO, 
DURING THE PARTY'S DECEMBER CONVENTION, HE SAID. 
(COMMENT: MSIPA IS REPORTEDLY CLOSE TO PRESIDENT MUGABE, 
HOWEVER, MNANGAGWA ENLISTED THE SUPPORT OF SEVERAL KEY 
POLITBURO MEMBERS TO DEFEAT MSIPA AND THE PRESIDENT 
COULD NOT OVERRIDE THAT DECISION.  END NOTE). 
 
3.  (C) IN RESPONSE AMBASSADOR MCDONALD'S CONDEMNATION 
OF THE ONGOING PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE, THE MINISTER TOLD 
US THAT ZANU-PF'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION STRATEGY WAS TO 
INTIMIDATE THE PUBLIC INTO BACKING THE RULING PARTY AND 
TO CRUSH ANY OPPOSITION.  SPECIFICALLY, MSIPA SAID EVERY 
ZANU-PF CANDIDATE WAS ALLOCATED A NUMBER OF "WAR 
VETERANS" IN THEIR AREA TO COERCE PEOPLE INTO SUPPORTING 
THE RULING PARTY'S CANDIDATE.  MSIPA SAID HE TOO WAS 
GIVEN A GROUP OF OSTENSIBLE WAR VETS (I.E. THUGS) TO 
HELP HIM WIN HIS ELECTION.  SOME SENIOR PARTY MEMBERS 
SOUGHT TO WITHDRAW THEM, HOWEVER, AFTER MNANGAGWA BEGAN 
ORGANIZING OPPOSITION TO MSIPA'S CANDIDACY. 
 
4.  (C) MOREOVER, MSIPA SAID THERE WAS A "SPECIAL 
COMMITTEE" OF SELECT CABINET MINISTERS WHO WERE TASKED 
WITH ORCHESTRATING THE COMMERCIAL FARM OCCUPATIONS WHICH 
HAD GIVEN RISE TO MUCH OF THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE.  MSIPA 
SAID THAT DURING THE REGULAR WEEKLY CABINET MEETINGS 
MENTION WOULD BE MADE OF THIS "SPECIAL COMMITTEE" TAKING 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  02953  01 OF 02  021048Z 
UP SENSITIVE ISSUES, SUCH AS THE CARE AND FEEDING OF THE 
WAR VETS ON THE OCCUPIED FARMS.  MSIPA SAID HE BELIEVED 
MNANGAGWA AND MINISTER OF STATE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY, 
SYDNEY SEKERAMAYI, WERE ON THIS COMMITTEE.  THE MINISTER 
OF HOME AFFAIRS, DUMISO DABENGWA, HAD SPOKEN OUT AGAINST 
THE GOVERNMENT-CONDONED POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN CABINET 
MEETINGS, BUT HAD BEEN OVERRULED AND EFFECTIVELY 
SIOELINED ON THIS ISSUE. 
 
5.  (C) MSIPA ALSO SAID MUGABE WAS PERSONALLY INVOLVED 
IN OVERSEEING THE WORK 
 OF THIS "SPECIAL COMMITTEE" AND 
HAD CALLED OUT THE WAR VETERANS TO OCCUPY PRIMARILY 
WHITE-OWNED COMMERCIAL FARMS.  MSIPA ALSO NOTED THAT 
SINCE THE CONTENTIOUS RULING PARTY'S FEBRUARY CENTRAL 
COMMITTEE MEETING, IN WHICH PRESIDENT MUGABE WAS TOLD 
THAT HE HAD BECOME A PARTY LIABILITY ANO SHOULD PREPARE 
TO LEAVE OFFICE, THERE HAD NOT BEEN ANOTHER MEETING OF 
THAT BODY.  MSIPA SAID MUGABE THEN ENLISTED THE HELP OF 
THE WAR VETERANS TO SHORE UP THE PARTY'S CHANCES OF 
WINNING A MAJORITY OF THE PARLIAMENTARY SEATS AND TO 
CRUSH THE OPPOSITION MDC PARTY AND ITS SUPPORTERS. 
MSIPA SAID HE HAD URGED THE GOVERNMENT TO ACCEPT THE 118 
COMMERCIAL FARMS OFFERED FOR RESETTLEMENT IN 1998, BUT 
THAT THE GOVERNMENT DELAYED IN TAKING ANY SERIOUS 
ACTION.  CONSEQUENTLY, NO COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES HAD BEEN 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1180 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  02953  02 OF 02  021048Z 
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INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AGRE-00  AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00  COME-00 
      INL-01   DINT-00  DODE-00  DOTE-00  ANHR-00  SRPP-00  DS-00 
      EB-00    EUR-00   FAAE-00  FBIE-00  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00 
      INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NRRC-00 
      NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00 
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                  ------------------5E4A18  021049Z /38 
P 021052Z JUN 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6198 
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
NSC WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 002953 
 
SIPDIS 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA GAYLE SMITH 
DEPARTMENT FOR PDAS POWELL, DAS SCHNEIDMAN, AF/S 
DIRECTOR RENDER AND ZIMBABWE DESK OFFICER GURNEY 
DEPARTMENT PASS TO USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/02/2010 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, EAGR, PINR, ZI 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  02953  02 OF 02  021048Z 
SUBJECT: MINISTER OF STATE TELLS AMBASSADOR POLITICAL 
VIOLENCE IS ZANU-PF ELECTION STRATEGY 
 
ACQUIRED FOR RESETTLEMENT BECAUSE OF THE GOVERNMENT'S 
FAILURE TO PURSUE THAT OFFER.  THIS VIOLENCE COULD, 
HOWEVER, RESULT IN A PROTEST VOTE AGAINST ZANU-PF, THE 
MINISTER SPECULATED.  MSIPA NOTED THAT SOUTH AFRICA AND 
SOME NORDIC COUNTRIES WERE REPORTEDLY TRYING TO IDENTIFY 
FUNDS TO ASSIST ZIMBABWE IN ITS LAND REFORM PROGRAM. 
AMBASSADOR, HOWEVER, INFORMED THAT HE UNDERSTOOD FROM 
THE NORWEGIAN AMBASSADOR THAT HIS COUNTRY HAD NO SUCH 
BAILOUT IN THE WORKS FOR ZIMBABWE AT THIS TIME. 
 
6.  (C) ADDITIONALLY, THE MINISTER SAID HE OBJECTED TO 
THE OCCUPATION OF VACANT BUILDINGS IN URBAN AREAS BY A 
BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT ORGANIZATION, THE AFFIRMATIVE 
ACTION GROUP (AAG), WHO WERE TAKING THEIR CUE FROM THE 
WAR VETERANS.  MSIPA SAID HE OECLINED TO GET INVOLVED, 
HOWEVER, NOW THAT MINISTER DABENGWA WAS TRYING TO 
RESOLVE THAT SITUATION AND THE AAG WAS NEGOTIATING WITH 
THE LANDLORDS TO PAY A MOOEST RENTAL FEE FOR THOSE 
PROPERTIES. 
 
7.  (C) AMBASSADOR MCDONALD STRONGLY CONDEMNED THE 
POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND WIDESPREAD HUMAN RIGHTS 
VIOLATIONS IN THE COUNTRYSIDE.  HE ALSO URGED MSIPA TO 
CONVEY TO HIS GOVERNMENT HOW DAMAGING THE POLITICAL 
VIOLENCE, FARM OCCUPATIONS, AND URBAN SQUATTING WERE TO 
ZIMBABWE'S INVESTMENT CLIMATE, TOURISM, AND OVERALL 
ECONOMY. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  02953  02 OF 02  021048Z 
COMMENT 
 
8.  (C) MSIPA IS A REASONABLE, COMMITTED, AND HIGHLY 
CREDIBLE GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL WHO HAS BEEN FRUSTRATED IN 
DOING HIS JOB AND WHOSE ADVICE HAS APPARENTLY BEEN 
SHUNNED BY THE MORE RAOICAL RULING PARTY MEMBERS.  THUS, 
HE IS POLITICALLY WEAK.  NEVERTHELESS, MSIPA RETAINS 
MUGABE'S CONFIDENCE AND MAY RETAIN A POSITION IN THE 
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AFTER THE PARLIAMENTARY 
ELECTION.  MSIPA HAS CONFIRMED THE WIDESPREAD BELIEF 
THAT PERPETUATING VIOLENCE IS ZANU-PF'S ELECTION 
STRATEGY AND THAT IT IS DIRECTED BY MUGABE.  THE 
MINISTER'S COMMENTS ALSO TRACK THE EMBASSY'S POSITION 
THAT THE PRESENT FARM OCCUPATIONS ARE NOT ABOUT LAND 
REFORM, BUT RATHER POLITICS.  WE WILL CONTINUE TO 
DELIVER A STRONG MESSAGE THAT THE ELECTION VIOLENCE AND 
ECONOMIC SUICIDE THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS PURSUING WILL 
MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO RETURN TO BUSINESS AS USUAL AFTER 
THE ELECTION. END COMMENT. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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