US embassy cable - 00HARARE5675

CAPITAL RADIO CASE CONFOUNDS COURTS CONFIDENTIAL

Identifier: 00HARARE5675
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE5675 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-10-06 11:21:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PHUM PGOV ECPS 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     PTQ7371

PAGE 01        HARARE  05675  01 OF 02  061121Z 
ACTION IRM-00   

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AF-00    AID-00   AMAD-00  CIAE-00  CIP-00   
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      OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   
      P-00     SP-00    SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00  PMB-00   
      DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00   SWCI-00  
        /010W
                  ------------------8E9C33  061122Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7305
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 005675 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR AF/PD (COX, ROBERTSON, HOWARD, SANDERS) 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICAN DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
PASS USAID FOR A/AID-RMCCALL, AFR/SA-NNEWMAN, AFR/SD- 
DWELLER, AFR/SA-CREINTSMA, AA/AFR-VNEWTON, AND BHR/OTI- 
MSCOTT 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/06/10 
TAGS: PHUM, PGOV, ECPS, ZI 
SUBJECT: CAPITAL RADIO CASE CONFOUNDS COURTS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  05675  01 OF 02  061121Z 
 
REF: HARARE 5651 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS 1.5 
B/D. 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.  (C) THE CAPITAL RADIO CASE HAS GENERATED A FLURRY OF 
CONFLICTING COURT RULINGS AND ORDERS, PRECIPITATED BY 
THE SUPREME COURT'S SEPTEMBER 22 RULING THAT DECLARED 
UNCONSTITUTIONAL THE GOVERNMENT'S BROADCASTING MONOPOLY. 
AFTER CAPITAL RADIO'S OPERATION WAS SHUT DOWN, THE 
INFORMATION AND HOME AFFAIRS MINISTERS HELD A PRESS 
CONFERENCE ON OCTOBER 5 IN WHICH THEY BLAMED THE BRITISH 
HIGH COMMISSION FOR INTERFERENCE IN THIS MATTER AND SAID 
"THESE DAYS OF RUNNING TO THE COURTS WILL BE OVER SOON, 
VERY SOON."  THE GOVERNMENT'S ACTIONS IN THIS CASE 
CONFIRM THAT IT WILL DO ALL IT CAN, LIKELY INCLUDING 
IGNORING COURT RULINGS, TO MAINTAIN ITS CONTROL OVER THE 
AIRWAVES, THE PREDOMINANT SOURCE OF NEWS IN RURAL AREAS, 
ZANU-PF'S TRADITIONAL BASE OF SUPPORT.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) THE CAPITAL RADIO CASE HAS QUICKLY GENERATED A 
FLURRY OF CONFLICTING COURT RULINGS, ORDERS, SUMMONS, 
COMPLAINTS, INJUNCTIONS, WARRANTS AND CONTEMPT CHARGES. 
EVEN IF THERE ARE NO MORE NEW CHARGES, IT WILL TAKE 
MONTHS TO SORT OUT THE LEGAL TANGLE SURROUNDING CAPITAL 
RADIO AND BROADCASTING IN ZIMBABWE. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  05675  01 OF 02  061121Z 
3.  (SBU) HERE IS A LIST OF THE LEGAL ACTIONS THAT HAVE 
ACCRUED IN THE LAST DAY AND A HALF: 
 
-- A SEARCH WARRANT GRANTED TO POLICE ON OCTOBER 4 BY A 
HARARE MAGISTRATE GIVING THE FORCE PERMISSION TO SEARCH 
FOR AND SEIZE BROADCASTING EQUIPMENT BEING OPERATED BY 
CAPITAL RADIO.  NOTE: MINISTER OF INFORMATION JONATHAN 
MOYO CLAIMS THIS WARRANT EXISTS, BUT ITS TIMING, BASIS 
AND COVERAGE ARE VAGUE. END NOTE. 
 
-- A RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST THE POLICE, TO PREVENT 
THEIR SEIZURE OF BROADCASTING EQUIPMENT BEING OPERATED 
BY CAPITAL RADIO.  THIS ORDER WAS ISSUED BY HIGH COURT 
JUDGE ISHMAEL CHATIKOBO AT ABOUT 1700 ON OCTOBER 4. 
 
-- A SUMMONS ISSUED BY HIGH COURT JUDGE ISHMAEL 
CHATIKOBO ON OCTOBER 5 TO POLICE COMMISSIONER AUGUSTINE 
CHIHURI AND ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER LIBERMAN NDLOVU.  THE 
POLICE OFFICIALS ARE BEING SUMMONED TO SHOW CAUSE WHY 
THEY SHOULD NOT BE HELD IN CONTEMPT OF COURT FOR THEIR 
OCTOBER 4 REFUSAL TO ABIDE BY THE COURT ORDER BARRING 
THEM FROM SEARCHING CAPITAL RADIO'S PREMISES. 
 
-- A FORMAL COMPLAINT LODGED BY INFORMATION MINISTER 
JONATHAN MOYO AGAINST THE HIGH COURT FOR THE OCTOBER 4 
ISSUANCE OF THE ORDER BARRING POLICE FROM SEARCHING 
CAPITAL RADIO'S PREMISES. 
 
-- AN OCTOBER 5 COURT RULING FROM HIGH COURT JUSTICE 
ELIZABETH GWAUNZA THAT THE SECTIONS OF THE RADIO 
COMMUNICATIONS ACT CITED BY POLICE AS LEGAL 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  05675  01 OF 02  061121Z 
JUSTIFICATION FOR THEIR RAID ON CAPITAL RADIO HAVE NO 
APPLICATION TO BROADCASTING AND THAT, THEREFORE, CAPITAL 
RADIO HAS NOT BROKEN ANY LAW. 
 
-- ANOTHER OCTOBER 5 RULING FROM JUSTICE GWAUNZA THAT 
THE POLICE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY RETURN ALL OF THE SEIZED 
EQUIPMENT TO CAPITAL RADIO. 
 
-- AN OCTOBER 5 RULING FROM JUSTICE GWAUNZA THAT, 
CONTRARY TO THE BROADCASTING REGULATORY FRAMEWORK 
ANNOUNCED BY THE GOVERNMENT ON OCTOBER 4, THE POSTS AND 
TELECOMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION (PTC), NOT MINISTER MOYO, 
HAS SOLE AUTHORITY TO ALLOCATE BROADCAST FREQUENCIES. 
 
-- AND, FINALLY, AN OCTOBER 5 ORDER BY JUSTICE GWAUNZA 
THAT THE PTC INSPECT CAPITAL RADIO'S EQUIPMENT AND 
BROADCAST SITE, AND ISSUE THE STATION A FREQUENCY WITHIN 
10 DAYS. 
 
4.  (C) ALL OF THIS WAS PRECIPITATED BY THE SEPTEMBER 22 
SUPREME COURT RULING THAT DECLARED ZIMBABWE'S 
BROADCASTING LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL. 
 
5.  (C) IN SIDESHOW ACTIVITY, MINISTER MOYO AND HOME 
AFFAIRS MINISTER JOHN NKOMO HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE ON 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7372 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  05675  02 OF 02  061122Z 
ACTION IRM-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AF-00    AID-00   AMAD-00  CIAE-00  CIP-00 
      DODE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    FCC-01   VC-00    H-01 
      TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00 
      OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00 
      P-00     SP-00    SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00  PMB-00 
      DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00   SWCI-00 
        /010W 
                  ------------------8E9C41  061122Z /38 
O 061121Z OCT 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7306 
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 005675 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR AF/PD (COX, ROBERTSON, HOWARD, SANDERS) 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICAN DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
PASS USAID FOR A/AID-RMCCALL, AFR/SA-NNEWMAN, AFR/SD- 
DWELLER, AFR/SA-CREINTSMA, AA/AFR-VNEWTON, AND BHR/OTI- 
MSCOTT 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/06/10 
TAGS: PHUM, PGOV, ECPS, ZI 
SUBJECT: CAPITAL RADIO CASE CONFOUNDS COURTS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  05675  02 OF 02  061122Z 
 
OCTOBER 5 TO DISCUSS THE CAPITAL RADIO CASE.  DURING THE 
CONFERENCE THEY LAMBASTED THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION IN 
HARARE FOR "INTERFERENCE," CITING THE HIGH COMMISSION'S 
INQUIRIES TO POLICE ABOUT THE ACTIONS BEING TAKEN 
AGAINST GERRY JACKSON, A BRITISH CITIZEN CO-OWNER OF 
CAPITAL RADIO.  MOYO AND NKOMO ALSO SAID THAT THEY WOULD 
BE INVESTIGATING THE CROWNE PLAZA (HOLIDAY INN) HOTEL'S 
COMPLICITY IN THE CAPITAL RADIO'S OPERATION (THE 
MAKESHIFT STUDIO AND ANTENNA WERE LOCATED AT THIS HOTEL) 
AND ANY LAWS THE STATION MAY HAVE VIOLATED BY TAPPING 
INTO THE HOTEL'S CLOSED-CIRCUIT MUSIC SYSTEM.  MOYO AND 
NKOMO ALSO MUTTERED DARKLY ABOUT THE ROLE OF THE COURTS. 
MOYO SAID THAT IT WAS "...RIDICULOUS THAT POLICE SHOULD 
HAVE TO RUN TO THE COURTS FOR PERMISSION TO PROTECT 
NATIONAL SECURITY."  NKOMO ADDED, "...THESE DAYS OF 
RUNNING TO THE COURTS WILL BE OVER SOON, VERY SOON." 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
6.  (C) CAPITAL RADIO HAS BEEN VERY CAREFUL TO ENSURE 
THAT IT OPERATES CONSISTENT WITH ZIMBABWEAN LAW, AND 
BEGAN TO BROADCAST ONLY AFTER A SEPTEMBER 22 SUPREME 
COURT RULING THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S MONOPOLY ON THE 
AIRWAVES WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.  HOWEVER, INFORMATION 
MINISTER MOYO INSISTED THAT THE SUPREME COURT RULING DID 
NOT OBVIATE THE NEED FOR A LICENSE AND ALLOCATION OF A 
FREQUENCY, WHICH ONLY THE GOVERNMENT COULD ISSUE, AND 
ENACTED NEW REGULATIONS AFTER CAPITAL RADIO BEGAN ITS 
BROADCASTS.  THE POLICE CLOSURE OF CAPITAL RADIO 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  05675  02 OF 02  061122Z 
CONFIRMS THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL DO ALL IT CAN TO 
MAINTAIN ITS CONTROL OVER THE AIRWAVES, THE RURAL 
POPULATION'S PREDOMINANT SOURCE OF NEWS AND INFORMATION. 
THE GOZ IS TOTALLY PARANOID THAT IF AN INDEPENDENT RADIO 
STATION IS ABLE TO BROADCAST TO RURAL AREAS, THE MDC 
WILL GET A STRONG FOOTHOLD IN AREAS THAT TRADITIONALLY 
SUPPORT ZANU-PF.  WE EXPECT THE LEGAL WRANGLING TO 
CONTINUE, BUT THE OCTOBER 5 STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS MOYO 
AND NKOMO ARE A CLEAR SIGNAL THAT THE GOZ INTENDS TO 
IGNORE SUBSEQUENT COURT RULINGS THAT ARE INIMICAL TO ITS 
INTERESTS IN THIS CASE.  END COMMENT. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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