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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
00HARARE6584
2000-11-27 13:02:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

ZIMBABWE OPPOSITION CANCELS PLANS FOR MASS

Tags:  PGOV ZI 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTO3930

PAGE 01        HARARE  06584  271305Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    CIAE-00  DODE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EUR-00   
      VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   
      AC-01    DCP-01   NSAE-00  OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    
      PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    IRM-00   SSO-00   TRSE-00  
      USIE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-02   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  
      SAS-00     /010W
                  ------------------A42CF6  271305Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7702
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
						C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 006584 

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/27/10
TAGS: PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE OPPOSITION CANCELS PLANS FOR MASS
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 06584 271305Z
ACTION

REFTEL: HARARE 6564

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS: 1.5
(B) AND (D).



1. (U) THE MDC'S NATIONAL COUNCIL DECIDED AT AN
EXTRAORDINARY MEETING NOVEMBER 24 (REFTEL) TO CANCEL
PLANS FOR MASS ACTION. THE NOVEMBER 25 "THE HERALD"
QUOTED MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI AS SAYING MASS
ACTION HAD BEEN "DEFERRED INDEFINITELY." TSVANGIRAI
ALSO STATED THAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES FOR MASS ACTION WOULD
BE "CONSTANTLY REVIEWED" TO PUT PRESSURE ON THE
GOVERNMENT TO HOLD EARLY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS DUE BY
MID-2000.



2. (C) IN A CONVERSATION WITH POLOFF NOVEMBER 27,
HOWEVER, MDC SECRETARY-GENERAL WELSHMAN NCUBE SAID THE
MDC HAS CANCELED ALTOGETHER PLANS FOR MASS ACTION AND
THAT THE MATTER WOULD NO LONGER BE CONSIDERED. THE MDC
IS SAYING PUBLICLY THAT MASS ACTION IS BEING "DEFERRED"
AND "POSTPONED" TO KEEP THE GOVERNMENT GUESSING, BUT, IN
REALITY, IT IS VERY UNLIKELY THAT THE MDC WILL EVER
ORGANIZE ANY FORM OF MASS ACTION BEFORE THE PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTIONS, NCUBE EMPHASIZED. THE MDC BELIEVES THAT THE
SUCCESS OF MASS ACTION CANNOT BE ASSURED, AND THAT,
UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS NOT IN THE COUNTRY'S BEST
INTEREST TO ENCOURAGE A "SAVAGE RESPONSE" FROM THE
GOVERNMENT. NCUBE STATED THAT HIS PARTY HAD INFORMATION
THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS PLANNING A STATE OF EMERGENCY
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 06584 271305Z
AND BRUTAL CRACKDOWN IF MASS ACTION CAME TO PASS. THE
PROVINCIAL REPRESENTATIVES ALSO REPORTED AT THE COUNCIL
MEETING THAT THE CIO HAS HEAVILY INFILTRATED THE MDC'S
PROVINCIAL STRUCTURES, AND THAT, AFTER BEING INFORMED BY
THE CIO, THE ZIMBABWE BROADCASTING CORPORATION (ZBC)
ANNOUNCED DECEMBER 6 AS THE DATE FOR MASS ACTION. THIS
REMOVED THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE, NCUBE CONTINUED, AND
WAS ANOTHER REASON FOR CANCELING THE MASS ACTION.



3. (C) IN SPEAKING TO PAUL NYATI, MP FOR GWANDA NORTH
AND MDC DIRECTOR OF ELECTIONS, ON NOVEMBER 27 ON THE
MARONDERA WEST BY-ELECTION (TO BE REPORTED SEPTEL),
POLOFF ALSO LEARNED THAT CONSULTATIONS WITH MDC RURAL
STRUCTURES ON MASS ACTION HAD NOT BEEN COMPLETED OR
THOROUGHLY COORDINATED. A NUMBER OF MDC MEMBERS HAD
MADE TOO MANY STATEMENTS ABOUT UPCOMING MASS ACTION
PLANS FOR IT TO BE A REAL SURPRISE TO THE GOVERNMENT,
NYATI STATED. THE MP ALSO CITED MEMBERS AS WANTING TO
BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES OVER THE HOLIDAYS AS AN
ADDITIONAL REASON FOR CANCELING THE MASS ACTION.



4. (C) COMMENT: THE NATIONAL COUNCIL'S DECISION FOLLOWS
THE MDC MODUS OPERANDI: THREATEN AND PLAN POLITICAL
ACTION, BUT BACK OFF AT THE LAST MINUTE WHEN VIOLENCE
SEEMS INEVITABLE. IT IS ALSO LIKELY THAT WESTERN
COUNTRIES, PARTICULARLY THE US, PLAYED A ROLE IN
DISCOURAGING ACTIONS THAT COULD LEAD TO VIOLENCE. IT IS
UNCLEAR WHETHER THE MDC'S "RADICAL" WING AND YOUTH
ELEMENTS IN HARARE WILL ACCEPT THE DECISION. A SPLIT IN
THE MDC REMAINS A POSSIBILITY AND SOME RADICAL ELEMENTS
COULD STILL TAKE MATTERS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS. ALTHOUGH
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 06584 271305Z
IT PROBABLY WILL DIFFUSE TENSION IN THE SHORT-TERM, THE
CANCELLATION OF MASS ACTION COULD ALSO TAKE THE WIND OUT
OF THE MDC'S SAILS AND LEAVE THE OPPOSITION IN LIMBO
UNTIL THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 2002. FURTHERMORE,
THE MDC COULD BRING THE MASS ACTION PROPOSAL BACK TO
CENTER STAGE IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2001 IF DAILY
LIVING CONDITIONS GET AS BAD AS EXPECTED HERE. END
COMMENT.

MCDONALD

CONFIDENTIAL

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