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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01HARARE292 2001-01-16 15:26:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

ZANU RECLAIMS PARLIAMENTARY SEAT FROM OPPOSITION

Tags:   PGOV PHUM PINS ZI 
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161526Z Jan 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4510

PAGE 01        HARARE  00292  01 OF 03  161527Z 
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INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   AMAD-00  ACQ-00   CIAE-00  DINT-00  
      DODE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    EUR-00   FBIE-00  VC-00    
      H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   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    STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00  
      PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-02   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00   
        /011W
                  ------------------B6E181  161527Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8006
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000292 

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 01/16/11
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS ZI
SUBJECT: ZANU RECLAIMS PARLIAMENTARY SEAT FROM OPPOSITION
IN BIKITA BY-ELECTION


CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00292 01 OF 03 161527Z
REF: A) HARARE 181 B) 00 HARARE 7164 C) 00 HARARE 6658

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL IRVING. REASONS: 1.5
(B) AND (D).

SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) THE RULING ZANU-PF WON A SPECIAL PARLIAMENTARY BY-
ELECTION IN THE RURAL BIKITA CONSTITUENCY JANUARY 13-14,
RECLAIMING THE SEAT FROM THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR
DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC). TURNOUT WAS HIGHER THAN FOR THE
JUNE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION AND A HEAVY POLICE PRESENCE
HELPED ENSURE THAT VOTING WAS GENERALLY PEACEFUL. HOWEVER,
TACTICS OF INTIMIDATION AND VIOLENCE BY ZANU-PF, AS WELL AS
REPORTED VOTE-BUYING, PRIOR TO THE ELECTION DAYS LIKELY
KEPT MANY POTENTIAL MDC SUPPORTERS AWAY FROM THE POLLS AND
ENCOURAGED A LARGER-THAN-EXPECTED TURNOUT FOR ZANU-PF.
BASED ON THESE SERIOUS IRREGULARITIES, WE CANNOT
CHARACTERIZE THE WEEKEND POLL AS FREE AND FAIR. THE
UNFORTUNATE LESSON THAT ZANU-PF WILL TAKE AWAY FROM THIS
ELECTION IS THAT TERROR, PARTICULARLY IN RURAL AREAS, IS AN
EFFECTIVE SHORT-TERM TOOL IN ITS QUEST TO HOLD ON TO POWER.
POLITBURO MEMBER AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT MINISTER BORDER GEZI
CONFIRMED THAT ZIMBABWE IS LIKELY TO SEE MORE OF THE SAME
TACTICS IN THE RUNUP TO THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WHEN
HE SAID PUBLICLY THAT THE DEVELOPMENTS IN BIKITA WERE ONLY
THE "WARNING SHOTS." END SUMMARY.

ZANU RECLAIMS BIKITA SEAT FROM MDC


--------------------------


CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 00292 01 OF 03 161527Z



2. (U) THE RULING ZANU-PF WON A SPECIAL PARLIAMENTARY
ELECTION JANUARY 13-14 IN THE RURAL BIKITA WEST
CONSTITUENCY IN MASVINGO PROVINCE, RECLAIMING A SEAT IT HAD
LOST TO THE OPPOSITION MDC IN THE JUNE 2000 PARLIAMENTARY
ELECTIONS. ZANU WON 12,993 VOTES AND THE MDC 7001, AS
ROUGHLY HALF OF THE CONSTITUENCY'S REGISTERED VOTERS CAST
BALLOTS. THE LARGE SIZE OF THE NEARLY 6000-VOTE MARGIN WAS
SURPRISING, GIVEN THAT THE MDC WON BY 281 VOTES LAST JUNE.
5500 MORE PEOPLE VOTED IN THIS BY-ELECTION THAN IN THE
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION.

VOTING MOSTLY PEACEFUL, BUT SOME VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION


--------------------------



--------------------------





3. (C) POLOFF OBSERVED THE ELECTION ALONG WITH
REPRESENTATIVES FROM A NUMBER OF EU MISSIONS, NORWAY, AND
CANADA. LONG QUEUES FORMED AT MOST POLLING CENTERS EARLY
IN THE MORNING OF JANUARY 13, BUT BEGAN TO TAPER OFF IN THE
AFTERNOON AND ON THE SECOND DAY OF VOTING. POLLING AGENTS
FOR BOTH THE MDC AND ZANU WERE PRESENT INSIDE EVERY POLLING
CENTER, IN ADDITION TO THE ELECTION OFFICIALS AND DOMESTIC
MONITORS. THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF VOTERS WERE WOMEN,
MANY OVER THE AGE OF 40. WE WERE TOLD THAT MOST OF THE
YOUNGER MEN FROM BIKITA WERE EITHER WORKING IN URBAN AREAS
OR HAD BEEN SENT AWAY BY THEIR FAMILIES AS THEY HAD BEEN
THE PRINCIPAL TARGETS OF THE PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE BECAUSE
THEY WERE ASSUMED TO BE MDC SUPPORTERS. THIS FACT MIGHT
ACCOUNT IN PART FOR THE MDC'S POORER SHOWING, IN THE
OPINION OF MANY OBSERVERS WITH WHOM WE SPOKE.

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 00292 01 OF 03 161527Z


4. (C) IN CONTRAST TO THE PRE-ELECTION PERIOD, THE
ELECTION DAYS WERE GENERALLY PEACEFUL. DESPITE THE
SIGNIFICANT PRESENCE OF HEAVILY-ARMED POLICE THROUGHOUT THE
CONSTITUENCY (POLOFF PASSED THROUGH FIVE ROADBLOCKS MANNED
BY POLICE CARRYING AK-47'S), HOWEVER, THERE WERE SEVERAL
INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION. AT ONE POLLING
STATION, A GROUP OF WAR VETERANS WAS CLEARLY AN
INTIMIDATING PRESENCE, AS THEY STOOD NEAR THE LINE OF
PEOPLE WAITING TO VOTE. ONE OF THE WOMEN STANDING IN LINE
TOLD US SHE HAD ONLY SHOWN UP BECAUSE HER AREA'S HEADMAN,
OR SUBCHIEF, HAD TOLD HER TO DO SO. IN A SEPARATE INCIDENT
THE DAY BEFORE THE ELECTION, WAR VETERANS OCCUPIED ONE
POLLING CENTER (MUTIKIZIZI PRIMARY SCHOOL) AND FORCED THE
MDC 'S POLLING AGENTS AND DOMESTIC ELECTION MONITORS TO
LEAVE. POLICE REINFORCEMENTS ARRIVED SOON THEREAFTER TO
RESTORE CONTROL.



5. (C) ON THE FIRST DAY OF VOTING, SOME 20 WAR VETERANS
RETURNED TO MUTIKIZIZI POLLING CENTER, BEAT SEVERELY ONE OF
TWO MDC POLLING AGENTS, AND DROVE OFF WITH HIM. (COMMENT:
WE ARE TRYING TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE POLLING AGENT WAS
SUBSEQUENTLY RELEASED. END COMMENT.) ACCORDING TO A
DOMESTIC MONITOR AT THE SCENE, THE GROUP WAS ACCOMPANIED BY
ZANU-PF MP AND WAR VETERANS LEADER CHENJERAI "HITLER"
HUNZVI, WHO ORCHESTRATED THE GOVERNMENT'S PRE-ELECTION

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ4512

PAGE 01 HARARE 00292 02 OF 03 161527Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DINT-00
DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EUR-00 FBIE-00 VC-00
H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 LAB-01 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 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-02 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00
/011W


--------------------------

B6E194 161527Z /38
P 161526Z JAN 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8007
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 000292

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 01/16/11
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS ZI
SUBJECT: ZANU RECLAIMS PARLIAMENTARY SEAT FROM OPPOSITION
IN BIKITA BY-ELECTION

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00292 02 OF 03 161527Z
INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN. HUNZVI WAS UBIQUITOUS DURING THE
VOTING, AS HE TRAVELLED THROUGHOUT THE CONSTITUENCY IN A
ZANU-PF VEHICLE. HE STOLE ONE MONITOR'S IDENTIFYING VEST
AND HARASSED ANOTHER YOUNG MONITOR, TELLING HER SHE HAD NO
RIGHT TO BE AT THE POLLING STATION. WE OBSERVED ANOTHER
MAN DRIVING A ZANU-PF VEHICLE WHO ENTERED ONE POLLING
CENTER AFTER ANOTHER WITHOUT CREDENTIALS OF ANY KIND.



6. (C) IN ANOTHER INCIDENT, A CAR CARRYING AN EU OBSERVER
SENT FROM BRUSSELS, AS WELL AS DIPLOMATS FROM THE DUTCH AND
CANADIAN EMBASSIES HERE, WAS STOPPED BY A SENIOR POLICE
OFFICER, WHO TOLD THE PASSENGERS THAT DIPLOMATS HAD NO
RIGHT TO BE IN THE CONSTITUENCY. THE EU OBSERVER INFORMED
THE OFFICER THAT THE COMMANDING POLICE OFFICER FOR THE
PROVINCE AND THE NATIONAL AND REGIONAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION
OFFICIALS WERE AWARE OF, AND HAD NO OBJECTIONS TO, THEIR
PRESENCE. DESPITE THEIR EXPLANATION, THE DIPLOMATS WERE
ASKED TO LEAVE BIKITA CONSTITUENCY AND WERE UNABLE TO
SECURE PERMISSION TO RETURN UNTIL THE SECOND DAY OF VOTING.
THE OTHER THREE CARS PARTICIPATING IN THE OBSERVER EFFORT,
INCLUDING POLOFF'S, DID NOT EXPERIENCE SIMILAR DIFFICULTIES
AND WERE ALLOWED TO CIRCULATE FREELY.



7. (C) WE OBSERVED TWO TRENDS DURING THE ELECTION WHICH
PROVIDED AN OPPORTUNITY FOR FRAUD OR INTIMIDATION. FIRST,
BETWEEN 4,000 AND 5,000 VOTERS WERE REPORTEDLY TURNED AWAY,
EITHER BECAUSE THEIR NAMES WERE NOT ON THE VOTERS' ROLL OR
BECAUSE THEY PRESENTED INSUFFICIENT IDENTIFICATION. THE
FACT THAT MORE THAN 10% OF REGISTERED VOTERS WERE TURNED
AWAY IS SIGNIFICANT, ALTHOUGH IT IS DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE
WITHOUT ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE WHETHER THEY WERE LEGITIMATELY
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 00292 02 OF 03 161527Z
DENIED THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE. SECOND, MANY VOTERS WERE
ELDERLY OR INFIRM AND REQUIRED ASSISTANCE IN CASTING THEIR
VOTE. AT EVERY POLLING STATION WE OBSERVED (10 OUT OF 40),
THOSE REQUIRING SUCH ASSISTANCE WERE ASKED TO STATE ALOUD
WHOM THEY WANTED TO VOTE FOR, THEN WERE HELPED IN MARKING
THEIR BALLOTS APPROPRIATELY. IT IS LIKELY THAT THE
OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THESE VOTERS OPTED FOR ZANU-PF, AS
VOTING FOR THE OPPOSITION COULD ENSURE A VISIT LATER FROM
HUNZVI AND HIS THUGS.

GOVERNMENT REACTION


--------------------------





8. (U) GOVERNMENT AND ZANU-PF OFFICIALS WERE EBULLIENT,
HAILING THE BIKITA OUTCOME AS A VINDICATION OF THE
GOVERNMENT'S POLICIES. ZANU-PF'S SECRETARY OF INFORMATION
NATHAN SHAMUYARIRA CLAIMED THAT THE WIN WAS EVIDENCE THAT
ZIMBABWEANS SUPPORT THE GOZ'S POLICIES ON LAND AND THE
ECONOMY, AND INSISTED IT FORESHADOWED "THE BEGINNING OF THE
END OF THE MDC." SPOKESMAN JONATHAN MOYO SAID THE RESULT
WAS AN INDICATOR OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN FUTURE BY-ELECTIONS
AND THE UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. POLITBURO MEMBER
AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT MINISTER BORDER GEZI'S COMMENTS WERE
THE MOST OMINOUS: "WE WOULD LIKE TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE
ENEMY HAS NO CHANCE IN ANY BY-ELECTION. IN FACT, THESE ARE
JUST THE WARNING SHOTS."

COMMENT


--------------------------





9. (C) WE WERE NOT SURPRISED BY ZANU-PF'S VICTORY. THE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 00292 02 OF 03 161527Z
RULING PARTY WAS EMBARRASSED BY ITS LOSS LAST JUNE IN
BIKITA WEST, TRADITIONALLY A RURAL ZANU STRONGHOLD, AND
PULLED OUT ALL THE STOPS TO WIN BACK THIS SEAT, INCLUDING
THE USE OF WIDESPREAD INTIMIDATION AND DISPENSING OF
GOVERNMENT LARGESS. THE MDC LOST SOME 700 VOTES AND ZANU
PICKED UP ALMOST 5500, INDICATING THAT ZANU-PF WAS
SUCCESSFUL NOT ONLY IN SUPPRESSING THE MDC'S SUPPORT BUT
ALSO IN GETTING ITS OWN VOTERS TO THE POLLS. ACCORDING TO
MDC SECRETARY-GENERAL WELSHMAN NCUBE, ZANU INCREASED ITS
VOTE COUNT IN PART BY ORDERING LOCAL TRADITIONAL LEADERS --
WHO ARE ON THE GOVERNMENT PAYROLL -- TO GET OUT THE ZANU
VOTE ON PAIN OF DEATH. THE MDC SECRETARY-GENERAL FURTHER
ALLEGED THAT ZANU-PF ADDED THE NAMES OF APPROXIMATELY 3,000
SUPPORTERS TO THE VOTERS' ROLL AND QUIETLY MOVED THEM INTO
THE AREA BEFORE THE ELECTION. UNFORTUNATELY, ZANU-PF'S
VICTORY HAS VINDICATED THE PARTY'S TACTICS OF SUPPRESSION
AND INTIMIDATION. JUDGING FROM BORDER GEZI'S COMMENTS,
ZIMBABWE IS CERTAIN TO SEE MORE OF THE SAME IN THE RUN-UP
TO THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN
CALL THIS BY-ELECTION FREE AND FAIR, AND WE SUSPECT THE MDC
WILL CHALLENGE THE RESULT IN COURT.



10. (C) WITH THE VICTORY IN BIKITA WEST, ZANU NOW CONTROLS
93 SEATS IN PARLIAMENT, ONLY SEVEN FEWER THAN THE NUMBER
REQUIRED TO HAVE A FREE HAND IN PASSING CONSTITUTIONAL

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ4513

PAGE 01 HARARE 00292 03 OF 03 161527Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DINT-00
DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EUR-00 FBIE-00 VC-00
H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 LAB-01 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 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-02 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00
/011W


--------------------------

B6E199 161527Z /38
P 161526Z JAN 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8008
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 000292

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 01/16/11
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS ZI
SUBJECT: ZANU RECLAIMS PARLIAMENTARY SEAT FROM OPPOSITION
IN BIKITA BY-ELECTION

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00292 03 OF 03 161527Z
AMENDMENTS. IF THE SUPREME COURT RULES ON JANUARY 19 THAT
THE MDC CAN PROCEED WITH ELECTORAL CHALLENGES TO 38
PARLIAMENTARY SEATS WON BY ZANU-PF, THE RULING PARTY WILL
DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY TO HOLD ON TO THOSE SEATS. ONE OF
THE MOST DIFFICULT CHALLENGES NOW FACING THE MDC IS
CONVINCING ITS SUPPORTERS THAT VOTING FOR THE OPPOSITION IS
WORTH THE VERY REAL RISK.

IRVING

CONFIDENTIAL

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