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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01HARARE2970 2001-10-05 08:07:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

MDC MP PREDICTS JANUARY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Tags:   PGOV PREL 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.

050807Z Oct 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8793

PAGE 01        HARARE  02970  01 OF 02  051316Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   CIAE-00  DODE-00  SRPP-00  EUR-00   VC-00    H-01     
      TEDE-00  INR-00   L-00     AC-01    NSAE-00  OMB-01   PA-00    
      PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    SS-00    TRSE-00  
      T-00     USIE-00  PMB-00   DRL-02   G-00     SAS-00     /005W
                  ------------------2A5A4D  051316Z /07    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9892
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 02 HARARE 002970 

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 09/28/11
TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI
SUBJECT: MDC MP PREDICTS JANUARY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION


CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF MATT HARRINGTON. REASONS:
1.5 (B) AND (D).

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN JANUARY?
---------------------------------



1. (C) IN A BRIEF SEPTEMBER 27 CONVERSATION WITH POLITICAL
SECTION CHIEF, MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) MEMBER OF
PARLIAMENT DAVID COLTART SHARED HIS VIEWS ON SEVERAL SIMMERING
POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS. REGARDING THE STILL UNSCHEDULED 2002
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, THE MDC MP SAID IT WOULD BE VERY CLOSE, AND
MOBILIZATION OF VOTERS WAS CRUCIAL FOR BOTH ZANU-PF AND THE MDC.
HE NOTED THAT THE CONSTITUTION REQUIRES THAT THE ELECTION BE HELD
WITHIN 90 DAYS PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF THE CURRENT PRESIDENT'S
MANDATE. SINCE MUGABE'S MANDATE EXPIRES ON APRIL 1, 2002, THE
ELECTION MUST BE HELD BETWEEN JANUARY 1 AND MARCH 31. CURRENT
ELECTORAL LAW REQUIRES ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE ELECTION BETWEEN FIVE
AND EIGHT WEEKS IN ADVANCE, AND COLTART SAID SEVERAL SIGNS POINTED
TO AN EARLY JANUARY ELECTION. FIRST, IT WILL BE EASIER FOR RURAL
VOTERS -- ZANU-PF'S TRADITIONAL STRONGHOLD -- TO GET TO POLLING
STATIONS IN JANUARY, WHEN THERE IS NORMALLY A LAPSE IN THE RAINY
SEASON, AS OPPOSED TO FEBRUARY AND MARCH, WHEN THE RAINS ARE
HEAVIEST. IN ADDITION, THE IMPENDING MAIZE SHORTAGE IS EXPECTED
TO HIT HARDEST TOWARD THE END OF THE 90-DAY PERIOD. THIRD, IT
MIGHT BE DIFFICULT TO MOUNT AN EFFECTIVE INTERNATIONAL OBSERVATION
EFFORT SO SOON AFTER THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS. LAST, IF THE RESULTS
OF A JANUARY ELECTION ARE INCONCLUSIVE, MUGABE WOULD HAVE TWO
MONTHS -- UNTIL HIS TERM EXPIRES -- TO MANIPULATE THE PROCESS IN
HIS FAVOR.

ELECTORAL MISCHIEF


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





2. (C) ACCORDING TO COLTART, ZANU-PF'S BOTTOM-LINE STRATEGY IS TO
INCREASE THE VOTE IN COMMUNAL FARMING AREAS --- WHERE ITS SUPPORT
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 02970 01 OF 02 051316Z
IS STRONGEST -- AND TO SUPPRESS THE URBAN, COMMERCIAL FARMER, AND
FARMWORKER VOTE -- AMONG WHOM THE MDC ENJOYS SOLID SUPPORT.
COLTART HAD THE DAY BEFORE VISITED HWEDZA, A TOWN APPROXIMATELY
150 KM SOUTHEAST OF HARARE TORN IN RECENT WEEKS BY AN INTENSIFIED
CAMPAIGN AGAINST FARMERS AND FARMWORKERS. FARMING ACTIVITY HAD
CEASED ENTIRELY ON 24 OF THE 45 COMMERCIAL FARMS IN THE AREA,
COLTART REPORTED. ON 19 OF THOSE 24, THERE WERE NO WORKERS LEFT,
AS THEY HAD BEEN FORCQINTO HIDING BY ZANU-PF'S MILITIA. COLTART
SAID HE HAS TOLD THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION (CFU) LEADERSHIP
THAT THEY MUST DO MORE TO PUBLICIZE WHAT IS HAPPENING IN HWEDZA
AND IN OTHER AREAS. TOWARD THAT END, HE SUGGESTED THAT THE CFU
HOLD WEEKLY NEWS CONFERENCES AT WHICH THEY SHOW VIDEO FOOTAGE, BUT
HE SAID THE ORGANIZATION PREFERS TO KEEP A LOW PROFILE AND AVOID
BURNING ITS BRIDGES WITH GOVERNMENT.



3. (C) ASKED WHETHER VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION WOULD KEEP URBAN
VOTERS AWAY FROM THE POLLS, COLTART SAID NO, BUT MENTIONED OTHER
TACTICS WHICH COULD KEEP THEM AT HOME ON ELECTION DAY. ONE WOULD
BE TO REDUCE SIGNIFICANTLY THE NUMBER OF POLLING STATIONS IN URBAN
AREAS, MAKING ACCESS TO THE BALLOT BOX DIFFICULT FOR THOSE WITHOUT
RELIABLE MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. HE NOTED THAT 170 POLLING
STATIONS WERE USED IN BULAWAYO FOR THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN
JUNE 2000, IN CONTRAST TO 71 FOR THE SEPTEMBER 2001 MAYORAL VOTE,
ONE POSSIBLE EXPLANATION FOR THE LOW TURNOUT IN THE LATTER
ELECTION. COLTART ALSO EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT ZANU-PF MIGHT
ARRANGE FOR ITS SUPPORTERS TO DOUBLE- OR TRIPLE-VOTE. ONE
APPROACH THEY MIGHT EMPLOY, COLTART SURMISED, WOULD BE TO ENSURE
THAT SELECTED POLLING STATIONS ARE SUPERVISED BY SYMPATHETIC
PRESIDING OFFICERS WILLING TO OVERLOOK THE INDELIBLE INK PLACED ON
VOTERS' HANDS WHEN THEY CAST A BALLOT.

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 02970 01 OF 02 051316Z
U.S. TRIP


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





4. (U) COLTART MENTIONED THAT HE WOULD BE IN NEW YORK ON PERSONAL
BUSINESS FOR SEVERAL DAYS BEGINNING OCTOBER 9. HE ALSO PLANS TO
VISIT WASHINGTON OCTOBER 15-16, WHEN HE WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR
MEETINGS WITH USG OFFICIALS.

COMMENT


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





5. (C) THE RULING PARTY'S STRATEGY OF INCREASING TURNOUT IN RURAL
COMMUNAL AREAS AND SUPPRESSING THE URBAN VOTE IS PROBABLY THE BEST
METHOD AVAILABLE TO ZANU-PF IN ITS QUEST TO RETAIN POWER. URBAN
VOTERS ARE UNLIKELY TO BE DETERRED, HOWEVER, BY MANY OF THE
OBSTACLES THROWN IN THEIR WAY, AND WE EXPECT THEM TO TURN OUT IN
LARGE NUMBERS ON ELECTION DAY. THE RESIDENTS OF CITIES AND TOWNS
HAVE THUS FAR BORNE THE BRUNT OF ZIMBABWE'S ECONOMIC COLLAPSE, AND
THEY ARE ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE OPPORTUNITY TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS.



6. (C) REGARDING THE TIMING OF THE ELECTION, COLTART MAKES A
LOGICAL CASE FOR EARLY JANUARY. HOWEVER, A LAPSE IN THE RAINY

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ8801

PAGE 01 HARARE 02970 02 OF 02 051317Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 EUR-00 VC-00 H-01
TEDE-00 INR-00 L-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 OMB-01 PA-00
PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 SS-00 TRSE-00
T-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DRL-02 G-00 SAS-00 /005W


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

2A5A7D 051317Z /07
P 050807Z OCT 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9893
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 02 HARARE 002970

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 09/28/11
TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI
SUBJECT: MDC MP PREDICTS JANUARY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

SEASON IS FAR FROM A SURE THING; IN 2000, A DRY SPELL OCCURRED IN
DECEMBER AND NONE AT ALL THE YEAR BEFORE THAT. ZANU-PF'S CHIEF
WHIP IN PARLIAMENT, JORAM GUMBO, TOLD US ON OCTOBER 2 THAT THE
RULING PARTY WOULD NOT BE READY FOR A JANUARY ELECTION AND NOTED
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 02970 02 OF 02 051317Z
THAT A THIRD OF THE COUNTRY LIKELY WOULD BE INACCESSIBLE THEN,
MAKING CAMPAIGNING -- AND VOTING -- IMPOSSIBLE IN ZANU-PF'S
HEARTLAND. GUMBO SAID THE PARTY'S PREFERENCE WOULD BE APRIL (N.B.
WHICH WOULD BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL), BY WHICH TIME THE RAINS USUALLY
HAVE SLACKENED. WE CAN ONLY SURMISE THAT GUMBO HAS YET TO FACTOR
THE LOOMING FOOD SHORTAGES EXPECTED NEXT SPRING INTO HIS CALENDAR.

SULLIVAN

CONFIDENTIAL

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