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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03HARARE1136
2003-06-04 15:26:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

MDC IN RETREAT - MASS ACTION DAY THREE

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  PINR  ASEC  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.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001136 

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER
LONDON FOR C. GURNEY
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER
BANGKOK FOR WIN DAYTON
DS/OP/AF

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2013
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR ASEC ZI
SUBJECT: MDC IN RETREAT - MASS ACTION DAY THREE

REF: A. HARARE 1122


B. HARARE 1101

C. HARARE 1097

D. HARARE 1081

Classified By: Political Officer Audu Besmer for reasons 1.5 b/d

Summary:
--------



1. (C) Youth militia members in military garb beat MDC
activists, mostly in Harare's high-density suburbs on the
night of June 3 - 4. The Minister of Foreign Affairs
delivered a prepared statement to the diplomatic community
condemning the international community for its double
standard toward the GOZ and the MDC. This week's events have
left the MDC in disarray and panic, and will likely cause
them to re-think their strategy in the coming weeks. End
Summary.

MDC Activists Beaten


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





2. (C) According to MDC Presidential Advisor, Gandi
Mudzingwa, what appeared to be youth militia members in
military vehicles, with military garb and some carrying AK-47
assault rifles beat numerous MDC activists in high-density
areas around Harare, and at the University of Zimbabwe on the
night of June 3 - 4. Mudzingwa reported that 21 people had
sought medical help from the MDC's social welfare office. On
June 4, Poloff visited the casualty ward of the Avenues
Clinic in central Harare and saw 30 or so persons in the
waiting room with casts on their arms, bloodied bandages on
their hands, and various visible cuts and bruises. According
to the Matron on duty, Elizabeth Sibotshiwe, Avenues had
about 15 more cases than usual of soft tissue injuries (what
equates to a 50 percent increase)--an increase similar to the
last MDC led stayaway. The injuries were consistent with
baton blows; most were minor, only one so far would
necessitate an overnight stay.



3. (C) (Comment: If 15 extra people from the high density
areas made it all the way to the center of town to the
Avenues clinic, and 21 made it to the MDC offices - with
petrol and transportation shortages as they are, and assuming
many may not be seeking medical attention - we would guess
the total number of those beaten in the Harare area to be
much higher. End Comment.)

One Dead


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





4. (C) According to the MDC Information Department and
Mudzingwa police abducted Sydney Mazaranhanga, an MDC
councilor from Mbare, and Tichaona Kaguru, an MDC activist,
from Mazaranhanga's home on the night of June 3. Police beat
the two severely, and released them in Mabvuku. Kaguru died
of injuries sustained on June 4. Although the MDC
Information Department also reported that 2 people were
killed in Highfield on Monday, and 3 students were killed at
UZ on the night of June 3 - there has been no independent
confirmation of those deaths.



5. (C) Mudzingwa said the MDC had no concrete plans to
attempt more marches this week. He said some hoped for a
march in Harare on June 6, but with activists beaten they

were in panic and disarray and would be unlikely to pull it
off.

MFA Criticizes West


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





6. (U) The Minister of Foreign Affairs delivered a prepared
statement at a briefing for chiefs of diplomatic missions on
June 4 condemning the international community for supporting
the MDC's illegal mass action. The statement criticized the
international community's double standard of condemning the
GOZ for subverting the rule of law, while it turned a blind
eye as the MDC subverted a high court order by staging a mass
action which resulted in the death of a ZANU-PF supporter in
Mbare. The statement was critical of the June 3 G8
statement, but applauded the recent Mbeki, Obasanjo, Muluzi
"African" initiative to find solutions to Zimbabwe's problems.

Stayaway Losing Ground


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





7. (U) Driving around Harare on June 4, Poloffs observed that
only about 50 percent of shops in downtown Harare, and 90
percent of businesses in the light industrial areas of Harare
were closed. Pedestrian and vehicle traffic in downtown
Harare seemed almost normal. Activity in the high-density
suburb of Mbare seemed normal.


8. (SBU) One or two groups of 3 police officers were visible
in downtown Harare on June 4; they assumed very relaxed
postures.



9. (C) According to Sheba Dube, head of the Bulawayo chapter
of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) about 50 percent of
businesses in downtown Bulawayo were closed on June 4, and
there was light vehicle and pedestrian traffic in Bulawayo.
According to Richard Pope, a furniture manufacturer in
Bulawayo, about 25 percent of his workers did not show up on
June 4. His factory was open, but running at reduced
capacity. He said many other factories nearby were
theoretically "open", i.e. they would tell inquiring police
they were open; however, due to worker shortages they were
not actually operating.



10. (C) Due to the difficulties the MDC was experiencing in
maintaining the stayaway, Mudzingwa said the MDC may call the
stayaway a victory in tomorrow's press and allow businesses
to reopen.

Comment:


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





11. (C) Through a predictable campaign of violence on the
night of June 3 - 4, the GOZ had the MDC in even faster
retreat on June 4 with the possibility of street
demonstrations all but eliminated, and the stayaway barely
holding. Mudzingwa's admission that their structures are in
disarray and panic suggests the MDC may have to re-think
their strategies carefully as the GOZ appears to be coming
out ahead after this week's events. End comment.
SULLIVAN