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Cablegate: "Relaunching Revolution": Zanu Rhetoric Intsensifies

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OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0296 0991650
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081650Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2741
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1899
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2022
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0590
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1299
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1656
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2078
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4509
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUAEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1154
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS HARARE 000296

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

SES-O
AF/S FOR S. HILL
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS
STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM ASEC ZI
SUBJECT: "RELAUNCHING REVOLUTION": ZANU RHETORIC INTSENSIFIES

REF: HARARE 274

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: With results for Zimbabwe's March 29 presidential
election still unknown, the government mouthpiece The Herald
continued its runoff campaign rhetoric in its April 8 edition. In
articles on the arrest of electoral commission officials for
prejudicing ruling party results, land reform reversal by white
farmers and opposition links to Western conspiracies, the government
appears to be laying out its strategy for undermining the MDC and
justifying a crackdown on the democratic political process. END
SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On April 8, the government newspaper, The Herald, reported
on page one that five Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officials
who presided at polling stations in Masvingo, Manicaland and
Mashonaland Central provinces were arrested on April 7 "on
allegations of tampering with electoral results and prejudicing
ZANU-PF candidate President Mugabe of 4,993 votes cast in four
constituencies." Police did not provide details as to which
constituencies were affected by the adjustment of vote tallies
(allegedly completed after results were posted outside polling
stations but before forwarding to the National Command Center), but,
according to the paper, an investigation was ongoing. The arrests
come on the heels of an announcement by ZANU-PF that it would
contest results in 16 House of Assembly constituencies, alleging
that ZEC officials were bribed to alter results in favor of the
MDC.

3. (SBU) While the newspaper did report that police ordered war
veterans who had seized white-owned farms in rural areas to
withdraw, it also reminded readers of "widespread reports of hordes
of white ex-farmers trooping back into Zimbabwe of late threatening
to repossess farms they lost during the land reform program in the
event that the MDC ascends to power." Several op-ed pieces went on
to allege that MDC presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai's main
platform was to restore land to whites at the behest of Western
donors, confirming "what ZANU-PF has been saying all along, that the
MDC was formed as a consequence of misplaced economics on the part
of the British, who believed it was cheaper to fund an opposition to
unseat the Government than to meet the costs of land purchase in
Zimbabwe." The Herald's editorial decried this as a "rude awakening
for the thousands of Zimbabweans who endorsed the MDC at the polls
as that amounted to voting away their rights to land, and everything
on and under it."

4. (SBU) Additional reporting included a characterization by The
Herald of South African President Thabo Mbeki's appeal for the
international community to wait patiently for results as refusal to
"criticize Zimbabwe's conduct of the elections" and a rejection of
"a call by the MDC for international intervention in the Harare
polls." An op-ed entitled "Run-off: Relaunching Revolution" intoned
that "even at it's worst showing, ZANU-PF remained invincible...this
runoff will be a massacre for the MDC and Tsvangirai...The U.S., the
UK and everyone else can do absolutely nothing about Tsvangirai's
impending defeat. It's homeland or death. The revolution will
triumph."

5. (SBU) COMMENT: The government appears to be continuing to lay
out its strategy for undermining an MDC win and justifying a
crackdown on the democratic political process. By framing the
opposition as a puppet of the U.K. and the United States,
reinvigorating racial disharmony and aggravating tensions around
land issues, ZANU-PF may be intending to play Zimbabwean's reverence
for the liberation struggle as a main component of its campaign. At
the end of the day, if there is a runoff, the results may depend on
whether ZANU-PF rigging, including intimidation and violence, can
trump the desire of the vast majority of Zimbabweans for change.
END COMMENT.

MCGEE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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