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Cablegate: Zimbabwe Court Again Orders War

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

141120Z Apr 00


UNCLASSIFIED PTO6883

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------------------4BC2B7 141115Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5765
INFO NSC WASHDC
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

UNCLAS HARARE 002099

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: NA
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE COURT AGAIN ORDERS WAR
VETERANS OFF FARMS, BUT MUGABE UNMOVED


1. ON APRIL 13, FOLLOWING THE HIGH COURT
RULING THAT DAY, VICE PRESIDENT MSKIA (ACTING
IN THE ABSENCE IN HAVANA OF PRESIDENT MUGABE)
ORDERED THE WAR VETERANS TO WITHDRAW FROM THE
COMMERCIAL FARMS THEY HAVE BEEN OCCUPYING.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HARARE 02099 141115Z
JUDGE MOSES CHINHENGO RULED THAT THE INVASIONS
WERE ILLEGAL, OR RIOTOUS NATURE, AND THAT IT
WAS POLICE COMMISSIONER AUGUSTINE CHIHURI'S
DUTY TO EVICT THE OCCUPIERS AND AFFORD THE
FARM OWNERS THE PROTECTION OF THE LAW.

2. MSIKA TASKED HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER DUMISO
DABENGWA, MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND
NATIONAL HOUSING JOHN NKOMO, AND MINISTER FOR
STATE SECURITY SYDNEY SEKERAMAYI TO PERSUADE
THE WAR VETERANS TO MOVE OUT OF THE FARMS.
WAR VETERANS LEADER CHENJERAI HUNZVI,
RESPONDING TO THE COURT JUDGMENT, VOWED TO
REMAIN ON THE FARMS AND DECLARED THAT "THEY
WERE NOW AT WAR."

3. THE COURT WAS RULING ON AN APPLICATION
FROM POLICE COMMISSIONER CHIHURI TO BE
ABSOLVED FROM HIS DUTY TO EVICT THE FARM
INVADERS BECAUSE POLICE HAVE NO POLITICAL
POWER, RESOURCES, OR MANPOWER TO EFFECT THE
EVICTIONS. HE ALSO CONTENDED THAT ATTEMPTING
TO FORCE EVICTIONS COULD CREATE VIOLENCE.
THIS APPLICATION FOLLOWED A HIGH COURT RULING
IN MARCH THAT ORDERED THE POLICE TO EVICT THE
FARM INVADERS WITHIN 24 HOURS. IN HIS RULING
YESTERDAY, JUSTICE CHINHENGO SAID THE POLICE
HAVE SUFFICIENT RESOURCES TO EVICT THE
INVADERS AND URGED THE GOVERNMENT TO ASSIST
WITH THE REQUIRED ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO
RESTORE THE RULE OF LAW.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HARARE 02099 141115Z

4. JUSTICE CHINHENGO NOTED THAT THE POLICE
WERE RELUCTANT TO TERMINATE THE INVASIONS
BECAUSE THEY HAD A SYMPATHETIC VIEW OF THE
INVADERS. HE SAID THE POLICE CASE HAD GROSSLY
EXAGGERATED THE NUMBER OF INVADERS, WITH AN
EYE TOWARD CREATING THE IMAGE OF A GREATER
CRISIS THAN ACTUALLY EXISTS; HE ESTIMATED THE
NUMBER OF WAR VETERANS INVOLVED IN THE LAND
SEIZURES TO BE ABOUT 1,000. THE COURT DID NOT
FIND COMMISSIONER CHIHURI GUILTY OF CONTEMPT
FOR FAILING TO COMPLY WITH THE ORIGINAL RULING
BECAUSE HE HAD RETURNED TO THE COURT IN A
TIMELY MANNER TO EXPLAIN WHY HE WAS NOT
COMPLYING.

5. WASHINGTON ADDRESSEES WILL HAVE SEEN
PRESIDENT MUGABE'S CNN INTERVIEW IN HAVANA,
AIRED HERE EARLY ON APRIL 14, EXPRESSING HIS
OPINION THAT THE OCCUPATIONS CAN GO ON. WE
HAVE NOT YET HEARD OF ANY OCCUPATIONS CEASING.
WE WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE SITUATION AS
CLOSELY AS SAFETY ALLOWS.

MCDONALD

UNCLASSIFIED

>

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