Cablegate: Media Reaction Mass Action in Zim; Harare

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Editorials in the mainstream media remain sharply
divided over the implications of the week-long
national protests organized by the opposition
Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) to pressure
Robert Mugabe to the negotiating table. While the
independent media is hailing the five-day strike,
which began on June 2 by completely shutting down
all commercial and industrial activity in Harare and
other major cities, as a welcome move to show the
country's displeasure at Robert Mugabe's leadership,
the government-controlled press continues to clamor
for the incarceration of MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai. Editorial excerpts follow:

2. Under headline "The people's loud and clear voice" the
independent daily "The Daily News" (06/03) comments:

". . .But the stunning shutdown of the entire
nation, with the capital Harare eerily deserted and
resembling a ghost town, dramatically and
graphically underlined who now calls the shots in
the power stakes in Zimbabwe. The overwhelming
response of Zimbabweans to stay put at home after
dire threats from the government that it would crush
the protests showed that, while the administration
had possibly won this phase of the battle, it had
significantly lost the war. The nationwide shutdown
dramatized in no uncertain terms. . .that the people
will no longer be cowed and that people power is now
on the ascendancy. . .All signals point to one
certainty: freedom is coming tomorrow."

3. Under headline "Tsvangirai must face full wrath of
law" the government-controlled daily "The Herald" (06/03)

"It is Julius Caesar who is famed for saying, `If
you must break the law do it once to seize power.
Otherwise you must obey it.' The MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, and his supporters followed Caesar's
advice and broke the law yesterday but failed to
seize power. They now face the full wrath of the
law. . .According to the MDC, this was a make-or-
break demonstration and its gamble has fallen flat
on its face as the ZANU-PF government has clearly
shown that it has both the might and the will to
resist such silly machinations. . .As we have stated
before, no amount of force will stop a genuine
uprising by the majority of the people against any
government if there was a real
cause. . .It is, therefore, important for Tsvangirai
to note that he cannot manufacture an uprising and
no amount of money can buy him the people's support.
This is why his paid demonstrators could not stand-
up to their convictions when confronted by the law
enforcement agents. . . ."


© Scoop Media

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