Cablegate: Another Opposition Mp Arrested

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

REF: (A) HARARE 858 (B) HARARE 716 (C) HARARE 693 (D)

1. (U) GOZ police arrested MDC MP for Glen Norah, Priscilla
Misihairambwi - Mushonga on July 15. Misihairambwi was asked
to present herself to the Law and Order section at Harare
Central Police station at 9:30 am. Charged under the
Miscellaneous Offences Act, she is accused of having
breached the peace by using threatening abusive language or
behaving in a threatening manner while brandishing a pistol
in connection with an incident involving a man in her
constituency. Misihariambwi was released at 7 pm after
spending nine hours in police custody.

2. (SBU) Lawyers for Misihairambwi advised the Embassy on
July 15 that Misihairambwi denied the allegations.
Misihairambwi's attorney said that she had been arrested for
trying to investigate allegations of assault in her
constituency. MDC members of her constituency who had been
assaulted by two Zanu-PF members approached Misihairambwi
for help. On July 13, the MP assisted these individuals in
making a report to Glen Norah police station and then
approached an unidentified man, who was alleged to be one of
the assailants. This unidentified man later reported to the
police that Misihairambwi had threatened him with a gun.

3. (SBU) According to the lawyers, police searched the MP's
home and offices last night but failed to locate a pistol.
The police will continue to investigate the matter and
proceed by way of summons if they feel that she has a case
to answer.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: ZANU-PF pressure on MDC MPs takes on many
guises and is increasing across the board in the run up to
next March's scheduled parliamentary elections.
Misihairambwi is the third MDC MP in the last few months to
fall victim to the GOZ's systematic strategy of intimidating
the opposition through arrest on apparently trumped up
charges. A very active Chairperson of the Parliamentary
Public Accounts Committee, Misihariambwi is a popular,
outgoing politician who is highly regarded in diplomatic
circles. Other MDC MPs arrested this year include Job
Sikhala (ref B), Evelyn Masaiti (ref C), and Ben Tumbare-
Mutasa (ref D), while Roy Bennet faces potential
incarceration over his involvement in a fracas on the floor
of parliament (ref A). In most cases, proceedings do not
result in a conviction but their existence absorbs the
opposition's time and resources while generating fodder for
the relentless GOZ propaganda mill.


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