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SADC advocated GNU before presidential elections run off

The Southern African Development Community observer mission had already decided that the best way forward for Zimbabwe was a government of national unity before the presidential elections run-off from which Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out a week before the polls.

The Head of Mission, Angolan Youth Minister Jose Marcos Barrica, said the mission had witnessed a spiral increase in political violence which did not allow free and fair elections.

He said the withdrawal of Tsvangirai had created a new fact in the political scenery that had created concerns and even panic.

Barrica said that regardless of the results of the June 27 election, which SADC intended to monitor, both sides would need to work together for the future of Zimbabwe.

He called on political leaders and electoral authorities to utilise the “wisdom of Africa to find a platform for mutual understanding that will drive toward a conclusion of the process”.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE552, SPIRAL OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE”: SADC OBSERVERS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE552

2008-06-26 15:58

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4080

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0552/01 1781558

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 261558Z JUN 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3093

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2093

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2213

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0751

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1490

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1848

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2269

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4700

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1359

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000552

 

SIPDIS

 

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: DECL: 06/26/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: “SPIRAL OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE”: SADC OBSERVERS

SPEAK OUT

 

REF: A. MBABANE 189

B. HARARE 546

 

Classified By: Ambassador James McGee for reason 1.4(d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Following the withdrawal by opposition

candidate Morgan Tsvangirai from Zimbabwe’s June 27

presidential run-off, the Southern African Development

Community (SADC) observer mission held a June 25 press

conference to comment on the current electoral environment.

SADC Head of Mission and Angolan Youth Minister Jose Marcos

Barrica confirmed widespread politically-motivated violence,

condemned it, and inferred that it was perpetrated by

government forces, but also suggested that Zimbabwean

“authorities” should and could address the situation by June

27, the date of the scheduled election. In what appeared to

be a reference to a government of national unity, Barrica

stated that regardless of the outcome of Friday’s contest,

both sides would need to work together.   When asked about

the discrepancy between the mission’s intent to proceed with

monitoring the election and the SADC Troika’s call for the

election to be delayed (reftel A), Baricca suggested that the

Troika had superseded Zimbabwean authority. Emboffs also

spoke earlier in the day with Tanki Mothae, SADC Director of

the Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security, who has served

as the SADC Mission’s administrative head and who has also

participated as an observer. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (U) At a June 25 press conference, Mission head Barrica

confirmed through an interpreter that SADC had deployed about

400 observers throughout Zimbabwe’s ten provinces and that

observers were regularly meeting with stakeholders, including

government officials, opposition leaders and civil society.

Barrica noted SADC’s “limited” mandate to observe the

election based on the SADC Principles Governing Democratic

Elections with the “objective of building a common view of

the process.”

 

3. (U) Barrica stated that since arriving on June 1, the

observers, including Mission leadership, had been put in an

“uneasy position” and witnessed a “spiral increase of

political violence” resulting in “no political tolerance and

a situation which can endanger human rights and destroy

property of citizens.” He confirmed that as a result of

“political tension, some SADC observers had become victims of

psychological and emotional threats.” Barrica blamed the

violence on “political leadership,” and said that “whether it

was a result of direct guidance by the State or independent

incidents, acts of violence had been perpetrated by uniformed

people…This is a political crisis.” When asked if the SADC

mission supported this week’s UN Security Council statement

on Zimbabwe, Barrica retorted that “every person with mental

health should condemn violence; therefore we condemn it just

as the UNSC did.”

 

4. (U) As a result, Barrica stated that the Mission was

using its “one weapon, the word” to “intensify our position

through statements to the ruling party and main opposition

figures.”   He reported that the Mission was also appealing

to the “Zimbabwean authorities who have the task of

protecting the lives of the people for them to use all the

mechanisms at their disposal to ensure the security of

citizens and rule of law.” Calling Tsvangirai’s withdrawal a

“new fact in the political scenery that has created concerns,

even panic,” Barrica highlighted the Zimbabwe Electoral

Commission’s (ZEC) role as “managers” of the election

process. He stated that ZEC had the responsibility to act

with “justice and fairness to decide the correct way forward

with regard to democratic principles, while safeguarding

national interest and expectations.”

 

 

HARARE 00000552 002 OF 002

 

 

5. (U) In what may have been a veiled reference to a

government of national unity, Barrica stated that regardless

of the results of the June 27 election, which SADC intended

to monitor, both sides would need to work together for the

future of Zimbabwe. He called on political leaders and

electoral authorities to utilize the “wisdom of Africa to

find a platform for mutual understanding that will drive

toward a conclusion of the process.” Barrica relayed his

belief, stemming from meetings that day, that there was a

“light at the end of the tunnel for the disagreeing parties

to come together” and that “elections or not, Zimbabwe will

open a new page of its history” on June 28.

 

6. (U) When asked about the discrepancy between the SADC

mission’s intent to proceed with monitoring the June 27

election and news of the June 25 statement by the SADC

Troika’s emergency summit calling for the election to be

delayed (reftel A), Barrica suggested that the Troika had

superseded a report from the Mission and ZEC’s authority, and

that Mbeki’s absence from the summit, as the SADC negotiator

on Zimbabwe, raised questions as to whether it was a

legitimate SADC meeting.

 

7. (C) Earlier on June 25, polchief and poloff met with

SADC Director of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security

Affairs who has been responsible for administrative aspects

of the Mission and who has observed as well. Mothae candidly

stated that despite ZANU-PF efforts to influence the

observers’ opinion, there was a general consensus amongst the

various member-state mission heads that made up the SADC team

that a free and fair election was not possible under current

conditions, including government-sponsored violence targeting

the opposition. However, Mothae indicated that Barrica might

be under significant political pressure from Angolan

leadership to refrain from condemning the election process

outright. Mothae stated that given the Mugabe regime’s

violation of both SADC election principles and domestic

election law (Zimbabwe being one of the few member states to

codify the SADC election principles into its Electoral Act),

SADC observer mission members would “not allow Minister

Barrica to defeat the mission of the observation” and

publicly obscure the reality on the ground, even if it

resulted in “serious fractures” within the delegation.

Mothae stressed the importance of the Mission’s mandate to

focus on Zimbabwe’s conformity, or lack thereof, to the SADC

election principles, regardless of rumors of international

influence or domestic politicking.

 

8. (C) COMMENT: Barrica’s welcome condemnation of the

violence was somewhat surprising in light of Mothae’s

skepticism that he would be objective about violence and the

electoral environment. We note that the press conference

represented an interim evaluation; what will be most

important is SADC’s final report. In that regard, Mothae

told us that he and other observers would not support a

report that did not accurately portray the lectoral

environment that made it impossible to old a fair election.

Key will be pressure by theAngolan government on Barrica to

support an objecive report. END COMMENT.

 

McGee

(10 VIEWS)

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