US portrays itself as defender of justice in Zimbabwe rather than dictator

United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Joseph Sullivan said the United States should maintain the image of defender of justice in Zimbabwe and avoid the image of big power dictation.

In a cable dispatched in November 2011 as Zimbabwe geared for the presidential elections Sullivan said it was also important that the US continued to press for change in government behaviour rather than concede that there was no possibility for improvement.

The ambassador said it was also critical to have key Africans, particularly South Africa and Nigeria on its side.

He said tone was very important.

“We want to be firm in defending the people of Zimbabwe, their human rights, media freedom and right to free and fair elections in the months ahead.

“It is almost as important that we maintain the image of defender of justice and avoid the image of big power dictation. It is also important that we continue to press for change in government behaviour rather than concede that there is no possibility of for improvement.

“The above tone is important for gaining African support and understanding on Zimbabwe and to keep the pressure on the GOZ (Government of Zimbabwe).

“For these reasons, we intend to continue publicising public activities in support of the Zimbabwean people, seeking maximum publicity for self-help programme grants, HIV-Aids and other activities on behalf of the people.”

 

Full cable:


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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE3404

2001-11-15 06:44

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

150644Z Nov 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7347

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03404 01 OF 03 150728Z

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INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   EVG-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

DODE-00 DS-00   EUR-00   VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01

VCE-00   M-00     DCP-01   NSAE-00 NSCE-00 IRM-00   SSO-00

SS-00   USIE-00 BBG-00   IIP-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00

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------------------3E7D9C 150728Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0279

INFO AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 003404

 

SIPDIS

 

AF FOR AF A/S KANSTEINER, DAS BELLAMY AND AF/S

NSC FOR AFRICA SR DIR FRAZIER

AID FOR AFR A/ADM

BRUSSELS ALSO FOR USEU

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2011

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS UNTIL ELECTIONS:

KEEP THE PRESSURE ON AND LEAVE ROOM FOR MISTAKES

 

REF: (A)STATE 197909, (B)HARARE 3303

 

CLASSIFIED BY JOSEPH G. SULLIVAN FOR REASONS 1.5 B/D

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: THE MUGABE GOVERNMENT HAS INTENSIFIED

ITS VIOLENCE AND EFFORTS TO DOMINATE ELECTION PROCEDURES

AND HAS NOT BEEN DETERRED BY THREATS OF SANCTIONS. HARSH

METHODS, NOTWITHSTANDING, ZANU-PF IS STILL VERY HARD-

PRESSED BY A RESILIENT MDC OPPOSITION, BOLSTERED BY

ZIMBABWE'S CONTINUING ECONOMIC DECLINE. UNDER DOMESTIC

AND INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE, THE GOZ HAS MADE MANY

MISTAKES AND COULD MAKE MORE. WE RECOMMEND LAYING DOWN

CLEAR MARKERS OF WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR US TO CONFER

LEGITIMACY UPON THE ELECTION RESULT AND LEVERAGING KEY

AFRICANS INTO PRESSING FOR SUCH FREE AND FAIR

CONDITIONS. IF THE GOZ FAILS TO DELIVER A CREDIBLE

ELECTION AND DEPRIVES THE OPPOSITION OF A CHANCE OF

VICTORY, THE US, EU, AND THE COMMONWEALTH SHOULD REACT

QUICKLY TO DECLARE THE PROCESS UNFREE AND UNFAIR.

SUPPORT OF KEY AFRICANS, PARTICULARLY THE SOUTH AFRICANS

AND THE NIGERIANS, FOR OUR ACTIONS WILL BE CRITICAL.

 

2. (C) IN THE MONTHS AHEAD, TONE WILL BE IMPORTANT. WE

WANT TO BE FIRM IN DEFENDING THE HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS

OF THE ZIMBABWEAN PEOPLE, BUT WISH TO DO IT IN A WAY

THAT PUTS US ON THE SIDE OF THE PEOPLE AND AVOIDS THE

IMAGE OF BIG POWER DICTATION. WE ALSO WANT TO AVOID

CONDEMNATION FOR ITS OWN SAKE AND MAKE CLEAR REPEATEDLY

WHAT STEPS WE SEEK FROM THE GOZ. THIS TONE MAINTAINS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03404 01 OF 03 150728Z

THE PRESSURE FOR CHANGE AND MAKES GAINING AFRICAN

SUPPORT EASIER. WE ALSO INTEND TO KEEP PUBLICIZING OUR

OWN EFFORTS ON BEHALF OF THE ZIMBABWEAN PEOPLE IN THE

AREAS OF HIV/AIDS AND IN SELF-HELP PROJECTS TO MAKE IT

CLEAR THAT OUR DIFFICULTIES ARE WITH THE GOZ AND NOT THE

PEOPLE. END SUMMARY

 

3. (C) PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE AND HIS ZANU-PF

GOVERNMENT HAVE RECENTLY INTENSIFIED THEIR VIOLENCE AND

INTIMIDATION OF OPPOSITION AND INDEPENDENT MEDIA AND

THEIR EFFORTS TO CONTROL AND MANIPULATE THE 2002

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PROCEDURES. THEY HAVE NOT BEEN

DETERRED BY THE THREAT OF COMMONWEALTH, EU, US OR OTHER

SANCTIONS, AND EVEN LESS BY THE ECONOMIC AND OTHER HARM

THEY ARE CAUSING THEIR COUNTRY IN THEIR ALL-OUT EFFORT

TO STAY IN POWER. THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOT HESITATED TO

LAMBASTE ANY AND EVERY FOREIGN GOVERNMENT OR ZIMBABWEAN

WHO GETS IN THEIR WAY AND HAVE FEW FRIENDS LEFT OUTSIDE

THEIR TIGHT CIRCLE OF INSIDERS.

 

4. (C) FOR THE SAME REASON THE THREAT OF SANCTIONS HAS

NOT AFFECTED THE MUGABE GOVERNMENT'S ACTIONS, THE

IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS IS UNLIKELY TO DETER IT FROM THE

WIN-AT-ALL-COSTS STRATEGY. PRESIDENT MUGABE AND HIS

CLOSEST ADVISERS OBVIOUSLY CARE LITTLE ABOUT LOSS OF

ASSISTANCE TO THE NATION AND APPEAR TO BELIEVE THAT

THERE IS NO DAMAGE THAT CAN COME FROM PERSONALIZED

FINANCIAL OR TRAVEL SANCTIONS WHICH EQUATES TO MUGABE'S

LOSS OF THE PRESIDENCY. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHAT DOES

MATTER TO PRESIDENT MUGABE IS THE INTERNATIONAL AND

DOMESTIC LEGITIMACY, WHICH COMES FROM AN ELECTION

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03404 01 OF 03 150728Z

VICTORY. FOR THAT REASON, WE BELIEVE THE EFFORT TO LAY

DOWN A CLEAR MARKER OF WHAT ELECTION STANDARDS ARE

NECESSARY (REFS A AND B) TO OBTAIN INTERNATIONAL

LEGITIMACY AND THE DOMESTIC LEGITIMACY THIS HELPS CONFER

IS AN IMPORTANT EXERCISE.

 

5. (C) THE ABOVE NOTWITHSTANDING, THE ZIMBABWEAN

GOVERNMENT MAY NOT RESPOND POSITIVELY TO MEET

INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS, ASSUMING PERHAPS THAT

PROTECTION BY FELLOW AFRICAN STATES, SOME COSMETIC

OBSERVATION NEAR THE END OF THE ELECTIONS AND POST-

ELECTION SIGNALS OF OPENNESS WILL WIPE AWAY UNPLEASANT

MEMORIES. MUGABE AND HIS INNER CIRCLE APPEAR TO

BELIEVE THAT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WILL HAVE TO

DEAL WITH A GOZ, WHICH RESULTS FROM AN ELECTION

CARRIED OUT ON ZANU-PF TERMS.

 

OFFENSES PILE UP

----------------

 

6. (C) IN RECENT WEEKS, THE ZIMBABWEAN FOREIGN MINISTER

STUCK HIS FINGER SO BLATANTLY INTO THE EU'S EYE THAT THE

EU BEGAN ARTICLE 96 CONSULTATIONS. THE GOZ ALSO FAILED

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7348

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03404 02 OF 03 150729Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   EVG-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

DODE-00 DS-00   EUR-00   VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01

VCE-00   M-00     DCP-01   NSAE-00 NSCE-00 IRM-00   SSO-00

SS-00   USIE-00 BBG-00   IIP-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00

SAS-00     /004W

------------------3E7DAD 150729Z /38

O 150644Z NOV 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0280

INFO AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 003404

 

SIPDIS

 

AF FOR AF A/S KANSTEINER, DAS BELLAMY AND AF/S

NSC FOR AFRICA SR DIR FRAZIER

AID FOR AFR A/ADM

BRUSSELS ALSO FOR USEU

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2011

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS UNTIL ELECTIONS:

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03404 02 OF 03 150729Z

KEEP THE PRESSURE ON AND LEAVE ROOM FOR MISTAKES

 

TO GET A PASSING GRADE ON ITS ABUJA COMPLIANCE AND

RECEIVES A UNDP TEAM THIS WEEK TO MEASURE ABUJA

COMPLIANCE INDEPENDENTLY. THE ZIMS CONTINUE TO STIFF

THE SADC SUMMIT FOLLOW-UP COMMITTEE, PUTTING OFF ITS

VISIT INDEFINITELY AND IGNORING CONCERNS RAISED BY SADC

PRESIDENTS IN SEPTEMBER. INTERNALLY, THE GOVERNMENT HAS

STEPPED UP ITS HARASSMENT OF THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA, MOST

RECENTLY BY THE ARREST AND OVERNIGHT DETENTION OF THE

"DAILY NEWS" EDITOR. THE GOZ HAS ALSO ENCOURAGED A

THREATENING "WAR VETERANS" DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE MDC

HEADQUARTERS AND A CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE ORGANIZATION

EFFORT TO SEARCH MDC HQ IN RESPONSE TO THE DISAPPEARANCE

OF A WAR VETS' LEADERS. GOVERNMENT EFFORTS TO DOMINATE

CONTROL OF THE ELECTIONS PROGRESSED WITH THE

ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THE GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO BAR DOMESTIC

NGO'S FROM VOTER EDUCATION OR ELECTION MONITORING AND TO

INVITE ONLY SELECTED INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS CLOSER TO

ELECTIONS.

 

7. (C) EVEN THE FOOD EMERGENCY HAS BEEN BADLY

MISHANDLED. WHEN AFTER MONTHS OF DENYING ANY FOOD

SHORTAGE, THE GOVERNMENT FINALLY ISSUED AN INTERNATIONAL

APPEAL FOR HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE, AGRICULTURE MINISTE

MADE REFUSED TO WAIVE RESTRICTION ON IMPORTATION OF

GENETICALLY MODIFIED GRAIN. INFORMATION MINISTER

JONATHAN MOYO WENT FURTHER, WARNING THAT NGO'S WOULD NOT

BE PERMITTED TO ASSIST IN FOOD ASSISTANCE BECAUSE OF

THEIR SUSPECTED SYMPATHIES FOR THE MDC AND THAT DONORS

RESPONDING TO THE FOOD APPEAL AHOULD JUST GIVE THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03404 02 OF 03 150729Z

ASSISTANCE TO THE GOVERNMENT TO DISTRIBUTE. IN EFFECT,

MOYO IS DECLARING GOZ WILLINGNESS TO HOLD HOSTAGE THE

HUNGER OF THE MOST VULNERABLE ZIMBABWEANS FOR ENHANCED

ELECTORAL LEVERAGE.

 

8. (C) WHILE THE GOZ HAS FOR THE MOST PART REFRAINED FROM

DIRECT PUBLIC CRITICISM OF THE US, IT BELIEVES THAT THE

USG IS ENGAGED IN SUPPORT OF THE MDC AND SUBVERSION OF

THE ZANU-PF AND RECENTLY REFUSED WORK PERMITS TO A GROUP

OF PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS IN AN APPARENT EFFORT TO LIMIT

INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE IN THE PRE-ELECTION PERIOD.

WE BELIEVE IT LIKELY THAT THE GOZ WILL STEP UP ITS

CRITICISM OF THE USG AND PERHAPS EXPEL OR OTHERWISE ACT

AGAINST OUR EMBASSY STAFF IN THE MONTHS AHEAD.

 

EVEN PARANOIDS HAVE ENEMIES

---------------------------

 

9. (C) WHILE ZANU-PF DOES HAVE MANY ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND

DOMESTIC, ITS ACTIONS ARE THOSE OF A PARANOID FLAILING

ABOUT AT REAL AND IMAGINED ENEMIES AT HOME AND ABROAD.

IN ITS FLAILING, THE GOZ IS BUYING ITSELF A NEW ENEMY OR

MORE PER DAY. THE ARREST OF THE DAILY NEWS EDITOR WHO

IS ABOUT TO WIN THE COMMITTEE FOR THE PROTECTION OF

JOURNALISTS' AWARD IS A CASE IN POINT. AND ALL THE

GOVERNMENT'S ACTIONS TO DATE HAVE BOUGHT IT ONLY A

STATISTICAL DEAD HEAT IN THE LATEST PUBLIC OPINION POLL

OF UNCERTAIN RELIABILITY.

 

MORE ABUSES LIKELY

------------------

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03404 02 OF 03 150729Z

 

10.(C) CONTINUED PRESSURE INSIDE AND OUTSIDE ZIMBABWE

HAS ALREADY INDUCED GOZ MISTAKES AND COULD LEAD TO

FURTHER MISCALCULATIONS AND ERRORS. ON THE EVE OF A

UNDP MISSION TO ASSESS COMPLIANCE WITH THE ABUJA ACCORD

ON LAND REFORM, THE GOVERNMENT BROKE THE ABUJA AGREEMENT

FLAGRANTLY BY LEGISLATING THE CONFISCATION OF ALL

DESIGNATED LANDS AND SHORT-CIRCUITING ALL COURT APPEALS.

IN ORDER TO DISPENSE WITH ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE

NIGERIAN-BROKERED AGREEMENT, THE GOZ MIGHT EVENTUALLY

BREAK WITH THE ABUJA PROCESS, UNDOUBTEDLY BLAMING THE UK

FOR ITS ACTIONS. MASSIVE RESORT TO FORCE, TARGETED

ASSASSINATIONS OF OPPOSITION FIGURES OR DECLARATION OF A

STATE OF EMERGENCY ARE ALSO POSSIBILITIES, ANY OF WHICH

WOULD RAISE MAJOR LEGITIMACY ISSUES IN ZIMBABWE AND THE

REGION.

 

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

----------------------

 

11. (C) ANY SANCTIONS THE US MIGHT APPLY UNILATERALLY

BEFORE ELECTIONS ARE UNLIKELY TO MODIFY ZANU-PF BEHAVIOR

AND HAVE THE ADDED DISADVANTAGE OF PROVIDING A POTENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7349

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03404 03 OF 03 150729Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   EVG-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

DODE-00 DS-00   EUR-00  VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01

VCE-00   M-00     DCP-01   NSAE-00 NSCE-00 IRM-00   SSO-00

SS-00   USIE-00 BBG-00   IIP-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00

SAS-00     /004W

------------------3E7DB9 150729Z /38

O 150644Z NOV 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0281

INFO AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 003404

 

SIPDIS

 

AF FOR AF A/S KANSTEINER, DAS BELLAMY AND AF/S

NSC FOR AFRICA SR DIR FRAZIER

AID FOR AFR A/ADM

BRUSSELS ALSO FOR USEU

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2011

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS UNTIL ELECTIONS:

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03404 03 OF 03 150729Z

KEEP THE PRESSURE ON AND LEAVE ROOM FOR MISTAKES

 

EXCUSE FOR ABORTING ELECTIONS WHICH THE MDC STILL HAS A

REASONABLE CHANCE OF WINNING. MOREOVER, SADC, THE

COMMONWEALTH AND OTHER AFRICANS, I.E. THE NIGERIANS,

WOULD LIKELY WIND UP SIDING WITH THE ZIMBABWEANS IN A

SANCTIONS DISPUTE WITH THE "DEVELOPED WORLD." INSTEAD,

WE RECOMMEND LAYING DOWN CLEAR MARKERS OF WHAT IS

NECESSARY FOR US TO CONFER LEGITIMACY UPON THE ELECTION

RESULT AND SEEKING TO LEVERAGE KEY AFRICANS INTO

PRESSING FOR SUCH FREE AND FAIR CONDITIONS. (THE

ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT, IF PASSED BY CONGRESS, SHOULD BE

PRESENTED AS A WARNING AND AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE GOZ TO

CHOOSE BETWEEN ITS INCENTIVES AND ITS SANCTIONS.) IF

THE GOZ FAILS TO DELIVER A CREDIBLE ELECTION PROCESS AND

THE OPPOSITION IS DEPRIVED OF A FAIR CHANCE AT VICTORY

BY THESE METHODS, THE US, THE EU AND THE COMMONWEALTH

NEED TO BE PREPARED TO REACT STRONGLY AND QUICKLY AFTER

THE ELECTION TO DECLARE THE PROCESS UNFREE AND UNFAIR.

IT WILL ALSO BE CRITICAL TO HAVE KEY AFRICANS,

PARTICULARLY SOUTH AFRICA AND NIGERIA ALONGSIDE US IN

THIS DECLARATION. WHILE SOME MIGHT CAUTION THAT SUCH A

DECLARATION WILL SET OFF AN INTERNAL CRISIS, WE BELIEVE

THE ABSENCE OF A CLEAN AND CREDIBLE RESULT INTERNALLY

WILL PROVOKE AN INTERNAL CRISIS ON ITS OWN.

 

TONE IS IMPORTANT

-----------------

12. (C) WE WANT TO BE FIRM IN DEFENDING THE PEOPLE OF

ZIMBABWE, THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS, MEDIA FREEDOM AND RIGHT TO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03404 03 OF 03 150729Z

FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN THE MONTHS AHEAD. IT IS

ALMOST AS IMPORTANT THAT WE MAINTAIN THE IMAGE OF

DEFENDER OF JUSTICE AND AVOID THE IMAGE OF BIG POWER

DICTATION. IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT THAT WE CONTINUE TO

PRESS FOR CHANGE IN GOVERNMENT BEHAVIOR RATHER THAN

CONCEDE THAT THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY OF FOR IMPROVEMENT.

THE ABOVE TONE IS IMPORTANT FOR GAINING AFRICAN SUPPORT

AND UNDERSTANDING ON ZIMBABWE AND TO KEEP THE PRESSURE

ON THE GOZ. FOR THESE REASONS, WE INTEND TO CONTINUE

PUBLICIZING PUBLIC ACTIVITIES IN SUPPORT OF THE

ZIMBABWEAN PEOPLE, SEEKING MAXIMUM PUBLICITY FOR SELF-

HELP PROGRAM GRANTS, HIV-AIDS AND OTHER ACTIVITIES ON

BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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