The United States embassy in Harare requested US$3 million a year to sustain democratic forces in Zimbabwe and keep alive prospects for a national democratic revival arguing that this was necessary because President Robert Mugabe had tightened his grip on the country.
“As Zimbabwe’s protracted political crisis continues,” the embassy said, “it is essential for the US to maintain support to democratic forces.”
It requested US$300 000 a year for Elections and Political Processes.
The money was, among other things, expected to help all democratic political parties prepare for national elections by developing non-violent standards of behaviour, conducting voter education, and articulating campaign messages.
“These activities serve US policy interests by increasing pressure on the GOZ (government) to hold free and fair elections,” the embassy said.
It also requested US$1 670000 a year to sustain civil society and US$1 million annually to sustain the independent media including its propaganda radio station Studio 7.
Both programmes reportedly served US policy.
Viewing cable 06HARARE977, ZIMBABWE – FY-2006 ESF REQUEST
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RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1143
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RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1510
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000977
AF/S FOR H.SERVIN-BAEZ
SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE
USAID FOR M. COPSON
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE – FY-2006 ESF REQUEST
REF: REF: STATE 59002
Overview of FY-2006 ESF Request
¶1. (SBU) As stated in the Mission Performance Plan, Zimbabwe
today is a paradox. On the one hand, President Robert Mugabe
and his ruling party have tightened their grip over the
country in the past year and have benefited from the split in
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). On the
other hand, the worsening economy, the increasingly open
succession battle, and growing international isolation are
driving deep wedges into the ruling party. In this context,
we believe the request below is the absolute minimum amount
needed to sustain democratic forces in this country and keep
alive prospects for a national, democratic revival in
Zimbabwe. As Zimbabwe’s protracted political crisis
continues, it is essential for the U.S. to maintain support
to democratic forces.
FY 2006 ESF Request
Elections and Political Processes–$300,000 ($300,000 Annual)
¶3. (SBU) The anticipated rural council elections will be the
last nationwide elections before the 2008 presidential
election, providing a key testing ground for local election
observers and political parties. The funds requested will
help local election monitors document electoral
irregularities and conduct a parallel vote count. These
funds would also help all democratic political parties
prepare for national elections by developing non-violent
standards of behavior, conducting voter education, and
articulating campaign messages. These activities serve U.S.
policy interests by increasing pressure on the GOZ to hold
free and fair elections. USAID would obligate the funds
through existing mechanisms.
Sustaining Civil Society–$1,670,000 ($1,670,000 Annual)
¶4. (SBU) The GOZ, convinced that civil society is directly
supporting the opposition party, has stepped up its
surveillance and persecution of the NGO sector. NGO meetings
and workshops are routinely prohibited or interrupted by
security agents. NGO leaders are detained, harassed, and
threatened. The NGO Bill was not signed into law, but the
threat of introducing new draconian legislation to increase
the government’s powers to control the funding, registration,
and activities of NGOs remains. Despite government
repression, the NGO sector remains, for now, alive and
¶5. (SBU) This allocation would continue and extend Post’s
existing activities in support of a wide range of NGOs, both
local and regional, working in the areas of human rights,
legal aid, peace building, civic education, and lobbying.
These funds would sustain these organizations and preserve
independent democratic voices for a time when Zimbabwe is
ready for democratic change. These programs support U.S.
policy in Zimbabwe by ensuring that important vestiges of the
country’s democratic infrastructure are not extinguished
until that moment inevitably comes. USAID would obligate the
funds through a US-based nonprofit organization that provides
small grants to local NGOs.
Sustaining Independent Media–$1,000,000 ($1,000,000 Annual)
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¶6. (SBU) The independent media in Zimbabwe have been badly
damaged by the GOZ’s aggressive campaign to stifle criticism,
at home and abroad, of its flawed policies and to prevent the
democratic opposition from communicating with the electorate.
The people of Zimbabwe are desperate for alternative sources
of news, information, and platforms for free speech.
¶7. (SBU) This allocation would support the continued
existence of the independent media in Zimbabwe. Funds would
support the Voice of America Studio 7 radio program, which
now boosts approximately one million listeners per day.
Aiding the continued existence of independent media in
Zimbabwe directly serves U.S. policy by ensuring checks
against the government monopoly on information and providing
important outlets for opposing viewpoints. USAID would
obligate the funds through VOA.