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US funded parallel vote count in 2008 elections

The United States through its Agency for International Development funded the parallel vote counting by the Zimbabwe Election Supervisory Network in the 2008 elections, according to a cable released by Wikileaks.

The Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change was carrying its own vote count.

The money for the ZESN Parallel Vote Tabulation, or PVT, as it was called, was channelled through the National Democratic Institute, an organisation that was founded by the United States government.

According to the cable ZESN was hesitant to undertake the PVT because it was concerned that the release of the MDC’s partisan results would undermine confidence and the integrity of its own count.

The NDI was working with the ZESN on how best to use the count “as a tool to encourage the Zimbabwe Election Commission to announce honest results rather than manufacturing a Mugabe victory”.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE245, ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS: ELECTION DAY

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE245

2008-03-29 22:36

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8239

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0245/01 0892236

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 292236Z MAR 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2645

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1850

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1974

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0547

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1251

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1608

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2030

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4461

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1101

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000245

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

SES-O

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: 03/29/2018

TAGS: PGOV KDEM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS: ELECTION DAY

 

REF: HARARE 244 AND PREV.

 

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

 

1. (U) Summary: Voting day in Zimbabwe was largely calm and

peaceful. Eleven embassy observers who were spread out

throughout the country were permitted to observe the vote and

remain at polling stations for vote counts. In defiance of

the government, the MDC told the press it would announce

results based on figures posted at polling places at 1 pm on

March 30. End summary.

 

VOTING DAY QUIET

—————-

 

2. (U) Reports from Embassy and other observers around

Zimbabwe indicate that voting was generally calm and

peaceful. Long lines at some polling places in the early

morning generally disappeared in late morning, and there were

no reports of long lines of voters at the designated poll

closing time of 7 pm. There were numerous individual reports

of apparent efforts at intimidation, such as ZANU partisans

making lists of voters names, but there was no apparent

systematic pattern of abuse. Following last week’s

presidential proclamation, which overturned a legal bar on

police presence in polling places, police were present at all

sites visited by Embassy observers. There were only a few

instances in which they were reported to attempt voter

intimidation. Embassy observers reported that MDC party

agents and independent observers from the Zimbabwe Electoral

Support Network (ZESN) were present at 80-90 percent of

polling places.

 

3. (U) There were many voters turned away because their names

were not on the lists in the wards where they thought they

were registered. Reports received by the Embassy suggest

about 10 percent of voters experienced this frustration; the

number was as high as 50 percent in some locations. This was

due at least in part to a change in the voting system: in the

past, voters could vote anywhere in a constituency, but

regulatory changes now limit them to a specific ward.

 

4. (U) The absence of long lines suggests that turnout may

not have been as high as the MDC had hoped and as many had

expected, given the recent surge in enthusiasm about the

opposition. Experienced observers reported that lines were

shorter than in 2002 and 2005, but also note that the number

of polling places was greater (9400 this year vs. just 5000

in 2002) while Zimbabwe’s population has declined as economic

migrants fled. In Harare and other urban areas the streets

were quiet, with very little traffic.

 

5. (U) The MDC held press conferences at noon and 4 pm. The

MDC presented a list of complaints, including:

–Exclusion of party polling agents from some polling

stations;

–High rates of voter rejection, particularly for voters with

Anglo-Saxon names;

–Intimidation associated with the deployment of security

forces;

–Questions about the indelibility of ink applied to voters

fingers to prevent multiple voting;

–An excessive number of ballot papers printed: 9 million

ballots for 5.9 million voters on the rolls (some believe the

actual voting population is likely more like 3.5 million,

given emigration), as well as missing books of ballots; and

–Polling stations in several districts ran out of ballots.

 

6. (SBU) The Embassy has heard of a number of arrests,

including a South African and a Dutch citizen who were picked

up transporting MDC party agents and election materials and

 

HARARE 00000245 002 OF 003

 

 

the daughter of Fay Chung, a Makoni supporter running for

Senate, who was arrested for taking photographs. the media

has reported the petrol bombing of a ZANU candidates home in

Bulawayo; the Embassy has no further information on the

incident.

 

PARALLEL VOTE COUNTS

——————–

 

7. (U) In both press conferences, MDC Secretary General

Tendai Biti expressed absolute confidence that Morgan

Tsvangirai would win the presidential election. The MDC has

 

SIPDIS

announced that it is collecting data on vote tallies posted

at individual polling places and will release its tabulation

of results at 1 pm on Sunday, March 30. This defies

government edicts that no one except the Zimbabwe Electoral

Commission (ZEC) may release results. The MDC’s announced

results will seek to be comprehensive, rather than based on a

sample of polling places. Since the MDC will find it easiest

to collect information from polling places in areas where it

enjoys high popularity, the results are likely to be biased.

 

8. (C) USAID provided funding to the National Democratic

Institute to assist ZESN in the conduct of a parallel vote

tabulation (PVT). ZESN was hesitant to undertake the PVT,

has not announced that the exercise is underway, and is

cautious about public release of its outcome. The tabulation

will be based on a scientific sampling of polling places and

if data collection is successful, the PVT will have very high

accuracy. ZESN is concerned that the MDC’s release of

partisan results will undermine confidence in the integrity

of ZESN’s PVT. ZESN believes it may not have results until

Monday, March 31. NDI continues to work with ZESN on how

best to use the PVT results as a tool to encourage the ZEC to

announce honest results, rather than manufacturing a Mugabe

victory.

 

RESULTS FROM EMBASSY OBSERVERS

——————————

 

9. (SBU) During the day, Embassy observers penetrated deep

into rural areas, where locals were surprised to see

observers; observers reported that they were well received

everywhere they went.. They crossed paths with other

observers only in urban areas and near the luxury Hwange

Safari Lodge. However, Embassy employees were instructed to

put safety first and return at nightfall to a polling place

near their hotel to watch the vote count. Since these

polling places were in ruling areas, the counts observed by

Embassy observers are likely biased against Mugabe, whose

strongest support is in remote rural areas. Nevertheless,

for what little it is worth, we share the tallies of

individual polling places below recorded by Embassy

observers. Makoni’s showing is even worse than predicted by

polls; it is likely many of his supporters decided he stood

no chance, and voted otherwise (or failed to vote).

 

Location                Mugabe     Tsvangirai     Makoni

 

Mutare, Manicaland         47         213             21

Chiredzi, Masvingo         76           84             5

Hwange, Mat. North         17           61             17

Kadoma, Midlands          35           65             5

Tafara, Harare             60         236             22

Uzumba, Mash. East         261         188             11

Shurugwi, Midlands         55         159             44

Bulawayo, Mat. South         9         121           117

Chihambakwe, Masvingo     128         246             21

 

10. (U) All Embassy observers reported to the Embassy Command

Center by 12:15 am, local time. No private American citizens

 

HARARE 00000245 003 OF 003

 

 

contacted the Embassy on March 29. The Command Center will

close until 10 am local time on Sunday, March 30.

 

MCGEE

(24 VIEWS)

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