Violence escalated in the run-up to the presidential elections run-off with shocking reports of targetted violence directed against opposition members and suspected opposition supporters but no United States citizens were involved.
The United States embassy received reports of human rights abuses, targetted incidents of torture, and rural homes being destroyed in many parts of the country on a daily basis.
The reports indicated that the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front would do anything to win the election.
Though there were no reports of United States citizens being affected, there were fears that representatives of USAID and non-governmental organisations might be at risk if they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in rural areas.
Viewing cable 08HARARE413, HARARE: EAC MEETS TO DISCUSS TARGETED VIOLENCE
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0413 1291501
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081501Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2877
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
UNCLAS HARARE 000413
FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/IP/ITA
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: HARARE: EAC MEETS TO DISCUSS TARGETED VIOLENCE
AGAINST OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS AND CONTINUED HUMAN RIGHTS
REF: A. HARARE 389
¶B. HARARE 344
¶C. HARARE 331
¶1. (SBU) Embassy Harare’s EAC met on May 8 to review the
political situation and the Mission’s security posture. The
Ambassador chaired the meeting. In attendance were
representatives from RSO, POL/ECON, CONS, USAID, MGT, R/POL,
CDC, GSO, IMO, CLO and MSG.
¶2. (SBU) The Ambassador explained that the political
situation continues to evolve and the Embassy continues to
receive shocking reports of targeted violence directed
against opposition members and suspected opposition
supporters. Credible reports of human rights abuses,
targeted incidents of torture, and rural homes being
destroyed in many parts of the country are being obtained on
a daily basis.
¶3. (SBU) Pol/Econ concurred that these reports of violence
in the rural areas continue unabated. R/POL agreed, adding
that the ruling party will do anything to win the election.
Within the Mission, those most at risk are representatives of
US AID and NGO organizations who might happen to be in the
wrong place at the wrong time in rural areas.
¶4. (SBU) EAC members agreed that Embassy business has
remained largely unaffected by the current political
situation, especially in and around Harare. RSO commented
that there are no reports of Americans being specifically
targeted for crime or harassment in Harare, and recent trips
to Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe, and the Nyanga resort
areas by mission travelers have been incident free. Overall
crime in Harare has remained at routine levels, with
smash-and-grab attacks and attempted burglary events
continuing to happen with some regularity.
¶5. (SBU) EAC members agreed that the Mission’s current
security posture, which includes continued case-by-case
review of in-country travel requests, remains appropriate.
The Ambassador directed CONS and RSO to prepare a security
message and warden message to notify communities that the
situation remains somewhat volatile and that the expected
return of MDC opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai this
weekend may spark increased violence between the ruling party
and opposition supporters.