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Zimbabwe shuts out uninvited election observers

Foreign Affairs official Jonathan Wutawunashe told a United States embassy official that Zimbabwe only accepted invited election observers, so observers should not foist themselves onto the electoral process.

He was responding to queries from the embassy official on why a team from the United States’ International Foundation for Election Systems had been expelled.

The team had not notified the government of its visit.

Wutawunashe said there was a certain psychology and paranoia prevailing in the government that there was a connection between conferences in foreign capitals calling for President Robert Mugabe’s departure and the pressure from groups wanting to monitor elections.

Zimbabwe was due to hold its presidential elections in 2002.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE2743, DISCUSSION OF IFES EXPULSION WITH MFA

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE2743

2001-09-18 13:09

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.

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO2894

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02743 181640Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   CIAE-00 CPR-02   DODE-00 SRPP-00 VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   L-00     AC-01   NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OMB-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSC-01

SSO-00   SS-00   TRSE-00 T-00     USIE-00 PMB-00   DRL-02

G-00     SAS-00     /008W

——————2108C4 181640Z /68

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9748

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 002743

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL. 09/17/11

TAGS: PREL KDEM PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: DISCUSSION OF IFES EXPULSION WITH MFA

 

REFS: A) HARARE 2710 B) HARARE 2690

 

CLASSIFIED BY DCM ROBERT WHITEHEAD. REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) IN A SEPTEMBER 17 MEETING WITH MFA DIVISION DIRECTOR FOR

EUROPE AND THE AMERICAS JONATHAN WUTAWUNASHE, CHARGE ROTH RAISED

U.S. CONCERNS ABOUT THE EXPULSION OF THE TEAM FROM THE

INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR ELECTION SYSTEMS (IFES — REF B), AND

PROVIDED A COPY OF THE EMBASSY’S SEPTEMBER 13 DIPLOMATIC NOTE ON

THIS MATTER.   THE CHARGE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT ELECTION OBSERVATION

IS A SENSITIVE ISSUE AND ASKED FOR A CLEARER SENSE OF THE GOZ’S

POSITION ON WHETHER INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS WOULD BE PERMITTED IN

THE RUN-UP TO THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

 

2. (C) WUTAWUNASHE REPLIED THAT THIS WAS THE FIRST HE HAD HEARD

OF THE MATTER; HE HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY SEEN A COPY OF OUR DIPLOMATIC

NOTE. TOLD THAT THE TEAM HAD NOT NOTIFIED THE GOZ PRIOR TO ITS

VISIT, WUTAWUNASHE SAID THAT WAS LIKELY THE CORE OF THEIR

DIFFICULTIES. ELECTION OBSERVERS, HE INSISTED, SHOULD BE INVITED

INTO ZIMBABWE, NOT “FOIST THEMSELVES” ONTO THE ELECTORAL PROCESS.

WUTAWUNASHE SAID ZIMBABWE HAS ALWAYS HELD ELECTIONS “ON TIME.” HE

ACKNOWLEDGED THE ZIMBABWE HAD EXPERIENCED ELECTION-RELATED

PROBLEMS SUCH AS VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION, BUT HE EMPHASIZED THAT

ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS ARE NOT ALWAYS THE PERPETRATORS. THE “OTHER

GUYS,” HE INSISTED, “ARE NOT HELPLESS.” THAT, ROTH RESPONDED, IS

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE CREDIBLE INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS HERE,

SO THAT THEY CAN DOCUMENT PROBLEMS AND WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR

THEM.

 

3. (C) THERE IS A CERTAIN “PSYCHOLOGY” AND “PARANOIA” PREVAILING

WITHIN THE GOZ, WUTAWUNASHE REPLIED, THAT LEADS MANY OFFICIALS TO

CONCLUDE THAT THERE IS A CONNECTION BETWEEN “CONFERENCES” IN

FOREIGN CAPITALS CALLING FOR MUGABE’S DEPARTURE AND THE PRESSURE

FROM GROUPS WANTING TO MONITOR THE ELECTIONS. THERE IS A

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02743 181640Z

PERCEPTION AMONG MANY, WUTAWUNASHE POINTED OUT, THAT THE MDC WAS

NOT FORMED IN ZIMBABWE BUT IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, AND THAT THE

OPPOSITION’S ACTIVITIES ARE NOT “HOME-GROWN.” THE CHARGE SAID HE

WAS AWARE OF THAT PERCEPTION. THAT IS WHY THE UNITED STATES WANTS

TO FOLLOW ZIMBABWE’S RULES AND WHY WE WERE SEEKING CLARIFICATION

ON HOW TO PROCEED. WUTAWUNASHE RESPONDED ONLY THAT “A LITTLE BIT

OF PATIENCE ON THE PART OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WOULD BE A

GOOD THING.”

 

COMMENT

——-

 

4. (C) IT WAS APPARENT THAT WUTAWUNASHE WAS NOT INTERESTED IN

PROVIDING CLARIFICATION ON THE GROUND RULES FOR INTERNATIONAL

ELECTION OBSERVERS. HIS DESCRIPTION OF PARANOIA WITHIN THE

GOVERNMENT AND RULING PARTY, HOWEVER, IS SPOT ON. WE ARE BECOMING

INCREASINGLY CONVINCED THAT THE GOZ WILL USE PROCEDURAL AND OTHER

ROADBLOCKS TO PREVENT VISITS BY OBSERVER MISSIONS WHOSE

ASSESSMENTS OF THE ELECTORAL PROCESS MIGHT NOT BE FAVORABLE,

LIKELY UNTIL JUST BEFORE THE ELECTION ITSELF. SEVERAL DAYS AFTER

IFES’S EXPULSION, A SIMILAR — BUT MUCH LARGER — EU TEAM

SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE ON SEPTEMBER 23 WAS TOLD IT COULD NOT COME

UNTIL IT HAD RECEIVED AN INVITATION FROM THE GOZ (SEPTEL). THE

GOZ, NOT SURPRISINGLY, DECLINED TO PROVIDE ANY DETAILS ON WHEN

SUCH AN INVITATION MIGHT BE FORTHCOMING.

 

ROTH

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

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