Search

 

Cablegate: Participation in Census Monitoring

VZCZCXRO3060
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0199/01 0391237
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081237Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9929
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 KHARTOUM 000199

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, AF/SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO KDEM SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: PARTICIPATION IN CENSUS MONITORING

REF: (A) KHARTOUM 172
(B) KHARTOUM 155
(C) KHARTOUM 114

1.(SBU) SUMMARY: International donors have expressed their concern
that the government-run Census Monitoring and Observation Committee
(MOC)is dysfunctional and does not have a well formulated plan for
census monitoring and observation. Some donors wish to downgrade
their membership status from members to observers, while others
believe this sends too strong a political signal too late in the
game that the donors believe the census will not be credible. The
current MOC plan includes pairing international monitQs with
Sudanese monitors for the census (though it does not specify if it
will accept western monitors). Post suggests that we should take
them up on this offer and provide monitors, especially if the MOC
can devise a credible monitoring plan. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- --
PURPOSEFUL DYSFUNCTION OR AN UNORGANIZED MESS?
--------------------------------------------- --
2. (SBU) On 29 January, international donors met and shared their
concerns regarding the Census Monitoring and Observation Committee
(MOC), a sub-committee of the government-run Population Census
Council (PCC). Donors agreed that the MOC is dysfunctional and has
no detailed plan for moving forward with census observation.
Furthermore, the donors, who are MOC members, feel that there has
been a lack of communication within the MOC, which only meets on a
quarterly basis. The donors themselves don't know why they were
afforded MOC membership (as opposed to observer status) in 2006 when
the committee was established. "The whole thing [the MOC] is a joke
- although there is supposed to be one representative from each
state, the Southerners don't even attend," said the World Bank. The
EC added, "Representatives from the political parties also don't
attend. Has anyone ever seen someone there from the Arab League or
the African Development Bank?" Donors questioned whether the MOC
was dysfunctional purposefully or because of a lack of capacity.

-----------
MOC BASICS
-----------
3. (U) The PCC was created by Presidential Decree 81/2006 and has
three sub-committees: advocacy and publicity, monitoring and
observation, and finance. MOC membership includes representatives
from all states (Northern and Southern), the political parties,
civil society, NGOs, the World Bank (WB), the African Development
Bank, USAID, League of Arab States, the African Union, the Danish
Development Agency (DANIDA), the EU, and France. The MOC is a
national body and receives funding both from the GNU and the donors.


4. (U) Per the presidential decree, the MOC's stated duties and
responsibilities are:
-- Monitoring and observing census execution at all stages and
levels;
-- Ensuring compliance with census established criteria and
standards;
-- Ensuring comprehensive coverage;
-- Ensuring transparency of all census procedures and operations;
-- Providing regular reports including recommendations when
necessary to the PCC; and
-- Providing report on the final census results to the PCC.

--------------------------------------------- -----
NO CLEAR GAME PLAN FOR MONITORING AND OBSERVATION
--------------------------------------------- -----
5. (SBU) The MOC has no time tables or action plans for census
monitoring and observation. The only plan it has, said the WB rep,
is one drawn from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) whereby two
observers are deployed to each state for a few weeks before, during
and after census enumeration. Donors all agreed that only two
census monitors per state is not sufficient.

6. (SBU) USAID asked if there was any viable alternative to create
an independent monitoring mechanism. The World Bank said that
donors had raised the possibility of having international monitors
in an earlier MOC meeting, but that both Northern and Southern MOC
reps rejected this idea. USAID said it could offer extra observers
if the GNU agrees to accept them.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
A CALL FOR DONORS TO DOWNGRADE THEIR MEMBERSHIP STATUS
--------------------------------------------- ----------
7. (SBU) The European Commission (EC) predicted that, regardless of
whether the census is credible, the MOC, which is led by an NCP
Chairman, will be "used politically" to publicly announce that the
census was conducted fairly and involved no foul-play. If we remain
members of this committee, the EC rep explained, we will be tied to

KHARTOUM 00000199 002 OF 004


the MOC's statement of results, whether it is true or false. In
light of this vulnerability, the EC called for all donors to jointly
downgrade their MOC membership status from member to observer. The
World Bank agreed and said, "We [as donors] have no leverage over
what happens in the MOC." It was agreed that the EC would draft a
letter to the MOC stating donor concern over the MOC's lack of a
sound census monitoring mechanism and requesting to change
membership status from members to observers. Donors at the meeting
agreed to share this draft letter with their embassies and make a
determination on whether to support the action. At the time, all
donors seemed in favor of supporting a joint downgrade in
membership.

------------------------------------
TWO STEPS FORWARD, THREE STEPS BACK
------------------------------------
8. (SBU) The Census Donor Group met a second time on 5 February to
review the plan to present the MOC with a membership downgrade
request at a MOC meeting on 6 February. Unexpectedly, the British,
the French and the Danish switched gears and expressed concern with
the move to downgrade status. The Danish voiced concern that it was
"too late" to make such a request (three months before the census)
and were backed up by the British who said that such an action would
send a signal from the donor community to the GNU authorities that
the MOC was "not credible." The French recommended that the letter
be positive instead of negative and suggested that the donors send a
letter voicing concern about the lack of an observation plan, while
at the same time stating continued donor support to the MOC. The
World Bank, EC and USG all disagreed and continued to press the
donors to jointly request a downgrade in membership status or
withdraw from the MOC altogether. "If we remain members, they will
use us," said the World Bank. Due to vehement disagreement over a
course of action, it was decided that the donors would all attend
the 6 February MOC meeting to judge the credibility and seriousness
of the MOC before making a decision on membership
downgrade/withdrawal.

-------------------------------------------
LOOKING GOOD ON CAMERA, BUT SAYING LITTLE
-------------------------------------------
9. (SBU) The MOC held an all-day session, with TV media present, on
6 February in Khartoum to review preparation for the census and
reveal a monitoring and observation strategy. The meeting was only
attended by two Southerners, Southern Sudan Center for Census,
Statistics and Evaluation (SSCCSE) Chairman Isaiah Chol and MOC Head
in Juba, Alair Riak Makol. No southern state representatives were
present. The meeting commenced with two hours of speeches from the
MOC Chairman, MOC spokesman, UNFPA representatives, and Minister of
the Presidency and PCC Chairman General Bakri Hassan Salih. All
speeches indicated that census preparation is on track. However, few
details were provided.

10. (U) Southern MOC member Alair Riak Makol presented several
critical questions from the Southern perspective: when will the
presidential decree for the census come out?; why is the MOC not
active on the ground in the South?; what are the funding constraints
on the MOC?; and where are the international observers? Makol's
comments were followed by the EC, which publicly expressed strong
concern to MOC Chairman Dr. Abdulbagi Gailani that there is no
information-sharing among MOC members. The EC said, "We are
O|;Gz4D,bl=dyHialz08g$ea%L m&-6720iQbGhPz`obQ=fQhese
questions at the meeting.

11. (U) GNU Minister of Interior Alzubair Bashir Taha, who is also
the Census Security Committee Chairman, stated that troops are ready
in each state to deal with any "potential disruptions" to the
census. He said that the southern state of Jonglei and areas where
the LRA is active are potential flashpoints and assured there would
be greater security coverage in such areas. He also said that there
is a need for "political resolution" in southern West Kordofan
before the census can be successfully conducted there. He claimed
that the situation in Darfur is "clear" and that the GNU is "ready
to conduct the census peacefully" in Darfur. However, several MOC
members (including university professors and northern state
representatives) registered their concern over the census in Darfur.
They pointed out that rebel, SAF, and Chadian forces are active in
the region, which would certainly be a security problem for
enumerators. Furthermore, rebel and IDP camp leaders may tell their
people not to cooperate in the census (ref B). Minister Taha
responded rather unconvincingly that the Ministry of Interior stands
ready to "give orders to protect" census enumerators and civilians
in the case of the disruption, but he noted that there was not

KHARTOUM 00000199 003 OF 004


enough government financing to do all that was necessary. He
suggested that the donors provide more support in order to deal with
these issues.

12. (SBU) During the final hour of the meeting, an MOC spokesman
presented the committee's plan for monitoring and observation. He
stressed that it was a "general framework" and that "details are not
available now." The plan calls for a total of 50 monitors (two
monitors per state - one international, one national) for a period
of time before, during and after enumeration. The spokesman
explained that the MOC is reviewing CVs for monitors from Sudan,
Africa, and the Middle East. After presenting a hastily-prepared
and vague three-page document on monitoring plans, the spokesman
said, "In a short time all of the details should be available." The
international donors immediately expressed their displeasure with
the plan. DANIDA, a major financier of the census, said that it was
"disappointed" with the general framework and "all of the talk."
"Where is the detailed work plan? Isn't that what we, the MOC, were
supposed to discuss today?" DANIDA emphasized that the work plan
needs the blessing of the full MOC. The WB inquired about the
selection process for CVs, the funding of the monitoring plan, and
where the monitors would be deployed. The British said they were
pleased with the general framework, but that it is "urgent to get
the details sorted out. We want the detailed plan to go before the
entire MOC for input and approval." The British also raised the
question of whether two monitors per state is sufficient. The MOC
Chairman responded by saying, "We have no objection to have more
observers. Two is the minimum. We will discuss this later." The
Chairman finished up the meeting by saying that the MOC is "open and
transparent," but that its efforts need more funding.

13. COMMENT: All international donors to the census are frustrated
by the MOC's lack of organization and planning and are skeptical of
its potential political aims. Some, however, are reluctant to join
in a unified stance to downgrade their MOC membership. They fear
that it will spur a political fall-out with the GNU, which may in
turn damage the ability of international observer missions to
participate in the 2009 elections. Although it is unclear whether
the MOC is purposefully dysfunctional by design or has real capacity
problems, this is the first time that the MOC leadership has
indicated it will accept international census observers. Post
recommends that the USG offer monitoring and observation assistance
to the GNU in order to bolster the MOC monitoring plan that is
dreadfully lacking in depth and substance. This could be offered
during Foreign Minister Deng Alor's visit to Washington or by SE
Williamson on his first visit to Sudan later this month. Provision
of observers will highlight the importance of the census and the
USG's preparedness to work with the GNU in planning for and
executing it. Although the GNU has not accepted such assistance for
the census in the past, and may not accept western monitors for the
census, we believe it is worth making an offer to demonstrate our
shared interest in a successful census. Other donors, such as the
World Bank and the European Commission, stand ready to assist as
well should the MOC provide a credible observation plan. However,
if international and U.S. monitors are allowed to participate and
believe that the census is carried out poorly, the USG will need to
be prepared to speak out and this would of course further strain
US-Sudanese relations.

FERNANDEZ


KHARTOUM 00000199 004 OF 004


FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC