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Cablegate: Sadc-Pf Denied Accredidation to Observe Zimbabwe

VZCZCXRO6009
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #0454 0651407
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051407Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3687
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2193
RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 5361
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 9622
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS PRETORIA 000454

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/S S. HILL
DEPT PASS TO USAID/AFR E. LOKEN
NSC FOR AF DIRECTOR B. LEO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KDEM ZI SF
SUBJECT: SADC-PF DENIED ACCREDIDATION TO OBSERVE ZIMBABWE
ELECTIONS

REF: A. STATE 018257

B. PRETORIA 0375

1. (SBU) The Government of Zimbabwe has refused to accredit
the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) as observers for the
March 29 Zimbabwe elections. In an 04 March letter to
Pretoria-based regional USAID Director, SADC-PF Secretary
General Kasuka Mutukwa reported that the Government of
Zimbabwe would only allow SADC-PF to observe the election as
part of the broader SADC Observer Mission, "not in its own
right as the SADC Parliamentary Forum" (letter emailed to
AF/S, Embassies Windhoek and Harare).

2. (SBU) As a matter of policy, SADC-PF will only observe
elections as a separate entity, according to SADC-PF
Secretary General Mutukwa. SADC-PF took this same position

SIPDIS
in 2005, when the Government of Zimbabwe denied SADC-PF
accreditation. (NOTE: SADC-PF observed the 2000 and 2002
Zimbabwe elections as a separate entity. Its report on the
2002 presidential election concluded that "the climate of
insecurity obtaining in Zimbabwe since the 2000 parliamentary
elections was such that the electoral process could not be
said to adequately comply with the Norms and Standards for
Elections in the SADC region." END NOTE.)

3. (SBU) COMMENT: The refusal to allow SADC-PF to observe
the Zimbabwe elections is disappointing, albeit predictable.
SADC-PF is one of the few regional organizations that has
proven to be generally independent and objective in its
election observation missions. Pro-democracy South African
civil society organizations strongly suspect they would
suffer the same fate as SADC-PF, and thus plan to send
"informal observers" during the election period (ref B).
Post will continue to follow developments with the civil
society informal observers, as well as the South African
Government, Pan-African Parliament, African National
Congress, and other possible election observation
delegations. With such a short time remaining before
election date, it is difficult to imagine that any outside
observation delegation would be able to provide a complete
and independent assessment of the election. END COMMENT.
BOST

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