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Cablegate: Harare: Eac Meets to Discuss Post Election

VZCZCXRO3804
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0389 1230916
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020916Z MAY 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2854
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

UNCLAS HARARE 000389

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/IP/ITA
AF/S
S/CT
CA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC AMGT CASC PREL ZI
SUBJECT: HARARE: EAC MEETS TO DISCUSS POST ELECTION
VIOLENCE AND ANTICIPATED ELECTION RESULTS

REF: A. A) HARARE 344
B. B) HARARE 331
C. C) HARARE 327
D. D) HARARE 317
E. E) HARARE 314
F. F) HARARE 309 AND PREV.

1. (SBU) Embassy Harare's EAC met on April 30 to review the
situation and the mission's security posture. The DCM
chaired the meeting; In attendance were representatives from
RSO, DAO, CONS, USAID, MGT, R/POL, CDC, GSO, MED, CLO and MSG.

2. (SBU) DCM explained that the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) has invited representatives of candidates
for the presidency to participate in a process of
verification of election results. This will begin on May 1,
but it could take days to reach a conclusion. It appears
increasingly likely that the ZEC will announce that no
candidate won 50% of the vote and that a runoff will be
required within 21 days. Such an announcement, however, will
not preclude further negotiations or implementation of other
strategies, since there is widespread concern that conditions
throughout the country are not propitious for a free and fair
runoff election.

3. (SBU) DCM said that reports of violence in rural areas
and, to a lesser extent, in high density suburbs continue,
with increasing numbers of deaths reported. DAO, RSO and
R/POL agreed. Some reports suggest an acceleration of
violence, though others suggest that increasing brutality is
associated with tighter targeting; instead of an entire
village being beaten, activists are singled out for more
severe abuse.

4. (SBU) USAID reported that partners operating in rural
areas have received conflicting messages. Central government
authorities and some local officials are encouraging NGOs to
resume humanitarian operations, such as school feeding
programs. In other areas, however, international NGOs are
accused of using humanitarian assistance to undermine the
ruling party. War veterans and local authorities in some
areas are ordering NGOs to cease operations and threatening
violence if activities continue. DCM noted that the EAC
should be attentive to cases in which partners are accused of
acting as proxies in what ZANU-PF perceives as a USG effort
to effect regime change in Zimbabwe. The local organization
that deployed election monitors country-wide is under
investigation for this alleged offense as well.

5. (SBU) EAC members agreed that Embassy business has
remained largely unaffected by the current political
situation. CDC noted that government offices are operating
at minimal levels, which has slowed down CDC programs.

6. (SBU) EAC members agreed that the mission's current
security posture, which includes case-by-case review of
in-country travel requests, is appropriate. The EAC decided
to recommend to the Ambassador that the prohibition on
lodging visitors at the Meikles Hotel be lifted, since the
Meikles is no longer the locus of MDC activities. CONS
reported that American citizens have not reported any
problems, but remain very interested in receiving regular
communications from the Embassy. The EAC discussed whether
special guidance was required for the Harare International
Festival of the Arts, which began April 29. The EAC directed
CONS and RSO to prepare a security message and warden message
to notify communities that the situation remains somewhat
volatile and continued vigilance is necessary.

7. (SBU) The Ambassador concurred with the EAC's
recommendations.
MCGEE

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