Search

 

Cablegate: Ambassador Protests Food Theft and Treatment of U.S.

VZCZCXRO8695
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0509 1651232
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131232Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3021
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1310

UNCLAS HARARE 000509

AIDAC
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DCHA/AA FOR MIKE HESS
AFR/AA FOR KATE ALMQUIST AND FRANKLIN MOORE
AFR/SA FOR ELOKEN, LDOBBINS, JKOLE
DCHA/OFDA FOR KLUU, ACONVERY, TDENYSENKO, LTHOMAS
DCHA/FFP FOR JBORNS, JDWORKEN, LPETERSON, ASINK
PRETORIA FOR JWESSEL, GJUSTE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PHUM PGOV PREL ZI
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR PROTESTS FOOD THEFT AND TREATMENT OF U.S.
DIPLOMATS

REF: HARARE 493

1. (U) SUMMARY: On June 10 Ambassador McGee and USAID Director
Karen Freeman called upon Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent
Secretary Joey Bimha. The agenda included three points: 1) to
protest the treatment of U.S. diplomats during a recent
confrontation with the police in Bindura; 2) to clarify the
requirement that diplomats inform the Ministry prior to travel
beyond 40km of the capitol; and 3) to protest the theft of 20 MT of
USG humanitarian food commodities in the Marange District of
Manicaland on June 6. While the meeting did secure the Minister's
agreement that diplomats are free to travel without notification to
the MFA and without receiving permission, the Minister denied any
mistreatment of diplomats and claimed no knowledge of the food
theft. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) On the issue of the detention and inappropriate treatment of
Embassy personnel the Minister disputed the Ambassador's version of
events (Ref). He said an initial detention in Bindura was to
protect Embassy staff from a crowd that was angry at the staff's
efforts to campaign for the MDC and distribute money. He denied the
length of the subsequent detention in Mazowe, the disabling of the
Embassy car, and the physical abuse of Embassy personnel. Bimha
acknowledged that diplomats were free to travel, but said, citing
the Vienna Convention, they could not interfere in Zimbabwe's
internal affairs.

3. (SBU) The Ambassador raised the Government of Zimbabwe's (GOZ)
requirement that notice was required for travel more than 40
kilometers outside of the capital Harare (which has been interpreted
by the police as a requirement for a letter of permission), and
reminded Permanent Secretary (PS) Bimha of a May 2006 GOZ diplomatic
note that said notice of travel was a formality not a requirement.
PS Bimha acknowledged that permission was not necessary for travel
and that U.S. diplomats should not be required by police to produce
any documentation of their travel. "If this is happening," he said,
"it is unfortunate and we will discuss with the police." He noted
that it was his responsibility to clarify this with the authorities
and that he would do so. (COMMENT: The PS's tenor provided no
assurance that these intrusions would not be repeated. He referred
obliquely to past incidents involving abuses of Zimbabwean diplomats
in the U.S. but would not elaborate. END COMMENT.)

4. (U) The Ambassador provided Bimha with details of the June 6
theft of 20 MT of USG food assistance by war vets, military, GOZ
officials and ZANU-PF party supporters in the town of Bambazonke in
eastern Zimbabwe. Bimha seemed not to understand the term "war vet"
and disclaimed knowledge of the existence of the town in which the
incident occurred. He said that he had requested a report on the
incident and would let us know what he found out.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Bimha treated the meeting with the Ambassador as
an inconvenience. He was unwilling to acknowledge the truth of the
detention of June 7 and seemed unconcerned about the theft of food
on June 6. While he was forced to concede that the Vienna
Convention provides for unrestricted diplomatic travel, he gave no
indication that a concerted effort will be made to inform police and
other authorities around the country that they should allow
diplomats freedom of movement. END COMMENT.

MCGEE

© 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