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Cablegate: Spillover Effects of Zimbabwe Crisis

VZCZCXRO5598
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #0546 1621502
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101502Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8981
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0186

UNCLAS MAPUTO 000546

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM SMIG PREF MZ ZM
SUBJECT: SPILLOVER EFFECTS OF ZIMBABWE CRISIS

REF: A) MAPUTO 371 B) MAPUTO 379 C) STATE 35430

1. (U) The crisis in Zimbabwe continues to have political,
economic, and humanitarian spillover effects on Mozambique.
While the Mozambican government (GRM) denies that Zimbabwean
refugees enter Mozambique, NGOs paint a different picture.
Border controls at the Machipanda crossing at the Zimbabwe
border are adequate, but the GRM does not have the resources
to monitor crossings through the neighboring mountains, which
include well-known paths created during Zimbabwe's struggle
for independence and the subsequent civil war in Mozambique.
Local officials in Chimoio and Manica confirm that most
Zimbabweans looking to stay in Mozambique would use these
paths vice the official border crossing. Police recently
arrested 45 Zimbabweans in Chimoio for residing illegally in
Mozambique. According to a press report, the Red Cross
Director for Southern Africa that an estimated 5,500
Zimbabweans had left South Africa during the xenophobic
violence for Mozambique rather than return to Zimbabwe.

2. (U) A group of approximately 30 Zimbabweans living in
Maputo recently formed an NGO with the express intent of
seeking out Zimbabwean refugees in Mozambique, lobbying and
advocating on their behalf, and providing humanitarian
assistance. This newly-created International Relief Services
(IRS) has established small operations centers in Manica,
Tete, and Gaza provinces, the three provinces which border
Zimbabwe. During a recent visit to the Machipanda border
post (which borders Manicaland province in Zimbabwe), an IRS
member identified and registered 193 torture victims that had
fled Zimbabwe since the first round of elections. The member
relayed to poloff that there were "thousands of Zimbabwean
victims" that could not be reached due to logistical reasons,
including long distances, and because many victims were still
too traumatized to speak openly of their experiences. The
member also estimated that some 500 young Zimbabwean girls
were now engaging in prostitution in the borders towns of
Manica and Chimoio.

3. (U) During the last week of May, the Center of Mozambican
and International Studies (CEMO) hosted a second civil
society roundtable on Zimbabwe (ref A). The discussion
focused on SADC's lost opportunity following the first round
of elections, the viability for a fair second round runoff,
and the impact the runoff could have on Mozambique and the
region. Like the first roundtable, the discussion involved a
wide array of civil society heavyweights, particularly from
the press and the NGO community. Panelists were universally
critical of SADC's handling of affairs following the first
round and its failure to assert itself as a true regional
broker. In addition, most panelists agreed that conditions
in Zimbabwe are unsuitable for holding a free and fair second
round at the end of June (Note: the GRM has now agreed to
send approximately 25 election observers as part of a SADC
observer team. End Note). A FRELIMO deputy defended Mugabe
and asserted that the elections were for Zimbabwe to solve,
not for other governments or regional organizations. This
was met by strong counter arguments by panelists and audience
members alike.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: The worsening political situation in
Zimbabwe continues to have adverse affects on Mozambique.
However, despite nearly daily news articles on atrocities in
Zimbabwe or the plight of Zimbabwean refugees in Mozambique,
the GRM continues to remain largely silent. The formation of
the IRS is a noteworthy development, particularly in light of
the GRM and UNHCR's belief that Zimbabweans will not
overwhelm Mozambique with refugees. Post only learned of
this new NGO after the deadline for Taft Fund proposals were
due (ref C). In light of the continuing flow of Zimbabweans
into Mozambique and the work IRS is doing to assist, Post
would like to request Taft Fund assistance to fund the
important work IRS is performing in Mozambique. END COMMENT.

Chapman

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