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Cablegate: Goz Lifts Ngo Ban

VZCZCXRO3371
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0765/01 2461627
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021627Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3366
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2250
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2370
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0899
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1647
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2003
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2424
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4856
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1519
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000765

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AF/S FOR G. GARLAND
DRL FOR N. WILETT
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS
STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN
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, LMTHOMAS
DCHA/FFP FOR JBORNS, JDWORKEN, LPETERSON, ASINK

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC EAID KDEM PGOV PHUM PREL ZI
SUBJECT: GOZ LIFTS NGO BAN

REF: A. A. HARARE 754
B. B. HARARE 503

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) On August 29, the Ministry of Public Service,
Labor, and Social Welfare finally lifted the ban on
non-governmental organizations' (NGOs) and private voluntary
organizations' (PVOs') field operations that the GOZ had
imposed on June 4, 2008 (ref B). This comes after weeks of
efforts by donors, NGOs, and the MDC to push the Zimbabwean
Government (GOZ) to lift the ban which denied the
organizations access to 1.3 million at-risk Zimbabweans. The
GOZ initiated the ban when it accused the NGOs/PVOs of using
food as a political tool during the run up to the June 27
presidential run-off election. NGOs are now scrambling to
ramp up their operations and to supply the GOZ with a
required report on their operations by the end of September,
2008. END SUMMARY.

---------------------------------------
Ban lifted, information required by GOZ
---------------------------------------

2. (U) The Secretary for the Ministry of Public Service,
Labor and Social Welfare, Lancaster Museka, issued a
statement on Friday August 29 announcing that the suspension
of all PVO/NGOs registered under PVO Act Chapter 17:05 was
immediately lifted, allowing operations to continue in: (1)
humanitarian assistance, food aid, relief, recovery and
development, (2) family and child care protection, (3) care
and protection of older persons, (4) rights and empowerment
of people with disabilities, and (5) HIV and AIDS treatment,
care, and related support services.

3. (SBU) Museka and Stanley Mishi, head of the Department of
Social Services (DSS) within the Ministry, hosted a
"clarification" meeting on September 1 for NGOs and UN
agencies. Museka and Mishi explained that all NGOs would be
required to provide information on a new form called a
"Monitoring and Evaluation Instrument". Mishi declared that
this reporting requirement was not new, but had been laid out
in the NGO Operational Guidelines of 2003. (NOTE. As the
meeting opened, they demanded that everyone from an
organization registered as a "trust" and anyone not an
"NGO/PVO or UN agency" leave. While some left,
representatives from USAID, the French embassy, the European
Community Humanitarian Organization (ECHO), and the Dutch and
Swiss development agencies stayed. END NOTE.)

4. (SBU) The GOZ officials said the reporting form would be
issued to NGOs in the coming weeks and must be returned to
the Ministry within two weeks thereafter. NGOs will need to
provide for June 2007-June 2008: contact details, a
"corporate governance section" that includes names of board
members and officers, registration objectives, implementation
areas, funding details (e.g. sources, amounts), sub-grantees,
description of program activities and developmental programs,
and program details. For this period, NGOs must also provide
information on food and non-food items, including how much
they distributed, where, and where it was sourced. Museka
and Mishi also asked for a July-December 2008 food
distribution plan. All this information must be signed by

HARARE 00000765 002 OF 003


the organization director and would carry the "force of the
law" if it is found untrue, Mishi said. In addition to the
requested information, Museka and Mishi directed NGOs to
display registration certificates in all offices and to
provide a copy to local and national authorities. They
emphasized that organizations not complying with GOZ
directives could face deregistration.

---------------------------------
"Military involvement is history"
---------------------------------

5. (SBU) The 2003 Guidelines state that NGOs should
"complement GOZ efforts", "not create parallel structures",
and "deliver through local governance structures". When
asked whether the Joint Operations Command had in fact in the
past constituted a "parallel structure" for the delivery of
humanitarian assistance, Mishi said military involvement was
"history". (NOTE: The JOC is a group of security-related
ZANU-PF leaders that wield significant control over politics
and security throughout the country. It has been frequently
accused of facilitating the distribution of food aid along
political lines. END NOTE.) Museka and Mishi said local
community committees should agree on who should receive food
and that Members of Parliament, chiefs, and local councilors
should not be included in the committee. These officials
should only be approached by the committee to mediate
local-level disputes. Mishi further explained in no
uncertain terms that "able bodied people should not receive
food handouts", singling out World Food Program's Vulnerable
Group Feeding program (COMMENT: It is unclear who would
determine who is and isn't "able bodied", and how food
distribution would be affected by this determination. END
COMMENT.)

--------------------------------------------- --------------
Nonetheless, The Herald levels new accusations against NGOs
--------------------------------------------- --------------

6. (U) Throughout the nearly three-month ban, GOZ officials
have said that NGOs were "dabbling in politics" in their food
distribution. In announcing the lifting of the ban on August
29, the government mouthpiece "The Herald" leveled two new
accusations against NGOs as an explanation of the ban. The
Herald reported that "NGOs were accused of asking
unsuspecting villagers to surrender their national identity
cards before the March elections, but did not return them,
effectively depriving them of their right to vote". The
Herald also claimed some NGOs threatened to "stop food
distribution" in the event of a ZANU-PF victory.

-----------------------
NGOs ramp up activities
-----------------------

7. (SBU) After the lifting of the ban on Friday, C-SAFE (a
consortium of CARE, World Vision, and Catholic Relief
Services), the major supplier of U.S.-provided food
assistance to Zimbabwe, began dispatching food over the
weekend. C-SAFE director Eddie Brown told us he believed he
had enough food to meet or exceed his September distribution
targets. Additionally, he said C-SAFE was already working to
mobilize a "massive scale-up" in terms of logistical
arrangements and re-engaging communities throughout the
country. C-SAFE had already organized meetings with

HARARE 00000765 003 OF 003


governors and other officials, and believed it would be
received positively as large-scale food distribution ramps
up.

-------
COMMENT
-------

8. (SBU) The lifting of the humanitarian assistance ban is
long overdue, and comes after repeated diplomatic and NGO
requests. The GOZ has, however, left itself an opening to
shut down certain NGOs or activities as they review the
documents NGOs must submit by the end of September. And
although the GOZ has acted, many NGOs fear local ZANU-PF
officials and war veterans will obstruct their efforts. We
are encouraged by the lifting of the ban but will watch
cautiously to see if unfettered humanitarian access becomes a
fact.

9. (SBU) The June 4 ban issued by Nicholas Goche, Minister
of Public Service, Labor, and Social Welfare, referred
specifically to NGOs engaged in humanitarian assistance.
Nevertheless, there is concern among some NGOs that the newly
enforced requirements to submit information could be used to
impede the operations of NGOs operating in the area of
democracy and governance if the GOZ and local officials
disapprove of their work and goals. We will monitor this
situation closely. END COMMENT.
WARREN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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