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Cablegate: Political Abuse of Humanitarian Assistance

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000936

SIPDIS

AIDAC

STATE FOR AF/S FOR KRAFT AND DELISI

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

USAID/W FOR A/AID; AFR/SA FOR COPSON, WILLIAMS, POE AND
HAGELMAN; AFR/SD FOR WHELAN; DCHA/FFP FOR PETERSEN,
CARLSON, SKORIC AND BRAUSE; DCHA/OFDA FOR BRYAN, HANDAGLE
AND MARX

GENEVA PLEASE PASS TO OFDAG, IFRC

ROME PLEASE PASS TO FODAG

NAIROBI PLEASE PASS TO USAID/REDSO/ARO

PRETORIA PLEASE PASS TO USDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON
SUBJECT: POLITICAL ABUSE OF HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

SENSITIVE, BUT UNCLASSIFIED, NOT FOR INTERNET DISSEMINATION

1. RECENT REPORTS INDICATE WIDESPREAD ABUSE IN THE DISTRIBUTION
OF FOOD AND OTHER HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE (AND SOCIAL SERVICES,
PRINCIPALLY IN GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED PROGRAMS, IN ZIMBABWE.
REPORTS INDICATE THAT THIS PRACTICE IS PARTICULARLY ACUTE
IN THOSE AREAS DOMINATED BY RULING PARTY INTERESTS (E.G.,
MBERENGWA EAST IN MASVINGO PROVINCE). WITH A FEW EXCEPTIONS
(E.G., CARE SUPPLEMENTARY CHILD FEEDING PROGRAM IN MBERENGWA
EAST), SUCH DISCRIMINATORY AID ARGETING/DISTRIBUTION PRACTICES
DO NOT APPEAR TO BE A MAJOR PROBLEM IN DONOR-ASSISTED PROGRAMS
TO DATE. HOWEVER, AS THE COUNTRY FOOD SECURITY SITUATION
CONTINUES TO WORSEN, EXTREME VIGILANCE WILL BE REQUIRED BY
ALL PROGRAM IMPLEMENTING AGENTS TO ENSURE THAT THIS DEPLORABLE
PRACTICE IS NOT PERMITTED TO OCCUR. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- --
"THIS IS ZANU FOOD -- LET TSVANGIRAI FEED YOU"
--------------------------------------------- --

2. SEVERAL REPORTS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED RECENTLY OF POLITICAL
ABUSE OF HUMANITARIAN (ESPECIALLY FOOD) ASSISTANCE BY RULING
PARTY INTERESTS IN ZIMBABWE. THE MOST GLARING EXAMPLE HAS
OCCURRED IN MBERENGWA EAST IN MASVINGO PROVINCE WITH NUMEROUS
DOCUMENTED CASES OF OUTRIGHT DENIAL OR RESTRICTED ACCESS TO FOOD,
WATER, HEALTH AND EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES (SCHOOLS) TO SUPPORTERS
AND CHILDREN OF SUPPORTERS OF THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR
DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) BY LOCAL RULING PARTY SUPPORTERS
(INCLUDING LOCAL PARTY COUNCILORS, TRADITIONAL AUTHORITIES,
SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, OTHER GOVERNMENT OFFICERS, WAR VETS,
MILITIA YOUTH, ETC.). IN THIS DISTRICT, "MASSIVE" DENIAL OF
ACCESS TO FOOD HAS BEEN REPORTED IN GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED FOOD
DISTRIBUTION, CHILD FEEDING AND FOOD-FOR-WORK/CASH AID PROGRAMS
AS WELL AS IN THE PARASTATAL GRAIN MARKETING BOARD'S (GMB)
COMMERCIAL FOOD SALES AND LOAN DISTRIBUTIONS. THIS DISTRICT
ALSO PRESENTS THE ONLY DOCUMENTED INSTANCE TO DATE OF SUCH
DISCRIMINATORY ABUSE IN ONE DONOR-ASSISTED SUPPLEMENTARY CHILD
FEEDING PROGRAM (SCFP) CONDUCTED BY THE PVO CARE INTERNATIONAL
(CARE). OTHER VICTIMS FROM THIS DISTRICT REPORTED HAVING TO PAY
EXHORBITANT FEES EVEN FOR DRAWING WATER SUPPLIES FROM COMMUNITY
BOREHOLES WHICH ARE ACCESSED BY OTHER COMMUNITY MEMBERS FOR FREE.
SEVERAL EXAMPLES WERE ALSO DOCUMENTED IN THIS DISTRICT OF CHILDREN
BEING DENIED ACCESS TO OR EVICTED FROM SCHOOL BECAUSE OF THEIR
PARENTS' POLITICAL PREFERENCES.

----------------------------------------
"SURRENDER TO ZANU-PF AND GET FOOD AID"
----------------------------------------

3. ALTHOUGH ACCURATE ESTIMATES ARE DIFFICULT, AVAILABLE
INFORMATION SUGGESTS THAT SELECTIVE ACCESS TO FOOD IS FAIRLY
WIDESPREAD IN GOVERNMENT/GMB-CONTROLLED FOOD AID AND COMMERCIAL
SALES PROGRAMS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, ESPECIALLY IN AREAS
DOMINATED BY RULING PARTY INTERESTS. A RELATED FORM OF THIS
ABUSE, REPORTED RECENTLY IN RUSAPE IN MANICALAND PROVINCE, IS
SELECTIVE WHOLESALING OF GMB FOOD TO RULING PARTY INTERESTS WHO,
IN TURN, CHARGE EXHORBITANT ILLEGAL BLACK MARKET PRICES TO
OPPOSITION PARTY SUPPORTERS WHO ARE DENIED DIRECT ACCESS TO THE
GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED SOURCE OF SUPPLY. DISCUSSIONS WITH A WIDE
VARIETY OF SOURCES INDICATE, HOWEVER, THAT THIS PRACTICE HAS NOT
BEEN A MAJOR PROBLEM IN DONOR-ASSISTED FOOD OR OTHER ASSISTANCE
PROGRAMS TO DATE, INCLUDING ANY USG-ASSISTED PROGRAMS OF THIS
NATURE.

4. SOURCES POINT OUT THAT THIS ABUSE IS POSSIBLE AS, IN MANY
INSTANCES, LOCAL GOVERNMENT STRUCTURES DOMINATED BY RULING
PARTY INTERESTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DRAWING UP AND MAINTAINING
BENEFICIARY LISTS WITHIN TARGETED CONSTITUENCIES. ONE VICTIM
FROM BRUNAPEG IN BULALILAMANGWE DISTRICT REPORTED A REQUIREMENT
FOR AN "OLD" RULING PARTY CARD TO BE INCLUDED ON SUCH FOOD
ASSISTANCE LISTS, AS A NEW CARD DID NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT
TRUE PARTY FEALTY. THIS PERSON HAD TO UNDERGO AN ELABORATE
"CLEANSING RITUAL" BEFORE HE COULD BECOME ELIGIBLE FOR THE
FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS.

----------------------
DUE DILIGENCE REQUIRED
----------------------

5. DISCUSSIONS WITH THE U.N.'S WORLD FOOD PROGRAM (WFP), CONCERNED
PVOS/NGOS AND OTHER DONORS INDICATE THAT WHILE ATTEMPTS HAVE BEEN
MADE TO PRESSURE DONOR-ASSISTED AID PROGRAMS TO DISCRIMINATE AMONG
PROSPECTIVE PROGRAM BENEFICIARIES IN THIS MANNER, TO DATE, THESE
PRESSURES HAVE BEEN EFFECTIVELY RESISTED (WITH THE EXCEPTION CARE'S
SCFP IN MBERENGWA EAST NOTED ABOVE). HOWEVER, THIS PROBLEM IS
EXPECTED TO BECOME WORSE OVER TIME, AS MORE PEOPLE BECOME FOOD
INSECURE AND ARE NOT (YET) INCLUDED ON EXISTING BENEFICIARY AID
LISTS. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE POTENTIAL FOR SUCH ABUSIVE,
DISCRIMINATORY TARGETING PRACTICES FOR HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
INCREASES. THIS SITUATION WILL REQUIRE INCREASED VIGILANCE IN
VERIFICATION AND MONITORING OF ALL FACETS OF THE IMPLEMENTATION
OF ON-GOING HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS BY THE VARIOUS U.N.
AND NGO IMPLEMENTING AGENTS TO ENSURE THAT THIS DEPLORABLE
PRACTICE DOES NOT SPREAD.


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

6. THE MISSION HAS DISCUSSED THIS ISSUE WITH CONCERNED WFP AND NGO
STAFF TO GATHER INFORMATION, RAISE AWARENESS, EXPRESS OUR CONCERNS,
AND DEVELOP APPROPRIATE PROGRAMMATIC RESPONSES. PROGRAMMATIC
OPTIONS DISCUSSED TO DATE INCLUDE THE NEED FOR POSSIBLE INDEPENDENT
MONITORING OF SUCH PROGRAMS, AND DIRECT DIALOGUE WITH THE
GOVERNMENT ON THIS AND OTHER FOOD/HA-RELATED ISSUES. THE
MISSION POSITION IS "ZERO TOLERANCE" ON ANY HA ABUSES OF THIS
NATURE IN USG-ASSISTED PROGRAMS. THE MISSION WILL CONTINUE TO
MONITOR THIS ISSUE CLOSELY WITH WFP AND OTHER CONCERNED STAKEHOLDERS,
AND FOLLOW-UP AS REQUIRED.

WHITEHEAD

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