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Cablegate: Goz Turns Up Heat On Ngos, Bans Visits of Some

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

UNCLAS HARARE 002545

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: GOZ TURNS UP HEAT ON NGOS, BANS VISITS OF SOME
ZIMBABWEANS

REF: A. HARARE 2337
B. HARARE 2128

1. (U) SUMMARY: Parliament resumed November 12 after a
3-week adjournment and Government ministers took advantage of
the opportunity to turn up the heat on groups it accuses of
supporting the opposition, such as Amani Trust and SW Radio
Africa. The actions suggest ZANU-PF is forging ahead in its
bid to re-create a one-party state. END SUMMARY.

GOVERNMENT TRYING TO CRUSH DISSENTING VIEWS
-------------------------------------------
2. (U) Parliament resumed on November 12 with ZANU-PF
ministers stepping up attacks on groups it accuses of
supporting the opposition. The Government has been
threatening NGOs since mid-September, when it issued a note
for all NGOs to register with the Ministry of Social
Welfare--in compliance with the Private Voluntary
Organizations Act (PVO)--or cease operations. The GOZ has
taken particular interest in NGOs it perceives to be hostile
to ZANU-PF. The state-controlled newspaper, The Herald,
criticized Amani Trust, a prominent human rights organization
that counsels torture victims and publicizes human rights
violations, several times in October, most recently accusing
it of being illegal.

3. (U) In the November 12 parliamentary session, Minister of
Public Service, Labor, and Social Welfare, July Moyo, said
Amani Trust was not properly registered and its leadership
risked being arrested. Minister of State Security, Nicholas
Goche, chimed in that Amani Trust, as well as Westminster
Foundation for Democracy, Zimbabwe Democracy Trust, and
Southern Africa Media Development Fund, was engaging in
activities intended to unseat the government. Patrick
Chinamasa, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, defended the GOZ decision to list Zimbabwean
citizens among the sanctions list of people banned from
visiting Zimbabwe. On November 8, The Herald published a
list of people prohibited from entering the country. Seven
people from SW Radio Africa--an independent radio station
that broadcasts out of London--were on the list. Chinamasa
told Parliamentarians that Zimbabweans on the list would be
arrested if they came back to Zimbabwe saying, &we cannot
have these people demonizing the government every day on the
radio...They will be welcome in our prisons."

4. (SBU) Brian Raftopoulos, a political commentator at the
University of Zimbabwe, said the trend is clearly towards a
one-party state. The GOZ decision to ban Zimbabweans from
freely coming back home could be a precursor to increased
internal migration restrictions. Raftopoulos said the GOZ
could begin restricting people from leaving the country also.
Regarding GOZ plans to enforce the PVO Act, Raftopoulos said
the GOZ seems to be stepping up its efforts to rid the
country of human rights and democracy NGOs and civic groups.
Raftopoulos said some civic groups are developing contingency
plans in case the GOZ forces them to cease operations.

5. COMMENT: Through its parliamentary majority, ZANU-PF
seems to be consolidating its power by passing more
restrictive legislation and recent GOZ rhetoric suggest
certain NGOs are the next imminent targets. The decision to
ban from the country Zimbabweans who criticize the Government
seems to be a particularly egregious step, and we would
appreciate Department's guidance on whether it violates any
international agreements to which Zimbabwe is a party. END
COMMENT.

SULLIVAN

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