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Cablegate: Nomination for the Secretary of State's Award For

VZCZCXRO2303
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0958/01 2971130
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231130Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3604
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000958

SIPDIS

FOR G/IWI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KWMN PREL KPAO ZW
SUBJECT: NOMINATION FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S AWARD FOR
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN OF COURAGE

REF: STATE 99729

1. The following is Embassy Harare's nomination for the Secretary of
State's Award for International Women of Courage.

NAME: Gertrude Hambira
TITLE: Secretary General
INSTITUTION: General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of
Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ)
DOB: 23-NOV-1961
POB: Zimbabwe
Citizenship: Zimbabwean
Contact: 4th Floor, Sanders House, Corner J. Moyo & First Street,
P.O. Box 1952, Harare, Zimbabwe.
TEL: +263-4-734141
EMAIL: gertrudehambira@hotmail.com or gapwuz@zol.org.co
PASSPORT NUMBER: BN625350

2. Gertrude is a well-known civil society leader currently serving
as Secretary General for the General Agriculture and Plantation
Workers of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ), established in 1985 to represent farm
workers in issues of labor rights, governance, civic participation,
gender, HIV/AIDS, youth, education, and child labor alleviation.
Farm workers and their families are among the most vulnerable groups
in Zimbabwe as their wages and living conditions continue to
dwindle. The children, orphans, and spouses of tens of thousands of
farm workers directly benefit from GAPWUZ's activities that support
improving and regulating the relationship between farm operators and
farm workers. As Secretary General, Gertrude has been a tireless
advocate for farm workers and their families, particularly women and
children, in support of adequate wages, living conditions, and
educational opportunities.

3. Throughout the past year, Gertrude and GAPWUZ have faced
increased intimidation, political violence, and forced displacement.
Before Zimbabwe's elections in March of this year, GAPWUZ ensured
farm workers understood where and how to vote, despite increasing
hostility from the government. GAPWUZ members also participated in
domestic election monitoring under Gertrude's leadership. During
the election-related violence that ravaged the country, many farm
workers and their families were targeted by ZANU-PF supporters and
militias who perceived commercial farm workers as MDC supporters and
tens of thousands were displaced. Gertrude led her organization in
playing an important role in drawing attention to their plight -
including the unique difficulties facing displaced women and
children - and offered them assistance in seeking temporary
accommodation.

4. The increased political violence in 2008 was also closely
associated with increased sexual violence, including rape as a
political tool, particularly in rural areas. GAPWUZ conducted
surveys and helped provide support to rape victims during the year,
despite social taboos that prevent most women from speaking out
about having been raped and risks of retribution by perpetrators.

5. In Zimbabwe's desperate economic times, many parents cannot
afford to send their children to school, and children, often several
years younger than the legal minimum age, must work. Gertrude has
conducted studies of child trafficking and child labor, has
successfully lobbied employers and the Government of Zimbabwe for
better working conditions, and has overseen pilot projects to
protect child laborers and help keep disadvantaged children in
school.

6. Gertrude is among the most outspoken and respected civil society
leaders in Zimbabwe. She consistently exposes injustice and faces
constant threat as a result. For instance, in January Gertrude was
attending her regular Anglican church service in Harare. When a
disturbance broke out between followers of Bishop Sebastian Bakare
and supporters of ousted ZANU-PF-supported Bishop Kunonga during the
service, she began photographing the commotion and was subsequently
arrested. Police - recognizing her and her leadership role in civil
society - held her for several hours before releasing her.

7. Gertrude's efforts and dedication have been well-documented over
the years. In 2007, she received the inaugural Democracy and Human
Rights Award from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition in recognition of
her work in human rights advocacy within farming communities in
Zimbabwe. Throughout this difficult year and for more than a
decade, GAPWUZ and Gertrude Hambira have stood up to the brutal
Mugabe regime and defended the labor, security, and human rights of
Zimbabwean farm workers and their families. We are proud to
nominate Gertrude Hambira for the Secretary's International Women of
Courage Award. We firmly believe that the selection of Gertrude
will send a strong message to the Government of Zimbabwe that the
world is still watching.

8. Gertrude was informed of Post's submission of this nomination.

9. Embassy Officers working on women's issues:

HARARE 00000958 002 OF 002


NAME: Ms. Amanda Porter (POL Section), U.S. Embassy Harare, TEL:
+263-4-250593/4
NAME: Ms. Priscillah Kapungu, (Public Affairs Section) U.S. Embassy
Harare, TEL: +263-4-758800/1

MCGEE

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