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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01HARARE2690 2001-09-13 11:30:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

IFES TEAM ASKED TO LEAVE ZIMBABWE

Tags:   PGOV PHUM ZI 
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1. (C) A WEEK AFTER THEIR ARRIVAL IN ZIMBABWE, A TWO-MEMBER
ADVANCE TEAM FROM THE INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR ELECTION
SYSTEMS (IFES) WAS ASKED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE TO LEAVE
THE COUNTRY. IFES AFRICA PROGRAM DIRECTOR TOM BAYER AND SENIOR
PROGRAM OFFICER LAURIE COOPER ARRIVED IN ZIMBABWE ON SEPTEMBER 5
TO CONDUCT AN INITIAL ASSESSMENT OF THE POLITICAL SITUATION AND
ELECTION PREPARATIONS, AND TO CLARIFY THE PARAMETERS OF IFES'S
PROPOSED ELECTION OBSERVATION EFFORT. THEY HAD PLANNED TO REMAIN
IN ZIMBABWE UNTIL SEPTEMBER 15. DESPITE THEIR BEST EFFORTS TO
MEET WITH THE KEY GOZ OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERSEEING THE
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, THE IFES TEAM RAN INTO A BRICK WALL. WHEN
BAYER SUBMITTED A LETTER SEEKING AN APPOINTMENT WITH REGISTRAR-
GENERAL TOBAIWA MUDEDE, HE RECEIVED A CURT WRITTEN RESPONSE FROM
AN UNDERLING DECLINING THE REQUEST TO MEET AND ADDING THAT "WE
...WILL NOT NEED YOUR TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ON ELECTION MATTERS,
PARTICULARLY IN VIEW OF YOUR LAST U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WHICH
DEMONSTRATED THE CONTRARY. WE HAVE NOT SEEN AFRICANS INVOLVED IN
THE OBSERVATION OF EUROPEAN/AMERICAN ELECTIONS...ZIMBABWE WILL
SATISFACTORILY MANAGE THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WITHOUT YOUR
ASSISTANCE." IN A SUBSEQUENT CHANCE MEETING, MUDEDE BERATED
COOPER, TELLING HER THAT THE GOZ WAS FULLY CAPABLE OF RUNNING ITS
ELECTIONS WITHOUT ASSISTANCE.



2. (C) ON SEPTEMBER 11, BAYER WAS VISITED AT HIS HOTEL BY THREE
MEN WHO IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES AS DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION
OFFICERS, ONE OF WHOM PRESENTED VERIFYING IDENTIFICATION. THEY
ASKED WHAT THE TEAM WAS DOING HERE, WITH WHOM THEY WERE MEETING,
AND WHY BAYER AND COOPER THOUGHT IFES ASSISTANCE WAS NEEDED. THE
GOZ OFFICIALS REQUESTED THAT BAYER AND COOPER PRESENT THEMSELVES
LATER IN THE DAY AT THE DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION'S HEADQUARTERS.
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 02690 131147Z
AT THE AFTERNOON MEETING, THE IMMIGRATION OFFICERS CITED "WORRY"
AND "SKEPTICISM" ABOUT IFES'S ACTIVITIES, PLUS IFES'S ALLEGED LACK
OF IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTATION AND FAILURE TO PROVIDE SUFFICIENT
NOTICE OF THE TEAM'S ARRIVAL TO RELEVANT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.
BAYER AND COOPER WERE TOLD TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY AND APPLY FOR A
WORK PERMIT UPON THEIR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. ASKED WHETHER
THE TWO WERE BEING DEPORTED, THE RANKING IMMIGRATION OFFICER SAID
"NO." WHEN BAYER INQUIRED WHETHER HE AND COOPER WOULD BE
PERMITTED TO RETURN TO ZIMBABWE, THE GOZ OFFICIAL SAID THEY WOULD
BE WELCOME TO COME BACK "ON HOLIDAY."



3. (C) BAYER TOLD POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF ON SEPTEMBER 13 THAT HE
AND COOPER PLANNED TO DEPART ZIMBABWE LATER THAT DAY. IFES, HE
SAID, WOULD TAKE THE NEXT WEEK TO ASSESS THE IMPACT OF THE TEAM'S
DIFFICULTIES HERE AND SUBSEQUENTLY TOUCH BASE WITH THE DEPARTMENT
AND EMBASSY HARARE TO DISCUSS NEXT STEPS. BAYER ACKNOWLEDGED THAT
IFES HAD INITIALLY PREFERRED TO MAINTAIN A CERTAIN DISTANCE FROM
THE EMBASSY WHILE CONDUCTING ITS ACTIVITIES HERE. HE THOUGHT,
HOWEVER, THAT A CHANGE IN TACTICS MIGHT NOW BE NECESSARY, AND THAT
THE EMBASSY MIGHT IN THE FUTURE HAVE TO PLAY A MORE ACTIVE LIAISON
ROLE BETWEEN IFES AND THE GOZ.

COMMENT


--------------------------





4. (C) IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER THIS IS THE END OF THE ROAD HERE
FOR IFES AS AN ORGANIZATION OR THESE TWO INDIVIDUALS AS IFES
REPRESENTATIVES. THE GOZ APPEARS TO HAVE DECIDED THAT IT DOES NOT
WANT OUTSIDERS (AT LEAST FROM THE WEST) OBSERVING THE RUN-UP TO
ELECTIONS, AND WE EXPECT THE GOZ TO TRY TO STYMIE IFES AT EVERY
TURN. (N.B. WE DO NOT KNOW IF THIS DECISION IS IRREVOCABLE OR
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 02690 131147Z
SUBJECT TO ADDITIONAL REGIONAL AND NON-REGIONAL PRESSURES.) WE
AGREE WITH BAYER THAT THE EMBASSY WILL NEED TO PLAY A MORE VISIBLE
ROLE IN SUPPORTING IFES IN-COUNTRY, INCLUDING KEEPING THE
GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE INFORMED OF THE TEAM'S PROPOSED ACTIVITIES,
IF THEY ARE TO HAVE ANY CHANCE AT SUCCESS. AS A FIRST STEP, WE
PLAN TO SEND A TEMPERATE DIPLOMATIC NOTE TO THE GOZ EXPRESSING OUR
CONCERN ABOUT THE IFES TEAM'S DE FACTO EXPULSION, EMPHASIZING THAT
THEY ARE A HIGHLY-RESPECTED, INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED
ORGANIZATION AND NOT PART OF THE USG. WE INTEND TO EXPRESS OUR
STRONG SUPPORT FOR THEIR WORK HERE, AND SEEK CLARIFICATION OF THE
PROCEDURES IFES MUST FOLLOW IN ORDER TO CONTINUE WITH THEIR
ACTIVITIES. WE RECOMMEND HOLDING ANY OTHER ACTIONS IN ABEYANCE
UNTIL WE RECEIVE AN OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT RESPONSE, THE SUBSTANCE
(AND TONE) OF WHICH SHOULD GUIDE OUR NEXT STEPS. WE NOTE FOR THE
RECORD THAT MUDEDE HAS ALSO REFUSED TO MEET WITH THE EU OFFICIAL
SENT HERE TO PREPARE A LONG-TERM MONITORING INITIATIVE SIMILAR TO
THE ONE ENVISAGED BY IFES.

ROTH

CONFIDENTIAL

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