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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
02HARARE2628
2002-11-21 07:36:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

MFA OFFICIAL DISCUSSES GILMAN SHOOTING, MELFORT

Tags:   PREL  CASC  EINV  ASEC  ODIP  ZI 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002628 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, CA/OCS, AND DS
NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2004
TAGS: PREL CASC EINV ASEC ODIP ZI
SUBJECT: MFA OFFICIAL DISCUSSES GILMAN SHOOTING, MELFORT
DETENTION, AND EXPROPRIATION OF AMCIT PROPERTY

REF: A) HARARE 2487 B) HARARE 2529

Classified By: CLASSIFIED BY DCM REWHITEHEAD DUE TO 1.5 (B).



1. (c) Summary. The Ambassador and DCM met with MFA
Division Director for Europe and the Americas, Joey Bihma,
and acting desk officer Henry Mukonoweshuro on November 20 at
Bihma's invitation. A cordial, almost conciliatory, Bihma
stated that he wished to address the shooting by police of
Richard Gilman in Mutare and the detention of two Embassy
staff by war vets on farm near Melfort (ref b). On the
Gilman incident, Bihma handed over a more thorough police
report, as requested by the Ambassador in an earlier meeting
with Fonmin Mudenge (ref a). On the Melfort episode, Bihma
pointed out that the MFA would find it easier to protect
traveling American diplomats if the Ministry were informed in
advance of their movements and destinations, to which the
Ambassador was non-committal. The Ambassador also raised two
de facto expropriations of properties owned by American
citizens and explained that this could become a factor in the
annual selection of the list of countries that may benefit
from the General Schedule of Preferences (GSP). Bihma
expressed optimism that this issue could be resolved.
Negative commentary in the GOZ press following the release of
an Embassy statement on the Melfort incident has continued
through November 21, but Bihma's buttery comportment leads us
to believe that the GOZ is still reluctant to tackle us in
person head on. End summary.



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


The Gilman Shooting


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





2. (sbu) Bihma had very little to say on the shooting of
Richard Gilman, other than to note that both sides had agreed
on the need for a thorough investigation. He noted that the
MFA had requested the police to do this, and that the ZRP had
completed and submitted the report on November 19. He passed
a copy of the report to the Ambassador, who acknowledged our
satisfaction that the GOZ had respected our requests for
access to the vehicle in which Mr. Gilman was killed and the
presence of a medical representative of the Gilman family
present during the autopsy. The report, which was not all
that thorough, has been transmitted septel. We will relay
our views to the GOZ on the report, and the use of lethal
force over a question of documentation, in a note verbale.



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


The Melfort Detention


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





3. (sbu) Bihma said that Fonmin Mudenge had asked him to
point out that the MFA had in the past circulated a memo
advising diplomats to inform the MFA in advance of travel,
supplying information on timing and destination. Bihma
hastened to add that this was for purposes of notification,

not asking permission. It would allow the MFA to inform
local security officials to ensure the safety of traveling
diplomats, and would be a proper and helpful gesture. Bihma
said that such notice would not be necessary for recreational
visits, only normal official business. The Ambassador asked
if there had been any progress on our request that personal
belongings and documents taken from USG employees be promptly
returned. Bihma replied that there was no report on this
yet. The Ambassador stressed that the incident remained of
great concern to us. Although we had managed to contact an
MFA and police officials when we were informed of the
detention, we had a hard time getting the MFA secretariat to
accept our note verbale on the incident during Ministry
working hours. We were also unwilling to lodge a complaint
with police near Melfort, who were acting as if this were a
routine police matter when it was, in fact, a political and
diplomatic incident. Bihma agreed that matters affecting
diplomats were to be handled by the MFA and said that the MFA
would be sure that we were in possession of a valid telephone
contact number for the Ministry's duty officer. DCM rejoined
that this mechanism had not proven particularly reliable in
the past.



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


Expropriation of Amcit Property


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





4. (sbu) The Ambassador took the occasion to raise two
documented expropriations of Amcit properties, a ranch and a
farm. Both had received two or more of the Section 5, 7, and
8 notices under the land reform legislation, and the Amcit
owners had been dispossessed of their properties. In one
other case, the expropriation mechanism was underway although
the amcits in questions retained control of their respective
properties. The Ambassador said that we had at various
points delivered notes verbale on these cases -- he passed
copies to Bihma -- but since June de facto expropriation had
occurred nonetheless. The Americans in question had
exhausted legal remedies. The Ambassador noted that under
both international and U.S. regulations, the respect for
property rights, or prompt and fair compensation, are the
norm. He continued that the U.S. legislative schedule will
soon begin its annual review of GSP beneficiaries, which
receive preferential access to U.S. markets in the form of
lowered duty. Last year, Zimbabwe had benefited from this
program to the tune of USD 26 million. One aspect of this
qualifying for this program, however, is whether property
owned by U.S. citizens has been expropriated.



5. (c) Bihma said that he had been unaware of the listing of
the properties in question. There had been a Cabinet
decision to delist properties owned by foreign investors. In
the event that overriding national interests were at stake,
the owners must be compensated fully for the property. He
said that the current financial situation made such
compensation impossible, and thus delisting is the norm. He
offered to look into the issue and return to us with a more
definitive response.



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


Comment


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





6. (c) Bihma had clearly received instructions to break no
eggs in his dealings with us. Following the release of the
Embassy's strongly worded November 19 press statement on the
Melfort incident, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo engaged
in his usual braying performance in the GOZ written press,
and on November 21 the GOZ Herald ran an article claiming
that U.S. diplomats were under order to give 48 hour
notification for travel outside of Harare, a statement that
directly contradicts what Bihma stated. The article further
claims that the Ambassador was apologetic -- he was not --
and characterized our press statement on the Melfort as
"undiplomatic and defamatory." Whatever the GOZ propaganda
machine may churn out, face to face Bihma and his handlers
appear unwilling to take us head on. We have implemented new
measures to minimize the risk of Melfort incidents in our
travel into the field, but we have no intention of abandoning
these missions. We also do not intend to provide the MFA
forty-eight hour notice -- only the British have been ordered
to do so -- unless expressly told to do so in writing. At
that moment, we will request reciprocal treatment of
Zimbabwean officials posted in Washington and New York.

Sullivan
SULLIVAN