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09DARESSALAAM582 2009-09-02 14:13:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Dar Es Salaam
Cable title:  

ZANZIBAR: KARUME BERATES AMBASSADORS ON JOINT STATEMENT

Tags:   KDEM PREL PGOV PHUM TZ 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 DAR ES SALAAM 000582 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E JTREADWELL; INR/RAA: FEHRENREICH; NSC FOR
MGAVIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PREL PGOV PHUM TZ
SUBJECT: ZANZIBAR: KARUME BERATES AMBASSADORS ON JOINT STATEMENT

REF: (A) Dar es Salaam 532 (B) Dar es Salaam 531 and (C) Dar es
Salaam 517 and previous



1. (U) BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY: Over the weekend following issuance
of the August 13 Joint Statement by key donors on Zanzibar voter
registration anomalies (ref B), FM Membe contacted heads of mission of
signatory countries and "invited" them to Zanzibar to hear the views of
Zanzibar Revolutionary Government (SMZ) President Karume. On August 17
representatives of the "Friends of 2010" Group that drafted the
Statement met to shore up a common position, and on August 18, Chiefs o
Mission of Sweden (as EU President), the European Commission, Canada,
Norway, the UK and the U.S. met with Karume and Membe. During the week
following the meeting, Zanzibar Affairs Officer and Specialist went to
the island of Pemba to monitor the state of play and follow up on
assertions made by the SMZ. Tensions that resulted in violence leading
up to the Joint Statement appear to have subsided for now. Voter
registration remains halted until agreement on a way forward among the
parties can be reached on the fairness of the Zanzibar ID system.
END BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY.

FM MEMBE SUMMONS AMBASSADORS


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




2. (U) "Friends of 2010" Heads of Mission met on Zanzibar with SMZ
President Karume August 18 at the invitation of FM Membe. Membe opened
the meeting by recalling that Karume had expressed his intention to
President Kikwete to speak with the representatives of the countries
sponsoring the Joint Statement in order to clarify certain points.
Acting on behalf of President Kikwete, FM Membe said his role was to
set up the meeting. He introduced Karume to each of the embassy
representatives, and asked Karume to explain the Zanzibar ID system and
to share his "wisdom of the situation." FM Membe made no other comment
during the meeting, nor did he comment on substance during the lunch he
hosted afterward.



3. (U) During the meeting, President Karume sat by himself in his
"Presidential Chair," while a row of seats to his left held Membe and
SMZ cabinet members and officials, including, inter alia, the SMZ
spokesman, Chief of the "Revolutionary Council" (a type of Chef de
Cabinet), Minister of State in the Chief Minister's Office (overseeing
ZEC and the ID Cards) and the ID Card Director, Mohammed Ame. Seated i
the row of chairs to Karume's right sat key members of the "Friends"
group: Sweden, Canada, Norway, the U.S., UK and the European Commission

PRESIDENT KARUME VENTS


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




4. (SBU) President Karume spoke first. Zigzagging between pique and
petulance, he took exception to references in the joint statement that
implied there was any Union Government role in the registration and ID
processes underway in Zanzibar. He went through the text line-by-line,
stopping at each point where "Tanzanians" and "Union Government of
Tanzania" were mentioned vis-a-vis "Zanzibaris" and the "Revolutionary
Government of Zanzibar (SMZ)," offering arguments on each point. He di
not seem to take on board our intent to convey that there should not be
any kind of "Zanzibar exemption" to basic rights in Tanzania or that it
was ultimately the responsibility of the Union government to guarantee
the rights of all of its citizens, including Zanzibaris.



5. (SBU) Karume suggested the Joint Statement was a product of
ignorance on the part of the "Friends" regarding Zanzibar and the Union
set-up. "If you knew this, I doubt you would have issued the statement,
he said. Distinction between authorities (he did not go into
responsibilities and obligations) was essential to Zanzibar. "It
safeguards our nationhood; if you mess with the safeguards, you mess
with the Union," he concluded.



6. (U) On the use of ID cards for voter registration, Karume said
the purpose was to address long-held complaints of voter impersonation,
double voting and other electoral fraud. ID cards were a necessary,
transparent and positive reform, he insisted. Zanzibar's ID cards were
an efficient, secure, tamper-proof form of identification. Moreover, h
claimed, legislation on ID cards was passed through bipartisan support
in the House of Representatives. Complaints from the opposition that
qualified Zanzibaris were being denied cards were "totally unfounded,"

DAR ES SAL 00000582 002 OF 005


Karume said.



7. (U) Karume said he could back up his assertions by statistics, usin
the 2005 voting numbers for the four districts in northern Pemba and
comparing them with current ID card issuance in the same areas:

2005 registered voters 2005 actual votes now registered for IDs

CONDE : 8947 8179 9070

MGOGONI: 8329 7835 8472
(Karume noted that Mgogoni was the hometown of CUF leader Seif
Sharif Hamad)

MICHEWENI: 9779 9085 9554

WETE: 10327 9362 10147

Karume concluded that by looking at the numbers one could conclude
that all who qualify for Zanzibari "citizenship" were being issued IDs.
Complaints of the opposition were "unfounded. Everyone who was eligibl
to vote could vote."

SWEDEN'S STATEMENT


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




8. (U) Speaking as EU President on behalf of the EU partners,
Sweden said both the statement and the current discussion were helpful
activities, and it was important to keep up the dialogue. There were a
few elements of common concern: it appeared that some people on the
ground were being denied IDs; there was a complicated process to get an
ID that might foster irregularities; the role of Shehas in the process
was not transparent; and there was concern about the status of those
denied an ID to vote. Violence was also a concern. We looked forward t
improvements and would watch developments on the ground. Ultimately, a
friends, what we see is part of a broader political climate - there was
a need for genuine reconciliation between the political parties.

CANADA'S STATEMENT


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




9. (U) Canada spoke on behalf of the non-EU friends (Japan, Norway,
Canada and the U.S.). Canada agreed with the points raised by Sweden,
underscoring that the right to vote was fundamental. The comments of
the "Friends" were being made in the spirit of cooperation. The Joint
Statement was an early reaction by committed partners and should be see
in that constructive context. Because at some point donors would be
asked to comment on the 2010 elections, there should be no surprises at
our views or how they were formed. Free and fair elections in 2010 migh
be a challenge, but ultimately it was the responsibility of the Union
Government to guarantee the rights of all its citizens.

U.S. INTERVENTION


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




10. (U) CDA Andre responded to Karume's assertion that there were
no anomalies in Pemba and that the "Friends" were primarily reacting to
false statements made by the opposition party. The U.S. stated that ou
concerns were collectively formed through direct observation in the
field. Moreover, the U.S. was not the only country that was making thes
observations. (NOTE: Norway pays for an NGO team of observers on Pemba
The Norwegian CDA was at the Karume meeting but chose not to speak.
END NOTE.). What we were seeing with our own eyes was a system that
appeared to favor people who were committed to the ruling party. They
could get a card easily, while it might be harder or impossible for
those perceived to be favorable to the opposition to get a card. In
some instances, those born and raised in Pemba were being denied
Zanzibar IDs.



11. (SBU) CDA Andre related that in U.S. history there was a
"shameful" period in the past wherein basic freedoms of our Union
Government were unevenly applied in the Southern part of our country,
especially as regards voting rights. We understood the "game" about th
ID registration process and did not agree that it was being conducted
fairly. Sometimes the will at the top did not always transfer down to
the bottom rungs of government. We hoped there would be access to ID

DAR ES SAL 00000582 003 OF 005


cards tQall who qualify, but the issue was broader and concerned
accessibility to the whole range of government services, not just the
right to vote. We held the Union ultimately responsible for
guaranteeing liberties for all Tanzanians. Ultimately, in Zanzibar,
reconciliation between the parties was essential.

KARUME REBUTTAL


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




12. (U) Karume said those involved in the process who were saying it
was unfair were "crazy." Karume said that at the outset there might
have been a few "bottlenecks," but - well before the Joint Statement -
as soon as there appeared to be a problem, he dealt with it. The only
problems seemed to have been in Wete, not in Micheweni or any other
constituencies. Karume said he called in the Wete Regional
Commissioner, District Commissioners, the Director of IDs and all other
relevant leaders to go through what the problems might be.



13. (U) He acknowledged there might have been an early problem of a
shortage of available ID card application forms, but now the process ha
been simplified, and every Sheha had enough forms for eligible
applicants. Karume stressed that the key words were "eligible
applicants," not political parties. There was an incident involving on
"misguided" Sheha who did not know "the proper method of giving out
forms," but "this had been corrected." Karume said it was his
responsibility to ensure that every eligible Zanzibari must have the
right to vote - not necessarily every Tanzanian in Zanzibar. For all
others, Karume said there were NEC offices in every district in
Zanzibar.



14. (SBU) Karume said that, on the surface, acquiring an ID card
might seem complicated, but the whole process took only a week, Qm
application to card issuance. He had ID Card Director Mohammed Ame giv
details about the card issuance process. Both Karume and Ame stressed
that the problem lay with opposition CUF. At the beginning of the ID
issuance in 2005-2006, CUF boycotted the process. During the early
"mass registration," more than 7,000 cards were issued but were never
collected, including by senior CUF parliamentarians. Not being issued
card and not picking up a card were two different matters. Not
bothering to register at all was yet another issue. There was a
deliberate effort by the opposition to undermine the process. "Please
don't cover for them [CUF]," Karume said. The real problem was that
"CUF woke up too late to the reality of IDs [that would now limit its
ability to pad the voter list with fraudulent supporters], and now they
want us to meet their demands."



15. (U) On the role of Shehas in the process, Karume said they were
essential. Zanzibar, though smalQin area, had 50 constituencies. On a
island were "everyone knows everyone," Shehas were instrumental in
keeping track of "who comes in and who goes out." Shehas "know what
they're supposed to do," Karume asserted.



16. (SBU) Sweden made several efforts to draw Karume out on what
specific changes he might be prepared to make on the ground to bring
back on board those who were rejected when applying for IDs. Karume
insisted that all the right tools were in place. In his view, observer
should give the process time and hold those who would obstruct the
process responsible for any problems.



17. (SBU) Several times Karume suggested that the complaints by the
"Friends Group" were merely echoes of CUF, a charge rebutted by the U.S
every time it was made. At one point, when responding to a warning by
President Karume to beware of self-serving statements made by the
opposition party, CDA Andre reminded that we "carefully weigh statement
made by both parties," to which an exasperated Karume shouted, "I am no
a party, I am the Administration!" By the end of the encounter, Karume
even went as far as suggesting that the "Friends Group" should vet any
statement with the "Administration" prior to "running to the press." A
the meeting's conclusion, during the goodbye handshakes, CDA told
President Karume that the issue was being followed in the U.S. at the
level of the White House.

AFTERMATH


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



DAR ES SAL 00000582 004 OF 005




18. (U) PRESS: The Joint Statement was covered broadly in mainland
press (front page news for most dailies) and editorials have been
sympathetic for the most part, particularly in the Swahili language
print media Nipashe and Mtanzania. By contrast, the CCM-controlled
newspaper Zanzibar Leo (the only daily published on the islands) neithe
ran the statement nor even quoted from it. Yet, for several days,
Zanzibar Leo ran vituperative responses to the Joint Statement.
Following the meeting between Heads of Mission and President Karume,
national media took the positive spin offered by FM Membe, that
anomalies were being addressed by the SMZ and all who were qualified
would get their cards. The August 19 headline in Zanzibar Leo, however
was "Dr. Karume Educates Diplomats." In the same issue were other
stories about "7849 uncollected ID cards" and warnings of possible
opposition perfidy. There also was an unusual full page "news analysis"
bylined by "Mohammed Juma," allegedly reporting from Pemba. The
"analysis" directly criticized "EU diplomats," and suggested the Joint
Statement violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The
author called for the diplomats to "extend an apology" to Zanzibaris.
He warned against using development assistance "as a gateway to defame
and degrade Tanzanians." A U.S. inquiry with the Zanzibar Leo office i
Pemba and with the SMZ Information Office in Pemba revealed no local
knowledge of "Mohammed Juma." Nonetheless, local radio stations (the
number one source of information in Zanzibar) read out the statement or
summarized it and covered the commentary of the mainland press.



19. (U) NEC/ZEC: Following a meeting in Pemba between ZEC and CUF held
at about the same time as our "Friends" meeting with Karume, CUF decide
not to participate in any registration process based on Zanzibar IDs
unless the ID application process is changed. On August 25 ZEC release
a press statement saying it could not proceed with registration until
there was a political settlement on the ID issue. On August 29 ID
Director Ame responded with a broadside against ZEC, denying any
problems with the ID process and calling ZEC "incompetent." Meanwhile,
to follow-up on Karume's claim that the National Electoral Commission
(NEC) was protecting the rights of those denied under the Zanzibari
system (ZEC), we visited every District in Pemba. There were no NEC
staff present (although we saw locked or abandoned offices marked
for NEC use). We are still investigating NEC's role in Zanzibar for


2010.

20 (U) ID PROCESS: It appears that the specific issue of lack of ID
forms at the Sheha level had been addressed for the most part, although
there still remained complaints about the Shehas' partisan role in the
process. The issue of birth certificates and the various complaints
about impediments for first-time would-be ID registrants continue. The
registration of youths as adults still seems to be occurring.



21. (U) We have seen thousands of unclaimed ID cards at every District
center, where none had been just two weeks ago. However, among the
populace there remains some confusion about the availability of IDs for
those who have already applied. CUF has been slow to respond to this
development, and leadership seems to have issued no guidance for CUF
cadres as to whether they will assist their supporters to claim the IDs
they heretofore had complained were unavailable. We saw some approved
ID applicants show their receipts and claim their IDs that for whatever
reason had been unclaimed for years. Meanwhile, we also listened to
others complain that they were being asked to produce more documents
before they could collect their IDs. Others complained that CUF
officers had collected their receipts as "evidence of CCM meddling" and
hadn?t returned them.



22. (SBU) The ID centers in Pemba are now swamped with dozens (if
not hundreds) of new applicants daily, now that application forms seem
more plentiful. To address this, ID centers have devised a
neighborhood-by-neighborhood process by which applicants can come to
collect their cards, and this system seems to be of some utility. ID
Card Chief Ame said there is an appeals process. There exists a form
("Form 4") by which applicants can air grievances about all aspects of
the process, including direct complaints about Shehas and District
Commissioners. It is against the law for anyone to obstruct or
manipulate the ID process. Theoretically, the form is to be sent
directly to the ID HQ in Unguja, and Ame said he would review each
one personally. When asked, ID Center workers were aware of the form,

DAR ES SAL 00000582 005 OF 005


but none were on display (even after multiple visits to ID offices over
several days). On the ground, few people (including CUF cadres) know
about the form, and we know of no appeals made so far. On obtaining
birth certificates or, for those born before 1964, swearing affidavits
that no birth certificate existed, there was confusion on the ground as
to how this might be done. Converting a "registration of birth" documen
(that most people seem to have) into a "birth certificate" (the only
paper accepted by the ID Center) is a one-to-two month process, if all
goes correctly. Obtaining paperwork from scratch might be more
problematic. We have yet to see first-hand how older ID applicants hav
obtained affidavits, although we have talked to dozens of
older men denied a card due to lack of documentation.



23. (U) Meanwhile, we have seen hundreds of Pemban ID cards
apparently issued during "mass registration" (circa 2005-06) that
feature only a year for date of birth and "x's" for month and day.
Complaints of youth being registered as adults persist, and we have
talked to a couple of people issued cards who admitted to us they were
underage. Both CUF and CCM claim that each side has imported people
from the nearby mainland city of Tanga to pad the process, but we have
seen no evidence of this.



24. (U) OTHER OBSERVATIONS: The week of August 17 SMZ Education
Minister Haroun visited Pemba to speak to school administrators and
community leaders and urge them not to push underage school children
into the political process. He also tamped down growing local panic
that ID cards would be required for advanced education exams. On August
26, representatives of the (national) Commission on Human Rights and
Good Governance went to Pemba to look into the ID issuance process.

COMMENT


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




25. (SBU) In Pemba, almost everyone with whom we spoke commented
favorably on the Joint Statement. Many credited it with giving cover
for an extension of the "time out" in order for ZEC and others to hold
more discussions with the various players in the Pemba registration/ID
process. Tensions that resulted in violence leading up to the Joint
Statement appear to have subsided for now, although they could flare up
immediately should any one side take any unilateral action. It appears
that our Joint Statement lessened frustration on the island, reassuring
Zanzibaris that recent events were not occurring in a vacuum, hidden
from outside eyes. It served to reassure that the international
community cared about the fairness of elections in Tanzania and
assuaged some cynics that donors were not acquiescent to any
Zanzibari Government heavy-handedness.

ANDRE