Goche orders CARE to suspend operations


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State Security Minister Nicholas Goche ordered a non-governmental organisation CARE to suspend its operations accusing its staff of meddling in political activities in the run-up to the presidential elections run-off in 2008.

Goche said:

  • CARE had stopped activities before the elections (for political reasons);
  • One of the vice presidents had shown him election campaign pamphlets that CARE was distributing;
  • CARE told people that voting for ZANU-PF was “suicide”;
  • CARE had violated their MOU with the MPSLSW.

Goche said that while these allegations were being looked into, all CARE operations would be suspended.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE475, ZIMBABWE – GOZ SUSPENDS CARE ACTIVITIES

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE475

2008-06-02 13:10

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8820

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0475/01 1541310

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 021310Z JUN 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2965

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1274

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000475

 

AIDAC

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

DCHA/AA FOR MIKE HESS

AFR/AA FOR KATE ALMQUIST AND FRANKLIN MOORE

AFR/SA FOR ELOKEN, LDOBBINS, JKOLE

DCHA/OFDA FOR KLUU, ACONVERY, TDENYSENKO, LTHOMAS

DCHA/FFP FOR JBORNS, JDWORKEN, LPETERSON, ASINK

PRETORIA FOR JWESSEL, GJUSTE

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: EAID PHUM PGOV KHIV PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE – GOZ SUSPENDS CARE ACTIVITIES

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (U) After months of harassment of the non-governmental

organization (NGO) CARE’s staff by “war veterans,” military and

other officials, Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) Minister Nicholas

Goche informed CARE on May 28 to immediately suspend its operations.

Goche accused CARE staff of meddling in political activities

favoring the opposition, and said CARE would be suspended until

investigations were completed. CARE is pursuing further

clarification regarding terms of the suspension and the

investigation process, but it seems clear the suspension will last

at least until the Presidential run-off election scheduled for June

27. CARE believes, based on the Minister’s comments that he intends

to suspend other NGOs as well. This comes at a time when CARE and

other NGOs have been trying to meet acute humanitarian needs of

thousands of people displaced by political violence and

intimidation.

 

———-

BACKGROUND

———-

 

2. (U) CARE has been providing assistance to Zimbabwe for many

years, and has been one of the major players in responding to the

humanitarian crisis that has existed since 2002. CARE receives

funding from several donors, including support from USAID’s Office

of Food for Peace`}T-poxn for Democratic Change (MDC) won the majority of seats in

the March 29 parliamentary elections. Not surprisingly, these areas

in Masvingo where MDC candidates won have been particularly hard hit

by the post-election wave of violence.

 

3. (U) Shortly after the March 29 elections, in several separate

incidents, CARE offices in various districts and at the provincial

level in Masvingo received demands to stop operations and threats to

staff by persons identifying themselves as “war veterans” and

out-of-uniform military officers. These people repeatedly made

claims (unspecified and unsubstantiated) that CARE staff was

engaging in political activities in support of the MDC, essentially

scapegoating CARE for ZANU-PF’s political defeats.

 

4. (U) To try to resolve the problem, CARE had several

communications, through meetings and letters, with various GOZ

officials over the past two months, including Masvingo Governor

Chiwewe. While Governor Chiwewe repeated the same vague allegations

that CARE staff was engaging in political activities in support of

the MDC, as recently as May 19, he sent CARE a letter stating that

the GOZ had NOT stopped CARE’s activities and would continue to

support its programs. However, two days later CARE was informed by

a Department head within the Ministry of Public Service, Labor and

Social Welfare (MPSLSW) that the issue had been taken up to Cabinet

level and that CARE would need to meet with the MPSLSW Minister,

Nicholas Goche.

 

—————————

MEETING WITH MINISTER GOCHE

—————————

 

5. (U) On May 28, CARE met with Minister Goche. Goche made several

allegations against CARE: (1) that CARE had stopped activities

before the elections (for political reasons); (2) that one of the

GOZ vice presidents had shown him election campaign pamphlets that

CARE was distributing; (3) that CARE told people that voting for

ZANU-PF was “suicide”; and (4) that CARE had violated their MOU with

the MPSLSW. Goche then concluded that while these allegations were

being looked into, all CARE operations would be suspended. The

Minister also told CARE that he planned to call other NGOs to a

meeting to suspend their activities.

 

————————–

FOLLOW-UP AND IMPLICATIONS

————————–

 

6. (SBU) CARE FOLLOW-UP: CARE intends to write a letter to

Minister Goche seeking to clarify: (1) the terms of the suspension

(e.g., permissible levels of field presence and staff movement), and

(2) the investigation process (e.g., timeframes and what CARE can do

to expedite the process). CARE also plans to raise the issue

through the UN channel to seek support. At this point CARE is not

 

HARARE 00000475 002 OF 002

 

 

7. (SBU) UNHC FOLLOW-UP: The CARE issue was raised by the UN

Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) at a UN/Donors Group Meeting on May

29. The HC also reported that the Minister planned to call a few

other NGOs to a meeting on June 2 and suspend their activities as

well. The HC listed specific NGOs that would be targeted, although

this was based on speculation and not on information provided by

Goche. These NGOs included SCF/UK, Concern, Plan International,

Oxfam and World Vision. (NOTE: To date, we have no reports of other

NGOs being summoned. END NOTE.) Finally, the HC assured donors that

he would take the issue up with the GOZ at the highest level

necessary.

 

8. (U) FIELD IMPACTS: The USAID-supported CARE activities affected

include school feeding, institutional feeding, and food-for-assets

projects. Other donor-funded activities put on hold include

agricultural support programs, home-based care, OVC activities,

water/sanitation, and micro-credit. CARE was also part of a joint

response to address recent acute needs of people displaced by

political violence and intimidation. CARE did not have plans to do

large-scale food distribution (Vulnerable Group Feeding) until

August so this area is not impacted for the moment by the GOZ’s

actions.

 

WARREN

(16 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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