Nyikayaramba raises eyebrows


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Electoral Supervisory Committee deputy commissioner brigadier Douglas Nyikayaramba raised eyebrows when he said 23 local election observers, including nine from Joseph Chinotimba’s Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, had been accredited for the 2002 presidential elections.

None of the 14 000 trained by the Zimbabwe Election Supervisory Network were on the list.

Nyikayaramba said the committee could only accredit those invited by the Justice Minister.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE591, ZIMBABWEAN ELECTORAL SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE SETS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE591

2002-03-06 15:52

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

061552Z Mar 02

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9488

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00591 01 OF 02 061559Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00 WHA-00   DS-00

EAP-00   EUR-00   VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01   VCE-00

M-00     DCP-01   NSAE-00 SSO-00   SS-00   EPAE-00 ECA-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00 SAS-00     /004W

——————705F0C 061559Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1117

INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY

NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000591

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, A/S KANSTEINER AND PDAS BELLAMY; ALSO FOR

AF/S

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/20/04

TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM PREL KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN ELECTORAL SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE SETS

THE STAGE FOR THE VOTE, ZANU-PF STYPE

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00591 01 OF 02 061559Z

CLASSIFIED BY DCM REWHITEHEAD DUE TO 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. THE TWO TOP OFFICIALS OF ZIMBABWE’S

ELECTORAL SUPERVISORY COMMISSION (ESC) BRIEFED

INTERNATIONAL ELECTION OBSERVERS ON THE MORNING OF MARCH

6 ABOUT THE STATUS OF THE MARCH 9 AND 10 VOTE. IN A

SURREAL NINETY-MINUTE SPEECH, THE RECENTLY APPOINTED

NUMBER TWO OF THE ESC, A PRO-ZANU-PF BRIGADIER, PAINTED

A ROSY PICTURE OF ELECTION READINESS AND DUCKED KEY

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE LOCATION OF POLLING PLACES, WHAT

LOCAL OBSERVERS WILL BE ACCREDITED, AND EXACTLY WHAT

ELECTORAL RULES ARE IN FORCE. WITH LESS THAN SEVENTY-

TWO HOURS BEFORE THE POLLS OPEN, THE GOZ STALL STRATEGY

HAS EFFECTIVELY ENSURED THAT ELECTION-DAY

DISORGANIZATION AND UNCERTAINTY WILL REIGN. END

SUMMARY.

 

ELECTION COMMISSIONER: “IT’S NOT OUR FAULT!”

———————————————

2. (SBU) ESC COMMISSIONER GULA-NDEBELE KICKED OFF THE

PRE-ELECTION BRIEFING WITH A SHORT SPEECH THAT STRESSED

THAT THE ESC ONLY SUPERVISES ELECTIONS, AND THAT THE

REGISTRAR GENERAL IS FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SMOOTH

COMPORTMENT OF THE VOTE. WITH THIS HOT-POTATO IN THE

AIR, GULA-NDEBELE MADE SOME VAGUE COMMENTS ABOUT HOW

POLITICAL PARTIES CONTESTING THE ELECTION “PERCEIVE” —

HE EMPHASIZED THAT THIS WAS NOT NECESSARILY SO — THAT

NGOS ARE PARTISAN. THIS HAD FORCED THE ESC TO SEARCH

FOR NON-PARTISAN GROUPS TO ACT AS OBSERVERS. HE

CONCLUDED THAT SINCE ALL THE POLITICAL PARTIES MISTRUST

THE BONA FIDES OF CIVIL SERVANTS, THIS MAKES THEM THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00591 01 OF 02 061559Z

LOGICAL CHOICE TO SERVE AS MONITORS.

 

THE BRIGADIER DECLAIMS

———————-

3. (SBU) NEXT IN LINE WAS THE ESC DEPUTY COMMISSIONER

NYIKAYARAMBA, AN ERSTWHILE ZDF BRIGADIER WHO RETIRED TWO

MONTHS PAST TO ASSUME HIS PRESENT ROLE. THE BRIGADIER

GOT OFF ON THE WRONG FOOT WITH SEVERAL DELEGATIONS BY

ANNOUNCING THAT ALL AFRICAN CHIEFS OF MISSION AND THE

HEADS OF OBSERVER GROUPS, AFRICAN ONLY, WERE INVITED TO

A FOLLOW-ON SESSION IN AN ADJACENT MEETING HALL AS SOON

AS THE CURRENT MEETING HAD ENDED.

 

4. (C) NYIKAYARAMBA PRAISED OBSERVERS AS THE “EYES AND

EARS” OF THE ESC, AND THEN PROCEEDED TO EXPLAIN WHY THE

ESC WILL BE LARGELY BLIND AND DEAF ON ELECTION DAY. HE

STRESSED THAT THE CENTRAL ISSUE OF THE ELECTION WAS LAND

INEQUITY AND THEN DESCRIBED AT LENGTH ELEVEN COMPETING

PARTIES, INCLUDING SEVERAL OF WHICH WE WERE UNAWARE.

THE BRIGADIER THEN MADE A NUMBER OF STATEMENTS THAT WE

WOULD CHARACTERIZE AS INACCURATE, FOR WANT OF A BETTER

WORD. TO WIT:

 

— THE TOTAL NUMBER OF POLLING STATIONS HAS EXPANDED

FROM 3,904 FOR THE 2000 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS TO 4,548

IN 2002. NYIKAYARAMBA DID NOT ADDRESS WHY PRO-MDC

(OPPOSITION) URBAN AREAS HAVE LOST LARGE NUMBERS OF

POLLING STATIONS, ALTHOUGH AN ESCA HANDOUT DID STATE

THAT PRO-ZANU-PF (MUGABE) RURAL AREAS HAVE RECEIVED

ADDITIONAL STATIONS “TO SHORTEN WALKING DISTANCES.” IT

HAS BEEN DIFFICULT TO CONFIRM THE ACTUAL NUMBERS, SINCE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00591 01 OF 02 061559Z

THE ESC HAS NOT YET RELEASED THE OFFICIAL LIST OF

POLLING STATIONS, ALTHOUGH — TWO DAYS OUT —

NYIKAYARAMBA ASSURED THAT THIS IS IN THE WORKS.

 

— REQUESTING WILLING SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF ON THE

PART OF INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS, NYIKAYARAMBA STATED

THAT THE ESC SHOULD BE VIEWED AS A FULLY INDEPENDENT

ELECTORAL COMMISSION FULFILLING INTERNATIONAL NORMS. HE

DID NOT ADDRESS THE NEED FOR PRESIDENTIAL CONFIRMATION

OF THE MAJORITY OF MEMBERS, HIS OWN RECENT APPOINTMENT,

NOR THE UTTER LACK OF OPPOSITION REPRESENTATION.

 

— NYIKAYARAMBA STATED THAT THE ESC HAS ACCREDITED 566

INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS AND LISTED THESE BY GROUP AND

NATIONALITY. HE TOOK SOME POETIC LICENSE IN THIS

EXERCISE, CITING 45 JAPANESE OBSERVERS (THERE ARE FIVE),

29 U.S. (25), 28 NIGERIAN (12), ETC. IN ADDITION, HE

LISTED EU BILATERAL DIPLOMATS WHO HAVE CHOSEN NOT TO BE

ACCREDITED, THE LOCAL EU COMMUNITY HAVING FINALLY MADE

COMMON CAUSE WHEN EU OBSERVER MISSION HEAD PIERRE

SCHORRI WAS EXPELLED AND THE EU DELEGATION FOLLOWED ON

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9491

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00591 02 OF 02 061559Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00 WHA-00   DS-00

EAP-00   EUR-00   VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01   VCE-00

M-00     NSAE-00 SSO-00   SS-00   EPAE-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02

NFAT-00 SAS-00     /003W

——————705F18 061559Z /38

O 061552Z MAR 02

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1118

INFO EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY

NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000591

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, A/S KANSTEINER AND PDAS BELLAMY; ALSO FOR

AF/S

 

NSC FOR SENIOR DIRECTOR FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/20/04

TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM PREL KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN ELECTORAL SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE SETS

THE STAGE FOR THE VOTE, ZANU-PF STYPE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00591 02 OF 02 061559Z

HIS HEELS.

 

— NYIKAYARAMBA SAID THAT THE ESC HAS ALREADY SUCCEEDED

IN ACCREDITING 23 LOCAL OBSERVERS, INCLUDING NINE

PERSONS AFFILIATED WITH THE PRO-ZANU-PF RUMP TRADE UNION

HEADED BY WAR VETERAN LEADER JOSEPH CHINOTIMBA. NONE OF

THE 14,000 TRAINED ZIMBABWE ELECTION SUPPORT NETWORK

FIGURED ON THIS LIST. IN RESPONSE TO A QUERY,

NYIKAYARAMBA REPLIED THAT HE COULD ONLY ACCREDIT THOSE

INVITED BY THE JUSTICE MINISTER, ANOTHER HOT POTATO IN

THE AIR. (NOTE: IN THE TWO DAYS REMAINING, THE ESC’S

TWO COMPUTERS DEDICATED TO PRODUCING CREDENTIAL BADGES

ARE CAPABLE OF ISSUING 2,000 BADGES, USING THE

OPTIMISTIC FIGURE OF ONE ISSUED PER MINUTE. IN A

CLASSIC CATCH 22, THE ZESN FOLK MAY EITHER WAIT IN

HARARE FOR CREDENTIALS, AND MISS THE ELECTIONS, OR

DEPLOY TO THE PROVINCES WITHOUT CREDENTIALS NEEDED TO

LET THEM OBSERVE EFFECTIVELY. END NOTE.)

 

— NYIKAYARAMBA GOT HIS BIGGEST TITTER WHEN HE ANNOUNCED

THAT THE ESC DEPLORES POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE AND

IS “CARRYING OUT INVESTIGATIONS OF ISOLATED INCIDENTS OF

VIOLENCE.”

 

— NYIKAYARAMBA ANNOUNCED THAT ELECTION OBSERVERS MAY

SEEK COPIES OF THE CONSTITUTION AND THE ELECTORAL ACT

FROM THE OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS. HE DID NOT

REFER TO THE MARCH 1 GAZETTING OF THE AMENDED ELECTORAL

ACT OF JANUARY 2002, WHICH WAS STRICKEN DOWN LAST WEEK

BY THE SUPREME COURT, ONLY TO BE REINTRODUCED AND

GAZETTED AS THE LAW IN FORCE BY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00591 02 OF 02 061559Z

 

— THE BRIGADIER SAID THAT THERE HAD BEEN 5.4 MILLION

REGISTERED VOTERS AT THE TIME OF THE DECEMBER 27 CUTOFF

DATE. HOWEVER, IN A QUEST TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY

QUALIFIED ZIMBABWEAN WAS ABLE TO VOTE, REGISTRATION HAD

BEEN REOPENED AND LATECOMERS WOULD BE ABLE TO VOTE FROM

SUPPLEMENTAL LISTS. HE DID NOT COMMENT ON REPORTS THAT

REGISTRATION HAS CONTINUED IN RURAL, TRADITIONALLY PRO-

ZANU-PF AREAS BUT NOT IN THE MDC’S URBAN STRONGHOLDS.

 

Q AND A SESSION

—————

5. (C) AFTER DEMONSTRATING A MOCK-UP POLLING STATION

AND HOW VOTING IS DONE IN ZIMBABWE, THE ESC FIELDED

QUESTIONS. WHEN ASKED WHEN THEY WOULD PUBLISH THE LIST

OF POLLING PLACES, THEY STATED THAT IT WOULD BE PRINTED

IN THE NEWSPAPERS, ALTHOUGH THEY COULD NOT SAY EXACTLY

WHEN. WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHEN LISTS OF DOMESTIC OBSERVERS

WOULD BE RELEASED, THEY ADMITTED THAT THEY DID NOT KNOW,

BUT WOULD CERTAINLY TAKE THIS UP WITH THE JUSTICE

MINISTER. WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE REDUCTION OF POLLING

STATIONS IN URBAN AREAS AND THE NUMBER OF VOTERS EACH

COULD PROCESS PER HOUR, THEY ADMITTED THAT THEY DID NOT

HAVE THESE STATISTICS IN HAND. HOWEVER, THE OBSERVERS

SHOULD REST ASSURED THAT THE GOZ HAS AMPLE EXPERIENCE

WITH SUCH MATTERS, AND CAN EXTEND VOTING HOURS, IF IT

COMES TO THAT.

 

COMMENT

——-

6. (C) THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE IS ILL EQUIPPED WITH POLITE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00591 02 OF 02 061559Z

ADJECTIVES TO FULLY DESCRIBE THE BRIEFING SESSION,

ALTHOUGH OUTRAGEOUS, MIND-BOGGLING, AND DEPLORABLE DO

SPRING TO MIND. THE ESC HAS PLAYED A CENTRAL ROLE IN

THE GOZ’S STALLING TACTICS, AN EFFECTIVE REARGUARD

ACTION THAT, IT WOULD APPEAR, HAS MANAGED TO KEEP THE

LARGE CONTINGENT OF DOMESTIC OBSERVERS OFF THE FIELD.

AT THIS POINT, TO MIX METAPHORS, THE ESC HAS SET THE

ELECTORAL STAGE TO THE INCUMBENT’S ADVANTAGE AND

DELIVERED THE OFFICIAL ESC LINE. ALL THAT REMAINS TO BE

SEEN IS WHETHER OR NOT THE ZIMBABWEAN ELECTORATE HAS

BEEN SUFFICIENTLY COWED TO PLAY OUT ITS DESIGNATED PART

IN THE FINAL SCENE OF THE ZANU-PF SCRIPT.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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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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