Police cracked down on US vote counters


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Police are reported to have raided York Lodge where staffers of the National Democratic Institute that had assisted the Zimbabwe Election Support Network with its parallel vote counting in the 2008 elections were staying.

They are reported to have taken down visitors’ passport numbers and rental car plate numbers.

One of the NDI staff members changed hotels; the other moved his departure forward but was detained at the airport and sent colleagues a text message indicating he had been taken to Harare Central police station.

Reports also indicated that three journalists who were most likely not accredited were picked up.

Beatrice Mtetwa was reported to be representing the detained NDI official.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 08HARARE275, SITUATION REPORT: PENDULUM SWINGS FROM RUNOFF TO

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08HARARE275

2008-04-03 17:06

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO2686

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0275 0941706

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 031706Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2696

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1878

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2001

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0574

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1278

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1635

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2057

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4488

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1128

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000275

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/03/2018

TAGS: KDEM PGOV PHUM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: SITUATION REPORT: PENDULUM SWINGS FROM RUNOFF TO

DEAL, AMCITS DETAINED

 

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

¶1. (C) Harare has remained quiet throughout the day April 3,

but the rumor mill has continued to churn. Late in the

morning Post contacts reported that ZANU-PF was preparing to

pull out all the stops to assure itself victory in a runoff.

Shortly after, usually well-informed contacts told us that

they were confident Mugabe had decided to strike a deal to

exit gracefully. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was

expected to announce Senatorial results today, which would

have been the last step before a presidential announcement,

but has been silent. It appears plausible that Mugabe is

contemplating a deal while some of his allies take the

initial steps that would be required to succeed in a runoff.

Meanwhile, ZEC stalls.

 

¶2. (C) The existence of independent vote counts has limited

ZANU-PF’s options and elimination of these would be part of

any optimal runoff strategy. The National Democratic

Institute (NDI) assisted the Zimbabwe Electoral Support

Network (ZESN) with ZESN’s Parallel Vote Tabulation. Around

midday, two officials in plain clothes appeared at the York

Lodge where NDI staff were staying. They took down the

visitors’ passport numbers and rental car plate numbers. One

of the NDI staff members changed hotels; the other moved his

departure up from tomorrow (April 4) to this evening. The

latter, an American citizen, was detained at the airport and

sent colleagues a text message indicating he was being taken

to Harare Central police station. Also this evening, the

Embassy learned that police were searching rooms and

questioning guests at York Lodge. Reports now indicate that

three journalists, a UK citizen, an American reporting for

the New York Times, and a third unidentified person described

as an American were picked up at the York. We believe they

lacked accreditation as journalists, and may have been picked

up for this reason, although the operation may have initially

sought the NDI employees. Prominent local attorney Beatrice

Mtetwa and Conoff are both on their way to Harare Central to

inquire about the NDI employee; Conoff will also seek

information on the reportedly detained journalists.

Experience suggests there is a fair chance all will be

questioned overnight and then deported.

 

¶3. (C) COMMENT: The conflicting reports we keep receiving

indicate that there are still several possible directions in

which the electoral drama could turn. We remain alert to any

change in the currently calm situation. END COMMENT.

 

 

MCGEE

 

(3 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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