SADC says climate not right for credible runoff


0

Zimbabwe was not likely to have credible presidential elections in the runoff planned for 27 June 2008, the director of the Southern African Development Community organ on politics, defence and security affairs, Tanki Mothae, said seven days before the poll.

Mothae, who was also head of the SADC observer mission, said Zimbabwe did not have enough time to create a proper electoral climate as it only had seven days to do so.

The conditions at the time did not meet SADC minimal standards for elections for the following reasons:

  • The level of violence precludes freedom of association and participation in the electoral process;
  • The opposition is unable to campaign as rallies are banned and it has no access to media;
  • Opposition leaders, including newly-elected MPs are being arrested;
  • SADC observers have been “intimidated.” Mothae said this consisted of ZANU-PF supporters in Harare telling observers to leave, and refusal to allow observers to travel to certain rural areas in the provinces.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE525, SADC ELECTION BRIEFING

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

08HARARE525

2008-06-20 12:51

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4287

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0525/01 1721251

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 201251Z JUN 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3052

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2068

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2188

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0730

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1465

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1823

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2244

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4675

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1334

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000525

 

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: 06/20/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: SADC ELECTION BRIEFING

 

REF: HARARE 520

 

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

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Tanki Mothae, Director of the SADC Organ on Politics,

Defence, and Security Affairs (SADC Organ) and current head

of the SADC observer mission briefed Western diplomats June

20 on SADC’s perception of the pre-election environment. He

believes that Zimbabwe is failing to comply with SADC

election principles; further, the seven days to the election

is insufficient to create a proper electoral climate. Mothae

continues to raise SADC’s concerns with the Zimbabwe

Electoral Commission (ZEC) and with the Government of

Zimbabwe (GOZ). He is also reporting to the SADC Organ, but

does not know how SADC will address what appears to be the

impossibility of a credible election. END SUMMARY.

 

—————-

The SADC Mission

—————-

 

2. (C) Mothae said there are now 300 SADC observers in

Zimbabwe. 100 to 150 additional observers are expected this

weekend. There are now six or seven SADC teams in every

province. Mothae raised no concerns about resources or

logistics. The majority of observers plan to leave on July 2

if the election proceeds “normally.” A residue of observers

will remain after July 2 to evaluate the post-election

environment. If there are serious problems with the election

on June 27, more observers may remain.

 

———————————–

SADC Challenges and the Environment

———————————–

 

3. (C) Mothae averred that current conditions do not meet

SADC minimal standards for elections:

 

–The level of violence precludes freedom of association and

participation in the electoral process;

–The opposition is unable to campaign as rallies are banned

and it has no access to media;

–Opposition leaders, including newly-elected MPs are being

arrested;

–SADC observers have been “intimidated.” Mothae said this

consisted of ZANU-PF supporters in Harare telling observers

to leave, and refusal to allow observers to travel to certain

rural areas in the provinces.

 

4. (C) Mothae noted that the Zimbabwean government had a

responsibility to preserve law and order and ensure the

safety of observers. He had raised these issues with the ZEC.

 

5. (C) Mothae opined that seven days was not enough time to

correct the electoral environment. Zimbabwe had incorporated

SADC principles into domestic law, but if it did not comply,

what could be done, he asked rhetorically. He said

“consultations” were going on within SADC as to how to

respond to the current situation.

 

——————————–

Observation and the Role of ZESN

——————————–

 

6. (C) Mothae said SADC observers would monitor polling

stations and would be present for counting at constituency

provincial and the main center in Harare. Since the

relatively small number of SADC observers precluded a

 

HARARE 00000525 002 OF 002

 

 

presence at most of the over 9,000 polling stations, he

believed that the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN)

had an important role to play. He was aware that the GOZ had

indicated it would accredit only 500 observers–ZESN had

indicated it was prepared to field over 10,000 observers–and

he had raised the issue with the United Nations. He also

planned to raise it with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

He noted that the SADC principles call for full participation

of nationals in their election process.

 

—————————

Keeping Tabs on Tendai Biti

—————————

 

7. (C) Mothae was asked about the arrest and continuing

detention of MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti. He replied

that SADC and its Heads of State had consulted on the issue

and, because of the political context, were carefully

monitoring developments. Mothae said SADC was also concerned

about other MDC MPs who had been arrested.

 

————————-

GOZ Election Preparations

————————-

 

8. (C) Mothae said the ZEC had informed him it was ready for

the election. It had trained officials (some who were beaten

or intimidated are understandably not participating for this

election and are being replaced), and had completed necessary

logistics such as the printing of ballots. According to

Mothae, SADC had offered financial and logistical help for

the election to the GOZ; there was no response.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

9. (C) As in his conversation with the Ambassador (REF),

Mothae indicated he was well aware of the situation on the

ground. He does not believe a credible election can take

place, but neither he nor SADC know how to respond to the

situation. At some point, however, SADC will need to take an

official and public position. END COMMENT.

 

Warren

(35 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
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.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *