Viewing cable 05ROME2787
Title: AMBASSADOR TONY P. HALL RETURNS TO ZIMBABWE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05ROME27872005-08-23 15:40:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Rome
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS  ROME 002787 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
FROM USUN ROME 
 
STATE FOR IO FOR A/S SILVERBERG, IO/EDA, 
ALSO FOR E, EB - SPIRNAK,  OES/ETC  NEUMANN AND AF 
USAID/DCHA/FFP FOR LAUREN LANDIS AND LESLIE PETERSEN 
USAID/DCHA/PPM FOR JON BRAUSE 
USDA FOR FAS - MCHAMBLISS, LREICH, RHUGHES 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: EAGR ETRD SENV EAID AORC XA PHUM PREL ECON ASEC SOCI ZU FAO WFP VTEAID UNDP ZI SF
SUBJECT:  AMBASSADOR TONY P. HALL RETURNS TO ZIMBABWE 
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN BUT WORSE 
 
REFTEL: (A) 02 ROME 05058 (B) Harare 01147  (C) Harare 
01155 
 
------------------ 
Summary 
------------------ 
 
¶1. SUMMARY: Three years after my 2002 visit (see Ref A), I 
returned to Zimbabwe August 11-13 and found the country 
again poised for a food-security crisis.  As a result of 
the Government of Zimbabwe's (GOZ) misguided policies, 
drought, hyperinflation, and the associated lack of 
agricultural inputs, official estimates indicate at least 
2.9 million Zimbabweans will require food aid in 2005-06. 
In reality, a much higher level of need is likely: up to 
4.9 million may require food aid (FEWS NET AUGUST 05). I 
observed gross violations of human rights and was denied 
access to a settlement for internally displaced persons 
(IDPs). 
 
¶2.  During my visit, I made it clear that the U.S. will 
continue to support food-insecure Zimbabweans despite 
concerns about reprehensible and self-defeating GOZ 
programs, policies and actions.  Donor support in terms of 
food aid, ag inputs, and the prevention and treatment of 
HIV/AIDS will also be needed for the entire Southern Africa 
region. In Johannesburg, I announced a U.S. donation of 
$51.8 million for 73,500 metric tons of food aid to be 
distributed by WFP among six Southern African nations, 
including Zimbabwe. 
 
¶3.  We should support the Food and Agriculture Organization 
(FAO) efforts to alert the donor community regarding any 
remediable shortfalls for the procurement and distribution 
of basic ag inputs and extension services for the 2005 and 
2006 planting seasons. END SUMMARY. 
 
---------------------------- 
Economic and Social Crisis 
---------------------------- 
 
¶4. Accompanied by Public Affairs Officer Carla Benini and 
USAID Program Specialist Sam Clark, I spent three days in 
Zimbabwe to examine local conditions and assess the food 
security situation with the help of the local US Mission. 
This visit followed a similar trip I made three years ago 
(see ref A). 
 
¶5. It was clear that optimistic GOZ assumptions forecasting 
food requirements do not hold water.  GOZ predictions of 
food insecurity assume a market price of Zimbabwe Dollar 
(ZW) $1,750/kg but August 2005 urban maize prices ranged 
from ZW$3,430 to 4,000, about twice the GOZ projected 
price.  Even the government-controlled media reports that 
wages are not keeping up with inflation.  When I was there 
in 2002, the official rate put one US dollar worth ZW$55; 
during my recent visit, a dollar was worth ZW$18,000, and 
more than ZW$40,000 on the black market.  While the 
Ministry of Social Welfare claims to have arrangements in 
place to import 1.2 million MTs of grain, it freely admits 
that fuel shortages due to a lack of foreign exchange are 
interfering with the Grain Marketing Board's (GMB) 
logistics for distributing food aid within the country. 
 
¶6. GOZ attacks on poor settlements have accelerated 
negative trends in health indicators (an increase in infant 
mortality and over 30 percent prevalence of HIV among 
adults). As outlined by the UN Special Envoy on Human 
Settlement Issues in July 2005, an estimated 700,000 people 
 
 
have had their homes and or livelihoods destroyed by the 
GOZ Operation "Throw out the trash."  There are repeated 
allegations that these displacements of low-income 
residents throughout Zimbabwe are primarily from areas that 
do not support the incumbent administration.  The health 
implications, especially for prevention of HIV and AIDS, 
where home-based care programs were disrupted, are very 
severe. 
 
-------------------- 
What We Saw 
-------------------- 
 
¶7. Access Denied / Operation Throw out the Trash: Our site 
visit to Hatcliff Farm revealed the complete destruction of 
an entire community built under bilateral agreements 
involving the GOZ, World Bank and USAID.  Just three months 
prior, during the coldest time of year, some 30,000 
residents who had legally valid leases to their homes, were 
forced out by police and dogs and a residential area the 
size of 10 football fields was bulldozed flat.  Interviews 
with residents revealed extraordinary suffering as they 
attempted to rebuild with limited resources.  While I was 
walking through the camp, I was approached several times by 
residents asking me for food and blankets.  Tents supplied 
by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) that 
could provide shelter have been denied pending GOZ 
approval.  My visit to the GOZ-developed Hopely Farms 
resettlement area coincided with the delivery of a USG- and 
EU-funded WFP shipment of food aid for over 300 families. 
Despite the food shipment, GOZ officials from the Ministry 
of Justice refused to allow me access to the camp and to 
the IDPs, citing arbitrary requirements for written 
permission from a separate ministry. 
 
¶8.  Based on reports from IOM, the residents were moved to 
the site in July without water and were provided food aid 
consisting solely of un-milled corn.  Residents are only 
permitted to come and go if they report to the paramilitary 
that control the site. 
 
¶9. The battered relief community: Team meetings with NGOs 
demonstrated their plight in trying to provide support for 
food aid and agricultural inputs throughout Zimbabwe (see 
ref C).  As found in 2002, the GOZ refuses to facilitate 
the operation of NGOs trying to deliver humanitarian 
assistance.  The NGO consortium, C-SAFE, which had managed 
to import 25,000 MT of food last year, has only been able 
to distribute 15,000 MT due to GOZ restrictions.  A 
reported 10,000 MTs have been denied clearance in Durban, 
South Africa.  Last-minute GOZ restrictions on NGOs in 
2004, requiring that they import all seed stocks rather 
than buy locally, contributed to shortfalls in seed 
supplies throughout the country for the planting season in 
2004-05. 
 
¶10. "The Government of Zimbabwe has it in hand":  During my 
meeting with Zimbabwe's Minister of Social Welfare, (see 
ref B) Minister Goche stressed that, while the GOZ does 
face problems, "we are coping" and the situation is in 
hand.  He also stated that the GOZ is willing to accept 
humanitarian aid from those of good will so long as it 
"complements our efforts."  My team's overall impression is 
that the GOZ is very concerned with saving face and 
reluctant to share basic data related to the food 
emergency.  For example, the GOZ does not share data on the 
amount of food grain or seed stocks it has on hand, 
seriously hampering donor efforts to assess and plan for 
food and ag input requirements. 
 
 
¶11. WFP Food Aid in support of HIV/AIDS in Mutare: In 
Mutare, near the Mozambique border, the team visited a 
joint WFP-Africare home-based care feeding program that is 
improving the lives of 3,000 HIV/AIDS victims and affected 
persons.  The team learned about an innovative pilot 
program that encourages greater involvement of men in home- 
based care.  During the presentations a plea was voiced to 
include anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines in the program's 
home based care kits.  This WFP/Africare program should be 
considered for the introduction of ARVs. 
 
¶12. FAO support for agricultural inputs and response to 
HIV/AIDS: the team visited demonstration gardens 
implemented by FAO through a program that distributes drip 
irrigation kits, an approach that is important to meet the 
needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS.  The GOZ imposed 
last-minute restrictions on NGO seed procurement for the 
last planting season and over 45 percent of farmers ran out 
of seed. FAO and other agencies are aggressively working to 
avoid similar shortfalls for the 2005/06 planting season. 
A preliminary 2005 report (ZimVAC) indicates that more than 
1/3 of farmers will need to buy seed for the next cropping 
season and 15 percent are unsure where they would obtain 
seeds.  This is a serious problem given the hyperinflation 
and reduced buying power.  We look to FAO to alert the 
donor community as to any shortfalls for the procurement 
and distribution of basic agricultural inputs and extension 
services. 
 
----------------------- 
Press Briefings 
----------------------- 
 
¶13. At press briefings in Harare and Johannesburg, I made 
the following points: 
-"I remember when this country was a breadbasket of 
Southern Africa.  Today, the breadbasket is empty, 
thanks to counterproductive land reform policies and a 
drought that has made the situation even worse." 
-Commenting on being denied access to the Hopely Farm, 
"This is just the sort of bureaucracy that the UN 
Special Envoy spoke out against.  We can't address the 
suffering of these people if we can't see them and 
assess their needs." 
-"The United States will stand by the people of 
Zimbabwe, because there is no place in politics when 
it comes to feeding hungry people." 
-"It would be easy to turn your back on this 
government, but we can't turn our back on the people." 
 
----------------------------------- 
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
----------------------------------- 
 
¶14. This visit focused primarily on Zimbabwe, but the donor 
community needs to be mindful of the emerging needs of the 
the 
five other countries in the region: Lesotho, Malawi, 
Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zambia.  The announcement of a 
USG regional donation of US$51.8 is a step in the right 
direction, but we must urge other donors to assist in 
regional and country specific appeals.  The current WFP 
appeal for the Southern Africa Region has a shortfall of 
US$199 million, the equivalent of 357,000 MT. 
 
¶15. It is clear that the current problems in Zimbabwe are 
largely man-made, resulting from misguided GOZ policies. 
While we must disassociate ourselves from the reprehensible 
 
 
GOZ actions, we cannot abandon the people of Zimbabwe. 
Clear evidence of violations of humanitarian principles and 
human rights were found.  These should be addressed in as 
many venues as possible. 
 
¶16. There is a consensus that if actions are taken soon, 
despite large out-migration of talented educated persons, 
Zimbabwe still has the essential human capital of dedicated 
citizenry required for long-term development. 
 
¶17. In the short-term, so long as donors provide adequate, 
in-time assistance to keep the pipeline supplied, the 
combination of existing GOZ and related WFP, FAO, and NGO 
assistance infrastructure is in place to avert famine. 
 
¶18. We should support FAO's efforts to alert the donor 
community regarding any remediable shortfalls for the 
procurement and distribution of basic agricultural inputs 
and extension services for the 2005 and 2006 planting 
seasons. 
 
¶19. Based on the observations in Mutare and discussions 
with USAID-Harare and others, Zimbabwe has major shortfalls 
in international donor support for HIV/AIDS.  In particular 
we hope that the GOZ can be encouraged to resume efforts to 
obtain funding from the Global Fund by revising its 
proposals to realistic funding levels, with plans for 
programming to be implemented by NGOs and multilateral 
agencies.  Despite problems with GOZ policies, expanded 
funding must be found to increase access to ARVs. 
 
CLEVERLEY 
 
 
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	2005ROME02787 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED