[House Hearing, 106 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
ZIMBABWE: DEMOCRACY ON THE LINE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICA
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2000
Serial No. 106-138
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
66-616 CC WASHINGTON : 2000
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa TOM LANTOS, California
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DAN BURTON, Indiana Samoa
ELTON GALLEGLY, California MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
DANA ROHRABACHER, California ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
PETER T. KING, New York ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio PAT DANNER, Missouri
MARSHALL ``MARK'' SANFORD, South EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama
Carolina BRAD SHERMAN, California
MATT SALMON, Arizona ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
AMO HOUGHTON, New York STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
TOM CAMPBELL, California JIM DAVIS, Florida
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York EARL POMEROY, North Dakota
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
ROY BLUNT, Missouri BARBARA LEE, California
KEVIN BRADY, Texas JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
RICHARD BURR, North Carolina JOSEPH M. HOEFFEL, Pennsylvania
PAUL E. GILLMOR, Ohio
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
Richard J. Garon, Chief of Staff
Kathleen Bertelsen Moazed, Democratic Chief of Staff
Subcommittee on Africa
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California, Chairman
AMO HOUGHTON, New York DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
TOM CAMPBELL, California GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
GEORGE RADANOVICH, California BARBARA LEE, California
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
Tom Sheehy, Subcommittee Staff Director
Malik M. Chaka, Professional Staff Member
Charisse Glassman, Democratic Professional Staff Member
Charmaine V. Houseman, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Nancy Powell, Acting Assistant Secretary of State,
for African Affairs............................................ 5
Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, President, Movement for Democratic Change. 11
The Honorable Chester Crocker, Professor, Institute for the Study
of Diplomacy, Georgetown University............................ 19
Mr. Pat Merloe, Director of Programs on Elections and Political
Processes, National Democratic Institute....................... 23
Mr. Lloyd O. Pierson, Regional Director for Africa, International
Republican Institute........................................... 25
The Honorable Edward R. Royce, a Representative in Congress from
California and Chairman, Subcommittee on Africa................ 40
The Honorable Barbara Lee, a Representative in Congress from
Ms. Nancy J. Powell.............................................. 45
Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai............................................ 49
The Honorable Chester Crocker.................................... 57
Mr. Pat Merloe................................................... 63
Mr. Lloyd O. Pierson............................................. 85
Additional material submitted for the record:
Letter dated June 8, 2000, from Representative Ros-Lehtinen to
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe............................... 88
Letter dated June 8, 2000, from Representative Ros-Lehtinen to
Honorable Madeleine K. Albright, Secretary-U.S. Department of
Letter dated June 12, 2000, from Representative Ros-Lehtinen to
Honorable Thomas McDonald, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of
Responses to questions for the record from the Department of
ZIMBABWE: DEMOCRACY ON THE LINE
Tuesday, June 13, 2000
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Africa,
Committee on International Relations,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 11:16 a.m. in
room 2172, Rayburn Office Building, Hon. Edward R. Royce
(chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Royce. The hearing of the Africa Subcommittee will come
Today the Subcommittee will look at the political chaos in
Zimbabwe, where legislative elections are scheduled for June 24
and 25. Our witnesses today will tell how President Robert
Mugabe is sparing no means to maintain power for his ZANU
Of late, we have seen the spectacle of ZANU supporters
attacking schools, having taken their cue from the justice
minister, who accused the teachers of Zimbabwe of polluting the
minds of young people. The Zimbabwe Teachers Association says
at least 200 schools have been disrupted by intimidation and
attack. Teachers have been dragged from their classrooms.
Teachers have been stripped naked in front of their students
and forced to chant pro-ZANU slogans. Teachers have been beaten
This is instigated by a government which professes a
concern for education. It is no coincidence that teachers in
the past served as the poll workers in previous elections.
There can be no mistake that a message is being sent.
It has not escaped the attention of the world that the
government police have resorted to colonial era special powers
to restrict political activity. Zim Rights, the country's main
human rights organization, has repeatedly denounced
shortcomings in the electoral process and abuses by state
officials. It is clear that free and fair elections are not
desired by the Mugabe government.
The political intimidation has been deadly recently. At
least 31 persons, mostly Black Movement for a Democratic Change
supporters, have been killed. Hundreds others have been beaten,
raped, or forced to flee their homes. Ominously, so-called war
veterans doing the government's bidding have been deployed to
Matabeleland, where they wear red berets. This is a not-so-
veiled threat to renew the slaughter that the Mugabe government
orchestrated there in the 1980's, which resulted in 10,000
deaths, should it lose this election.
I should point out that there are veterans of the war who
are increasingly speaking out against the terror of these
government-directed groups and pointing out that some in the
groups are far too young to have been involved in the
liberation struggle to begin with.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe economy is collapsing. The illegal
land seizures, designed to intimidate the political opposition,
are accelerating the demise of an already troubled and
corrupted economy. Food shortages are sure to come. The
country's health services also are in crisis.
The State Department recently said that ``The U.S. is
deeply troubled that Zimbabwe's previous reputation as a law-
abiding democratic society is in jeopardy. Violence and
intimidation are undermining the rule of law and the very
foundation of democracy in Zimbabwe.''
I think this isn't quite right. Sadly, the rule of law and
democracy have long been compromised in post-independence
Zimbabwe. It has been a de facto one-party state where
political opponents have been intimidated and physically
The U.S. and the international community have sowed the
seeds for today's crisis, sweeping these troubling realities
under the rug for years and indulging the Mugabe government
with aid. U.S. bilateral aid alone has totaled $750 million
while the Mugabe government has bought luxury properties
abroad. Land reform has not been a government priority.
The results are in. After President Mugabe has played the
donors like a fiddle for 20 years, Zimbabwe is staring into the
Today we will hear about the role that international
observers will play in Zimbabwe's upcoming legislative
elections. The Mugabe government is putting up roadblocks to
observers. The opposition wants observers. Observers should be
sent but international election observers must be prepared to
make hard-nosed judgments, calling attention to election
The political opposition in Zimbabwe has shown tremendous
courage in the face of terrifying and cowardly government
attacks while practicing nonviolence. International observers
have a moral obligation to honor democracy by doing their job
with the highest level of integrity.
What Zimbabwe desperately needs is a government that can
promote a respect for the rule of law. Unless the political
landscape is dramatically transformed, I do not see this coming
about any time soon. That will be a tragedy for the vast number
of Zimbabweans who are committed to peace.
I will now turn to Mr. Hastings for an opening statement.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Royce appears in the
Mr. Hastings. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank
you very much for holding this hearing. I will not belabor it
by a substantial amount of commentary at this point in time. I
really do appreciate your holding the hearing and the witnesses
that are here, I am sure are going to edify us regarding
perhaps what might be just my central concern. That is what
should the United States policy be toward Zimbabwe and how, if
at all, are we to implement it with the idea in mind of trying
to provide for sustainable democracy.
Mr. Chairman, our colleague Representative Barbara Lee is
on route but she has asked, with your permission and unanimous
consent, that I offer her statement for the record.
Mr. Royce. Without objection.
Mr. Hastings. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Lee appears in the
Mr. Hastings. Mr. Chairman, if you recall, you and I
visited Zimbabwe. I believe it was your very first visit to the
African continent. Little did I know when we were there at the
Organization of African Unity's meeting and had an opportunity
to visit the countryside, it seemed at least headed in a
direction that I would have perceived at that time as being
Unfortunately, that is no longer the case and what happened
recently legislatively, for the larger audience assembled, is
the chairman of the International Relations Committee, Chairman
Gilman and myself and you, Mr. Chairman, and other Members did
pass a resolution that I believe reflects the sense of Congress
regarding the violence in Zimbabwe and the breakdown of the
rule of law in the troubled preelection period.
I will be interested to hear from Ambassador Powell, as
well as our other witnesses, how they are going to have an
election June 24 and 25 when I do not see the infrastructure
that will allow for free and fair elections being there.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for holding the hearing
and I look forward to hearing from the witnesses.
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Mr. Hastings.
We have also been joined by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from
Florida and would you like to make an opening statement?
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Yes. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman.
Given the breakdown in the rule of law, the violations of
human rights, the crackdown against democratic reform
activists, the bombings of independent newspapers and other
violence which has plagued the preelection period in Zimbabwe,
today's discussion takes on added importance.
My concerns regarding these challenges to democracy and
free independent institutions prompted me to cosponsor House
Resolution 500, a resolution introduced by our full Committee
Chairman Ben Gilman addressing these grave issues.
However, I would like to make use of the opportunity
afforded to me by our colleague, Chairman Royce, to address the
case of Cuban doctors Noris Pena Martinez and Leonar Cordoba
Rodriguez. These two individuals were on a medical mission in
Zimbabwe when they denounced the Castro regime and sought
refuge from the Zimbabwe government.
The unfortunate response of the Zimbabwe government was to
send armed soldiers to abduct these two doctors and forcibly
deport them to Cuba against their will. This plan was foiled,
however, and the two doctors have been sitting in jail ever
I have written to President Mugabe and have contacted the
Zimbabwe Embassy in D.C. I have written to Secretary Albright
and to Ambassador McDonald and my office has been in contact
with the State Department requesting that our officials visit
the two doctors to ascertain their health status and the
conditions in which they are being kept, as well as work to
secure the release of Drs. Martinez and Rodriguez to the care
of the U.N. High Commission for Refugees and to press ahead
with UNHCR efforts to safeguard the procedures in place for
such cases so that the doctors are free to travel to the U.S.,
where they have been guaranteed refugee status.
I ask, Mr. Chairman, if these communications be entered
into the record of today's hearings. Given the ultimatum issued
by the Castro regime over the weekend regarding authorization
of travel for these doctors to any other country except for the
U.S., I ask that our State Department officials stand firm in
their commitment to afford refugee status in the U.S. to these
two Cuban doctors.
I would ask Assistant Secretary Powell to include in her
remarks today an update on the status of U.S. and United
Nations efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of these
doctors who have suffered greatly for denouncing the oppressive
Castro regime and for embarrassing this Communist dictatorship
by seeking asylum.
I ask that the Zimbabwe government live up to the ideals
which gained them their independence in 1980 and not allow
Cuba's tyrannical ruler to influence them into taking actions
which run contrary to all legal and moral standards.
Mr. Chairman, I ask that you enter these letters into the
Mr. Royce. Without objection, they will be entered in the
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you.
[The letter referred to appears in the appendix.]
Mr. Royce. Thank you.
We are now going to go to the Ranking Member of this
Committee, Mr. Donald Payne.
Mr. Payne. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for calling
this very important meeting. I will be relatively brief.
We are aware that problems still exist with the continued
presence of the military of Zimbabwe in the Democratic Republic
of Congo. That situation is far from over, since recent
conflicts between Uganda and Rwanda, both supporting different
rebel groups, have broken out and have continued on for some
We hope that the resolution of the Congo situation will
also have a positive impact on stabilization in Zimbabwe. Many
problems in Zimbabwe originate from people in that country
wanting their boys, their husbands, and their men home. This
becomes a political issue, therefore, making Mr. Mugabe move to
other means of diverting attention from a situation that is
real regarding the men who are in that war.
There is certainly a serious problem with the land issue
and it has been an issue that has been there for several
decades. The manner in which the British handled Northern
Rhodesia, currently Zambia, was adequate. Funds were made
available to purchase arable land predominantly owned by white
The land had undeniably been taken from the indigenous
people, but at least there was a solution by the British to
produce funds to purchase the land from the settlers.
Therefore, the situation was not volatile, as we presently find
it in Zimbabwe, where 20 years later, this issue still remains.
Lancaster House was expected to resolve these issues yet
they were not resolved. There is question concerning corruption
in addition to the land situation, but that is another story.
My point is simply that you can take an old issue that
should have been dealt with and when a politician finds he is
in trouble, he simply attempts to exacerbate that problem in
order to cover up his own shortcomings.
So I am just here to listen to the testimony. We hope that
these elections will proceed fairly. We deplore the behavior of
the government along with some of the supporters of the ruling
party. This being said, I will yield back the balance of my
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Mr. Payne.
We will now go to our first panel. Nancy J. Powell is a
career senior Foreign Service member who was named Deputy
Assistant Secretary for African Affairs in the summer of 1999.
Most recently she served as Ambassador to Uganda. Ambassador
Powell has also had several diplomatic posts in Asia, as well
as Togo and Ottawa. She is a graduate of Northern Iowa
University. Today she speaks to us as the Acting Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs.
STATEMENT OF NANCY POWELL, ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE,
BUREAU OF AFRICAN AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Ms. Powell. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to
testify this morning on Zimbabwe. As a country that struggled
successfully against white minority rule, Zimbabwe was a beacon
of hope for the region and the world. The United States made a
pledge to help the new state of Zimbabwe and has invested over
$750 million since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence to improve the
lives of all Zimbabweans.
Ethnic violence erupted in the mid-1980's as the government
brutally crushed the perceived threat from the Ndebele people
in the south. However, for most Zimbabweans, life got better
after independence. Services and access to education expanded
rapidly and it appeared that the scars of Zimbabwe's liberation
war were healing. As a friend of Zimbabwe, we deeply regret
that Zimbabwe's promising future has not yet been realized.
Zimbabwe's commitment to democracy is now being severely
tested as the ruling party faces formidable competition for the
first time since independence. As Zimbabwe moves into the final
phase of the political campaign for the June 24-25
parliamentary elections, the country's previous reputation as a
law-abiding society is in jeopardy.
The political campaign has been brutal. Supporters of the
ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front, ZANU-
PF, have staged occupations of privately owned farms, and the
government of Zimbabwe has refused to implement court orders
calling on the police to evict the occupiers. Farmworkers have
been forced to participate in reeducation camps and announce
their loyalty to ZANU-PF under threat of death. The ruling
party has expanded its violent campaign beyond the farms to
include the beating and rape of teachers, city workers,
election monitors, and other professionals suspected of
supporting the strongest opposition party, the Movement for
While violence has come from all quarters, ZANU-PF's
campaign of intimidation and violence is especially worrisome
because it appears to have been conceived at the highest levels
of the government of Zimbabwe. Government resources were used
to transport war veterans to commercial farms that were
carefully targeted for occupation. Respect for property rights,
a critical component of any nation's development, has been
undermined as criminals take advantage of police inaction to
pillage and destroy crops and farm property. Some senior
members of the government have encouraged the violence and
destruction by ignoring court orders and taking few steps to
arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of violence.
The government has, in effect, abdicated its responsibility
to respect and uphold the human and political rights of all
Zimbabweans. Instead, it has approached the elections as if all
political opponents were traitors who do not deserve the basic
protections so critical to the success of democracy. We were
appalled when President Mugabe characterized all white farmers
as ``enemies of the state.'' The actions of ZANU-PF endorsed by
the government have polarized society and undermined the rule
of law in Zimbabwe.
We have approached the government of Zimbabwe at all levels
to express our deep concerns over the violence and erosion of
the rule of law. The U.S. Ambassador in Harare has met with
senior officials to underscore U.S. concerns. We have issued
public statements in Washington and Harare calling on the
government to respect court orders, end illegal farm invasions,
and prosecute the perpetrators of violence. We have also
expressed our concerns directly to the Zimbabwe Ambassador to
the United States.
The United States has suspended support for the technical
support unit of the government's Land Reform and Redistribution
Program pending a return to the principles agreed upon between
the donors and the government of Zimbabwe at the 1998 donors
conference on land reform. We have made diplomatic approaches
to other donor countries and to Zimbabwe's neighbors in the
Southern African Development Community to try to bring an end
to the occupations and violence, stressing that events in
Zimbabwe have an effect on the entire region.
The government of Zimbabwe has repeatedly stated that it
will impose its own solution on the land reform issue and it
has amended the constitution and supporting legislation to
allow it to seize 804 commercial farms without payment of full
compensation. It claims that it will not pay for land that was
taken from indigenous people during the colonial period but
will pay, over a period of 5 years, for improvements to the
seized land. The government has begun to issue notices to the
identified farm owners stating that they have until July 2 to
appeal the terms of the property seizures but not the seizure
Zimbabwe's approach is dangerous and will discourage
investment and reforms critical to the country's long-term
future. It is worth noting, however, that to date, the
government of Zimbabwe has not confiscated any land without
payment of adequate compensation.
The government of Zimbabwe does not appear to be thinking
about the long-term impact that its actions will have on the
country's reputation in the region and the world. It has used a
legitimate issue, the need for more equitable distribution of
land, as a political tool to occupy farms, incite racial
tensions, intimidate rural voters and brutalize real and
perceived opponents of ZANU-PF.
The United States has made clear to the government of
Zimbabwe that we recognize the historical inequities on land
distribution and the need for meaningful land reform. We want
to resume our technical assistance program that we suspended in
The 1998 agreement still offers the best prospect for a
fair and equitable land redistribution. The government's
apparent rejection of this agreement, which it signed after
lengthy consultations with all stakeholders, suggests that it
may not really seek a workable long-term solution. Instead, it
may be creating a crisis designed to benefit ZANU-PF in the
June 24-25 elections.
Zimbabweans are paying a terrible price. The economy has
suffered. Agricultural production and tourism are down.
Inflation is over 70 percent, investment has decreased markedly
and unemployment is up. Foreign exchange reserves are down to 1
day's cover and fuel and other imports commodities are in short
Mr. Chairman, the headlines from Zimbabwe are not good
these days but it is important to keep in mind that there has
been a deepening of democracy, as ironic as that may seem, even
as the government is trying to manipulate the political process
for its own benefit. Democratic forces have matured in
Zimbabwe. Millions of Zimbabweans demand change and the vast
majority are using peaceful, democratic means to pursue it.
In February of this year, a majority of voters peacefully
rejected a government-sponsored constitution that would have
increased Presidential powers and allowed the government to
seize farmland without full compensation.
Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources and human capital.
Zimbabweans are among the most educated and politically active
people on the continent of Africa. A vibrant civil society has
emerged that can serve as a long-term foundation for democratic
A new political party has been formed that has significant
support and is comprised of all racial and ethnic groups. The
United States has a long-standing friendship with the people of
Zimbabwe and we intend to do everything we can to preserve and
advance democratic gains, protect civil society, and help
Zimbabweans to uphold the rule of law.
Mr. Royce. Excuse me. One moment, Ambassador.
I am just going to remind Mr. Tsvangirai, your mike is on,
so I am going to suggest that maybe you could hit your mike
button and just turn it off until we come to the second panel,
if I could make that recommendation. Thank you.
Ambassador, if you will continue, but I am going to ask you
to summarize somewhat because we have two votes and at one
point I am going to have to recess for those two votes and then
we will come back. Go ahead, Ambassador Powell.
Ms. Powell. To this end, we believe the June 24-25
parliamentary elections are a turning point in the democratic
history of Zimbabwe. The government is facing real competition
and political apathy has ended.
Conditions for free and fair elections do not yet exist in
Zimbabwe. Given our concern for a credible process, even though
we know the electoral foundation is flawed, we will continue
our efforts to make the elections as free and fair as possible.
Democracy and governance are the top priorities as jointly
conceived by the U.S. Embassy in Harare and USAID for USAID's
$12 million-a-year program in Zimbabwe. For these elections, we
are funding the training of over 10,000 domestic election
monitors. We are also funding training for polling officials of
all political parties. We are funding the NGO's involved in
voter education efforts to audit the rolls and helping the
semi-independent Election Supervisory Commission to cope with
the administrative demands of the elections.
The U.S. Embassy in Harare has also hosted distinguished
international authorities on elections to meet with government
and opposition officials and share their experience to promote
credible elections. We are funding human rights organizations
that are documenting and protesting abuses in the current
campaign. We are also funding international observers from
KwaZulu Natal organization, from the SADC Parliamentary Forum,
as well as grants that have been awarded to the National
Democratic Institute and the International Republican
Institute, to monitor the preelection and election process. Our
officials from the embassy will also monitor the elections.
We have told the government of Zimbabwe that the United
States wants to help with land reform but that our ability to
assist with depend in large part upon the holding of credible
elections and a return to the principles agreed upon at the
1998 donor conference.
Mr. Chairman, our long-term goal in Zimbabwe is to help
build a sustainable democracy based on respect for the rule of
law and protection of human rights. We seek also a market-
oriented economy that attracts investment and addresses
inequities and independent institutions accountable to its
citizenry. We want to see a robust civil society that can
engage and influence the government of Zimbabwe, stronger
leadership in combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and more social
services to meet the needs of the poorest Zimbabweans. Almost
all U.S. Government assistance to Zimbabwe, with the exception
of funds to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic, is channeled through
We are also seeking, in addition to our domestic goals, to
help Zimbabwe to implement the Lusaka Accord to bring peace to
the Democratic Republic of Congo where Zimbabwe has deployed
some 12,000 troops. With stable democratic institutions at
home, Zimbabwe can once again play role in enhancing regional
stability. We look forward to working with Congress to seek a
better future for all Zimbabweans. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Powell appears in the
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Ambassador.
We are going to stand in recess until these two votes are
over. We will be back in about 20 minutes. Thank you.
Mr. Royce. We will reconvene at this time.
Ambassador Powell, maybe I can begin by asking you some
questions. The first would be what does the U.S. need to see,
at a minimum, for the upcoming elections for those elections to
be satisfactory in our view? Ambassador?
Ms. Powell. Mr. Chairman, we are looking for several
things. We know already that the process has been flawed in
terms of the gerrymandering of the districts, the intimidation
of some of those who are participating in the elections. We
would like to see that cease and the elections held under
peaceful conditions, under well organized conditions.
We hope that the monitors, both domestic and international,
will be deployed and be allowed to observe the elections to
ensure that the vote is held fairly, that the rules are
observed, as well, and that the people who are counting can be
observed in a transparent manner.
Mr. Royce. Would we be prepared to say they are
unacceptable if these conditions were not met? Is there a
minimum turnout percentage that we would consider, given all
the intimidation that has gone on, as a requirement?
Ms. Powell. We are going to be looking to our international
observers, as well as our mission people, to be advising on
that but clearly there will be a minimum standard that has to
be met and we will be pointing out, based on the observation,
the direct observation of the elections, where the flaws have
Mr. Royce. Would we be prepared to say that the results are
unacceptable if the results do not meet these criteria that you
Ms. Powell. I think it is up to the people of Zimbabwe to
declare the election unacceptable, not the United States, but
we surely can describe it very accurately, based on the
observations that we will have in place in terms of the various
flaws that have occurred already in the process, as well as
those that may occur on election day.
Mr. Royce. Given the flaws that have occurred in the
process, and let us for a moment assume that those flaws
continue to occur, that the intimidation and the beatings and
the killings continue up through the election, are there
actions we are prepared to take if the elections are not fair
Ms. Powell. We want to wait until the elections are over to
look at that. Clearly there are already some things that have
taken place. We have suspended the land reform support, the
technical unit that has been there. We have been counseling
with the government of Zimbabwe and others on what is needed
for a free and fair election under democratic rule.
Mr. Royce. I would like to read you correspondence I
received from a Zimbabwean democratic activist. He writes,
``Mr. Mugabe is a tyrant and is personally responsible for
massive human rights abuses during his 20 years in power. In
the 1980's he was responsible for near genocide and this year
has been responsible for the systematic torture of thousands of
Zimbabweans and the murder of opposition party supporters. He
has also made a direct threat against an ethnic minority,
namely white farmers, who are branded by him as enemies of the
``In doing so, Mr. Mugabe is guilty of committing crimes
against humanity and now is the time for the international
community to warn Mr. Mugabe that if the violence and
occupations continue, he will face a similar indictment to the
one prepared for Mr. Milosovic lats year. In like vein, steps
should be commenced to identify Mr. Mugabe's foreign assets and
he should be warned that if the violence and occupations
continue, these assets will be seized. The time for quiet
diplomacy is over and this is the only language that Mr. Mugabe
understands.'' Now, that is the message I received.
What do you think about his crimes against humanity charges
and what about seizing the assets of Zimbabwe government
officials as a matter of U.S. policy should conditions
deteriorate further? Let's say it leads to mass slaughter
again, like we saw in the 1980's. What about that strategy,
given that so much money has been moved offshore, you have
these palatial estates that have been purchased outside of the
country by government officials? What about that strategy? Is
that something that the United States might want to entertain
as a strategy to ensure a fair and free election?
Ms. Powell. Let me say that the United States has been
documenting the human rights abuses of Zimbabwe annually in our
human rights report. We have had numerous discussions with the
government officials on the areas where we have found
discrepancies. The election is the most recent of those and
particularly has been the focus of a lot of attention over the
past few months.
The question of dealing with war crimes--human rights
violations on an international scale--is one that would have to
be looked at much more seriously in terms of specifics and the
specific responsibility of individuals in the government of
I have no information on Mugabe's particular personal
overseas assets. That information, I am sure, could be
developed through organs within the government of Zimbabwe.
There does not appear to be the large fortune that has been
assumed by other people in other countries, but that is
something that could be looked at by the government of
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Ambassador Powell, and I am going to
turn to Mr. Payne, our Ranking Member, now for his questions.
Mr. Payne. Thank you very much.
I had the good fortune to be on a CODEL led by our
colleagues Amo Houghton and Richard Gephardt, which included
nearly a dozen Members of Congress. It was probably one of the
most successful CODEL's, by virtue of bringing in a number of
The meeting we had with Mr. Mugabe seemed to be relatively
positive because, as you know, up until more recent times,
maybe a year or so, there was very little being done concerning
the HIV virus and AIDS.
The meeting was positive because he admitted that there is
a very serious problem. He admitted that there is a lot to be
done, which was a break from his past denial that a problem
Could you inform us about any programs that are going on or
what the USAID may be doing there that relates to this issue?
Ms. Powell. We have been working very hard with AID on the
HIV/AIDS program. This the one area where we do work with the
government of Zimbabwe rather than through NGO's.
Our total is approximately $7 million for this year out of
our $12 million program going into the HIV program. It includes
creating public awareness, testing and counseling, and a
variety of interventions trying to encourage a turndown in the
infection rate, which is one of the highest in Africa, 25
percent of the population.
We are also encouraging President Mugabe to be much more
forceful in his leadership on this issue, recognizing that
Presidential and executive leadership throughout Africa has
been a very, very important element in those countries where
they have been able to turn the infection rate around.
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Ambassador.
If it is all right with the Ranking Member, we have our
witness on the line now from Zimbabwe and he is going to have
to leave shortly, so if he can hear his testimony, then we can
go back to our first panel.
Morgan Tsvangirai is the president of the Movement for
Democratic Change, a broad-based opposition political party
that is running candidates in all 120 electoral districts in
Zimbabwe's June legislative elections. The Movement for
Democratic Change spearheaded opposition to the February
referendum that was defeated and Mr. Tsvangirai began public
life as a trade union leader. He was secretary-general of the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions for 10 years and we will hear
him via teleconferencing from Zimbabwe and we are trying to
reconnect right now. We had him on the line a minute ago and
lost the call, so we are replacing that call.
Good afternoon, Morgan. This is Congressman Royce. I am
going to ask you if you could summarize your testimony. We have
a written copy for the record and we will now turn the floor
over to you. Go ahead, Morgan.
STATEMENT OF MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, PRESIDENT, MOVEMENT FOR
Mr. Tsvangirai. Chairman Royce, honorable representatives
of the House of Assembly, I really do appreciate on behalf of
all Zimbabweans the opportunity to address you at this critical
time in our history.
We are set for the elections on June 24 and 25 but these
elections have been characterized by a lot of violence
perpetrated by the state. Thirty members, MDC supporters have
been slain, another 30,000 have been displaced and all of them
just for daring to support the position.
We are a peaceful people and we hope that you will
appreciate that our attempt to form the Movement for Democratic
Change is an attempt to provide an alternative option to the
20-year tyrannical rule of Robert Mugabe. Southern Africa not
be peaceful if Zimbabwe remains the way it is.
Despite the fact that the election process is under way,
the government continues to change electoral legislation by
disenfranchising thousands of young people on the voters rolls.
The ruling party, ZANU-PF, has realized it will not win this
election. The only way they can win this election is to stop
people from voting in their desperate attempt to reduce voter
turn-out and to manipulate the polls.
Nearly all of Zimbabwe's electronic media is government-
owned and the opposition has no access to public media. They
have no televised radio debates between the government and the
opposition. No opposition party has access to public campaign
finance. Only the ruling party has received that financing.
I am certain, Mr. Chairman, that those present in the
hearing today appreciate that in a democratic nation, those who
are in power know that they have got privileges only at the
will of the people and the government is there to serve the
people. Those principles are sacrosanct to any democratic
I do appreciate the fact that the House of
Representatives--we appreciate the expressed solidarity that
you have undertaken and we hope that you can work to ensure
that these elections are free and fair. They are very critical
elections not only for Zimbabwe but for the whole Southern
We in MDC appreciate the opportunity to address such a
distinguished gathering. We hope that we, too, will 1 day know
what it is like to be free in a country of democratic
Let me also emphasize the fact that the MDC is committed to
a transparent, equitable and reasonable, sound land
distribution policy. The current process of farm innovation,
the degeneration of the rule of law is totally unacceptable to
us. We are committed to the restoration of the rule of law as a
basis of ensuring that justice again is restored in this
Land, race and ethnicity are being used by ZANU-PF as a
smokescreen for its own failure and we do hope that the
international community and the House of Representatives in
particular appreciate the magnitude of the problem here in
Zimbabwe and hope that you can deliberate with the full
understanding that MDC is committed to the democratic
alternative through the ballot box and through no other means.
I am just coming from the campaign rally where we almost
were prevented from addressing the people. The people are
terrified in that situation. The people are living under
terror. 3,000 war veterans have been unleased in that community
and this is the state of the election environment which we are
facing in this country.
I do appreciate your listening today. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Tsvangirai appears in the
Mr. Royce. Morgan, we appreciate very much your testimony
and I want to defer to my colleagues and see if any of them at
this time have any questions for you. Again I very much
appreciate your testimony.
Mr. Houghton. Mr. Tsvangirai, this is Amo Houghton. We met
you when we were out there with Representative Dick Gephardt on
the CODEL in December and it is good to talk to you.
Mr. Tsvangirai. Yes.
Mr. Houghton. Can I ask you a couple of questions. First of
all, is your life in danger?
Mr. Tsvangirai. I think that my life alone is--everyone is
unsafe in this environment, from me downward--my supporters,
myself and everyone. Me in particular because I happen to be
the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change. Therefore,
the question of security of myself, they target the candidates
I have a candidate here who has almost been threatened by
the army in this country, and is almost leaving tonight to go
outside the country because it is unsafe. It is no use to MDC
to have dead candidates because that is just the handing all of
the constituents to ZANU-PF.
So you must appreciate the fact that everyone is in danger
Mr. Houghton. If I understand it, there are going to be
thousands of observers over there. Is that going to be
adequate? Will they get a proper reading? Will they be able to
help in the safety of some of the candidates? How do you feel
about the international observers coming over?
Mr. Tsvangirai. The international observers are well
appreciated. Unfortunately, in their numbers, they can never
cover the whole country.
Right at the moment, some of the observers are not being
accredited by this country. We have so many incidents where we
would like to send these observers to see for themselves the
situation in the countryside. But anyway, I think those
observers who are in the country will go a long way to creating
some sense of peace in certain constituencies but not in all
So I think that, in short, I would say that it is
appreciated, their number is low, but I think their work is
Mr. Houghton. I have just one final question and before I
ask it I want to thank you so much for your bravery and your
courage and your willingness to stand up for that great
One final question. What are you asking people from the
outside to do to help you?
Mr. Tsvangirai. I am asking them to assist and help the
people of Zimbabwe in ensuring that we have a free and fair
election. I mean the people of Zimbabwe, all they will need is
to cast that vote. They know what they want to vote for.
Unfortunately, ZANU-PF will prevent them from going to vote.
So I think as much as possible, your efforts, like these
hearings, like your statement, will help to draw the attention
of this country that the international community is watching
and that is why I am saying that in all honesty, the observers
are an appreciated effort by the international community to try
to ensure that at least there is a level playing field, even
when we know that ZANU-PF is creating conditions that are not
ideal for a free and fair election.
Mr. Houghton. Thank you very much. Good luck to you.
Mr. Tsvangirai. Thank you.
Mr. Royce. Morgan, I have one last question for you. The
no-go areas in the country where you are not allowed to
campaign. I understand you have candidates in 120 districts, in
all the districts, but the government has set aside certain
areas where you are not allowed to campaign.
How extensive are those no-go areas?
Mr. Tsvangirai. They are extensive. They are actually
provinces. I will tell you that in one of the provinces, that
is Shonaland East, there are five constituencies there where I
would say they are no-go areas. In Shonaland West I think there
are two constituencies which I would say they are no-go areas.
In Shonaland Central, I think there are two or three
constituencies, again in the same situation. In the Midlands I
think there are two constituencies that have been badly
So all in all, these are the areas where I would say
certainly something like 10 to 15--I think 10 constituencies
where we cannot campaign. Of course, they will allow us there
but people would be so terrified that they will not dare come
to the meetings.
Mr. Royce. Again, Mr. Tsvangirai, I appreciate your
testimony and take care and we will see you in the future.
Mr. Tsvangirai. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Mr. Royce. We will now return to our questioning of
Ambassador Powell on the first panel. So I will turn to
Congressman Meeks and Greg, do you have any questions you would
like to ask?
Mr. Meeks. I am sorry that I missed your testimony. I do
not want to ask you to repeat what you said.
I am just interested in what the SADC countries--have they
taken an official position in this issue? I know that President
Mugabe, for example, was talking about $14 million plan that
was proposed by South Africa. I do not know whether that is on
hold or not.
So I am just trying to find out where we are with the SADC
nations, where we are with that $14 million plan and a plan to
try to purchase some of the land back so that we can then
divide it up to some of the poor in the nation.
Ms. Powell. The SADC countries have been in consultation
with President Mugabe. There have been several meetings,
including the SADC Forum, which is our U.S. panel with the SADC
countries at which these issues were discussed.
In addition to that, as you say, there was a plan to put a
$14 million fund together in hopes of being able to acquire
some of the land. That has been on hold, as we understand it,
since the plans were announced to seize 804 farms without
Mr. Meeks. So currently there is, I guess, since the
announcement of the plan to seize 800 farms, there have been no
proposals or negotiations going on of how we can try to resolve
this matter in a peaceful manner so that elections can go on in
a peaceful manner?
Ms. Powell. We continue to work with the government of
Zimbabwe, stressing the principles under which we would be able
to restart our technical assistance. I am sure the SADC members
have also adopted a wait-and-see attitude.
We have determined that until free and fair elections are
held, we would not resume our assistance on the land reform
In addition to that, I should add that SADC has also put
forward an observation team for the elections. The
parliamentary group will have an observation team.
Mr. Royce. Thank you. We will now go to Mr. Tancredo.
Mr. Tancredo. No questions.
Mr. Royce. No questions from Mr. Tancredo.
Ms. Lee. No questions.
Mr. Royce. No questions.
That completes our first panel. Ambassador, thank you very
Mr. Hastings. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate it. I apologize to
the Committee and to the Ambassador. We had the defense
minister from Gabon and we are trying to shuttle back and
I really want to know where our leverage is with reference
to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and
places like that.
As I read your testimony before us, your written testimony,
Madam Ambassador, you seem to place emphasis on the fact that
if there is no credible election June 24-25, whenever, that we
are not going to--or we are going to undertake to do something
in this sphere of how we go about dealing with monetary
undertakings with Zimbabwe.
I guess my concern is it seems like we wait with our
leverage and then, after the bad things happen, our leverage
does not count. I may not be making sense but where is our
leverage? I am not talking about NDI and monitors. What can we
Ben and I filed that resolution and I told him, his staff,
when we filed it, resolutions are just a whole bunch of words.
Nobody in Zimbabwe gives a damn about us filing a resolution.
So what can we really do, is what I want to know.
Ms. Powell. Let me address this in a couple of ways. Last
October, the IMF and World Bank suspended programs for Zimbabwe
on the basis, for the IMF, of Zimbabwe not having complied with
the requirements of the program that they had in place.
The World Bank has also decided that it will not disperse
additional money, although some current programs are
continuing. They will wait until the IMF issues are sorted out
and that Zimbabwe has come back to the IMF program that it
As I pointed out in the testimony, the economic conditions
continue to decline. Unemployment is at a very, very high rate,
inflation at 70 percent, and the fuel shortages and other
shortages are beginning to have a very serious impact on
people. I am told that it is one of the major issues of the
elections. People try to deal with the economic issues
So we would need to continue as the international community
to engage with Zimbabwe on economic issues after the elections
are over. Land reform is one of the economic issues but it is
not the only issue. There are certainly reforms that need to
take place to get back on the IMF program.
I believe that all of us in the United States are looking
for those ways in which we can maximize our influence with
Zimbabwe and encourage it to observe the rule of law to allow
its civil society and its political groups to move forward, but
as positively as they can through this election period, to
include a very viable parliament as a result of this election.
I think your words and those of others that will be
testifying today are very important that the people of Zimbabwe
know that the international community and particularly the
United States cares about their election and how it is
conducted and is very concerned that it be conducted in a free
and transparent manner and I do appreciate----
Mr. Hastings. Ambassador, while words help, the gentleman
that was on the teleconference, I am sure that something like
that, a resolution, reaches him and maybe somebody in the
population but the person that counts in this kind of
controlled environment would be Mugabe and I maintain that he
does not care one whit about what we are doing. Unless we
exercise some stronger measures, then nothing is going to
transpire that is going to be positive with reference to the
kind of leadership that he has demonstrated over time.
My other question and my final one, Mr. Chairman, I guess
goes to the British embargo with reference to arms I do not
know, did you discuss already the arms embargo that the Brits
have and the fact that it appears that some small arms have
been sold by China to Zimbabwe? What were we doing? What was
our intercession, if any, with reference to all of that?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. Powell. The British embargo was a unilateral action
taken by the British. We certainly can look at that measure and
its effectiveness, particularly if the election does not go
I do not have a full report on the reference that you are
making to the arms shipment, but we will try to get more
information and share that with you.
[The response to questions appears in the appendix.]
Mr. Chairman, one of the Members asked about the two Cuban
doctors. Would it be possible for me to respond just briefly to
Mr. Royce. Certainly, and then we are going to go to Mr.
Payne for his questioning and then to Congresswoman Barbara
Go ahead, Ambassador.
Ms. Powell. UNHCR has had access to the two doctors. They
have confirmed that their health and other conditions are fine.
They are being held in protective custody in conditions that
meet international standards.
We are working with UNHCR, certainly with the government of
Zimbabwe, to ensure that the government meets its obligations
under the handling of refugees and we will be continuing those
efforts to get the release of these two doctors from Zimbabwe.
Mr. Royce. Thank you very much, Ambassador.
We will now go to Mr. Payne.
Mr. Payne. Thank you.
I have met with some of the opposition leaders and they
seem to be fairly well organized, I see this in the work of IRI
and NDI. How would you assess the opposition in their
organization and their ability to get their program
Ms. Powell. As was stated, the MDC is the largest group and
it is a relatively new group. It has been built by many of the
followers of the labor union movement and they have had a very
good grassroots organization as a result of that and been able
to reach out through the country. They have aspired to have a
very nonviolent campaign, to look at issues, particularly of
dealing with the economy, and they have been, with the
exception of the no-go constituencies that Mr. Tsvangirai
talked about, they have been able to have a very vigorous
campaign, although certainly many of their members have been
intimidated, they have had their cards taken from them, they
have been forced to recant their membership, and there has been
a degree of intimidation that has been unprecedented.
But they have also provided perhaps the first real
opposition to the ZANU-PF in 20 years since independence.
Mr. Payne. To your knowledge, with regard to the HIV virus
and AIDS, is it more prominent in cities or in the rural
Ms. Powell. Mr. Payne, I am sorry; I do not know the
answer. I will have to find out. In general, it has been an
urban phenomenon but I am not sure in Zimbabwe.
[Further response appears in the appendix.]
Mr. Payne. Since we are running behind, I will just hold my
I would like to say that when Zimbabwe became independent,
the big emphasis was on education and health, and Mr. Mugabe
and his government did an outstanding job in education,
probably the best job done in any African country.
Unfortunately, the economy never caught up to the educated
individuals and therefore created unrest by virtue of the fact
that you do an outstanding job in educating your population and
then there is no place for them to go and seek employment. So
that was, I guess, one of the beginnings of the downfall of the
system there in Zimbabwe.
But I do feel that, and I will ask some of the other
speakers, I do feel that we did not--that the whole Lancaster
question, although we get different versions of what was
supposed to happen, but I think that is certainly part of the
problem that we find today because of what was not done at the
time when those agreements were made.
Just finally, I think that--I wish my colleague from Cuba
was still here because I have often commended the Cuban
government for the outstanding job that they have done around
the world by the fact of having an excellent educational system
there and providing a number of doctors throughout the world,
in particularly in the Third World. Had it not been for the
Cuban government, many countries in Africa would even be
suffering more with the lack of medical attention.
So I hope that this question is resolved with these two
doctors but I think that they have done a great humanitarian
service to the Third World, from Cuba. Thank you.
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Mr. Payne.
We will now go to Congresswoman Lee.
Ms. Lee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me just ask a couple of questions. Of course, land
reform was central in the independence struggle with regard to
the former Rhodesia and now it is central in the elections.
I am wondering what the United States' role has been in
terms of our foreign policy as it relates to land reform during
this period. Also in terms of donor help, has the United States
or is it helping in this effort?
I am still not clear on where we have been since
independence until now.
Ms. Powell. As you say, it has been a historical problem
that they have been dealing with. There have been 90,000
families that have been resettled on land that has been
acquired in a willing buyer/willing seller format over the last
In 1998, the recognition was made among the donor community
that not enough had been done to address this question. The
donor community and the government of Zimbabwe negotiated and
agreed upon some principles which again continued the willing
seller/willing buyer format.
They also tried to streamline some of the ownership
requirements and the registration of property. They tried to
ensure that women could own property and some of the farmland.
They also tried to incorporate an element of poverty
alleviation to the program, in addition to trying to make it
The U.S. role in support of this was to provide expertise
from the University of Wisconsin's Land Center. That program
was continued up until March of this year when we had to
suspend it as a result of the actions by the government of
We would like to provide that support. We think the issue
is a real one and one that needs to be addressed, but only
after the elections have been free and fair.
Ms. Lee. But let me just ask you, though, in terms of the
importance of land reform, have we ever just said, as part of
our foreign policy, ``Do it; it is important; it is critical.
If you do not do it, things could blow up at some point''?
Ms. Powell. We have not. We have included it in our efforts
to address economic reforms and clearly if there is not a
solution to this effort under the economic reform program,
Zimbabwe is not going to be able to attract investment, not
going to be able to move the agricultural economy forward. It
has also been an important part of that, but it has not been,
as you say, a sine qua non for continuing the aid program.
Ms. Lee. May I ask one more question?
Let me just ask you with regard to the HIV/AIDS crisis in
Zimbabwe, which is devastating the country--it is another part
of this overall security issue?
First, based on some of the numbers we have, 26 percent of
working adults tested positive for HIV/AIDS. 240 out of 340
people die of AIDS-related diseases each day. I know a large
percentage of the military is infected, also, in Zimbabwe.
Now, when President Mugabe sought to establish an AIDS
levy, there was major opposition--of course, from the labor
unions and other segments of the society. Primarily, I believe
the reason was the overtaxation already.
What have you found to be the case in Zimbabwe and how has
the national government addressed it as a priority, short of
this levy that has not been able to be, I guess, enacted at
Ms. Powell. You are quite right. It has not been enacted.
The government is taking a slightly more proactive stance
on AIDS, recognizing particularly its devastating impact on
individual families and particularly children, the impact that
it will have eventually on the work force and the economy. But,
as I mentioned earlier, we are still looking for much more
leadership from the central government. We consider this to be
a vital element of any government's attack on HIV/AIDS. There
must be central leadership in order to attack this and to make
people aware of the problem and what is being done.
Ms. Lee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Royce. Thank you.
That completes our first panel but in summing up, I would
ask that the administration be prepared to make a hard-nosed
call on this election. I think there is no room for allowing a
fudging of this election. So I thank you very much, Ambassador
Powell, for your testimony here today.
For our second panel we are going to hear from Ambassador
Chester Crocker. He is the James Schlesinger Professor of
Strategic Studies at the Georgetown University School of
Foreign Service. He served as assistant secretary of state for
African affairs from 1981 to 1989 and developed the diplomatic
strategy that led to the signing of the landmark New York
Accord. Dr. Crocker did undergraduate studies at Ohio State
University and earned his masters and his Ph.D. at Johns
Dr. Crocker may have to leave us early, so we appreciate
his testimony and we are going to ask him to go first.
Before we do that, we are just going to introduce Patrick
Merloe, responsible for directing the National Democratic
Institute and their electoral programs, including
constitutional and law reform projects. He is involved in NDI
programs related to the rule of law, public policy advocacy,
and citizen participation activities. Mr. Merloe's program
activities in the last year have involved him in Africa, Asia
and throughout the world. Mr. Merloe did his undergraduate
studies at Temple University and is a graduate of the
University of Pennsylvania Law School and we will hear from him
Then we will hear from Lloyd Pierson, director of the
Africa Division at the International Republican Institute. He
was previously an associate director of the Peace Corps and
also served as a Peace Corps country director in Ghana,
Botswana and Namibia. Mr. Pierson earned a B.A. in
international relations at the University of Houston and did
graduate studies in law and public administration.
He is no stranger to Capitol Hill, having worked as staff
associate and administrative assistant. He has also appeared
before this Subcommittee previously.
So we will now go to Ambassador Crocker.
STATEMENTS OF CHESTER CROCKER, PROFESSOR, INSTITUTE FOR THE
STUDY OF DIPLOMACY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY
Mr. Crocker. Thank you very much, Chairman Royce. Good to
be back here with you and your colleagues.
There has been a lot said about the trends and the facts on
the ground and there is a lot more that will be said by
colleagues on this panel and I do not want to spend a lot of
time on that, maybe focus a little bit more on what we can do,
what realistically are the options that we face. But just a few
observations, and I have given you a written statement, as
well, but just a few observations on the trend lines.
I have been a frequent visitor to Zimbabwe for the past 33
years and first went there at a time when it was also a
troubled country, in the midst of its liberation struggle
against minority rule, and I have been many times since.
Zimbabwe has often seemed a troubled place. Right after
independence there was a period of real troubles when many
people lost their lives. ZANU-PF was consolidating its monopoly
of political control.
So we have often seen Zimbabwe as a place, I think, where
there were the trappings of a democratic system but behind that
facade, if you will, there was the arbitrary use of official
power, as much official power as was needed to maintain a
monopoly of control, an uneven playing field for opposition and
resort to the tactics of intimidation.
But until the late 1990's, and is my first point that I
would like to underscore, Mr. Chairman, these practices
remained within certain limits, maybe, in part, because only
recently has the opposition really found its feet. But in any
case, I think we are seeing quite a different situation today
in terms of the patterns of intimidation and abuse.
This is a dramatic situation now in Zimbabwe. We are 10
days away from one of the most important elections in modern
African history. As has been noted, the opposition will run in
every constituency. Thousands of observers will be there from a
wide range of local and foreign institutions.
There is excitement in the air in the country politically
because the constitutional referendum process demonstrated that
there really is competition in Zimbabwe. At least there is
competition when it is permitted.
The upcoming election is taking place against a widespread
campaign of government-sanctioned and sponsored violence whose
dimensions, I think, are generally pretty well known.
I would like to underscore something you said, Mr.
Chairman. One stands in awe at the courage and conviction of
unarmed oppositionists who are trying to compete in the
political process against a government which is playing by
other rules, other rules altogether, and these leaders in the
opposition have come together from a wide range of
backgrounds--the union movement, the educational profession,
the law, journalism, human rights advocacy, women's groups, and
so forth, united in the belief that it is possible for Zimbabwe
to have peaceful, democratic change. Yet we know how much of an
uphill struggle this is.
This need not have happened in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a
place, Mr. Chairman, which has many things going for it in
terms of its resources, human and physical, in terms of the
strength of its industrial economy, its commercial agriculture,
which, until recently, has been a key source of regional
dynamism, making Zimbabwe a significant commodity and food
exporter and a key economic partner for all the countries of
I would also say that the leadership in Zimbabwe over the
years has not been all on the negative side. This is not a
country which has been for the last 20 years governed the way
it is being governed today.
Something has cracked. Something has gone wrong. Something
has gone badly off the tracks. This is a government which, at
times in the past, has been a constructive member of a regional
community. No longer. No longer the case.
So those legacies have gone out the window and Zimbabwe's
policies of the past of pragmatism and reconciliation and
regional cooperation have been replaced by the political of
greedy adventurism in the region, most notably in the Congo,
and the politics of envy and racial scapegoating at home.
The real problem, no matter what the government officials
may say, the real problems are of their own making. This is not
about land ownership. It is not about colonial legacies. It is
not about the role of white farmers. It is about power. It is
really about power and that is the long and the short of it.
The primary challenge in terms of power is coming from black
Zimbabweans and I think we have heard that already this morning
from Morgan Tsvangirai and his colleagues. Everything else is
pure cover story--the playing of racial cards by an embattled
The sad part of all this to me, Mr. Chairman, is that this
is not the way Robert Mugabe started out his political career.
It is not the way he was for much of the past 20 years. He has
made contributions to his country's history and that of the
region. While I have often differed with him, I have respected
him as a man of substance, intelligence, and deep conviction.
It is very sad to witness his fears of losing office crowd out
those other qualities.
So we have a drama. This could be an implosion with broad
regional implications far beyond those of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe
affects an entire region. It is at the hub of an entire region.
It is the Southern African region's second most important
player in many ways, both political and economic.
So I think we have a lot at stake. This is about our
principles and our interests in Zimbabwe, but it is also about
Africa and Southern Africa quite specifically.
Just to give one example, the South African currency has
gone down 10 to 15 percent in the past few months because of
Zimbabwe. It is as simple as that and there is no other
explanation for the performance of the rand. I know there are
people who try to give other explanations but that is my
What are we doing about it? My impression is that we are
wringing our hands. We are hoping South Africans will rescue
the situation. We are doing what we can to strengthen the
democratic process and I applaud everything that we are doing
as a government--executive branch, Congress, and NGO's, which
are playing the lead role--to try somehow and make this as
democratic an election as it can be. But we are not doing a
whole lot beyond that to shape events, either by ourselves or
with our partners in Africa and Europe. I would suggest to you
that things have deteriorated badly. There are not any really
attractive options left before us.
But there are two broad avenues we could consider. Of
course, we do not know how the election will come out. It is
possible that the election will come out better than we think,
that the playing field will be more level than we think, and
that the opposition will come out better than the worst case
analyses have led us to believe. It is possible and we do not
want to prejudge that result.
It may also be that the opposition would be very pleased,
thank you very much, if they win 50 seats, even if they know in
their heart of hearts that they could have won 90 and therefore
they will say, ``Look, is the glass half empty or is it half
full?'' We have to be a little careful, I think, in deciding
ahead of time what is an acceptable outcome because it is for
the people of Zimbabwe even in these difficult circumstances to
But I am not going to bet on an outcome as good as the one
I have just been talking about. If I were a betting man, I
would not bet on that kind of outcome. I would bet this
election is going to go south and that it is going to be
substantially robbed. I am afraid that is the case. I wish it
were not the case.
So under one scenario, if that is indeed what happens, we
have the possibility, I suppose, assuming that violent
intimidation and police state tactics work, of deciding, ``Do
we engage with this leadership, warts and all, or not?'' And by
engage, I do not mean writing checks for them. I mean using
every element of our actual and potential leverage to try to
pull them back from the edge of this self-destructive orgy they
are now in, and that will not be easy to do and it will not be
pretty to watch, but I think we do have leverage we have not
really used that perhaps could get through in a post-election
environment. The goal would be to salvage a regionally
dangerous situation and move the country's leadership back
within the pale of minimally acceptable conduct.
This will not be easy, given our political values and our
deep commitment to those values, to engage with a group like
this, but it might be better to do that than to resort to the
kind of petulant self-isolating ostracism which we are all too
frequently applying around the world today and isolating
The second option, and I speak very candidly, is to work
through all appropriate channels for a change in power in
Zimbabwe, recognizing that perhaps it is destined to become
Africa's Romania and that Mugabe is destined to become Africa's
Ceausescu. It was, though, even in Romania, the people of
Romania who made the change ultimately, not Americans.
So if we were to decide to try and work for change in power
in Zimbabwe, I would hope that we would have the wisdom to be
discrete, to be low-key and to avoid giving those in power
there the excuse that foreigners are out to get them.
We would treat Zimbabwe basically like a pariah under this
option. We would disengage from official government-to-
government relationships, programming of any sort, and wait for
the pressures to mount, helping them along as best we can.
Under either approach, we must recognize that we are only
one country and that we should be in careful, practical and
detailed consultations with the South Africans, with the
Zambians, with the Mozambiquans and above all, with the
British, who know this place and have more influence there than
So I hope that our current penchant around the world for
what I would call sloppy unilateralism can be brought under
some semblance of control and that we can actually figure out
how to work with key players in the region who also have
interests at stake in Zimbabwe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Crocker appears in the
Mr. Royce. I thank you, Ambassador Crocker.
We will now go to Mr. Merloe.
STATEMENT OF PAT MERLOE, DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS ON ELECTIONS AND
POLITICAL PROCESSES, NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE
Mr. Merloe. Thank you, Chairman Royce, Members of the
Subcommittee, for this opportunity to comment on the troubled
election and political processes that are surrounding the June
24-25 balloting in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you for your opening
comments in today's hearing. They were quite incisive and I can
associate myself closely with them.
I will briefly summarize for you my prepared statement.
Zimbabwe is a pivotal country in Southern Africa and its
democratic development is of exceptional importance to Africa
and beyond. The international community supported the people of
Zimbabwe in their quest for independence and majority rule.
Today people around the world continue to support those
striving in Zimbabwe to promote democracy, the rule of law, and
Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections, to be held in less than
2 weeks, present a critical test for the country's democratic
development. The National Democratic Institute for
International Affairs, NDI, received requests from a variety of
Zimbabwean political and civic leaders to monitor the electoral
developments. NDI has been working in Zimbabwe since February
1999, through support from the National Endowment for Democracy
and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The goal of this work has been to promote dialogue among
all of the major political parties in order to reach a common
understanding of the basic aspects of electoral reform needed
to hold credible elections.
As part of this work, we have taken leaders from civil
society, political parties and electoral authorities to witness
electoral developments in other countries where competitive
elections have been held, including South Africa and
Mozambique. On February 4 and 5 of this year, we sponsored a
roundtable with leaders of all of the major political parties
in Zimbabwe where they discussed and then drafted a code of
conduct for the parliamentary elections. Subsequently, all of
the political parties except for ZANU-PF have adopted that code
We also turned to a phase of training the trainers for poll
watchers for the political parties in that country. 720 of them
across the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe have been trained in order,
again, to try to bring some semblance of peace and civility
into the electoral process.
It is in this context that we received requests to observe
the election and working in close cooperation with the
International Republican Institute and other international and
domestic election observer groups, we decided to observe the
NDI then organized a multi-national preelection delegation
that visited Zimbabwe from the 15th to the 22nd of May. I was a
member of that delegation, which was led by the Honorable Alex
Ekwueme, former vice president of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983
under that country's civilian government. It included members
of parliament from neighboring Mozambique, from also Namibia,
from Kenya, from Canada. We received technical advice from the
chief election officer from South Africa, as well as from our
Southern Africa team.
Since that time, NDI has maintained an in-country staff and
added a 10-person long-term observer group that has been
deployed around the country and that has been developing
reports and information. There will be a report from that group
that will be finished by the end of this week, copies of which
will be provided to the Subcommittee.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, you were
supplied a copy of NDI's preelection delegation 17-page
statement which was issued on May 22 in Harare. It also has
been included as an appendix to my prepared statement.
That delegation concluded that the conditions for credible
democratic elections did not exist at that time. Regrettably,
conditions for credible democratic elections still have not
been established in Zimbabwe. The effects of violence and
attempts at political intimidation have undermined trust among
many Zimbabweans in the secrecy of the ballot and have raised
fears of retribution for voting against the ruling political
These factors could affect the voters' decisions about
whether to vote and for whom to vote on June 24 and June 25.
Political violence since Zimbabwe's February 2000 referendum
has restricted the exercise of freedoms of opinion, expression,
association, assembly and movement, as well as the right to be
secure from physical harm due to political affiliation. The
abilities of political parties and many candidates,
predominantly from the opposition, to campaign openly and
freely do not meet international standards for electoral
The election conditions fail to meet requirements contained
in the declaration of rights in Zimbabwe's constitution and
electoral standards based upon international instruments, such
as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African
Charter on Human and People's Rights, which are applicable to
The level of violations of civil and political rights in
Zimbabwe's election context led Amnesty International on June 6
to issue a report entitled ``Zimbabwe: Terror Tactics in the
Run-Up to the Parliamentary Elections, June 2000.'' I provided
copies of that report to the Subcommittee and I would like to
quote for you just two sentences from the first page of Amnesty
``Amnesty International has concluded from its
inquiries''--their team in Zimbabwe--``that there is evidence
that the government of Zimbabwe is either instigating or
acquiescing in various violations of human rights, including
extrajudicial executions, torture, and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment. There appears to be a
deliberate and well thought out plan of systematic human rights
violations, with a clear strategy constituting state-sponsored
terror in the run-up to the June elections.''
Although political violence appears to have diminished
somewhat during the past month, it continues at tragically high
levels. An atmosphere of fear still prevails over much of the
country. While supporters of the ruling party, ZANU-PF, and of
the opposition parties have been victims of political violence,
the overwhelming predominance has concerned supporters of the
Mr. Chairman, while Zimbabwe's election authorities have
demonstrated in the past an ability to organize the
administrative aspects of elections, there are serious problems
in the legal framework for elections and election
administration, as well. Should the violence cease, electoral
problems will come to the fore.
There was a consensus, for example, across the political
spectrum that an independent election commission was required
to organize credible elections. Following the defeat of the
referendum, the elections were called, however, without
instituting that electoral reform.
Critical problems concerning a level playing field have
also been identified. There is heavy news bias favoring the
political party that is in power. The qualification
requirements for state funding result in only one party, ZANU-
PF, receiving such funding. New voters rolls, which have been
Mr. Houghton. Would you please summarize?
Mr. Merloe. Yes, I am coming to a conclusion, thank you.
The new voter rolls also provide concern that there may be
disenfranchisement on the 24th and 25th of June.
Mr. Chairman, there also have been problems concerning
election observers, which my colleague Lloyd Pierson will
address, that have affected the plans of NDI and IRI. But
despite these and other obstacles that are serious, as we have
seen, political parties in the opposition and civic and
religious leaders have been mobilizing to participate in the
electoral process and to monitor it.
International experience has demonstrated that in countries
like Zimbabwe where violence and fear undermine credibility, it
is necessary for the government to take extraordinary steps to
win the confidence for there to be a meaningful election that
can be accepted by the opposition, ruling party, and the
citizenry alike. It is unfortunate that such efforts have not
been made in Zimbabwe. It is hoped that responsible authorities
will take swift action in the 11 days that remain.
It is unfortunate, however, that in 11 days remaining
before the election, there is not really time or the
opportunity to discuss a level playing field. That question is
settled. We hope that there can be nonetheless a peaceful and
orderly election that takes place and that political violence
will stop and there will not be retributions in the post-
election period. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Merloe appears in the
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Mr. Merloe.
Now we will go to Mr. Pierson.
STATEMENT OF LLOYD PIERSON, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA,
INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INSTITUTE
Mr. Pierson. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I would
like to, in the beginning, say a particular thanks and
appreciation to you and Congressman Payne and the other Members
of this Committee for all of your outstanding support for
democracy and governance programs and particularly for this
hearing focussing on Zimbabwe.
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for
the opportunity to appear here today and comment on one of the
most powerful democratic reform movements currently under way,
not only in Africa but in the world. A courageous coalition of
political parties, trade unions, civil society groups,
religious organizations and what appears to be an overwhelming
percentage of the Zimbabwe people are sending a very strong
message that a desperate authoritarian regime will not last.
For those of us who have a longstanding deep affection for
Zimbabwe, for those who recognize the talents, work ethics and
values of most Zimbabweans, for those who know that democracy
has won the intellectual battle as the best political system to
guarantee open and transparent government and protect
individual liberties, for those who cherish life, liberty and
pursuit of happiness and believe that government should be of,
for and by the people, current events in Zimbabwe are very
The present government of Zimbabwe began its journey in
1980 with great hope. Many currently in the opposition were
originally a part of ZANU-PF, the majority party, or considered
themselves in partnership to foster a peaceful transition from
Rhodesian colonial rule. Education and health care facilities
were improved. Land reform was and continues to be considered a
necessity by virtually all Zimbabweans.
After 20 years in power, the government has lost its way.
Democracy and good governance have been shoved aside for power
and control. Due process, free speech, rule of law, freedom of
the press and the right to assembly are not only under attack
by the government; it is the Mugabe government that clearly
ignores rulings of the judicial branch and suppresses its own
Mr. Chairman, a very strong Sense of the House Resolution
has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. I
might comment that when Mr. Hastings was making a statement and
some questions to Assistant Secretary Powell, he brought up the
need for very tough measures concerning Zimbabwe and we agree
with that and he brought up the Sense of the House Resolution.
The Sense of the House Resolution really had its origins,
Mr. Chairman, in early March in a meeting in your office with
the reform delegation members who came from Zimbabwe. The
impact of that Sense of the House Resolution in no way should
be underestimated. While many Sense of the House Resolutions
may, in fact, be routine or a matter of course, that Sense of
the House Resolution had a major impact in Zimbabwe.
I might have to check my chronology on it but I believe
that that statement was the first major statement from any U.S.
part, executive branch or the legislative branch or any
organization, that really dealt with the violence, the
intimidation, the harassment in this troubled preelection
period and rule of law in Zimbabwe. You, Mr. Gilman, Mr.
Hastings and others were among the Members of Congress that
have strongly supported that resolution. Very strong
legislation regarding Zimbabwe has been introduced in the
In Zimbabwe we have seen and believe that the opportunity
genuinely exists for an open, transparent government. IRI's
interest is in the development of a multi-party system and a
government that is for the people, not for itself.
I want to also stress that the democratic reform movement
in Zimbabwe is being led and supported by the people of
Zimbabwe, not external organizations. The democratic reform
movement will continue with or without IRI or any other
international assistance. There should be no mistake about
that. We can, however, have an impact by showing our support
for democracy and good governance.
The stakes are very high in this election. The
parliamentary elections on June 24 and 25 are for 120 seats.
The parliament, the National Assembly, actually has 150 seats.
Thirty of those are named by the president of the country. Of
the 120 seats, and each individual runs in what is called a
constituency, which is similar to our congressional district,
of the 120 seats currently in the parliament, 117 of those are
from the majority party. Based on statistical analysis of the
February 12 referendum and what the opposition sees as their
opportunity in this election, they have estimated that as much
as 100 of those seats in the June 24-25 balloting could go to
As you are aware, Mr. Chairman, the International
Republican Institute at this time has a commitment to send an
international observer delegation to these elections. We
already have six observers on the ground. There is an
accreditation problem. We do not know at this time if the
observers who we have presently in Zimbabwe or this delegation
is going to be accredited. There are innumerable number of
problems and difficulties that we are having.
Shortly before this hearing began, I talked with our
resident director in Zimbabwe who had just returned from a
meeting at the United States Embassy. The process for
accreditation of IRI and NDI over the past several weeks has
changed virtually daily. The latest requirement is that no
nongovernment organization from the United States will be
accredited as an observer mission.
The deputy chief of mission of the State Department met
today at the Foreign Ministry in Zimbabwe and was advised that
the only delegation that would be accredited from the United
States would be an official delegation from the U.S. Embassy,
that no nongovernment organization not going through the U.S.
Embassy would be accredited.
We have a commitment, we have a very strong commitment to
observe and monitor these elections and we intend to abide by
that but I do want you, Mr. Chairman, to know that there is a
serious problem right now and we have to--I did mention to
Assistant Secretary Powell shortly before her testimony, she is
aware of this requirement. They are verifying it and we will do
other verification today.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my testimony but I did want
you to know that there is a serious problem with the
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pierson appears in the
Mr. Royce. Mr. Pierson, thank you very much. I thank you
all for your testimony.
I guess I would turn to Ambassador Crocker at this point
and ask the Ambassador--I noticed he was reflecting on your
comments and on Mr. Merloe's. What advice, Ambassador, would
you give NDI at this point and IRI and what advice would you
give us with that new information that we just heard?
Mr. Crocker. Chairman Royce, that is interesting and new
information. There is obviously a very elaborate political
process of accreditation under way and I gather numbers like
thousands of observers are being mentioned. I do not have a
precise number to put on it.
My recommendation would be to our executive branch and the
State Department that we ought to see to it that no foreign
government can conduct itself that way because we are going to
make IRI and NDI part of our official delegation. That is what
I would do. I would turn it right back around on itself.
Mr. Royce. I see. That is an interesting approach. I am
glad I asked that. I think that----
Mr. Pierson. I do not know if NDI and IRI want to be
embraced as part of the official delegation.
Mr. Royce. That is true; we should ask them. But we will
continue this dialogue actually after the hearing and Mr.
Merloe, I will talk with you and Mr. Pierson at that time.
Of course, much of your focus, Ambassador, was on what we
could do multilaterally. Tell us what some of our multilateral
options would be if the administration could work in tandem
right now. I know we had a meeting here with President Mbeki.
He was very concerned. I know worldwide there is a great deal
of apprehension about what is going on. What do you think
multilaterally could be done at this time, in the next 2 weeks
and then after?
Mr. Crocker. I am glad you mentioned the South Africans,
Mr. Chairman, because they are very central. Pressures from the
outside world which are not fully supported and focussed by the
South Africans will be highly diluted by the time they get to
Zimbabwe. This is a landlocked country which depends on its
maritime coastal neighbors, principally Mozambique and South
Africa. As we now from the history, going back to the bad years
of Ian Smith, it was the same back then and if the South
Africans were on another sheet of music, it did not work.
So we have to work closely with the South Africans and it
would be helpful, I think, if our legislative bodies in both
countries could be seen to be on the same page and our
executive branches on the same page.
I am glad to hear what you said, Mr. Chairman, about
President Mbeki's stance. The trouble is sometimes there are a
variety of messages coming from South Africa about the election
that is coming up and that, I think, has complicated things.
But this situation in Zimbabwe is having a dire effect on
the South African economy. It is a direct threat to the
prospects for investment throughout Southern Africa and I think
we start with our friends in the region.
Second, Mr. Chairman, I would point to the role of the
international financial agencies, which we and our industrial
allies basically can shape their decisions, both positively and
negatively. There has been some focus previously this morning
on what we could suspend and cutoff and, of course, there are
things that are in suspense already. There are not a lot of
resources, if any, flowing from the IFI's to Zimbabwe today.
But looking to the future, there might come a time when we
would like to be able to describe a positive, significant,
substantial package for Zimbabwe under different conditions and
we can also help to orchestrate that because these are clubs
and institutions whose keys we control, to be quite blunt about
it, and I think we can use that leverage effectively, more
effectively perhaps than we have.
Third, I would go back to my point about our British allies
and the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is an important
institution for Zimbabwe. The Commonwealth is a very
significant part of Zimbabwe's international relationships. But
we are not a member of the Commonwealth and are not applying to
join, to my knowledge, so that suggests that maybe we should be
talking more closely and more operationally than we are with
the British about what could be done. The British have very
substantial influence and knowledge of the place, so I think we
should be working together, both on immediate operational
questions like land reform packages and on longer-term issues,
like what do we do with this government going forward?
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Ambassador.
Colin Powell and I chaired an election observer team a year
ago in Nigeria where I worked with Mr. Pierson, IRI, NDI, and
Don Payne worked us, our Ranking Member, in that trip to
Nigeria for the election and that election was a step toward
full democracy in Nigeria.
The NDI and IRI have observed many elections throughout the
world and one of the questions I would ask is in what instances
have you declared an election unacceptable? Have you done that
in the past? What were those instances? I would just be
interested in hearing that. Mr. Merloe?
Mr. Merloe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Yes, indeed there have
been instances in the past where elections have been declared
by IRI, ourselves and others, to be unacceptable. We are
staring at that situation right now in Zimbabwe, to be frank
with you, sir. The preelectoral conditions are critical to
examining any election process and by all standards, Zimbabwe's
preelection environment has failed.
The use of the media, the qualification of only one party
for state funding, the situation of violence and intimidation
that has restricted the ability to campaign and has intimidated
citizens who make up the electorate, these are conditions that
weigh very heavily. Even if election day itself is calm and
goes well, we may be in a position where we will not be able to
say that the will of the electorate, which provides the
authority of government, has been expressed. I think it is a
very grave circumstance that we look at in Zimbabwe, sir.
Mr. Royce. Thank you, Mr. Merloe.
Mr. Pierson. Mr. Chairman, there have been instances in
which IRI and NDI individually and also jointly have said that
an election in a particular country did not meet international
standards, was not a credible election.
Our commitment in Zimbabwe is to observe the entire process
before we make a final statement but it is certainly headed in
that direction in which we would make a very direct,
straightforward statement relating to the intimidation, the
harassment, the problems with the voter registration rolls,
auditing those voter registration rolls, accreditation
problems, problems with monitors being able to monitor at the
polling stations and the counting centers.
A part of our planning, Mr. Chairman, before even venturing
into the observation process in Zimbabwe was to make sure that
the delegation team that we have going, because of the
importance and the problems that are under way in Zimbabwe, has
been to make sure that we have a very experienced delegation
team. I think every individual, including staff from both sides
of the aisle here, have observed elections in the past. We have
IRI staff members going who have observed anywhere, at least
from 10 to 12 on up elections, so we are very conscious of the
serious, serious nature of this election process.
Mr. Royce. We are going to go to Mr. Don Payne and then to
Dr. John Cooksey, Congressman from Louisiana, but before we do,
the last question I would ask is just to name some of the
countries, if you could, where elections have been found
unacceptable in terms of fair and free.
Mr. Pierson. Mr. Chairman, I would have to go back and read
the statement just to make sure, but the one that does come to
mind, and I know much of the team we have going to Zimbabwe is
also a team that went to Azerbaijan and commented on those
elections. I would like for the record to be able to expand on
that but that is one country that comes to mind.
Mr. Merloe. Mr. Chairman, if I may, it is unfortunate to
say that recently there have been a number of such elections
and the situation in Zimbabwe must be viewed in that context
because autocrats and would-be autocrats around the world are
observing very closely each other.
What we have witnessed in Peru, for example, is an election
that did not meet international standards and NDI and the
Carter Center, which were working jointly there, decided not to
send an observation team because of that. Azerbaijan was an
example, but in January of this year in Kyrgyzstan, the
elections failed to meet international standards.
We believe that it is unfortunate. There has been such
progress in Africa. You gave the happy example of Nigeria and
the Nigerians have played an important role in our observation
efforts in Zimbabwe, very important efforts that have gone
forward in Namibia and in Southern Africa in general. We think
this is an unfortunate retrogression and we think it is
important to keep a close eye.
Mr. Royce. Thank you.
We will now go to Mr. Payne and then Mr. Cooksey.
Mr. Payne. Thank you very much.
I am sorry I missed most of the testimony but could you
just quickly describe what NDI does, as opposed to IRI? I know
one usually trains local people; others deal with technical
parts. Could you both give me about a 30-second synopsis of
what each of you do?
Mr. Merloe. Yes, thank you, Congressman.
Mr. Payne. In Zimbabwe.
Mr. Merloe. In Zimbabwe, yes, of course. In Zimbabwe, over
the course of the last year and a half, NDI has worked with a
broad spectrum of political parties to try to reach consensus
about needed electoral reforms, including the drafting of a
code of conduct, which was approved by the representatives of
all parties in February 4 and 5. The executive committees of
all of the parties except ZANU-PF also have signed that code of
We have worked to train political party poll watchers. 740
trainers from all of the parties in all 10 provinces are now
going and training poll watchers around the country.
We have taken representatives of the parties and civil
society to observe elections in neighboring countries that have
been competitive, such as South Africa and Mozambique.
We have concentrated our international observation of
elections, in cooperation with IRI, in the preelection period,
sir, through our delegation that was there in May and a team of
10 people that have been observing and will observe for some
months afterwards. We plan a post-election delegation and will
have several members joining the IRI international delegation.
Mr. Payne. Thank you.
Mr. Pierson. Congressman, we started work in Zimbabwe in
1993. Approximately 2 years ago we felt that this democratic
reform movement was really going to take shape and focus, that
it was a people's movement in Zimbabwe and we quadrupled our
program activities there. Those activities have ranged from
support to legal coalitions in Zimbabwe to challenging
executive or legislative branch rulings or decisions that would
impact on human rights.
We are helping to support voter education programs in
Zimbabwe. We have subgrants with organizations that are working
to encourage greater woman participation in the political
process, greater youth participation, and presently we are also
helping to train over 3,000 domestic monitors.
We have been there for some time in the preelection period.
We also, in the post-election period, through the National
Endowment for Democracy, have funds in which we will train the
newly elected parliamentarians.
Mr. Payne. Thank you.
What other groups are there, like NDI or IRI, from other
donor countries? Are there others? Do you work along with other
British or Scandinavian groups?
Mr. Merloe. Yes, Congressman Payne, we are working very
closely with the Commonwealth Secretariat that set up its
observation mission and also the European Union, which has 110
observers that have been sent to watch this election process.
They, too, have had problems with their accreditation process.
We are working, most importantly, very closely with the
domestic observers that have been involved in the referendum
and have been monitoring the process since then. So there is a
close cooperation, not just between the two party institutes
from the United States but also internationally with the
observation teams and with the domestic teams.
Mr. Pierson. Our resident director in Zimbabwe,
Congressman, yesterday was a part of the briefings with the EU.
We are in constant contact with all of the other international
organizations that are there. Obviously frequent contact with
our colleagues from the National Democratic Institute.
In terms of deployment, there are the 120 constituencies in
Zimbabwe; there are approximately 4,000 polling stations. In
terms of if we do get accredited and a lot of the obstacles
there get surmounted, then in terms of deployment, IRI, NDI
delegation, where those deployments will be is also being
coordinated together so we do not find just one large
delegation at one or two polling stations. We are working on
that; coordination is very important.
Mr. Payne. Thank you.
Let me just ask Dr. Crocker, when did you serve--was it
1981 to 1985 or 1985 to 1989 or----
Mr. Crocker. All the above, Congressman Payne.
Mr. Payne. When were you the assistant secretary for
African affairs, if there was such a title at that time?
Mr. Crocker. 1981 through the middle of 1989.
Mr. Payne. OK. Then you were there at the time of the
Lancaster House commitment, so to speak.
Mr. Crocker. That was the Carter Administration that was in
office at that time. That was 1979. The fall of 1979 was
Lancaster House and then the early months of 1980 was the lead-
up to independence, which came in April 1980. I was not yet in
office until January 1981, sir.
Mr. Payne. So we cannot totally blame you for that one.
Mr. Crocker. Not totally, on that one.
Mr. Payne. You have enough on your plate. We do not need to
give you that one, right?
But since you came in shortly after that, and I am looking
at some of the work done by the Congressional Research Service,
which usually does a pretty objective job, it talks about this
question of the land. It says Britain was obligated to finance
the purchase of land from whites for redistribution in part
because British subjects had initially taken the land by force,
particularly because of commitments they felt were made at
Lancaster House negotiations. I guess this is Mugabe's point.
Since the whole question of Lancaster House commitments is
now becoming a tool that Mugabe is using to try to gain some
upper hand--I mean it is a real issue--what is your
recollection of what the British said they would do and what
the Carter Administration said that they would do as it related
to the land redistribution and compensation?
Mr. Crocker. Congressman Payne, I do not have a
photographic memory and that is quite a while ago. I think the
British were in the lead position on this issue. There were
probably some encouraging signals--body language and so on--
sent by American diplomats, as well, that in the right context,
there would be some funding for land reform, but that context
would have to include a credible program, Zimbabwe program for
distributing whatever land could be acquired under a willing
buyer/willing seller basis and, of course, that context has
never been developed.
So the issue today in Zimbabwe, if I could fast-forward for
a minute, is not a shortage of land for distribution; it is
absence of a governmental program that has any credibility or
transparency for distributing the land that is available for
distribution. Several million hectares are available for
distribution and they have been identified as such. They are
not even being used.
So that is not the issue. The issue is the government does
not have a package, a program in place for deciding who would
get it and for administering the details of that, which is
I think everyone agrees there needs to be land reform in
Zimbabwe but not just to cronies from the regime. I think that
has been the sticking point.
The British are the experts on what they promised or did
not promise and I really would have to take your question and
maybe give you a written answer, look into it a bit more
Mr. Payne. Thank you.
Just one last point. When the incident between Zimbabwe and
the U.S.--I think President Carter--was that during your time?
Do you remember when President Carter was invited on the Fourth
of July and there was some lower level--some government
official made some bad remarks? When was that, do you recall?
Mr. Crocker. That would have been about 1985. If memory
serves, it was a Fourth of July ceremony and a minister of the
government of Zimbabwe chose the occasion of the U.S. Fourth of
July party in to U.S. Embassy to trash the United States.
President Carter, to his credit, and the entire U.S. diplomatic
mission walked out of their own reception.
It is not unusual, actually. There have been other cases in
U.S.--Zimbabwean relations when one wondered why we were
talking to each other because it was not working very well, but
that was certainly one of them.
Mr. Payne. Thank you.
Mr. Royce. Mr. Cooksey and then Mr. Meeks.
Mr. Cooksey. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank you for
Could I ask a question? Ambassador Nancy Powell is no
longer here. Is there anyone here from the State Department?
You are from the State Department, OK.
I have been dealing with Africa about 2 hours yesterday and
since 8:30 this morning, back in this room and in my office. I
missed your testimony.
Questions. I, too, am concerned about the integrity of the
elections. We have the same problem in Louisiana. We have a
story we tell in Louisiana that we sold some old voting
machines to Mexico and that Edwin Edwards won the first
election in Mexico that they used them in. It is just that bad;
it has been that bad in Chicago. In Miami, they overturned a
Miami election, mayor's election, not too long ago.
It happens in the United States and it just makes me madder
that you know what when I see people stealing elections, and
they go on here and we have been the victims in Louisiana and
in the United States in various places and it just makes me
madder than heck that it is going on over there, too. It is the
same mentality of people that are dishonest, that are
demagogues, that are power-hungry and do not really care about
doing the right thing.
My question then, and I want you to answer this, if we went
into Nicaragua and tried to get Ortega out, who is a Communist;
we went into Panama and got Noriega out, who was a drug dealer
and a hood and a crook; and then we kicked the temporary ruler
of Kuwait out named Saddam Hussein, and Milosevic in the
Balkans, why is it that we tippy-toe in Africa?
Republicans have done it and Democrats have done it. Are
all of the political leaders cowards? Why aren't they
consistent? When we talk about human rights with PNTR, with
China, explain to me why these wimpy politicians in the
Democrat Party and the Republican Party ignore people who have
had their arms cutoff in Sierra Leone, people who have been
brutalized in Zimbabwe, in Mozambique, and I was in Mozambique
during the last part of that civil war, and in Liberia.
Anybody want to take that question? The man from the State
Department, give me an explanation. Give me an excuse for these
politicians. You are not politicians; you are diplomats; you
But I'll tell you up front I am brutal on politicians
wherever they are.
Mr. Pierson. Congressman, I do not want to be an apologist
for anyone but let me address the situation in Zimbabwe.
I think in Zimbabwe you have some of the most courageous,
patriotic people that I have ever seen anywhere. I had the
opportunity to live in Africa for over 7 years. 1991 I
negotiated the Peace Corps bilateral agreement for Peace Corps
to enter into Zimbabwe. I cannot say I am a Zimbabwe expert but
I have had a long-time interest in the country----
Mr. Cooksey. When was that?
Mr. Pierson. 1991, sir.
I think the people there are among the most courageous,l
and I am not just talking party people. I mean civil society,
individuals. One of the things that has impressed me is in
Zimbabwe this is not just a political party movement. This is a
people's movement that is going on in which the lines are very
clear between those who want democratic reform and those who do
not and will suppress that democratic reform.
One of the messages that we as an organization in every
country in which we operate do encourage, though, is that in a
democracy, you have a peaceful transition. There have been
times during the course of this where we know that the
opposition and the reform individuals have brought up the
possibility of violence against violence and our message has
always been that we represent, we think, the best democracy in
the world and in that democracy, political power is gained by
dialogue, not by arms.
Now, we know that Mr. Mandela in South Africa, who has had
long disagreements with Mr. Mugabe, in a statement earlier this
year in Pretoria, I believe, lot a UNICEF gathering made the
comment that people should take up arms against tyrants, and he
was asked, ``Who do you mean?'' and he said, ``You know who I
mean,'' meaning Mr. Mugabe.
But I do not think there is any weakness involved. We are
not talking about military action. We are not encouraging
people to take up arms. What we are encouraging, Congressman,
is for people who want democracy to do that in a very peaceful
way and we think the idea of democracy--they may not win all
the seats that they expect but as long as they are on that
path, that is the path that we have always encouraged them to
Mr. Cooksey. There is no question that is the best way to
I am an eye surgeon. I was over there working on eye
surgery. The first year I went over there I was frustrated
because things were not moving as fast as a manic surgeon--we
like to move quickly. After a while I kind of got into the
thing, had the attitude of kudu metati and I thought, are we
getting into that same mentality in this country?
Mr. Pierson. I will let my colleague from NDI also speak,
and Ambassador Crocker, but I would say we need to be very
tough in terms of Zimbabwe, very, very tough. A part of that
toughness already I think has been the Sense of the House
Resolution from the House, the bill introduced by Senator Frist
to the Africa Subcommittee on the Senate side, which is very
tough legislation, and that is the kind of thing I think we
ought to be looking at.
Mr. Merloe. I will be very brief, Congressman. First, I
would agree that the House Resolution 500, Senator McCain
introducing an almost identical resolution in the Senate, the
Senate bill that has been mentioned, these things all deserve
serious consideration and the government of this country, as
well as governments of other countries, I believe, have to
apply the same standards everywhere, whether it is in Africa,
whether it is in Latin America, whether it is in Asia or
Europe, whether it is the former Soviet states or whether it is
a state coming from a military dictatorship. That is what we
do. That is what we try to do and all we can do is call on
others to do so, as well.
Like many Members of this Subcommittee, I was one of the
people who supported the movement in Zimbabwe for independence
and for majority rule and there would be nothing I would like
better than to bring to you a report that things are moving
positively there, but they are not.
What we really should be concentrating upon and it is not
too early to concentrate upon is the question of what will
happen in the post-election period. Beyond these elections,
there is a threat of continuing violence, no matter which way
the results turn out. There is a possibility of retribution and
there needs to be a strong signal from the international
community coming from Washington, coming from Brussels, coming
from Pretoria, that these sorts of things will not be tolerated
I had the honor to work with President Carter just 10 days
ago and former President Carazo from Costa Rica drafting a
letter to the OAS calling on them to call the situation in Peru
like it was and to take strong measures within the OAS.
This is a worldwide problem and it is a problem that I
think we have to address with the kind of forthrightness that
Members of the Subcommittee have done and to continue to be
vigilant in the days and the months ahead and not to turn our
attention away when elections are over.
The fortunate thing about elections is it concentrates
international attention on a country as it calls upon the
citizens to rise to the occasion and to act in the national
interest. The unfortunate thing is that we often turn our
attention away to the next problem afterwards, and there is a
lot to be done in Zimbabwe. The people there, as my colleague
has pointed out, deserve our support.
Mr. Crocker. Thank you, and thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Royce. We will now go to Mr. Meeks.
Mr. Meeks. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am concerned in regards to making sure that there is
peace, although I do not really know--I just left some young
people when I left out of here and I talked to them and they
just made me mindful. I am not sure whether we are the ones
that can best advise on land reform because coming from
descendants of slaves myself, I am still waiting for my 40
acres and a mule of land reform right here in America, and that
has not happened.
So I also then was reminded therefore of a statement that
President Mugabe said and I just was wondering what kind of
response you would give. He said, ``Land was taken from our
people during colonization''--this is a direct quote. ``Land
was taken from our people during colonization without
compensation but now the British say we must pay compensation
for the soil stolen from us.''
Question then is, and we did not do anything. There was a
question that was asked by the gentlelady from California to
the secretary beforehand or the Ambassador beforehand in
regards to what was America's role in trying to make sure that
there was land reform before we got to this point and I did not
hear anything that we did that tried to make sure that there
was a land reform and, in essence, 40 acres and a mule to
individuals in Zimbabwe after the 1980 revolution in Zimbabwe,
just as we did not do in our own country.
So how would you respond? What rational response would you
submit that we give to Mr. Mugabe and some others who had
property violently taken from them back during the colonization
period of time and now some of these people who want the land
back, they do not have the resources to pay for some of the
I understand Mr. Crocker's point that we do have to have a
process; there has to be a process put in place and it cannot
go to just the cronies. That point is well taken because we
have to make sure, but how can we then actively play a role in
that process and making a difference in regards to land reform
in Zimbabwe, and responding to Mr. Mugabe's comments, also.
Mr. Crocker. If I may, with the permission of the chair, I
do not think anyone debates that land reform is a legitimate
issue in Zimbabwe, but I think the second point--and clearly,
land was taken from the indigenous people. That is what
colonialism was about. It was about taking land and in many
cases settling land. So there is no debate about the historical
record. The land was stolen fair and square, just like the
Panama Canal was in our own history. I do not think anyone
The issue is in 20 years, what has the government of
Zimbabwe done to rectify the problem? It has done nothing,
despite offers of resources and offers of land availability?
So it has been very hard, I think, for our country to
figure out a context to work in, precisely as you were saying.
I think we have tried and Assistant Secretary Powell described
what we were doing until this thing got interrupted by the
seizures of land.
But one final observation I would make is that I do not
think that President Mugabe wants a solution to this problem. I
think he wants to use this problem. This problem is not a new
problem. Every time there has been an election in Zimbabwe
since independence in 1980 there has been a land reform debate
and there has been talk about getting access to land for the
majority of Zimbabweans, but it is stirred up in time for
elections, Congressman Meeks. It is not, in fact, resolved
because it is very convenient to use it in elections. I wish it
were not the case but it is just opportunism.
Mr. Pierson. I agree in entirety with Dr. Crocker. I think
the only thing that I would add in terms of information that we
have seen available to us is that much of the government land
that has been available has gone to the president, President
Mugabe, and to government ministers.
I believe approximately 2 months ago there was finally a
confidential release and my recollection of 500 different very
large plots or farms that had been available that the
government had owned and my recollection, Congressman, is that
all of that land had gone to ministers or ZANU official at
extraordinarily low lease rates.
But I do not think there is anyone--there are very few
people that would disagree in terms that the land issue is a
major issue in Zimbabwe and needs to be addressed in a very
practical, pragmatic way.
Mr. Merloe. Mr. Chairman, with your permission, just a
Congressman Meeks, I totally agree with you, both about the
reference to the United States history, as well as the
situation in Zimbabwe.
I had the honor, with our delegation, less than 3 weeks ago
to sit with Bishop Muzararwa, Reverend Sitole, the Honorable
Margaret Dongo, who have brought together their political
parties into the voting pact in opposition. Each of their
parties has a position on land reform. As we heard from Morgan
Tsvangirai, his party has a position on land reform.
I also had the opportunity to sit with the leaders of ZANU-
PF and the National Democratic Institute has maintained
relationships with ZANU-PF, as well as with the other parties,
and they, too, talked about the fight for land reform.
I think there is a unanimity among the majority of people
within Zimbabwe that land reform is critical. It has been
critical as the question of independence. It is tied to the
identify of the country and it is something that has to be
As members of the international community, I think we have
to not be hypocritical and call upon our own countries to push
for this, no matter who may be in government. So I would agree
with you, sir.
Mr. Meeks. In fact, I would say we could lead by example.
Give me my 40 acres and a mule and all of my people who are
descendants of slavery and then we can show them how we can
have some true land reform and then maybe they can follow our
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Royce. That concludes our hearing and I want to thank
our witnesses, our panel.
I also want to thank Charmaine Houseman. I am going to ask
her to stand. I want to acknowledge her good work for this
Committee because she is our staff associate for the Africa
Subcommittee. She is leaving us after 2 years to attend law
school and she has done a great job and we wish Charmaine the
best in law school. Thanks, Charmaine.
Thank you all for attending this hearing.
Witnesses, thanks for making the trip out here. We stand
[Whereupon, at 12:35 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
June 13, 2000
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