US embassy cable - 00GABORONE5064

STRENGTHENING MULTIPARTY DEMPOCRACY IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

Identifier: 00GABORONE5064
Wikileaks: View 00GABORONE5064 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Gaborone
Created: 2000-11-09 12:53:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: SADC EAID KDEM PGOV PHUM
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 091253Z NOV 00
FM AMEMBASSY GABORONE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5808
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GABORONE 005064 
 
DEPT. FOR AF - SCHNEIDMAN, AF/S - RENDER 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SADC, EAID, KDEM, PGOV, PHUM 
SUBJECT: STRENGTHENING MULTIPARTY DEMPOCRACY IN SOUTHERN 
AFRICA 
 
REF: A) STATE 119706, B) GABORONE 1355, C) GABORONE 5057 
 
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SUMMARY 
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1.  IN THE PAST YEAR SOUTHERN AFRICA HAS WITNESSED A 
SERIES OF ELECTIONS.  SOME, SUCH AS THOSE IN MOZAMBIQUE, 
ZIMBABWE, AND TANZANIA, HAVE BEEN HOTLY CONTESTED IN SOME 
AREAS, WITH QUESTIONS RAISED AS TO THE INTEGRITY OF THE 
ELECTORAL PROCESS.  OTHERS, SUCH AS THOSE IN BOTSWANA, 
NAMIBIA, AND MAURITIUS, HAVE BEEN GENERALLY ACCEPTED AS 
MODELS OF ELECTORAL LEGITIMACY.  THE ATTENTION GIVEN TO 
THESE ELECTIONS, COUPLED WITH THE EMERGENCE OF 
SIGNIFICANT PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITIONS IN SEVERAL 
COUNTRIES, HAS GIVEN RISE TO A NUMBER OF SOUTHERN AFRICAN- 
LED INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE MULTI-PARTYISM AND DEMOCRATIC 
PERFORMANCE IN THE REGION.  THIS PROVIDES US A UNIQUE AND 
TIMELY OPPORTUNITY TO SUPPORT THESE DEVELOPMENTS.  WE 
RECOMMEND DOING SO, AND PROPOSE THAT THE DEPARTMENT 
ALLOCATE $250,000 IN FY01 ESF TO HELP ESTABLISH A 
PERMANENT CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE OF POLITICAL PARTIES 
AND TO EXPLORE THE FEASIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A 
POLITICAL PARTY TRAINING INSTITUTE.  END SUMMARY. 
 
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BACKGROUND 
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2.  OUR REQUEST FOLLOWS THE SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME OF THE 
"ENGINEERING DEMOCRATIC CHANGE: THE EXPERIENCE OF 
POLITICAL PARTIES IN SOUTHERN AFRICA" CONFERENCE HELD 
SEPTEMBER 28-30 IN WINDHOEK USING FY00 ESF (REF C).  THE 
CONFERENCE WAS ORGANIZED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF NAMIBIA, 
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WESTERN CAPE, AND THE NATIONAL 
DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS 
(UNAM/UWC/NDI GROUP), AND WAS ATTENDED BY POLITICAL PARTY 
LEADERS FROM GOVERNING AND OPPOSITION PARTIES AROUND THE 
REGION.  THE CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS ISSUED AN EIGHT- 
POINT CONSENSUS DOCUMENT THAT OUTLINES THEIR DECISION TO 
FORM A CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN 
SOUTHERN AFRICA (CCPP) AND TO EXPLORE THE IDEA OF FORMING 
A REGIONAL POLITICAL PARTY TRAINING INSTITUTE.  THE 
PARTICIPANTS ALSO PROPOSED THAT THE UNAM/UWC/NDI GROUP 
ORGANIZE A MEETING IN MARCH 2001 TO OFFICIALLY LAUNCH THE 
CCPP AND THE INSTITUTE.  BOTH INITIATIVES WILL EMBRACE 
GOVERNING AND OPPOSITION PARTY LEADERSHIP ACROSS THE 
IDEOLOGICAL SPECTRUM, WITH THE AIM OF IMPROVING POLITICAL 
PARTIES' ABILITY TO FUNCTION AS DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS. 
 
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OUR PROPOSAL 
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3.   USAID'S REGIONAL CENTER FOR SOUTHERN AFRICA (RCSA) 
PARTICIPATED IN FOLLOW-ON MEETINGS WITH THE UNAM/UWC/NDI 
GROUP IN CAPE TOWN ON OCTOBER 18 AND WITH UNAM IN 
GABORONE ON OCTOBER 27.  THESE MEETINGS REAFFIRMED THE 
GROUP'S RESOLVE TO CARRY THE PROCESS THROUGH TO THE MARCH 
2001 MEETING AND BEYOND.  WE WOULD LIKE TO BUILD ON OUR 
INITIAL ESF INVESTMENT IN THIS PROCESS AND ENCOURAGE THIS 
INITIATIVE OF POLITICAL PARTIES FROM THROUGHOUT THE SADC 
REGION BY PROVIDING ADDITIONAL ESF FUNDING IN SUPPORT OF 
THESE EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN REGIONAL DEMOCRATIC 
PERFORMANCE.  WE PROPOSE THAT THE DEPARTMENT ALLOCATE 
$250,000 IN FY01 ESF TO ALLOW RCSA TO: 
 
-- SUPPORT THE MARCH 2001 MEETING; 
 
-- ASSIST IN ESTABLISHING THE CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE OF 
POLITICAL PARTIES THAT IS EXPECTED TO BE FORMALIZED AT 
THAT MEETING; AND 
 
-- INVESTIGATE MECHANISMS FOR ESTABLISHING SUSTAINABLE 
TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOUTHERN AFRICAN POLITICAL 
PARTY LEADERS. 
 
4.  OF THIS AMOUNT, WE PROPOSE THAT APPROXIMATELY 
$100,000 BE USED TO SUPPORT PREPARING AND CONVENING THE 
MARCH 2001 MEETING, $100,000 TO HELP TO ESTABLISH THE 
CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE, AND $50,000 TO CONTRIBUTE TO 
EFFORTS TO ESTABLISH THE TRAINING INSTITUTE. 
 
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COMMENT 
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5.  THE UNAM/UWC/NDI GROUP'S INITIATIVE COMES AT AN 
IMPORTANT INTER-ELECTION PERIOD, WHEN ROLES AND 
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN GOVERNING AND OPPOSITION PARTIES 
WILL BE FORMULATED AND CONSOLIDATED, AND CAN EVOLVE INTO 
INFLUENTIAL, POSITIVE CODES OF CONDUCT FOR POLITICAL 
PARTY ACTION DURING THE NEXT ROUND OF ELECTIONS.  THIS 
INITIATIVE REPRESENTS A SIGNIFICANT STEP FORWARD IN 
PROMOTING DEMOCRATIC NORMS FOR POLITICAL BEHAVIOR IN 
SOUTHERN AFRICA.  IN OUR VIEW, THE INITIATIVE HAS THE 
POTENTIAL TO AMELIORATE DISCORD CAUSED BY A "WINNER-TAKE- 
ALL" MENTALITY AND TO DEMONSTRATE REAL POLITICAL WILL BY 
THE REGION'S PARTY LEADERS TO WORK TOGETHER FOR THE 
PUBLIC INTEREST. 
 
DELISI 

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