Zimbabwe leader Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Government has said ‘it is not, and never has been an adversary of the United States of America’ after US President Donald Trump’s security advisor Robert O’Brien over the weekend listed the southern African nation amongst adversaries taking advantage of the violence that has rocked the global economic powerhouse over the past week, to recklessly trample upon democratic provisions in their respective countries.
This follows yesterday’s meeting between Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo and US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols in the capital, Harare.
In response to O’Brien’s characterisation of Zimbabwe, alongside China and Russia, to adversaries taking advantage of the violence precipitated by last week’s gruesome murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a white policeman in Minneapolis, Harare says the allegations raised are ‘false, without any factual foundation whatsoever’.
“On behalf of Government, I have today (Monday) informed the US Ambassador that Mr O’Brien’s allegations are false, without any factual foundation whatsoever and that they are deeply damaging to a relationship already complicated by years of prescriptive megaphone diplomacy and punitive economic sanctions,” partly reads a statement issued by Mnangagwa’s Foreign Affairs minister soon after the meeting.
Added Minister Moyo:
“Zimbabwe is not and never has been an adversary of the United States of America.”
“I informed the Ambassador that Zimbabwe seeks a normal, cooperative relationship with the USA based on mutual understanding, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs the very opposite of the characterisation voiced by Mr O’Brien,” said Moyo.
He also said Harare does not condone the widespread violence which has rocked the US in recent days but concurrently condemned last Monday’s killing of Floyd, ‘an unarmed, handcuffed, helpless black man.’
On the other hand, Ambassador Nichols said while the infamous white cop who killed Floyd had already been charged with murder in the US, Zimbabweans continue to raise questions on the whereabouts of missing activists such as Patrick Nabanyama, Itai Dzamara and Paul Chizuze.
He also took a swipe at the recent alleged abduction of three female MDC Alliance youth leaders Joana Mamombe (MP), Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova who were ‘assaulted and left for dead’ at a business centre called Muchapondwa in Bindura.
“The American people’s unwavering commitment to the welfare of Zimbabwe’s people has kept us their largest assistance donor,” said Ambassador Nichols in a statement issued after meeting Moyo.
“Remembering that commitment, today (Monday), I again urged Zimbabwe’s government to end state-sponsored violence against peaceful protesters, civil society, labour leaders and members of the opposition in Zimbabwe, and to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses,” Ambassador Nichols said.
“In a long, unbroken line of black men and women, George Floyd gave the last full measure of devotion to point us toward a new birth in freedom. Mr Floyd’s murder was a tragedy that has filled Americans with horror and anger. Mr Floyd’s killer was charged with murder in days.”
Worsening diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and the US have their roots to the dawn of the 21st century when ousted late former President Robert Mugabe who ruled the impoverished southern African country with a clenched fist for 37 years, introduced a controversial, apparently racist and populist land redistribution programme.
Since replacing Mugabe in a military coup of November 2017, Mnangagwa has failed to mend relations with the western nations amid the Harare administration’s excessive dependence on the military and the dreaded spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to silence dissent.