Mapozho Saruchera Correspondent
The United States has the capacity to change the situation prevailing in Zimbabwe for the better — if it just backs off and take their illegally imposed sanctions with them.
On February 12, 2019, nearly a month after the MDC orchestrated violent protest, the US State department — which is similar to foreign ministries in other countries — issued a statement wherein it called for Zimbabwe to end the alleged excessive use of force by Government forces and embrace national dialogue.
Mind you, I have to admit here that it takes the most perceptive to notice what was wrong with the stance taken by the Americans from the onset — what scale did they use to determine the excessiveness of the Zimbabwean Government’s response to the violent protests.
Did the Americans previously release a template on how African governments should deal with violent picketers who attack symbols of law and order, murdering a police officer and burning police vehicles in the process?
I do not think so — why then is America quick to judge as though it had walked a mile in Zimbabwean Government’s shoes?
In the statement, Uncle Sam claims that the said excessive use of force by the Government of Zimbabwe since January 14 had resulted in at least 13 deaths.
On the other hand, local Western-sponsored NGOs put the number of deaths at 17, which leaves one wondering whether the two are talking of the same Zimbabwe or not.
The Government of Zimbabwe is on record challenging those making allegations to provide proof and in a development that shows life’s twisted sense of humour, one of the alleged victims of army killings Tinashe Kaitano, turned up at Kadoma Magistrate’s Court, on February 12, 2019, where he was convicted of arson.
This development shows that local NGOs are cooking up figures of people who might have died during last month’s protests and the US Government is making policy pronouncements based on wrong information.
The US goes on to moan what it terms the imposition of undue Internet restrictions which allegedly betrayed promises to create a new Zimbabwe, really?
The mid-January protesters had literally set the country on fire and it was discovered by the relevant authorities that the Internet was being used to coordinate acts of violence, necessitating a temporary shutdown.
As of now the Government has approved the repeal of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which translates to further opening up of the democratic space in Zimbabwe and trivialising America’s Internet blockade cries.
As a lasting solution to their take of what is troubling Zimbabwe, the US Department of State revealed that their Government was calling on all sides (to the Zimbabwean question) to come together immediately in national dialogue. The dialogue process, according to the Americans, must be credible, inclusive, and mediated by a neutral third party.
It is not a coincidence that the same words and conditions for dialogue were uttered by MDC leader Nelson Chamisa the day he decided not to turn up for a meeting called by President Mnangagwa to set the terms of reference for the national dialogue. If anything, this goes on to show that Chamisa is being controlled by the Americans. Whatever that he says is the American position.
Another worrying fact about the Americans’ take on dialogue in Zimbabwe is that they even went as far as giving timelines as to when talks can be held, immediately.
If this does not translate to the US overstepping its boundaries on Zimbabwe, then nothing does. How many times should Americans be reminded that Zimbabwe is a sovereign country? That if there is going to be any dialogue it is going to be on Zimbabweans’ terms — the Mnangagwas, the Chamisas and the Sarucheras of this country.
To add salt to injury, the Americans even go to the extent setting up a yardstick for successful dialogue in Zimbabwe — “the Government of Zimbabwe should . . . immediately release the civil society activists who have been arbitrarily detained and hold security force members responsible for human rights violations and abuses accountable.”
In other words, the Americans are saying that the Zimbabwean Government should disregard the laws of the land, by releasing looters, arsonists and murderers who sometimes masquerade as activists for the whatever talks it might have with MDC to be regarded as successful. What about the rule of law? What about holding criminals accountable for their deeds?
The net effect of all this is that USA is meddling too much in the affairs of Zimbabwe, to an extent that it is stifling any efforts towards unity and economic growth in the Southern African country. If the Americans and their illegal sanctions could step aside for a day, Zimbabwe would be a better place for all who call it home.