By Ranga Mataire
The Zimbabwe Government has summoned American Ambassador Mr Brian Nichols to discuss claims made by a senior US official that Zimbabwe was one of several countries interfering in violent protests in the US.
Violence has erupted across America after a white police officer killed a black man, George Floyd. Protests against the killing have been held across the world.
Mr Robert O’Brien, who is US President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, yesterday told American media that Zimbabwe, together with China, Russia and Iran were “foreign adversaries” who are trying to take advantage of anti-racist protests in America to interfere in that country’s affairs.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo confirmed that Mr Nichols had been summoned.
According to Government officials, the Government is likely to remind Mr Nichols that Zimbabwe respects Article 2 (4) of the United Nations charter, which requires all member states to respect the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.
“Anyone who has seen the genesis of recent events, from the tragic death of Mr Floyd to the subsequent protests, will realise that any accusations of Zimbabwean involvement at any stage is farcical,” a senior official said.
Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana said Zimbabwe does not view itself as an enemy of the United States.
“Zimbabwe does not consider itself America’s adversary. We prefer having friends and allies to having unhelpful adversity with any other nation including the US,” Mr Mangwana tweeted.
The murder of Floyd has drawn criticism from around the world, with protests being held in major cities in Europe and Asia. The African Union Commission has condemned the killing, which is only the latest in a series of racial murders by police officers in America.
“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat strongly condemns the murder of George Floyd that occurred in the United States at the hands of law enforcement officers, and wishes to extend his deepest condolences to his family and loved ones,” read a statement by Mr Mahamat last week.
“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission firmly reaffirms and reiterates the African Union’s rejection of the continuing discriminatory practices against black citizens of the United States.”
The United Nations has also urged the US to take “serious action” to halt police killings of unarmed African-Americans.
In a statement issued on Thursday, UN Human Rights chief Ms Michelle Bachelet condemned the killing of Mr Floyd while in police custody, calling it the latest in “a long line of killings of unarmed African-Americans by US police officers and members of the public”.
Ms Bachelet said she was dismayed to have to add Mr Floyd’s name to that of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and many other unarmed Africa-Americans who died over the years at the hands of the police as well as Ahamaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin who were killed by armed members of the public.