The United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols has revealed that talks between Washington and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government are not yielding results as most of the recommendations which would result in the two restoring cordial relations, have not been implemented.
Washington has been unrelenting in calling for several reforms from the Mnangagwa administration since the disputed 2018 elections but, according to Nichols, not much has been done from the officials in Harare.
“We have had a couple of high-level meetings with President Mnangagwa. From Washington, Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy has met with President Mnangagwa twice, once on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, and then last year at the African CEO Summit in Maputo. At that time we talked about our desire to have a stronger relationship.
“But that depended on this government pursuing strong and irreversible reforms and, unfortunately, we are waiting for many of those reforms still to take place,” he told a South African publication recently.
Mnangagwa’s government has come under fire in recent weeks over the continued human rights violations of opposition and civic society critics.
Of prominence are journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, opposition leader Jacob Ngaribhume and MDC Alliance Vice-Chairperson Job Sikhala, who were all arrested for calling for a demonstration last month.
The former has been denied bail on several occasions and remains behind bars, with his case turning political in recent days.
Ambassador Nichols said the recent human rights abuses spell doom for Zimbabwe and lauded the intervention by South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa for sending envoys to talk to Mnangagwa regards the current crisis.
“The step South Africa has taken in sending its special envoys here is very positive. The statement from the African Union was a very positive step. All those people of goodwill will come together to support Zimbabwe at this difficult moment.”
Nichols said Zimbabwe had a three-pronged crisis: health care, food security and a political logjam.
“There’s widespread concern about where Zimbabwe is headed and people who are legitimate friends of Zimbabwe are deeply worried,” he said.
He said it is time for SADC to air out its voice regards the situation ensuing in Zimbabwe.
“This is an opportunity for the institution (Sadc) to stand up to the excesses that are taking place here in terms of human rights abuses. And this is an opportunity for Sadc to promote a more prosperous region,” Nichols said.
The comments come weeks after ZanuPF Acting spokesperson, Patrick Chinamasa labelled the Ambassador a thug and accused him of sponsoring opposition parties to unseat the government.
Chinamasa’s remarks were preceded by a chilling warning from Mnangagwa who threatened to “flash out” opposition members while alleging that his government was under a coordinated attack from both internal and external forces.