By Lovejoy Mutongwiza
Zimbabwe and the United States of America have been tangled in diplomatic warfare following remarks by Robert O’Brien, National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump that Zimbabwe, along with China and Russia had a hand in the protests that were triggered by the killing of a black man, George Floyd, by a police officer in the city of Minneapolis last week.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo then summoned yesterday told US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols, to further explain the remarks.
In separate statements after the meeting, both Diplomats took turns to blast each other with S.B Moyo condemning the violence, arson and looting currently taking place in across the U.S and speaking against the killing of Floyd at the hands of the police in a racially inspired murder.
“Zimbabwe is not and never has been an adversary to the United States of America. I informed the Ambassador that Zimbabwe seeks 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’Brian,” said Moyo
“Whereas we certainly add our voice to the many others including that of African Union and the United Nations who expressed their deep concern at the killing by a uniformed white official of Mr George Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed, helpless black man, we unreservedly condemn the violence, arson and looting which have turned usually quiet neighbourhoods into scenes of chaos and destruction and where, tragically, further innocent lives have been lost” Minister Moyo further stated.
He reminded Washington of the “harsh criticism” it had given to Harare in relation to the latter’s response to opposition political formations, its automatic presumption of state capture and assumptions of institutionalised disregard for human rights or rule of law, saying these reflect double standards on U.S policy towards Zimbabwe.
The minister reminded the United States that Zimbabwe strictly observes Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter which urges nations to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of member states.
We take note of the measures deployed by the US authorities to deal with the challenges currently confronting them. At the same time, we recall the harsh US criticism and condemnation of our own response to multiple instances of illegal, violent civil unrest incited, largely by opposition political formations determined to render the country ungovernable.
“We recall their automatic presumption of state culpability in instances of the alleged abduction and their assumption of an institutionalised disregard for human rights or rule of law within our Government, and we reflect on the lack of balance and even the double standards so evident in US policy towards Zimbabwe,” Moyo said.
On the other hand, Ambassador Nichols called in the Zimbabwean government to respect human life and end state-sponsored violence and account for missing citizens whose disappearances are linked to state security agents.
“I urge Zimbabwe’s government to end state-sponsored violence against peaceful protestors, civil society, labour leaders and members of the opposition in Zimbabwe, and to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses,” said Nichols.
“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. Every American official from our President to Minnepolis’African American police Chief Medaria Arradondo has vowed to deliver justice. Zimbabweans surely wonder when, after so many years, Patrick Nabanyama, Itai Dzamara and Paul Chizuze will get justice,” Ambassador Nichols charged.
The killing of Floyd has enraged most Americans who have taken to the streets to demand justice for the now deceased.
Violent protests have been witnessed across states in the US with other countries across the world joining in the condemnation.