BULAWAYO provincial governor Cain Mathema refused to meet United States ambassador Bruce Wharton after the diplomat, making his maiden tour of the city, requested to pay a courtesy call at his offices this week.
REPORT BY DUMISANI SIBANDA BUREAU CHIEF
Wharton confirmed the snub through the social network site Twitter yesterday.
“Shame that governor Mathema (was) not willing to meet. I would have benefited from his views and progress requires respectful sharing of ideas,” read the tweet by the US diplomat.
In an interview, after the posting of the tweet, an official from the US Embassy’s public affairs section, Sharon Hudson-Dean, said Wharton wanted to pay a “courtesy call” on Mathema.
“Several weeks before the trip, we asked for a firm time and date for the meeting, but regrettably, we were not able to get that,” she said.
Hudson-Dean refused to comment on Mathema’s reasons for snubbing the US diplomat.
Mathema was quoted in the State media yesterday saying he would not meet Wharton because of the travel restrictions imposed on Zanu PF leaders, including President Robert Mugabe, by the US government.
“I am aware that Wharton is here, but I have not met him,” the Zanu PF deputy spokesperson was quoted saying.
“I do not have him in my schedule and I do not want to meet him because his government imposed sanctions on us.
“If he comes to my office he will have to explain why there are sanctions on Zimbabwe.”
The US says it has not imposed blanket measures against Zimbabwe, but targeted sanctions aimed at Zanu PF politicians accused of perpetrating human rights abuses.
Wharton added that he held fruitful meetings with representatives of other political parties in the city on Monday.
“Good meetings with political leaders in Bulawayo today, MDC-N, MDC-T, Zapu. All important. All with substantial ideas. Zim (babwe) needs all,” read a tweet by Wharton.
The US ambassador met President Robert Mugabe in Harare last month and described the dialogue as fruitful.