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Don’t hide behind sanctions: US envoy

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UNITED States ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton has accused the Zanu PF government of failing to craft sound economic policies and always hiding behind the travel restrictions imposed on its leaders by the European Union.

CLAYTON MASEKESA
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Addressing journalists during a tour of the USAid-funded Mutema banana project in Chipinge West last Thursday, Wharton said the Zimbabwean economy had the capacity to turn around the corner if President Robert Mugabe’s government introduced sound policies.

“Zimbabwe is a great country with potential to build its own good future. It has the capability and it has the primary drivers that are able to take the country to another level, but the problem lies in the policy and decision makers,” Wharton said.

He said the US remained concerned about Zimbabwe’s “huge democratic deficit” following last year’s disputed general election results.

“However, despite this, my country has continued to support Zimbabwe through assistance in agriculture, health, economic growth, education and other key areas, as well as humanitarian areas.

“In the wake of 2013 elections, we remain concerned the democratic process is still subject to political pressure. But at the same time, we don’t want to wait five years for another election to sort of go through this process again.”

During the tour, Wharton was confronted by placard-waving Zanu PF supporters who demanded total withdrawal of the sanctions.

Mugabe last Thursday told the United Nations General Assembly in New York that the US and the West should unconditionally remove what he called the “evil’ sanctions.

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