UNITED States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Harry Thomas Jnr, has rubbished recent claims by Zanu PF politburo member and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo that the current wave of anti-government protests were foreign-funded.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
The US envoy said it was “an insult to the intelligence of Zimbabweans” to suggest they could not organise and demand their constitutional rights on their own.
“We continue to encourage economic reform; we want to see good governance and lack of corruption. We are a strong supporter of human rights, non-violent activism and we will continue to support that,” Thomas Jnr said.
Asked if the US was funding or supporting social movements that had led protests in the past weeks, he said: “I would not dignify that. All I can say is that I am here because of non-violent resistance, because of Dr Martin Luther King and others, including my mother, who marched with him to make sure I have full rights in the US.
“Clearly, I am pleased to see people supporting full rights. I wonder we have all these Zimbabweans who are smart, do they need a foreigner to tell them how to act or what to do? Why? I do not think James Manyika, a Rhodes scholar, would need me; or Stanley Fischer, the vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve from Bulawayo, would need a foreigner to tell them what to do. I know Professor Moyo is a graduate of University of Southern California. I think it’s an insult on Zimbabweans’ intelligence to claim they need foreigners to claim their rights,” Thomas Jnr said.
Moyo and Thomas Jnr have on several occasions clashed over the former’s claims that the US government was funding protests against President Robert Mugabe’s administration as part of a regime change agenda. Mugabe has also accused Western envoys accredited to Harare including, Thomas Jnr and French representative Laurent Delahousse, of meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs by funding anti-government protests.