Reform or else: US tells ED

THE United States government says it is willing to engage Zimbabwe only after genuine political and economic reforms and accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of aping former President Robert Mugabe’s autocratic rule.

By Everson Mushava

US has maintained sanctions on the southern African nation since 2001 through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera), and sanctioned individuals and dozens of companies associated with the government.

Mnangagwa is among the 141 people and institutions that are still under the US sanctions, which were extended on July 25 this year, days before elections that gave Mnangagwa a five-year term.

The International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute, which sent observers to the election, said Zimbabwe lacked a “culture of democracy” in which citizens could vote freely while political parties were treated unequally.

In a statement before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, deputy assistant secretary of State for Africa, Matthew Harrington said Mnangagwa’s government has tried to change “but so far, the pace and scale of reforms has been too gradual and not nearly ambitious enough”.

“The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, recently updated by Congress, has provided a very important tool and clearly identified the reforms we expect: restoration of the rule of law, a commitment to equitable, legal and transparent land reform, and ensuring that military and national police forces are subordinate to the civilian government.”

Harrington cited the clampdown on opposition leaders as a challenge to Mnangagwa’s administration and implored the Zimbabwean government to end a clampdown on the opposition.

“On July 30, Zimbabwe held its first presidential election without Robert Mugabe in nearly four decades. The election took place after a nearly 40-year history of deeply flawed elections, serious human rights challenges, catastrophic economic mismanagement, and widespread corruption,” Harrington said.

“There were some encouraging signs in the pre-election period, including the welcoming of credible international observer groups and foreign journalists, and a more permissive campaign environment for members of the opposition. And election day itself was peaceful, but that has usually been the case in Zimbabwe. Ultimately, however, the process was marred by the army’s use of deadly force against protestors on August 1 and reports of supporters and State agents of the ruling party.

“Zanu PF assaulted and abducted members of the opposition in the weeks that followed. It is clear that Zimbabwe has a long way to go — and requires profound political and economic reforms — to sustainably change the path on which it has been for nearly four decades.”


Since Mnangagwa took over power, Zimbabwe has been working in the diplomatic corridors to convince the US to lift sanctions, as it seeks to secure debt relief and new financial support to revive the faltering economy.

“We welcome the change in rhetoric from the Mugabe years. Since the election, we have seen some promising signs from the government, including appointment of a new, more technocratic Cabinet, announcement of an economic plan acknowledging the need for significant monetary and fiscal reform, and a budget which, if implemented, would make important strides in that direction. So far, however, the pace and scale of reforms has been too gradual and not nearly ambitious enough,” Harrington said.

He said Zimbabwe should be capable of providing for the needs of its own citizens and respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms will be a more responsible member of the international community.

“To reach that end, Zimbabwe will require implementation of fundamental reforms, not merely a commitment to do so. We want Zimbabwe to succeed and would welcome a better bilateral relationship, but the ball is squarely in the government’s court to demonstrate it is irrevocably on a different trajectory,” Harrington said.

He said Zimbabwe should repeal the Public Order and Security Act, and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which have long been used to suppress human rights and which violate Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution.

“Second, the government should immediately end the harassment of members of the political opposition. It should drop spurious charges against former Finance minister and prominent opposition figure Tendai Biti and all those who have been arbitrarily detained for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“Third, the government should allow the commission of inquiry to work transparently and independently, and hold perpetrators of the August 1 violence fully accountable.
And fourth, the government should move quickly to ensure legislation is consistent with the 2013 Constitution, as well as uphold its letter and spirit.”

He said the US wanted a stable, peaceful, democratic Zimbabwe that was genuinely accountable to its citizens and responsive to their needs.

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29 Comments

  1. Nonsensical utterances by this Matthew dude and no need to go through them one by one and crush them as its a total waste of time as the agenda of Americas is well known

  2. Lack of independance at Zbc is a clear sign that the regime is against reforms. The electronic media is so powerful that if left freely to peform its watchdog role, can help to reduce corruption in politics, economy,everywhere. Its bias during elections and even now is clear. There are CIO operatives masquarading as reporters there. The US is correct.

  3. Well known by yu only, who doesnt knw tht people were killed, does it need america to tell yu to arrest those who pepetrate violence, shame on you, as long as yu hv this foolish mindset yu will remain poor my dear brother, economic reforms do not benefit america but a poor individual like yu. america does not need zimbabwe after all but it is poor zimbabwe tht needs america. dnt fool yourself by pretending to be tough wen people are suffering, vana ambuya vako kuruzevha cnt afford ma tablets e bp and yu try to lay blame on some oth people who are tryng to make yu c the light shame on you @elisha. who wud want to invest in a country where an individual wakes up decides to amend a constitution to bar others frm participating in a country’s affairs? surely yu are bringing matambudziko mega cz Investors vanotya kuchinjirwa mitemo at any time, dnt blame the americans, even the chinese do not trust you, that is why they are not investing here besides setting up tuckshops there isnt meaningful investment frm the chinese. as long as pane vanhu vachiri kufunga sewe Zimbabwe will remain poor, zim cnt fight america and thats a fact whether you label me or not but thats a fact, yu need to humble and persuade not chigandanga chatisiya nenhamo for 40 yrs while other countries are moving forward.

    1. I am sure mnangagwa and Zanu pf has failed us its high time they pack and go we are tired of these people there is no defference between Mugabe and Mnangagwa

  4. By the way Usa is a very good friend and business partner of Saud Arabia but we do not get to hear them discouraging Bin Salman from abusing human rights. No one has bothered their government to punish Salman for ordering the butchering of Jamal Khashoggi, a saud arabian journalist. It remains a mistry also when Us will start to urge Saud Arabia to practise democracy. Saud Arabia does not hold elections at all. Not even the ones that are not free and fair. You also need to look at a lot of what is happening in the middle east to see for yourself the hypocricy of America. Israel today is buisy rasing down the homes of palestinian families, some of them very old and sickly couples and Us sees no human rights abuses in that behaviour. So Americans can keep their sanctions in place because they have never been friends with any government lead by a liberation movement which freed its people from western imperialism.

    1. chaururura hungwe

      Americans double standards. All those ululating to American divide and rule tactics are still blind in politics. Americans are hypocrites.

  5. My people suffer because of lack of knowledge said the Bible….if you read well in Revelation this US is the Beast that claimed to be holy but not,to control all churches&GVT,this word Human Rights is vry blasphemorous nhasi mukati ZIM tawe ngochani the US will sing praises kuti ndo human rights wotokupai nemari,a child cant be spanked mubereki osungwa hee Human rights bt bible says mushapure,bible says they shall seek to change God laws,nowadays its all prosperity Gospel the real gospel left kuti usahura no sex before marriage,usaba etc,they want to put anti christ laws,they cme in sheep skin but are evil…the Land issue ndoyakawarwadza to the bone,hw a country million miles away want to controll pasi rese why?even the lord was shown the glory of US pakuidzwa ne devil akaramba, ndohumambo hwamurikuchemera but it comes at a cost not all that glitters is Gold,mny pple on this platform if they were there during Moses time would hv cried to go bck to Pharoah,suffering is part of life its a phase whch ends it took Israelites 40yrs to reach cannaan wachitambura refer to Job bible story,wamwe wakatomuti tuka mwari ufe,a person wthout character is like an empty vessel easily shaken by winds it cries loudest

  6. If that is the case then stop complaining about sanctions. The situation shall remain the same and in the meantime we need solutions instead.

  7. This thing that what America says is right should be stopped forthwith. To an extend I smell hypocrisy in this Matthew statement, “We want Zimbabwe to succeed and would welcome a better bilateral relationship, but the ball is squarely in the government’s court to demonstrate it is irrevocably on a different trajectory”, if really anyone wants Zim to succeed would you keep sanctions for twenty years which you know will not affect the intended people. That’s why no one should take the place of God. Americans, please two wrongs will never make it right. You are also wrong with your sanctions.

    Secondly, anyone who offends the law should face it whether those in the ruling or opposition. I for one would be glad to hear this from the Americans. Biti’s case is before the courts, surely if he didn’t do anything wrong, he will be acquitted. I thought his case is receiving a fair trial.

    Yes the commission should finalise their job in a transparent manner. Perpetrators should face the wrath of the law. Everyone should be made to be accountable for what they did. Laws should be aligned to the constitution.

  8. Stop living a lie!
    You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
    Its either the reforms way or the suffering way.
    The two are completely incompatible.

  9. Maphozho Saruchera

    Flake and company are not sincere as their Government is using ZIDERA to ensure that ZANU PF does not achieve its promise of a better life to the people of Zimbabwe. How could Flake, who chaired the sub-committee hearing scandalously called for the dropping of charges of inciting violence against Biti, when the matter is before the courts? Is flake more powerful that the Zimbabwean courts? What did Flake meant when he called Biti, “a friend of the sub-committee”? Why should Biti’s friend decide the fate of millions of Zimbabwean?

  10. Any “liberation” movement that removes chains from the hands and feet but enslaves the mind is not worth any value. That’s what we have in Zimbabwe, It is useless to be called “free” and yet you can exercise that “freedom” to vote for a part and candidate of your choice. It’s worth zero. True freedom recognizes that anyone makes mistakes and puts checks and balances to even out the “living” field. USA is not perfect (and never will be) but there are a lot of positives from their systems. Its capitalist system is not the greatest, but has been the most successful of the major ones, beating communism and socialism. Zimbabwe needs capital, USA can provide that capital – business always has terms. You take it or leave it….IMHO. There are many countries in the queue for US investment.

  11. Kukanganwa chazuro nehope, if we are to discuss the rule of law, law should be the winner, it should guide us the way forward unfortunately in Zimbabwe it is not the case. The biggest problem has been its selective application, those who are aligned to the ruling party are above the law, they can commit even murder, plunder public resources with impunity.

    1. Maphozho Saruchera

      The problem with opposition supporters in Zimbabweans is that when it comes to the rule of law versus their principals they choose the latter no matter who guilty they are. And if the law takes its course in such a situation its called “selective application.”

  12. And life goes on….

  13. I think personally that this Harrington dude is offside in some of his utterances. Unless he is saying Zimbabwe should be an extension of USA, how on earth can he say drop biti charges? why not try Biti in a competent court and close his case? why Dropping when Biti has a case to answer? this actually shows we are dealing with a wolf in a sheep’s skin. A double headed beast. Hard to please if not impossible

  14. May I also explain why Tendai Biti has become such an important friend to the americans. The yunkees have decided to smuggle Biti to head the opposition so as to harness the tribal factor in their quest to devide and rule our nation. With Ed and Chamisa, this has been impossible since those two are of the same tribe. These westeners are so evil to the extent that if zimbas are not careful , they will soon find themselves being driven into another genocide by the americans. The Us needs to be reminded that we are not stupid, we are alert and very literate also. We privy to what is happening in the world arround us.

  15. Lets killed the one who sent the soldes first

  16. BITI formed his own party and failed to get traction with voters. What will change this time around?

  17. I personally dont agree with everything America stands for. I know very well how cunning they are and am not ignorant to their diabolic foreign policy. But one thing we have to look at is, are we as zimbabweans true to ourselves? Arent our senior government officials too corrupt? isnt nepotism rife in public institutions? Is there rule of law in Zim? Isnt there selective application of the law in zim? Is the electoral playing ground level in Zim? Is ZBC impartial? Are there no serious human rights violations in Zim? is the population happy with the government of the day? Are we compliant to the people’s constitution? Why does our government afraid of its own people to an extent that it doesnt want to give us our voice? Were people not killed by the army on the 1st of August? Its high time we come to terms with modern governance.

  18. USA imposed sanctions are not meant to promote democracy and human rights, if you look Nigeria is not under sanctions but people are being killed daily by Boko Haram. Why can`t USA go there and save life if it is really concerned about welfare of Africa.

    1. Do you really mean what you just said??? Is Boko Haram the government? Did the Nigerian government ever seek help from outside to deal with Boko Haram? Whats the basis of your reasoning here my brother/sister? At least USA is aggressive in foreign lands while protecting its citizens. What of our governments here in Africa? They dont care as to what you are going through as long as they are well taken care of by people’s money. Thats why the build nice homes with beautiful gardens while cities are stinking. thats why they make smooth tared roads which lead to their mansions while the whole country roads are potholed’ We must be ashamed and speak straight to these guys that they have failed instead of protecting them and trying to paint America with black. These so called leaders of ours are a disgrace, no wonder why westerners do not take us seriously because we are a joke. We taken governance for some jokes, we enjoy being showered with praises, driving in limos, receiving VIP treatment at the expense of an impoverished population……. These modern systems are still alien to us as Africans. No wonder why Ian Smith was against the idea of black rule.. Sure that man was a prophet, look at where we are now. Please can someone prove Ian Smith wrong? we have destroyed this once beautiful country, we have turned it into a jungle through useless sloganeering that has no place in modern politics. We have killed each other more than the number killed by whites. What kind of people we are? We must be ashamed of our poor delivery!!!

      1. Wabaya dede nemukanwa about African leaders. All African politicians take politics as a way of living. They loot and are very very very corrupt. In Zimbabwe, people who wield power including the security sector do whatever they want, are willing to brek the laws, eg,
        1. they move around in unmarked cars hence mbavha dzave kutevedzerawo.
        2. they do not want to pay taxes, eg, tollgate, electricity, etc
        3. they need spcial treatment and favour everywhere, eg, hospitals, schools, etc
        4. the list is endless
        All this promotes lawlessness, corruption, nepotism, criminality, etc

  19. America is a self-styled head-boy of the world. They want the rest of the world to do as they say. They always support the opposition. they are responsible for the suffering of the majority of African countries. They are the architects of destabilization in Africa and other poor countries elsewhere. They sponsor terrorism and insurgence to force nations to dance to their tune.

    1. I agree with you on that almost 100% in agreement. Here are few questions begging for answers, Are these African governments accountable to their own people? Do these African governments care about the welfare of their own people? Are these African governments promoting peace and unity among its own people? Are these African governments sensitive to the plight of their own people.. Does the Zimbabwe government care for its own people???/

  20. We just tired of the USA and its rhetoric…this helps no one, raises unneccesary anti US sentiments, raises bitterness against Biti and Alliance for calling further sanctions just for their love of power and strengthens zanu pf propaganda that the Americans hate us and that they are imperialist who support opposition…apa people will be suffering

  21. USA s too arrogant. Zimbabwe is not a state or province in USA and we should not take instructions from them for any reason. They are very patronising and it’s getting to my nerves.

  22. If USA is too arrogant, why cry for its money and help. If Zimbabwe is better why not finance yourself, build your own things. All i hear everyday is a donation and donation from those western countries you seem not to like. The difference btw Zim and USA is the later protects its citizen. Zimbabwe its just a shell

  23. USA GDP is 19.39 trillion dollars and a population of 325 million people and a military bugdet of 617 Billion dollars . whereas Zimbabwe has a population of 16 million and a GDP of 17 Billion dollars .
    USA has nothing to lo0se on its Policy on zimbabwe sanctions .If we are not careful those sanctions might remain for the next 100 years . we are a small african country. Lets JUST humble ourselves and meet those four steps set out by matt . We need a better a future for our grandchildren in the next 200 years , with sanctions upon us we cant do that , we should UNITE .We need to develop ourselves . we need to learn from the USA ,
    Tom said at that meeting usa should use strategic patience . strategic patience means a hundred years with sanctions .Lets us learn a lesson from Japan , nuclear bombs were dropped on its lAND but they forgave and moved on , today japan is a developed country , very powerful country and strong partner of the USA . Zimbabwe has greater potential. If sanctions remains i the next 25 years , we might find ourselves as the poorest country in the world …..

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