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US says will accept a credible Mugabe poll win
12/12/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
Impartial ... Ambassador Wharton
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THE UNITED States will accept a win by President Robert Mugabe in the forthcoming elections – provided the polls are held in a free and fair environment, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton has said.

The US has isolated Mugabe over the past ten years, accusing him of rights violations and fixing successive polls.

“Yes, we will embrace President Robert Mugabe if he wins free and fair polls,” Ambassador Wharton told reporters during a visit in the second capital of Bulawayo on Wednesday.

He said Washington had no interest taking political sides in Zimbabwe, adding that if Zanu PF wins a credible vote, the US will respect the outcome.

”Our aim is to see the will of the people respected,” he added.

Zimbabwe is currently working on constitutional reforms ahead of next year’s ballot.

Mugabe last week vowed to “fight like a wounded beast” to win the elections and avoid a repeat of 2008 where he was defeated by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round.

He went on to deploy violence that forced Tsvangirai to withdraw from the second round vote.

Although the soon-to-be 89-year-old leader has repeatedly denounced political violence since the formation of the unity government in 2009, critics question his sincerity and ability to win any vote without coercion.

Ambassador Wharton met with Mugabe last month as he assumed office as new US envoy, pledging to “engage in a dialogue that is respectful”.

And so far, the ambassador says, his interactions with Zanu PF have been positive.

“We have established smooth communication, and we even attended Zanu PF’s conference last week and we were treated with respect,” he added.

Wharton also refuted charges by Mugabe at the conference that the US government was orchestrating a plot to take him out.

He said Washington will continue working closely with the Zimbabwean government especially on the humanitarian front.

“Overall in Zimbabwe, we provide ongoing support to the Zimbabwean parliament and constitution making process and we have invested more than 1 billion dollars in health and humanitarian assistance in the last ten years.

“The US also promotes business linkages, encouraging American investors to look closely at Zimbabwe’s educated labour force and long term growth potential,” he said.


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