THE out-going US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry K. Thomas Jr says President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government needs enough time to deal with political and socio-economic challenges affecting the country.
Thomas Jr leaves Harare for USA this weekend as he retires from the diplomatic service.
Speaking to journalists in Harare on Thursday, the ambassador said he was happy with the positive stance that has been taken by the new leader to turn around the economy and work towards achieving a free and fair 2018 election.
According to Thomas, Mnangagwa’s period in office so far cannot be used to judge his strengths and weaknesses.
However, he stated that much has to be done by the government to make sure the country returns to civilian rule.
“Let us give Mnangagwa enough time to turn around the country’s economy and making sure that the elections are held peacefully in a fair and free environment.
“There has been a positive development compared to six months ago before he came into power. He has allowed the international community like the European Union (EU), the US and others to come and observe elections after some years.
“He has promised to make some electoral and economic reforms and has set some provisional dates for the elections according to the constitution, something that our government has applauded and hope to see happening,” said the US envoy.
He said Zimbabwe deserves the best and there could not be any excuse for it not to prosper and be a wealthy nation highlighting that the new dispensation has brought many American companies seeking for opportunities.
“We are excited that so many business Americans have contacted us for investment and there has been a big change in Zimbabwe for the past six months. Quite a number of Americans are calling us wanting to come to Zimbabwe. That is a tremendous change,” added Thomas.
Thomas could not hide his love for the Zimbabwean artists whom he said would be missed the most.
“I will miss my favourate Tuku (Oliver Mutukudzi) and Jah Prayzah. I sometimes argued with my wife comparing the two on who is better than the other. I love Zimbabwean culture of reading/studying and I think people under-estimate the beauty of Zimbabwe and its people,” said the diplomat who has been in Zimbabwe for five years.
Thomas’ remarks on President Mnangagwa are contrary to what some Zimbabweans feel about his 100 days in power. Some think Mnangagwa has made empty promises and want him to do more to end the suffering of many Zimbabweans.