US calls on Zim to reform; expresses interest in observing July elections

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By Darlington Gatsi

THE visiting United States envoy says Zimbabwe should introspect by carrying out reforms if the country harbours prospects of sanctions imposed on it to be lifted with upcoming elections providing an opportunity to show the government’s commitment.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs, Robert Scott, Friday wrapped up his visit to the country where he engaged various government officials and political leaders.

Scott reiterated the call for Zimbabwe to carry out reforms for the two countries to thaw frosty relations that have been in existence for close to a decade.

His visit coincided with the renewal of the embargo by the US.

“I think my colleague was very effective in outlining the reforms and putting the question to you. Do you believe in the fact that you as citizens have access to polls? Do you believe the military involvement is where it should be? Do you believe that the economy is open in free and fair and property rights are there? And that is an aspiration every country and people are pushing for. That is what people go to the polls for, to express themselves about that,” said Scott.

Zimbabwe and the US have been in an unsavoury relationship with the former blaming economic meltdown on sanctions imposed by the latter.

In his visit to Zimbabwe Scott expressed concern on the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Amendment bill and the upcoming elections.

Scott said the US is committed to helping Zimbabwe in upcoming general elections which they have expressed interests in observing.

He also issued a clarion call on the government to uphold democratic tenets.

“In supporting institutions it is the broad support of institutions. I think an election benefits and needs the support of free open media. It needs participation by citizens and civil society organisations that help people to come together to express their political interests and we certainly support there. I think the mechanics of elections are important,” he said.