By Alois Vinga
THE US has been impressed by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s economic interventions, the economic power’s Senior Economic Officer at its Harare embassy, Christopher Hunnicutt said this week.
However, Hunnicutt was quick to indicate that sanctions imposed on Harare will only be removed once President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration “adheres to the country’s Constitution.”
“There has been a lot of progress in the fiscal area which is aimed at stabilising the situation through reforms meant to improve the ease of doing business. There is some consistence in economic policies. However, there is need to find ways to stabilise the currency situation but in some instances this can be taken as work in progress,” Hunnicutt said in an interview with newzimbabwe.com.
However, the US official said there was a link between Zimbabwe’s economic problems and its politics including the violence that rocked the country in August last year and January this year.
“But there is need to appreciate that political issues are also a part of economic issues because they scare away investors, hence the need to have respect for human rights.
“The violence in January was a huge setback and we are calling for accountability of those events,” Hunnicutt said.
Zimbabwe, Hunnicutt added, must also respect freedom of speech and in general embrace the 2013 Constitution.
He added that only then would President Donald Trump’s government consider addressing Zimbabwe’s concerns around sanctions.
Hunnicutt said that government must implement recommendations made by a Commission of Inquiry headed by former South African President Kgalema Monthlante after last August’s violence and bring to account perpetrators.
Recently , US President Donald Trump, extended by one year, sanctions against Zimbabwe, saying the new government’s policies continue to pose an “unusual and extraordinary” threat to US foreign policy.
The renewal came despite calls by African leaders, including South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, for the sanctions to be lifted to give the country a chance to recover from its economic crisis.