By Lawrence Paganga – Deputy Editor
THE US government has called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration to uphold constitutional rights and end ongoing political repression and corruption in Zimbabwe.
This emerged Wednesday evening during a meeting between Assistant Secretary for US Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, Tibor Nagy and Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo.
The meeting came as political tensions continue to rise in the troubled southern African country and on the back of a government crackdown on several senior opposition leaders, activists and journalists on various charges including inciting public violence.
A number of activists went into hiding July this year after the State launched a crackdown on organisers of the foiled July 31 anti-corruption protests targeted at government.
The economic situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate with millions in Zimbabwe facing acute shortages on basic food.
Harare insists there is no crisis in the country, but merely “challenges” being faced by every nation.
However, announcing his meeting with Moyo Wednesday, Nagy said he had urged the Zimbabwe government to uphold the rule of law, implement economic and political reforms, restore the country’s international reputation, and rebuild the economy.
“I discussed today with Foreign Minister Moyo how implementing promised economic and political reforms will restore Zimbabwe’s international reputation, rebuild its economy, and give voice to all Zimbabweans,” he said.
“I welcomed Zimbabwe’s interest in more investment by US companies and urged the government to uphold constitutional rights and end political repression and corruption, and to hold accountable human rights violators.
“Through the work of Ambassador Brian Nichols, the US is committed to the freedom and prosperity of all Zimbabweans.”
However, the Zimbabwe government has dismissed claims of repression and corruption brought against it, instead blaming “evil” sanctions imposed by the West and the US as the reason behind the country’s failing economy.
Recently, the ruling party Zanu PF threatened to expel Ambassador Nichols, calling him a “thug” and accusing him of sponsoring the July protests.
“He (Nichols) continues to engage in acts of undermining this republic and if he does so, if he continues engaging in acts of mobilising and funding disturbances, coordinating violence and training fighters, our leadership will not hesitate to give him marching orders. Diplomats should not behave like thugs, and Brian Nichols is a thug,” Zanu PF’s acting national spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa said then.
However, on Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda admitted Zimbabwe could have lost up to US$7 billion to corruption past few years.
He was speaking at the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between the African Parliamentary Network Against Corruption (Zimbabwe Chapter), the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), and Transparency International Zimbabwe.