US pats Mnangagwa, says Zim leader on the right path

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By Staff Reporter

RELATIONS between Zimbabwe and the US seem to be on the mend after decades of hostilities with American ambassador to Harare, Brian Nichols praising President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for implementing reforms “which benefit its nationals.”

According to the embassy’s Twitter handle, Nichols told a State run local radio station that his country was ready to work with Zimbabwe and believes the nation’s future is bright.

“Reforms government is pursuing is the right thing for the Zimbabwean people. Added benefit is it eases concerns of the international community.

“We believe Zimbabwe has a bright future, we want to be here to support & partner with the people of Zimbabwe going forward,” Nichols said.

After taking over from the country’s founding leader President Robert Mugabe on the back of a military coup in November 2017, Mnangagwa potrayed the image of a leader who was a reformer and ready to engage the world.

But skepticism has set in with critics arguing Mnangagwa was all talk and no action.

But the new Zanu PF leader has pleaded for time to implement his reforms.

Now it seems Washington has been sold with Nichols waxing lyrical after meeting Mnangagwa last week declaring the President “is incredibly knowledgeable about what is happening in the country.”

Nichols on Wednesday added: “There are positive things happening in Zimbabwe and it should be applauded. We encourage the government to stay on the path to reform.”

He however insisted that Zimbabwe needed to respect citizens’ rights.

“Transparency, respect for the rule of law, accountability for human rights and sound fiscal policy will help Zimbabwe on the road to self-reliance,” the US envoy said..

Nichols said the US continues to increase its assistance to Zimbabwe around health, sanitation and food.

Government figures show that at least half of Zimbabwe’s near 15 million population will require food aid following a below normal rain season.

Mnangagwa last week praised American President Donald Trump’s government after his government received a US$2.5 million assistance as part of relief efforts towards victims of Cyclone Idai in Manicaland.

Over 300 people were killed, with hundreds missing while some 40 000 were left homeless after the tropical storm ripped through the south-eastern districts of the country last month.

The US slapped Mugabe and his inner circle with sanctions in 2001 after enacting the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zdera) that has consistently been renewed every year amid howls of disapproval from Harare.

With a group of citizens now camped outside the US embassy building in Harare, Nichols told the radio station the measures “are a roadmap to better relations between Zimbabwe and the US”, adding these have had no impact on the economy or ordinary people.