Source: Zanu PF scoffs at US reform calls – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 8, 2017
ZANU PF has scoffed at threats of more sanctions and demands for a raft of political and economic reforms by the United States ahead of elections next year.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
President Robert Mugabe early this year expressed hope for better relations following the rise of Donald Trump to power, but visiting Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Carol O’Connel, insisted the West still expected the Zanu PF administration to reform.
In response yesterday, Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo said O’Connel could have been influenced by the opposition to make pronouncements on US foreign policy.
“She never raised those issues (political and economic reforms) in the meetings we had. I actually met her and she never said that,” he said.
“We do not know who else she met, but we suspect it could be influence from the opposition.”
Moyo, however, seemed to indicate that authorities in Harare would still seek to find an amicable solution to the political standoff that has raged since 2001.
“We do not promote relations with other countries, including the US, in the media. We have an embassy in Washington and that is the job of the people we put there. We are not begging the Americans for a good relationship. Good relations between the US and Zimbabwe will be mutually beneficial to both countries,” he said.
O’Connel told journalists that the US was hopeful that Mugabe would institute reforms and guarantee peaceful elections next year.
Mugabe and his inner circle were slapped with travel bans, as well as asset freezes, by the US in 2001 over allegations of human rights abuses and electoral malpractices.
While Mugabe accuses the West of funding opposition groups as part of a “sinister” regime change agenda, critics have argued that the former guerilla leader’s cocktail of toxic populist policies are to blame for the economic and social problems facing the country.
Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba was not available for comment yesterday, as his mobile phone went unanswered, while Information minister Christopher Mushohwe was dropping calls.