THE United States yesterday said Zimbabwe should complete its electoral reforms to set a free and fair stage for the 2023 general elections.
BY MOSES MATENGA
The US also castigated Zimbabwe for indefinitely suspending by-elections under the guise of COVID 19.
In a terse message by the US embassy in Harare, it said government must ensure smooth polls and make good its promises on reforms.
Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles as Health minister, used Statutory Instrument 225A of 2020 to indefinitely stop by-elections slated for December 5 citing COVID-19.
The move was widely condemned by locals and the international community, who said it was unconstitutional and undemocratic.
“The government should complete its electoral reforms to set the stage for free and fair elections in 2023,” a statement from the US embassy read.
“The US government is concerned by the indefinite suspension of by-elections, with the Zimbabwean government citing COVID-19 as the reason,” they said.
US Assistant Secretary for State for African Affairs, Tibo Nagy also stated that Zimbabwe must stop blaming sanctions for the country’s economic quagmire, which the US believes is man-made.
Nagy said there was deliberate peddling of falsehoods on sanctions being at the centre of the economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
He said the sanctions were only targeted against those involved in corruption and violation of human rights.
“Some falsely blame US sanctions for Zimbabwe’s economic crisis. The truth is that the US supports the Zimbabwean people with millions of dollars in assistance. US sanctions target those who violate human rights or engage in corruption,” Nagy said.
“The purpose is simple: to promote accountability for human rights violators and corrupt individuals, and the US will not turn a blind eye to those who undermine Zimbabwe’s Constitution and democratic institutions.”
His statement comes at a time President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government commemorated the Sadc anti-sanctions day, where several African countries denounced the US imposed sanctions saying they were illegal and uncalled for.
Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa was not picking calls for comment, while the party information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi’s phone went unanswered.
But on Sunday, Mnangagwa described the US sanctions on Zimbabwe as “a form of aggression against my country and a tool of regime change”.
He said the cyber-attacks on Zimbabwe were built on gross falsehood and non-existent narratives of a nation in crisis.