The United States of America says Zimbabwe is moving backwards and is in worse shape now compared to its heyday in the 1990s, amid concerns of an economic crisis and human rights violations.
US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told a virtual news conference on Friday following her visit to South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and Niger that Zimbabwe in the 1990s was “beautiful” but now was falling back. She said:
As you said, there are democracy challenges all over Africa. There is backsliding.
Some — I remember being in Zimbabwe in the 1990s, and it was one of the most beautiful and prosperous and relatively open countries, but it’s a far cry from that now.
She also said US President Joe Biden will not hesitate to condemn human rights abuses and speaking against corruption and other vices. Said, Nuland:
We are not going to be shy. President Biden is not shy, as you saw when he met with President Vladimir Putin (Russia) in Geneva, a meeting that I was honoured to join, and he spoke about our concerns about democracy and human rights.
And we will speak honestly and candidly to countries when we have concerns. And frankly, if countries are choosing a more autocratic path, it will constrain what we can do together.
Relations between the US and Zimbabwe have been strained since 2001 when Washington imposed targeted sanctions on Harare over alleged electoral theft and human rights violations, which the former President, the late Robert Mugabe denied.
The US’ stance towards Zimbabwe has not softened since the 2017 military coup as it accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of corruption and the use of the military and State security agents to suppress democratic space.