Bridget Mananavire 18 January 2018
HARARE – The US envoy in Harare yesterday came close to apologising for
scurrilous remarks made by President Donald Trump that immigrants from
Africa and Haiti come from “s***hole countries.”
Trump reportedly made the remarks at a private meeting with lawmakers on
immigration last Thursday.
A US senator who attended the gathering said the president used “vile,
vulgar” language, including repeatedly using the word “s***hole” when
speaking about African countries.
Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Sibusiso Moyo
told State radio that the remarks “shocked and dismayed us.”
“The USA is a prominent country of which the world expects the best
example in its projection of democratic values, commitment to the fight
against bigotry, upholding the civil rights of all of its people and
generosity towards the less fortunate countries in the world,” Moyo said.
“We join fellow African countries and others in rejecting this unfortunate
characterisation of our peoples and countries.
“We all desire the amplification of positive relations with the USA, and
would hope that care will be taken going forward to avoid jeopardising
prospects for those relations through such hurtful and prejudicial
language from any official quarter in the USA.”
Speaking at the hand over of a $502 million grant by the Global Fund to
fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria yesterday, US envoy Harry Thomas Jnr
said: “I would like to say on behalf of the embassy, of my government, the
American people that we have tremendous respect for Zimbabwe, the
African continent, its people, its culture, its traditions, the
immigrants in America, chiefly from Zimbabwe, are the highest achieving
people. I just want to say from the bottom of our hearts we are part of
you,” he said to applause, adding that Zimbabweans were still welcome to
Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa said: “I would like to
thank the ambassador for the reassurance he has given us.”
The US president made a volte face on Friday amid international
condemnation, denying using such derogatory language.
But he has been widely condemned in many African countries and by
international rights organisations. African Union countries demanded an