US summons Zim envoy over Zanu PF rant

Source: US summons Zim envoy over Zanu PF rant | Newsday (News)

BY MOSES MATENGA/BLESSED MHLANGA

THE United States yesterday summoned Zimbabwe ambassador to that country to explain Zanu PF’s “offensive” rants targeted at Washington’s envoy to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols.

This was after Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa called Nichols a “thug” and accused him of funding the opposition ahead of planned anti-government protests on Friday which authorities say are meant to overthrow the government.

Chinamasa stroked a diplomatic row when he threatened to declare Nichols persona non grata for allegedly backing opposition and the civic groups to push for the ouster of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy said Washington was not surprised by Zanu PF actions, but had since summoned the Zimbabwean ambassador, Machivenyika Mapuranga to explain the “offensive” outburst.

“Comments from Zanu PF, while sadly not surprising, are deeply offensive. We have summoned the ambassador of Zimbabwe to explain,” Nagy said.

Relations between Zimbabwe and the US have been frosty since Washington imposed sanctions on Harare in 2001 under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act following a chaotic land reform programme which the government says was meant to resettle landless blacks.

In October last year, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo summoned Nichols over his claims that corruption and bad governance, not sanctions, were hurting the Zimbabwe economy.
Churches also reacted angrily to Chinamasa’s call for vigilante justice by Zanu PF supporters.

Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) general-secretary Reverend Keneth Mtata said: “We hope our government will out of respect for the Constitution and decency; distance itself from calls that citizens be violent to each other and the ghastly labelling of opposition political parties as terrorist groups.”

Mtata said Zimbabwe, facing hunger and struggling with its economy, needed to be engaging with its citizens peacefully and also having cordial relations with nations that are assisting to feed her people.

“Government has to distance itself from the disrespectful and inhospitable language against our diplomatic guests, we need to build peace, love and respect for each other and build a nation especially in this time of crisis,” he said.

The church made an attempt to bring political parties to the negotiating table in an effort to stall the July 31 demonstrations and bring a solution to the failing economy.

The meeting, attended by 17, political parties failed to gain traction after it was snubbed by Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance.

MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said labelling of the MDC Alliance as a “terrorist organisation” by Chinamasa was an attempt to silence government critics and justify acts of violence against the opposition ahead of the protests.

“The clampdown on our members is unconstitutional, colonial and the latest in a series of attacks by the State in an attempt to stifle the main opposition, further shrink the democratic space and distract attention from the national crisis and governance failure of Mr Mnangagwa. The State is at war with its citizens,” she said.

MDC Alliance treasurer-general David Coltart said: “My take on Chinamasa’s rambling statement (is) they are panicking and petrified of the Zimbabwean people who are tired of Zanu PF’s abuse of power. Calling the US ambassador a thug was silly and only complicates life for Zanu PF going forward.”

Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said the statement by Chinamasa was “irresponsible” and inciting.

He said Chinamasa should also be arrested.

“It’s the height of irresponsibility by Chinamasa as he is essentially instigating violence in Zimbabwe. If there is any semblance of law and order in Zimbabwe, then Chinamasa must be arrested,” Mukundu said.

“International engagement is dead and the ruling party has betrayed its lack of sense and decency by launching a verbal attack on a diplomat. It shows the lack of strategic thinking within government and their failure to deliver is leading to anger and the ruling party is now the biggest threat to the lives of the people of
Zimbabwe.”

Human rights group Heal Zimbabwe Trust said Zanu PF’s position had the potential to cause chaos in Zimbabwe and was regrettable.

“Comments by Chinamasa where he urged party members to use any means at their disposal to defend themselves on July 31, 2020, are insightful language that has potential of threatening the prevalence of peace in Zimbabwe,” the Heal Zimbabwe Trust said.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 3
  • comment-avatar

    Zimbabwe is proving to be a true enemy of the USA.

  • comment-avatar
    Fallenz 5 days ago

    The fact is that ZANUPF does not care what the rest of the world thinks or does, as long as party leaders and their cohorts can continue to scarf up for themselves the US$ that find their way into Zim.  “Pretense” left the building long ago, and the mafia is no longer attempting to disguise itself as legitimate.  They have the power and they control the treasury, the courts, the vote tallies, and the guns, so why should they care.  They’ve turned Zim into a dung heap, but they do not care, so long as they can avoid the smell from within their mansions and fancy automobiles.  

  • comment-avatar
    Ndonga 5 days ago

    I would have expected nothing better from Patrick Chinamasa.
    He was a useless Minister of Finance and is now proving to be a very dangerous and out of control spokesperson.
    But I am sure that he got the green light from his boss ED, or even his wife Monica, to say these stupid things as we all know that he is a scared little mouse at heart