BY MOSES MATENGA
THE United States says it will continue to support the country with humanitarian aid in several key areas including the health sector despite political disagreements with the Harare regime of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
This was said on Tuesday by US acting Ambassador Thomas Hastings, who is the United States embassy Charge d’ Affaires after a tour of projects supported by the country, including Rujeko Polyclinic and the National Microbiology Reference Lab at Sally Mugabe Hospital in Harare.
Hastings told journalists that the US-Zimbabwe fights were not affecting ordinary citizens.
“I am happy to say that though the US government and the government of Zimbabwe have their differences, those differences really do not get in the way of the health assistance that we provide,” Hastings said.
Harare and Washington had a stormy relationship since the reign of the late former President Robert Mugabe over allegations of human rights abuses and electoral theft. Us slapped Zimbabwe with sanctions as a result of the tiff.
The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) was enacted in 2001 by the US Senate and amended in 2018, placing certain individuals and companies under targeted sanctions.
However, Zimbabwe has accused the US of meddling in the affairs of a “sovereign nation”, and has roped in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to lobby for the removal of sanctions.
But Hastings told journalists that the US has poured over US$340 million towards health-related support to Zimbabwe. He said more than 5 000 locals had been benefiting from the Rujeko Polyclinic project.
“There has been tremendous stability from my government in support of health projects in the area of HIV and Aids. The programme is in its fourth President now, from President (George) Bush, President (Barack) Obama, President (Donald) Trump and President (Joe) Biden, and we have continued to support PEPFAR (US President’ Plan for Aids Relief). We will continue to support interventions in Zimbabwe. Yes, we have our disagreements with the government of Zimbabwe but this is an area where we work together very well.”
He said the US was also putting more effort on the fight against the COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.
“The tour was an opportunity for me to see first-hand some of the assistance the US government provides through our Centres for Diseases Control (CDC) in the fight against HIV/Aids. This clinic is an example of the US support all over the country.
“There are 5 039 Zimbabweans living with HIV who receive their treatment here at this clinic, receive their follow-up here at this clinic and if there is need for any counselling it is done here at this clinic as a result of the work that the US government is doing specifically through the partners and NGOs we work with here in Zimbabwe.”
The polyclinic in Harare is supported by the PEPFAR through the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-Zimbabwe).