Zim must be strong, just — US envoy

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HARARE – Zimbabwe should avoid “irritating” the international community by upholding democratic tendencies, a US envoy has said.

In his speech during the US Independence Day on July 4, ambassador Bruce Wharton said Zimbabwe should work together with the international community in creating a conducive environment for cooperation and fulfilment of human rights.

“In interdependence, the US offers access to our markets, our investors, our universities, our development and humanitarian assistance programmes, and our technologies,” Wharton said.

“In exchange, we seek partners who support the rule of law, transparency, fair trade, and good-faith efforts to work peacefully on the issues that inevitably irritate international relations.

“I need my Zimbabwean colleagues and counterparts to help me accomplish the goals President Obama has given me. And, I hope that I can help Zimbabweans do their jobs and accomplish their goals. The United States needs Zimbabwe to be strong, just and prosperous so that, together, we can build the stability, opportunity and democracy that our people deserve.”

The US is a vocal critic of Zimbabwe’s poor governance and violation of human rights and has imposed economic sanctions in protest at electoral fraud and repression.

Wharton — punctuating his speech by citing pro-democracy legends like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Ben Franklin — said criticism was a crucial component of building politically and economically democratic states.

“We also accept that interdependence includes constructive critics to help us recognise and address our own shortcomings in open exchanges of ideas and ideals,” he said.

The ambassador quoted Obama’s speech in Dar es Salaam which dwelt on how the problems of one state can easily upset the development of another.

“Obama was saying, in essence, that independence, true independence, is not a solo effort,” Wharton said. “It has to be a team effort.

The United States and Zimbabwe should be supporting members of that team.

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