US hits back at Zim

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Tendai Kamhungira
DEPUTY CHIEF WRITER
kamhungirat@dailynews.co.zw

©️ THE United States has called on the Zimbabwean government to stop “State-sponsored violence against peaceful protesters, civil society, labour leaders and members of the opposition”.

This comes after Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo summoned US ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols over claims by a senior US official Robert O’Brien implicating Zimbabwe in the current US protests.
O’Brien, who is US president Donald Trump’s national security advisor, claimed Zimbabwe, together with China,
Russia and Iran were behind the protests over the killing of an African-American George Floyd by a police officer last week in Minneapolis.
However, despite international condemnation of the US in the aftermath of the death, Nichols, after meeting Moyo, issued a statement calling on the Zimbabwean government to deal with its own human rights abuses in the country.
“The American people’s unwavering commitment to the welfare of Zimbabwe’s people has kept us their largest assistance donor.
“Remembering that commitment, today, I again urged Zimbabwe’s government to end State-sponsored violence against peaceful protesters, civil society, labour leaders and members of the opposition in Zimbabwe, and hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses,” Nichols said.
This comes after three MDC officials — Harare West legislator Joanna Mamombe, youth assembly vice chair Cecilia Chimbiri and the party’s youth deputy organising secretary Netsai Marowa — recently went missing before they were found in Bindura, amid allegations they had been abducted and tortured by State functionaries.
The State has denied having a hand in the women’s disappearance and torture.
“Both America’s and Zimbabwe’s constitutions enshrine the right to free speech and peaceful protest.
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.
“Yet, peaceful protesters Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marowa were arrested, abducted, assaulted and left for dead. To those who deny America’s right to speak out on their fate, let me remind you, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly’,” Nichols said.
He said Floyd’s death gave them the last full measure of devotion to point them towards a new birth in freedom.
“(Mr) Floyd’s murder was a tragedy that has filled Americans with horror and anger. (Mr) Floyd’s killer was charged with murder…. Every American official from our president to Minneapolis’ African American police chief Medaria Arradondo has vowed to deliver justice.
“Zimbabweans surely wonder when, after so many years, Patrick Nabanyana, Itai Dzamara and Paul Chizuzu will get justice. Americans will continue to speak out for justice whether at home or abroad.
“We can meet the ideas of our founding, we will change this world for the better,” Nichols said.
However, Moyo yesterday said the Zimbabwean government was astonished by O’Brien’s comments.
“On behalf of government, I have today informed the US ambassador that (Mr) O’Brien’s allegations are false, without any factual foundation whatsoever and that they are deeply damaging to a relationship already complicated by years of prescriptive megaphone diplomacy and punitive economic sanctions,” he said.
He said Zimbabwe has never been an adversary of the US.
“Even in the face of repeated interference in our own internal affairs, Zimbabwe has been unwavering in its support for Article (2) of the United Nations Charter which expressly urges all member states to respect sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of other states,” he said.
Moyo said he told Nichols that Zimbabwe wanted a normal, cooperative relationship with the US, based on mutual understanding, respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
He said Zimbabwe also expressed its concerns over the “violence and hatred” which have erupted in cities and towns across the US.
“We take due note of the measures deployed by the US authorities to deal with the challenges currently confronting them.
“At the same time, we recall the harsh US criticism and condemnation of our own response to multiple instances of illegal, violent civil unrest incited, largely, by opposition political formations determined to render the country ungovernable, we recall their automatic presumption of State culpability in instances of alleged abduction and their assumption of institutionalised disregard for human rights or rule of law within our government and we reflect on the lack of balance and even the double standards so evident in US policy towards Zimbabwe,” he said.

 

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