US frets over safety of Zim diplomats

HARARE - The United States has called on Zimbabwe to ensure the safety of its diplomatic personnel following a series of demonstrations against US ambassador Bruce Wharton this week.

 Washington went further to condemn the harassment and intimidation of peaceful exchanges between the US and the Zimbabwean people.

“While the right to peaceful protest is a critical element of democracy, we regret that the protestors were not willing to engage in a more constructive manner. The United States recognises the critical need to work together to build a way forward but believes that this must begin with a respectful sharing of ideas.

“We call on the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure the safety and security of diplomatic personnel, and to condemn the harassment and intimidation of peaceful exchanges between the US and the Zimbabwean people,” spokesperson for the US State Department, Victoria Nuland said.

The statement was a response to a question taken at the Thursday daily press briefing asking for a comment on how Wharton “had been prevented from speaking, apparently, two days ago by partisans of President Robert Mugabe.”

Wharton was on his first visit to Manicaland Province on Wednesday to observe Usaid projects and meet with businesspeople, academics, local authorities, and citizens.

About 130 Zanu PF protesters gathered at the Turner Memorial Library in Mutare, where the Ambassador was scheduled to deliver remarks. Wharton spent about 15 to 20 minutes listening to their messages but the protesters refused to engage in constructive conversation, the department said.

In response to the protest, Wharton on his twitter account said the protests were not going to deter him from the positive opinion he has on Zimbabwe.

“Today's disruption in Mutare does not change my positive opinion of Zimbabwe or its potential. Will just have to work a little harder,” he said. - Bridget Mananavire

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.