'Mugabe holding Zim back'

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe is holding Zimbabwe back by failing to name a successor, triggering unending succession wars in his ruling Zanu PF, a United States official has said.

With the opposition in disarray, Shannon Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of African Affairs said Zimbabwe’s situation was worsening.

Briefing the United States House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organisations on her visit to Zimbabwe, Smith who supported the current restrictions on Zimbabwe officials said the country was trapped in endless problems.

“Fundamentally, Zimbabwe remains trapped in a moment in time that has been unfolding for decades.

“President Mugabe maintains his hold on power, as a result of the 2013 elections that were neither free nor fair,” Smith told the delegates last week.

“The country’s economy is failing, driven down not by international sanctions but by national policies and rampant unemployment.

“Once a breadbasket for the region, it faces major food security challenges in the months to come. Political rights remain curtailed.

“Outright violence has declined compared to previous years, but prominent examples, such as the disappearance of activist Itai Dzamara, remind Zimbabweans that their safety is elusive.

“Both the ruling party and the opposition appear to be fragmenting, adding to an environment of uncertainty and therefore unease,” she said.

Smith came to Zimbabwe last month together with Steven Feldstein, from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour. During their visit, the officials engaged in a series of meetings with the embassy, the government, opposition members, and civil society.

Smith said the political discourse in Zimbabwe worsened the economic problems with Mugabe showing no signs of stepping down.

“Political developments and uncertainties are exacerbating economic problems.

“Internal struggles over possible succession within Zanu PF, the ruling party, continue to dominate political discourse and impede any hopes for reform,” she said.

“In the meantime, at 91, Mugabe remains firmly in charge and there are no indications he plans to step down,” said Smith.

Mugabe remained mum after being cornered by Sahara TV reporters on when he will step down recently in Nigeria, at the inauguration of the country’s new President Muhammadu Buhari.

Government’s spokesperson Jonathan Moyo’s reaction to the questions posed to Mugabe, was that the reporters were “uncouth” and terrorists.

Smith said the opposition had failed to remove Zanu PF from power.

“Zimbabwe’s opposition has failed to capitalise on the fissures in Zanu PF and unite behind a common vision.

“The opposition has become increasingly splintered itself, with new, breakaway parties forming under other leadership,” she said.

“Current circumstances do not merit a change in our policy, but we remain hopeful that in the future they will.

“We strive to balance our targeted sanctions on those who have impinged upon human rights and the rule of law with our encouragement of economic reforms and investment.”

“We stand by the commitments we made to the people of Zimbabwe at their independence in 1980 to work together to promote democratic institutions, equitable economic growth, public health, and food security.

“To this end, the United States has provided over $2,6 billion in development assistance to Zimbabwe since its independence,”  Smith said.

Comments (2)

IT IS NOT FOR MUGABE TO NAME A SUCCESSOR FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!! HE DOESNT OWN ZIMBABWE OR ZANU PF. IT SHOULD BE ZANU PF TO NAME ITS NEXT LEADER AND FOR ZIMBABWE TO VOTE THAT PERSON IN IF THEY SO WISH. STOP PROPAGATING FALSEHOODS AND MAKE PEOPLE FEEL AS IF THEY ARE GODS.

SHIBOBO - 8 June 2015

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