Zim-US relations still sour

Outgoing US Ambassador, Mr Bruce Wharton yesterday said the relations between his country and Zimbabwe are still sour.

The relationship between the two countries turned sour in 2003 as a result of the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons undermining democratic institutions and processes in Zimbabwe, forcing the United States to implement the targeted sanctions program.

Ambassador Wharton was speaking at a US-Zim Relations event held in the capital.

“The relationship is not yet back to normal,” said Ambassador Wharton adding that conflicting perspectives between officials from both countries serve as the main cause of the bitter relations.

“Despite engagements and the continued aid that Zimbabwe receives from the United States, affairs between the countries are still acerbic with Government of Zimbabwe still contending that “sanctions” were the main cause of the economic meltdown,” he said.

Ambassador Wharton said the fact that there are still unresolved differences between the countries attest the weakening relations.

‘There are still loopholes in the system of governance and we still believe that 2013 elections were not credible,” said Ambassador Wharton.

The United States government believes policy inconsistency is one of the major reasons for economic decline in the Southern African nation.

“At one point I was approached by senior government officials, who wanted me to aid them by luring potential investors to the banking sector. I told them about the arduous indigenous policy and they said we can be flexible. That’s a clear example of policy inconsistency.

“No investor would devote their money in an environment with such policy discordance,” he said.

Responding to whether sanctions were the main cause of the country’s economic predicament, Ambassador Wharton blamed the debauched policies.

“Zimbabwean policy decisions are at the core of determining the current economic woes,” he said adding that sanctions are not the problem as they have no correlation to the economy.

However, Ambassador Wharton noted some improvements in the relationship during his tenure as Washington’s chief diplomat to Zimbabwe.

“The frequency of dialogue with President Mugabe has rapidly, improved which is a positive step in darning the fragmented relationship,” he said.

Bruce WhartonUS Embassy Harare