Thursday, January 17, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) US ambassador barred from Mutare meeting

COMMENT - There is no need for speeches on Zimbabwe "moving beyond a relationship defined by aid" - let the people get paid for the value of their diamonds, platinum and gold. Presto, no more 'need' for aid.

US ambassador barred from Mutare meeting
16/01/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE United States ambassador to Zimbabwe says “Zanu PF protesters” barred him from entering a library in Mutare on Wednesday where he was due to give a speech calling for the United States and Zimbabwe to “move beyond a relationship defined by aid”.

Bruce Wharton said he had been looking forward to “engaging in a dialogue with the citizens of Manicaland” at the Turner Memorial Library only to be met by about 130 placard-waving protesters “not interested in a conversation”.

The United States embassy later said Ambassador Wharton had been “prevented” from entering the library after spending nearly 20 minutes “listening to their [Zanu PF supporters] messages written on placards and verbal”.

“He was met with no opportunity for constructive conversation,” the Embassy said in a statement, while insisting that the United States “values the right to peaceful protest”.

Ambassador Wharton “recognises the critical need to work together to build a way forward”, the Embassy statement went on, “but believes that this must begin with a respectful sharing of ideas”.

Wharton was remaining in Mutare on Wednesday with further scheduled visits to USAID projects and meetings with businesspeople, academics, local authorities, and citizens.
The US embassy distributed a speech which Ambassador Wharton was due to give during the visit to the library.

Wharton would have told his audience that the United States is was ready to help Zimbabwe get back on its feet “so that it can again be a nation of economic opportunities, of respect for the rule of law and the rights of all people”.

“Those are values that reflect the core of what Americans share with Zimbabweans and that we should pursue together,” he was going to say.
Zimbabwe and the United States, according to Wharton, also needed to “prepare to move beyond a relationship defined by aid”.

“The people of Zimbabwe are fully capable of feeding themselves, meeting the nation’s health and education needs, building a dynamic political system, and restoring what was once one of the strongest economies in Africa,” his speech said.

Wharton was also going to tell his audience that the United States “backs principles and institutions, not individuals or parties” in Zimbabwe.

“It is not for the U.S. or foreigners to say how Zimbabwe should govern itself or its democratic practices. Instead, using the Zimbabwean constitution, laws, the Global Political Agreement, and the SADC Roadmap, Zimbabweans have agreed how they will comport themselves,” he was to say.

“It is against those commitments that Zimbabwe will be judged by the Zimbabwean people and friends of Zimbabwe alike. But, in any human interaction, one’s credibility rests on maintaining one’s word and one’s honour.”

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