by Christopher Makaza
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo yesterday told United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols that Zimbabwe has never been an adversary of the United States of America as highlighted by US national security advisor, Mr Robert O’Brien.
Minister Moyo also dismissed claims by O’ Brien that Zimbabwe, along with China, Russia and Iran had a hand in the protests that were triggered by the killing of a black man, George Floyd, by a police officer in the city of Minneapolis last week.
The unverified claims by Mr O’Brien prompted Minister Moyo to summon Mr Nichols to his Munhumutapa offices to explain to the US diplomat that Zimbabwe does not interfere in affairs of sovereign states.
“The Government of Zimbabwe notes, with astonishment and concern the comments made by Mr Robert O’Brien, US national security advisor, which characterised Zimbabwe as ‘an adversary’ of the United States and which named our country as one-seeking to take advantage of the current unrest situation in the US in order to ‘sow discord and to try to damage democracy’.
“On behalf of the Government, I have today (yesterday) 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,” said Minister Moyo.
Minister Moyo highlighted that Zimbabwe respects and observes Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter which urges nations to respect sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of member states, adding that the nation seeks a normal, cooperative relationship with the USA based on mutual understanding, mutual respect and non-interference in each other`s internal affairs, the very opposite of the characterisation voiced by Mr O’ Brien.
The murder of Floyd triggered violent protests across America and has also received global condemnation, with the United Nations and the African Union also demanding justice.
“Whereas we certainly add our voice to the many others, including that of the African Union and the United nations — who have expressed deep concern at the killing, by a uniformed white police official, of Mr Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed, helpless black man — we unreservedly condemn the violence, arson and looting which have turned the usually quiet neighbourhoods into scenes of chaos and destruction and where, tragically, further innocent lives have been lost.
“Our fervent hope is that the situation in the US calms down, that civilian law enforcement agency and the paramilitary units conduct themselves with maximum restraint, that community leaders succeed in persuading their citizens to honour the memory of Mr Floyd by way of peaceful gathering and that no further life is lost,” said Minister Moyo.
Meanwhile people on social media condemned US Ambassador Brian Nichol`s speech during his meeting with Minister Moyo saying he never showed remorse over Floyd`s death compared to statements made by US Ambassadors to Zambia, Ghana and Uganda.
US Ambassador to Zambia David young acknowledged that the United States is struggling with difficult and persistent challenges of racial discrimination and violence which Nichols failed to.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with Mr Floyd’s family, his loved ones, and indeed with African Americans and others who continue to face acts of racist violence and discrimination,” said Ambassador Young.
The US Ambassador to Congo, Mike Hammer, tweeted that he was profoundly troubled by the tragic death of Floyd, adding that the Justice Department is conducting a full criminal investigation as a top priority.
Similar statements were tweeted by the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Uganda, while the embassies in Tanzania and Kenya tweeted a joint statement from the Department of Justice office in Minnesota on the investigation.
Commenting on Ambassador Nichol`s sentiments, Dr Clever Nyuki on his twitter page posted, “Listening to Brian Nichols's presser yesterday it didn`t seem like he was not too concerned about what happened to Floyd but rather vested in the staged abductions of Joana Mamombe and company.”
One Tashinga Chabayanzara said Nichol’s statement clearly showed that Americans view blacks as less humans compared of whites, hence the brutal killing of Floyd.
The statement by Nichols was undiplomatic and smacked of US interference in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe. His reference to the alleged disappearance of several anti-Government critics showed that he was more of an MDC spokesperson than a diplomat.
Relations between Zimbabwe and US had been frosty since early 2000s when the former engaged in land reform program to benefit its citizens who have been historically disadvantaged. The move saw US imposing illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe to cripple its economy.