President Mugabe being welcomed home by services chiefs — (from right) Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantine Chiwenga, Major General Trust Mugoba, Air Marshal Perrance Shiri and ZRP Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Clinton under fire over Zim Constitution utterances
Thursday, 09 August 2012 00:00
The United States Government has been accused of attempting to influence the Constitution-making process in Zimbabwe by trying to coerce political parties to blindly endorse the draft Constitution.
This followed remarks by US Secretary of State Mrs Hillary Clinton in Cape Town yesterday that Washington would reward Zimbabwe if it held a “credible” referendum for the draft Constitution.
Political analysts yesterday castigated the US, for meddling in the internal political processes of the country, in a vain attempt to maintain its hegemony on Africa.
In a speech at Cape Town University, Mrs Clinton said the US would reward Zimbabwean leaders to pave the way toward free elections.
“Here in Africa, the international community has made it clear that the people of Zimbabwe deserve the right to have their voices and votes counted in a free and fair election,” she said.
She urged regional leaders, including Sadc mediator South African President Jacob Zuma to push for a recently “approved draft Constitution” to go to the vote that would allow new polls five years after the 2008 election.
“Now the same leaders can help accelerate progress for finalising and adopting that Constitution through a credible referendum and holding a free and fair election monitored by the international community,” said Mrs Clinton.
“And if Zimbabwe’s leaders meet these commitments, the United States is prepared to match action for action.”
The US and its European Union allies renewed sanctions against President Mugabe some government officials from Zanu-PF and some companies.
The EU has lifted sanctions imposed on some officials in Zanu-PF and journalists but maintained the embargo on President Mugabe and other senior officials from the party.
In her sixth leg of a marathon African tour, Mrs Clinton called on South Africa to lead efforts at the United Nations human rights council to protect global human rights.
University of Zimbabwe International Relations lecturer, Dr Charity Manyeruke, said the US was trying to influence political processes in Zimbabwe.
“Where does the issue of rewarding come from? They are trying to influence political processes in Zimbabwe.
“It means they have a political interest in the process but there are other countries that do not even have a Constitution,” said Dr Manyeruke.
“We are a sovereign country. When a country embarks on an exercise like a constitution making process, they are doing it for the benefit of their people and not for outsiders.”
Another analyst who preferred anonymity said it was wrong for the US to set conditions for Zimbabwe.
He said it was important for the US and the West to leave the political processes unfold driven by its people.
Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, said what the US was doing was a significant shift from its stance on Zimbabwe.
He said the US had realised that its continued support of the MDC-T was futile hence its shift.
“The speech is neutral to political players.
Nowhere does it exalt any political party.
“This is why MDC-T is now frightened and now courting regional leaders after realising that it was no longer a favoured darling of the US and the West.
“Its Saul now on the road to Damascus,” said Cde Mutsvangwa who is former Zimbabwe Ambassador to China.
The United States has been overt in its position on Zimbabwe unlike the EU that has imposed some sanctions that are even illegal according to its laws.
The US has crafted the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, now Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act that discourages some US nationals in positions of authority in multi-lateral lending institutions to discourage lending money to Zimbabwe.