US envoy urges Zim to protect new found freedom

US envoy urges Zim to protect new found freedom
July 11 09:58 2018

Staff Reporter

Zimbabwe’s independence was won 38 years ago, but freedom from oppression did not immediately follow until last November when the people of Zimbabwe found their voices and dared to hope. This was said by United States of America’s Charge d’ Affaires, Jennifer Savage, during commemorations to mark the 242nd independence of the USA.

“More than at any other time in recent history, the people of Zimbabwe have more freedom to speak their minds.  More freedom to dissent.  More freedom to voice their own vision for the future of Zimbabwe.  This new sense of freedom of expression is monumental, and a fundamental change for human rights in Zimbabwe as long the leaders and institutions protect it,” said Savage

She said the country has witnessed some promising signs of change like President Mnangagwa’s call for free, fair, and credible elections, holding of opposition political parties’ rallies in ruling party strongholds and the invitation of elections observers and media in irrefutable numbers.

However, she urged the country’s leadership to be pragmatic and work to restore the people’s confidence. She also called for whatever government that wins this year’s elections to implement necessary reforms to make Zimbabwe a better place.

“Of utmost importance are human rights reforms – to include reconciliation and accounting for past sins, a meaningful restoration of property rights, and the repeal of oppressive laws.  This goes hand in hand with good governance and harmonizing the laws of the nation with the 2013 constitution.  Finally, Zimbabweans look forward to the economic reforms that will usher into reality the ‘open for business’ sign, including a more efficient bureaucracy and a plan to address the liquidity crisis,” said Savage.

On Zimbabwe-America relations Savage said the two countries must look beyond targeted sanctions and envision a relationship in which trade and investment flow freely between the two nations. A relationship in which American companies thrive in Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwean companies thrive in the United States and where two countries’ academics work together to resolve the health and environmental challenges of the day.

“All of this is contingent upon meaningful change in Zimbabwe.  Winning is easy, governing is harder. We will be so proud to see Zimbabwe join us as a model of democratic principles.  Just like my country, you are young scrappy and hungry and you are not throwing away your shot!

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