By Karen Nyeraurombo
Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S Embassy in Harare Thomas Hastings says his country is only interested in seeing Harare looking after the needs of its people and contributing to regional stability.
Zimbabwe which got independence in April 1980 has been on international radar for alleged human rights violations and poor governance by the ruling party.
This has seen the international community imposing restrictive measures on individuals and institutions that are aiding in the abuse of the people.
Harare in its defence claims that the European Union and countries such as the United States imposed the measures as retaliation for the land reform exercise that started around 1996.
However, in an interview with Philemon Jambaya (watch interview here)of OpenParlyZW’s Human Right Lenses, Deputy Chief of Mission Hastings said his country wants Zimbabwe to a peaceful and democratic country that cater for the needs of its citizens.
“We want the government of Zimbabwe to look after the needs of its people and contribute to regional stability. We want Zimbabwe to be a country that is peaceful, democratic, healthy, and prosperous.
‘’We have serious concerns about the democratic governance and human rights situation in this country and growing out of those concerns we have some very strong policies in place. These policies come from both our executive branch from the President and also from our legislative branch.
“We take a very fundamental view looking at the laws, what rights are mentioned in the country’s constitution but also how those laws are respected and practiced.
“We start with our own observations, we who work at the U.S Embassy here accredited as diplomats to Zimbabwe. We have our own observations of events that have taken place here, based on what we have seen here ourselves, conversations with people we have talked to but then we also rely on press reports.
“We have Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) which says we may not support most forms of the system to Zimbabwe until the government of Zimbabwe has restored the rule of law, hold a free and fair election, commitment to legal and transparent land reform and control of the military.
“Sometimes I talk to people and they say, what is it that the United States wants of Zimbabwe, what is the international community demanding of Zimbabwe and I can say it is an end to violence and intimidation sponsored or tolerated by the government of Zimbabwe.
“So, if Zimbabwe wishes to have closer relations with the United States and international community, these are the goals they should be working towards, respect for human rights is a fundamental part of these goals,” he said.