Defiant US govt encourages fair elections in Zimbabwe despite warnings
Barely five days after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime warned the United States Embassy against tweeting election material encouraging the people of Zimbabwe to register to vote, the US’s Bureau of African Affairs tweeted the same saying “Zimbabweans deserve free and fair elections”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week summoned a top United States diplomat stationed in Harare over what it called “unacceptable” behaviour in response to a social media post by the latter encouraging Zimbabweans to “register to vote and make sure your voice is heard” and “peacefully”.
The Ministry’s acting secretary Rofina Chikava, on Tuesday, summoned the Chargé d’affaires for the US Embassy in Harare, Elaine French and warned her against meddling in Zimbabwean affairs.
French is the most senior US official in Harare representing Pamela Tremont who was nominated by President Joe Biden to become the ambassador to Zimbabwe.
On Thursday, the US’s Bureau of African Affairs tweeted almost the same message its branch in Harare noted last week on Friday.
Read the tweet: “The United States stands with the Zimbabwean people as they make their voices heard by voting in elections on August 23. Zimbabweans deserve free and fair elections and we call on all actors to ensure the elections are peaceful and reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people.”
After the US Embassy tweet, the Ministry’s spokesperson Livit Mugejo released a statement stating that, during the meeting with French, Chikava warned the western country against tweeting political messages.
“Ambassador Chikava said the conduct by the US Embassy was unacceptable as it deviated from conventional diplomatic norms and values enshrined in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961),” he said.
“The ministry also called on the US Embassy to refrain from posting such messages in the spirit of re-engagement between our two countries.”
Zimbabwe will hold harmonised general elections on the 23rd of August this year. The US and other countries are expected to send observers to witness the plebiscite.