US urges more Zimbabwe political reforms

President Mnangagwa (right) receives a condolence message from American Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols at Munhumutapa Government offices in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Memory Mangombe)
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The United States has praised President Mnangagwa’s trajectory of implementing democratic reforms as the country accelerates political, electoral and legislative reforms to deepen its democratic processes as well as the ease of doing business.

Since his inauguration in November 2017, President Mnangagwa has never looked back as he continued on the path of reform and re-engagement to enhance relations with the international community.

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols, who met President Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa offices yesterday where he announced US$2.5 million financial assistance for the Cyclone Idai disaster, hailed the Second Republic’s political and economic reforms underway.

He said while Washington had a long history in Zimbabwe, it had raised its concern over the two countries relations around issues of democracy, human rights and the respect for rule of law.

“Our legal framework calls upon Zimbabwe to carry out reforms to address these problems,” he said.  “We are happy that Government is focusing on and addressing these problems. I hope that the repeal of POSA, which has already been gazetted, will move forward and will generate additional path for the momentum in our relationship.”

Mr Nichols said his discussion with President Mnangagwa touched on several issues and he was even impressed by the President’s profound understanding of issues they deliberated over.

“We discussed a full range of issues and the President is incredibly knowledgeable about what is going on,” he said.

“I enjoyed the discussion with him to get the broad position of the obtaining situation here.”

He said the US had no problems with protests against sanction that were being held outside its embassy in Harare saying Zimbabweans were exercising their constitutional rights peacefully and everybody should be allowed to do that.

“That is the beginning of dialogue and we support that kind of thing (peaceful demostrations), which every Zimbabwean should be able to do,” he said.

The Cabinet has since approved the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill, which seeks to repeal the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), Protection of Personal Information Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill whose thrust is to repeal the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

The approval of the principles of the two Bills demonstrates the determination by the Second Republic to pursue the reform agenda that will see the country move on a new trajectory in domestic and foreign policies under the stewardship of President Mnangagwa.

The repeal of POSA and AIPPA paves way for the opening up of the democratic space and the enjoyment of freedoms and rights, moving away from the previous era before the advent of President Mnangagwa’s administration.

The principles of the Freedom of Information Bill that would create legal framework outlining parameters for the exercise of the right to access to information as envisaged by the Constitution.

Further President Mnangagwa has set up inter-ministerial taskforce charged with addressing issues raised in the reports of observer missions to the 2018 harmonised elections as well as the findings of the Motlanthe Commission of Enquiry into the 1 August post-election violence.