The Zimbabwean government has descended on the US embassy in the capital Harare for issuing a statement on deteriorating human rights situation in the Southern African country.
The embassy’s statement of Monday, February 6, 2017, raised concerns relating to what it termed the “unwarranted arrest and continued detention” of two pastors – #ThisFlag activist, Pastor Evan Mawarire and another called Phillip Patrick Mugadza.
Mawarire has been charged with treason and abusing the flag, he was arrested soon after he arrived from the US. Pastor Mugadza on the other hand was arrested on January 16 in connection with a prophecy about President Mugabe’s death. He is charged with “insulting people of a certain race or religion,” his lawyer has confirmed.
We are waiting for a cue from a new government. Whoever that person is, is a left over from a terrible era. Is it because this person (Mawarire) is their agent?
The statement read in parts, “We believe that the basic rights of Zimbabweans to freedom of speech – be it in public, through print media, or social media – should be protected within and outside Zimbabwe’s borders.”
We are extremely concerned by the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe pic.twitter.com/fKJjuJmVAu— U.S. Embassy Harare (@usembassyharare) February 6, 2017
In response to the statement, Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, George Charamba, hit out at the US and its ambassador. He averred that as the worst human rights violators internationally the US was the least qualified to comment on Zimbabwe’s human rights situation.
He described Mawarire as an agent of the US, he added that Zimbabwe was waiting to see the steps the Trump government will tow on relations. “We are waiting for a cue from the new government. Whoever that person is, is a left over from a terrible era. Is it because this person (Mawarire) is their agent?” the state-owned Herald quoted him as asking.
President Mugabe is on record to have said on a number of occasions that the west was behind agitations for unconstitutional regime change in the country.
He has also blamed them for having a hand in the current economic crisis by imposing economic sanctions on the country. Zimbabwe abandoned its currency years ago due to hyperinflation. Their current legal tender is the US dollar side-by-side bond notes. A biting drought is also not helping matters.