Washington, DC – In an interview conducted from Washington, DC, Robert Scott, the deputy assistant secretary for southern Africa, stated that the United States of America (USA) does not support any political party in Zimbabwe ahead of the July harmonised elections.
Scott recently visited Eswatini and Zimbabwe and met with various stakeholders. He emphasized that the USA wants to see a deserving winner become the president, not a particular candidate. He clarified that the USA supports a strengthening of institutions that allows citizens to express their will in democratic elections and choose their leaders.
The ruling ZANU PF has accused the USA of supporting opposition groups in Zimbabwe and imposing sanctions to champion the regime change agenda. However, the USA denies any involvement in such actions.
Scott’s engagements with members of the opposition, the government’s foreign affairs, justice and home affairs ministries, civic society, and the military revealed that the playing field ahead of the elections was not level, particularly with the threat of the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill seeking to regulate the operations of civic society and NGOs.
During a meeting with the permanent secretary of defense, Aaron Nhepera, Scott stressed that the military should not appear in election processes and that it is consistent with international standards and the aspirants of any country to hold peaceful, transparent, and inclusive elections.
Zimbabwe has a history of military involvement in politics since gaining independence in 1980. Critics argue that the military’s involvement in politics has damaged democracy and contributed to Zimbabwe’s economic and social problems, while supporters believe that the military has helped maintain stability and protect the country’s sovereignty.
The USA’s stance on Zimbabwe’s elections has been closely watched by the international community, with many hoping for free, fair, and credible polls. The upcoming elections will see opposition leader Nelson Chamisa leading the rebranded Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) against ZANU PF in what is expected to be a two-man race.
Scott’s recent visit to Zimbabwe highlights the USA’s continued interest in Zimbabwe’s democratic process and the importance of holding peaceful, transparent, and inclusive elections.