Former US ambassador to Zimbabwe urges Washington to work with whoever wins coming elections

Former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray has urged Washington to work with the winner of this year’s elections regardless of the political party.

He told a congressional committee on Wednesday, “If we truly want to see Zimbabwe develop to its potential, we must be prepared to work with the winner of a credible, nonviolent election, regardless of the political party.”

Ray said: “Even if the election is credible and nonviolent, any new government is almost certain to contain officials who bring a lot of historical baggage with them to the positions they occupy.

“I firmly believe, however, that we should, in such a situation, put the past behind us and focus on the policy statement in the introduction of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001; ‘it is the policy of the United States to support the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle to effect peaceful, democratic change, achieve broad-based and equitable economic growth, and restore the rule of law.”

He urged the US embassy in Harare to work with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and assure him that the United States is prepared to recognise and work with the new government if the elections are credible and non-violent.

“While we should continue to monitor the human rights situation, our initial focus should be on actions to reinvigorate the country’s economy and empower the private sector to revitalize the agricultural sector, and rebuild stagnant industries, with a view to creating meaningful employment and broad economic security,” he said.  

“We should encourage the new government to develop an investor-friendly climate, and take steps to curb corruption, while at the same time, encouraging American business to explore opportunities to increase two-way trade and investment.”

Ray, who was ambassador during the time of the inclusive government- from 2009 to 2012, concluded: “I do believe that if everyone approaches the coming months with an earnest desire to see Zimbabwe pull itself out of the doldrums and take its rightful place in the region and the world, it can happen.

“If it does happen, if everyone then puts the past behind them and focuses on the future, a new and more vibrant Zimbabwe can arise Phoenix-like from the ashes.”

Below is his testimony in full

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