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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Government summons US Embassy over election campaign messages

Story by Bruce Chahwanda, Political Editor

GOVERNMENT has summoned the United States Embassy Charge d’Affaires, Ms Elaine French over meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal politics through election campaign messages posted by the embassy on social media.

The US Embassy posted a series of election campaign messages on social media in clear violation of diplomatic etiquette.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said a meeting was held this Tuesday between Acting Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Rofina Chikava and the US Embassy Charge’ d’Affaires Ms French, where Zimbabwe expressed concern over the US Embassy’s unacceptable conduct.

Ambassador Chikava said the recent social media posts are a deviation from conventional diplomatic norms and values enshrined in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The Ministry also called on the US Embassy to refrain from posting such messages in the spirit of re-engagement between the two countries.

Zimbabwe views the US as an important cooperating partner in its development goals, in line with its Engagement and Re-Engagement agenda as well as its ‘friend to all and enemy to none’ policy.

Ambassador Chikava emphasised the government’s commitment towards holding a peaceful, free and fair election, but had no kind words for the US embassy, saying the social media posts border on activism, adding that they are a clear sign of meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

The statement notes that the US Charge’ d’Affaires acknowledged Harare’s concerns and reiterated her mission’s commitment to improving its communication in line with expected diplomatic conduct.

Zimbabwe will hold general elections this August and President Emmerson Mnangagwa has on many occasions reiterated that international observers are welcome in Zimbabwe as the country has nothing to hide in its commitment to hold free, fair and credible elections.

Preparations for the general elections are in full swing including the voter registration and education exercises as well as the ongoing inspection of the voter’s roll.

Delimitation of constituencies and wards has already been done and the President is expected to proclaim the election dates soon.

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