US Ambassador To Zimbabwe Urges Security Reforms Before Elections

September 26, 2011 at 8:35 am Leave a comment

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray characterized Harare’s relations with
Washington as strained, but pledged to continue to engage all of the parties
in Harare’s national unity government

Blessing Zulu

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray has warned that without reform of the
nation’s Defense Forces and other national security institutions, Zimbabwe’s
next election could be chaotic even if the country carries out electoral and
other needed reforms.

President Robert Mugabe has threatened to call for elections by March 2012
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told the New York Times this week that
he considers it possible for elections to be held in the third quarter of
next year.

Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and top military officers, have
threatened to disregard election results if Mr Tsvangirai were to emerge the
winner.

Mr. Tsvangirai has said Zimbabwe could become the next Ivory Coast under
such circumstances, referring to the armed civil conflict that followed
elections in that West African country until former President Laurent
Gbagbo, who refused to concede defeat by now-President Alassane Outtara,
could be removed by force.

In Washington this week, Ray characterized Harare’s relations with
Washington as strained, but pledged to continue to engage all the governing
parties in Harare.

Ray recently met with President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF Chairman Simon
Khaya Moyo recently. But soon after those meetings, ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare
Gumbo charged that Ray’s overtures masked a new strategy for regime change.

The U.S. government has said ties cannot be fully normalized without reforms
allowing free and fair elections. Ray said his recent moves are no departure
from that policy.

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