HARARE – As Zimbabwe heads for another highly contested poll, the United States has advised that a free and fair election will help spur Zimbabwe’s economic growth.
The sentiments, made by the U.S Department of State Assistant Secretary Molly Phee in an interview with Voice of America (VOA) come regardless of the fact that the Zimbabwean government has been continuously blaming the Western nation for bleeding Zimbabwe’s economy through targeted sanctions.
“…a free and fair election is what is expressed in the constitution of Zimbabwe, and what has been called for by the President…When you have political stability that results from a system such as I’ve described, then you have an opportunity to have good economic growth,” said Phee.
Phee also said her government is ready to remove sanctions on Zimbabwe even though she highlighted that sanctions are of little impact to Zimbabwe’s economy compared to mismanagement and corruption.
“The sanctions were imposed because it was our assessment that the government was not living up to its constitutional text. And once those rights are restored, we would be in a position to end the sanctions, but I have to tell you honestly, it is our assessment that it is really not U.S. sanctions that are having the biggest impact on Zimbabwe’s economy.
“The problem for Zimbabwe’s economy is decades of mismanagement, including corruption. Secondarily, the instability that we’ve seen is caused by repressive actions by the government that deters foreign investment, including from the United States…U.S. businesses are permitted to invest in Zimbabwe, so the reason they’re not doing so is not because of any sanctions, but because they don’t feel like they have a good partner in Zimbabwe, given the current conditions,” she added.
Highlighting the Patriotic Act as one major setback ahead of the August poll, the Deputy Secretary also clarified that they are not partisan in their assessment of the Zimbabwean electoral field.
“…we do not support any particular political party or any particular candidate. We have no preference. We have a preference for a healthy electoral process. We want to see a free and fair election where the voice of the people of Zimbabwe results in the selection of their leadership, not the U.S.,” she further highlighted.
Meanwhile, opposition MDC leader Douglas Mwonzora has withdrawn from the 2023 Presidential election race, citing what he perceives as a systematic collusion between the state and Zanu PF.
He contends that this collusion has created an uneven playing field, rendering a genuinely free and fair election impossible.
Mwonzora made this announcement during a Press Conference in Harare on a Tuesday morning.