US lawmaker Jim Risch urges aggressive tackling of Zimbabwe amid heightened state repression

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US Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) has urged President Joe Biden and his government to dump its softly approach towards Zimbabwean affairs and start pushing for more robust measures to try and force the Zanu PF-led authority to restore accountable leadership.

Risch, a Foreign Relations Committee member in the US legislature, said current efforts by Washington to cajole a bunch of unrepentant politicians with a dirty history of rights abuses and corruption was futile.

“It is clear the Mnangagwa regime is entrenched,” said the US lawmaker in a statement.

“The United States must abandon any misguided belief that it can negotiate with Zimbabwe’s current leaders, who have a lengthy history of human rights abuses, corrupt practices, and anti-democratic actions spanning over two decades.

“It’s past time the Biden Administration amplify its condemnation of this severe repression.”

Following two decades of tense relations between Washington and Harare, the US government has tried to employ carrot and stick remedies in attempts to force behaviour change in its former ally.

The approach has seen Washington try to reopen diplomatic channels, cluttered by years of acrimonious exchanges with Harare, while keeping sanctions in place.

In one of its latest baits, the US government December last year invited Zimbabwe to the US-Africa summit for the first time in many years.

Foreign Affairs Minister Frederick Shava led the Zimbabwean delegation.

The first country to impose targeted sanctions against Harare has led international condemnation against Zimbabwean excesses after regional bloc, SADC has been viewed as too weak to confront the crisis.

Zimbabwe recently emerged from harmonised elections which saw Mnangagwa declared winner in a ballot heavily skewed towards the incumbent, according to poll observers groups.

Risch said the rot cannot be allowed to continue using soft strategies.

“The United States should use every diplomatic avenue to forge a coalition of regional and global partners to act in support of the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe, and who will not ignore the government’s manipulation of the dire democratic, economic, and humanitarian situation for its corrupt benefit,” he said.

Recently, the US embassy condemned the brutal attack on opposition CCC legislator Takudzwa Ngadziore by alleged state agents who left the youthful lawmaker nursing wounds.

Harare says US authorities’ close interest in Zimbabwean affairs equalled unwarranted attack on the country’s sovereignty. Zimlive

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