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International Community Must Intervene: US

THE United States says the international community should intervene in Zimbabwe to end state-sponsored political violence that has sparked a human rights crisis.

US ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee, in an interview with independent media journalists in the capital on Tuesday, said the post-March 29 election violence had resulted in a humanitarian crisis.

“The primary issue in Zimbabwe now is the political violence,” McGee said. “Besides the political crisis, we now have a human rights crisis and in some instances a humanitarian issue…The international community should intervene to stop the animal-type brutality.”

The ambassador declined to specify the type of intervention the US wanted in Zimbabwe.

“It is not the business of the US to intervene, it is up to the UN, but at the moment indications are nothing is happening at the UN,” he said. “We believe in continuing with diplomacy to find a solution to the crisis. We agree that the Zimbabwe case requires African involvement and international involvement.”

McGee said the US had empirical evidence that the government was behind the political violence in the country and warned that perpetrators would one day face justice.

He said the government embarked on violence after the electorate “voted for change”.

The ambassador said there was no doubt that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the election against President Robert Mugabe, but was quick to point out that the US was not sure whether he garnered the 50% plus votes for him to assume power.

“The will of the people should prevail,” McGee said. “The people of Zimbabwe have spoken. They have spoken through their votes and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should announce the results of the presidential election.”

He said the US had forwarded a dossier to the government containing pictures of assaulted villagers and their affidavits on how they were brutalised by state security agents, Zanu PF militia and war veterans.

“We have handed over evidence of violence to the government. There are pictures of assaulted people and there are affidavits from the victims narrating what happened to them,” McGee said.

He said the dossier was given to the government after it claimed that there was no violence in rural areas.

“We have given them the evidence. It is up to the government to give us evidence that there is no violence against the opposition,” he said. “Out of the over 500 cases recorded, only one was allegedly perpetrated by the opposition.

We are watching and one day justice will prevail,” McGee added.

The career diplomat said the US — which has maintained visa and financial sanctions against Mugabe and his top lieutenants since 2002 — could widen and tighten the punitive measures to force the Harare administration to uphold human rights.

He denied categorically that Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown was a result of economic sanctions imposed on the country by Britain, the US and international community.

McGee said Zimbabwe was failing to get lines of credit from multilateral organisations because of its track record of failing to service debts.

“The country cannot access lines of credit because it does not repay debts. It owes the World Bank US$600 million,” he explained. “The country also owes the African Development Bank — where the US has one vote — US$400 million.

How then can you access credit lines if you don’t service debts? Are these sanctions?”

By Constantine Chimakure

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