9 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Analysts Speak On Obama


Political analysts yesterday welcomed the re-election of US President Barack Obama, but urged him to do more in normalising relations with Zimbabwe and the development of Africa in general. President Obama was re-elected on Tuesday beating Republican candidate Mr Mitt Romney who had used an aggressive foreign policy as one of his campaign points.

Political analyst Mr Goodwine Mureriwa described Obama as a lesser devil compared to Mr Romney.

"Well, I think generally Africans and the Third World view Democratic leaders as more friendly than their Republican counterparts so it is better that we have Obama whom I think is a better devil than Romney who had promised an aggressive and interventionist foreign policy reminiscent of George Bush era (former US President).

"From a Zimbabwean perspective, however, I feel he should do more to normalise relations between the two countries and that should start with the repealing of the sanctions imposed on the country," he said.

The sanctions on Zimbabwe were imposed when the Bush administration passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, later changed to Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act.

Mr Mureriwa said the US had refused involvement of some organisations to observe its elections and should also expect other countries including Zimbabwe to invite organisations of their choice to observe the forthcoming elections.

"We expect that there will be no double standards and would respect our sovereignty when we invite organisations of our choice to observe our elections," Mr Mureriwa said.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Dr Charity Manyeruke, said the repeal of sanctions should be Obama's top priority where Zimbabwe is concerned.

"We expect him to re-visit the sanctions on Zimbabwe and work towards their removal.

"He is not as rigid as his Republican counterpart so we expect him to make room for negotiations so that we normalise our relations," she said.

She added that the sanctions had not served any purpose at all and had just made life difficult for Zimbabweans.

Midlands State University media lecturer Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri was, however, less optimistic saying in his first term of office president Obama had not done much to address Africa's concerns.

"Perhaps he has relatively ignored the continent and there are debates going on that he is a son who has forgotten his roots.

"These are views held not only in Zimbabwe, but in Africa in general and could explain why the euphoria that greeted his election in the first term subsided this time around," he said.

Dr Mhiripiri said while the travel warnings that had been issued by the US government on Zimbabwe had been removed the removal of sanctions would further strengthen relations.

"If we can develop on that positive path then we can see relations returning to what they were before," Dr Mhiripiri added.

The US and its European counterparts have had an illegal sanctions regime on Zimbabwe that critics say is a direct response to the l and reform adopted by the Government to address colonial induced imbalances.

Zimbabwe has always made it clear that it had no quarrels with the West, but just a bilateral dispute with London.

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