11 July 2016

Zimbabwe: Practise What You Preach, Govt Tells U.S., France

Photo: The Herald
President Robert Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba.

Government has rapped the US and French administrations for trying to lecture to Zimbabwe civil rights and democratic practices that are not even accepted by their own systems.

This follows evidence gathered by the Government showing that US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Harry Thomas and his French counterpart Mr Laurent Delahousse had a hand in civil disturbances that rocked Harare and Bulawayo last week as part of their regime change agenda.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Secretary Mr George Charamba, who is also the Presidential spokesperson, told The Herald yesterday the two diplomats should advise their governments first before exporting their theories to Zimbabwe.

"Let them advise their own governments first before they tell us what to do," said Mr Charamba.

"We are witnessing racial chaos that has never been seen before (in the US and France). So who are they to tell us what to do?"

Following the disturbances in Harare and Bulawayo which were quelled by the police, the Western- sponsored media accused the Government of a heavy-handed response to the protesters who were destroying property and attacking individuals.

There were also claims that Government was suppressing dissenting voices by jamming social media platforms such as WhatsApp.

The platform is being abused by rogue elements who are sending subversive messages meant to destabilise the country.

The disturbances taking place here are similar to what is happening in most Western countries especially the US and France.

On this, Mr Charmaba said: "This is a matter of the pot calling the kettle black."

In the case of US, the country is battling to contain violent protests following the brutal shooting of a black man, Philando Castile, by the police.

The protests, which have been conducted under the hashtag "#Black lives matter", have been going on in most US cities, condemning police brutality.

While many of the demonstrations were peaceful, events turned ugly in St Paul, Minnesota, where protesters clashed with police on Interstate 94.

Police used crowd control measures including smoke, according to police spokesman Steve Linders.

President Barrack Obama had to cut short his scheduled visit to Europe to deal with the turmoil after a gunman, Micah Xavier Johnson, killed five police officers in Dallas last week.

The officers were killed as payback for killing Castile.

Dallas police used a robot bomb to kill Johnson in a move widely condemned by US citizens who believed the tactic blurred the line between policing and warfare.

They argued that it might have been an excessive use of force.

"In warfare, your object is to kill. Law enforcement has a different mission," said Rick Nelson, a fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies and a former counterterrorism official on the National Security Council.

Other law enforcement officials supported the decision, suggesting they could take a similar approach if the situation called for it.

New York police commissioner William J. Bratton told reporters on Friday that while he was waiting to find out precisely what the Dallas police did, "we have that capability".

"This is an individual that killed five police officers," he said.

This left questions as to why it is deemed to be unusual when police in Zimbabwe take appropriate measures to contain violence.

France, which has been hosting the Euro 2016 soccer championships, has not been spared by violent protests.

Early this month, police clashed with protesters in Paris over labour law reforms.

The strike was the latest in months of industrial action that has led to severe air and rail disruptions, fuel shortages and piles of uncollected rubbish on the streets of Paris.

Against this documented evidence of chaos and unrest, observers argued that the two countries had no moral ground to talk about the Zimbabwean situation.

"They are facing more problems in their backyards than what we are experiencing here," said one observer.

"When they come here they want to appear as saints yet they are not. Thanks to globalisation, we now know their true colours and they cannot fool us in any way."

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