18 November 2017

Zimbabwe: China, U.S. Optimistic On Zim

Photo: Damien Glez/This is Africa
Damien Glez of This is Africa on developments in Zimbabwe.

The international community has continued to react to the Zimbabwean situation with the United States of America saying the country has a chance to chart a new path, while China said the political situation required a legal framework to map the way forward.

An ideological ally of Zanu-PF, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC), also said the current situation in Zimbabwe was an internal matter and expressed confidence that Zimbabweans, Zanu-PF and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces would find an amicable solution.

US Secretary of State Mr Rex Tillerson yesterday called for a return to civilian rule in Zimbabwe and said the country had a chance to put itself on a "new path".

Speaking at a meeting of African foreign ministers at the State Department yesterday, Mr Tillerson said that whoever replaces President Mugabe should respect democracy and human rights. The US top diplomat said the choice of leadership is solely the responsibility of the Zimbabwean people.

"Zimbabwe has an opportunity to set itself on a new path: one that must include democratic elections and respect for human rights," Mr Tillerson said.

"Ultimately the people of Zimbabwe must choose their Government. In our conversations today, we have an opportunity to discuss concrete ways that we can help them through this transition."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mr Geng Shuang said China would be "glad to see an early restoration of national stability and social order in Zimbabwe".

China also called "on all sides in Zimbabwe to keep their eyes on the country's long-term and fundamental interests, and uphold dialogue and consultations to bridge differences, to promote a peaceful and appropriate resolution to the issue under a legal framework," Mr Geng told reporters.

Questions have been raised about China's role because Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga visited the country last week. China insists that the visit by Gen Chiwenga was a normal military exchange.

In a press statement, PAC secretary-general Mr Narius Moloto on Thursday applauded the ZDF for first prioritising citizens and ensuring that lives of Zimbabweans are looked after.

He said the current situation was an internal situation which should be solved internally.

"Zimbabwe has a lot of experience for conflict resolution as well as capacity for that. We appreciate the professional manner in which the ZDF has been handling the situation since it erupted, to avoid unnecessary and careless bloodshed. We are happy to see a happy mood in Harare. We appreciate the fact that ZDF still respects President Mugabe and treats him in a high esteem. We fully understand the circumstances under which the ZDF intervened with a sole intention of stabilising the situation which in their view threatens the national security of the Republic of Zimbabwe," read the statement.

The PAC also said it is opposed to external intervention as any form of intervention would lead to a chaotic and costly situation.

"Zimbabwe has been under democracy from early 1980s. The current wave is what any democracy undergoes when that need arises," said the statement.

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