US dismisses Mnangagwa allegation of isolation


Annahstacia Ndlovu

Bulawayo--The US embassy in Harare has dismissed a recent claim by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that Washington was deliberately isolating Zimbabwe as it upped security-related and financial support for neighbouring Zambia and Malawi.

The embassy finally broke its silence on Monday regarding remarks made by the Zimbabwean head of state when he met Russian president Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg on 6 June.

The US charge d’affaires in Harare, Elaine French, said in a statement that, contrary to Mnangagwa’s claims, her country was providing the biggest bilateral assistance to Zimbabwe compared with to other country.

She said her country had given more than US$5 billion aid to Harare since independence in 1980.

“The United States has been and will continue to be a reliable partner with the people of Zimbabwe.  Our more than $5 billion in health, humanitarian, and development assistance since Zimbabwe’s independence has rehabilitated health clinics, provided lifesaving medications, and now has helped families make ends meet during this devastating drought.

“The United States is not running away.  It is making good on its commitment to support the health and prosperity of Zimbabwe’s 16 million people.” French said in a statement.

According to the diplomat, Washington provided US$11 million in food security aid to Zimbabwe in January this year as more than six million people faced hunger due to drought induced by the El Nino phenomenon.

This is in addition to US$209 committed under the US Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to aid the fight against HIV covering 2024.

The Zanu PF government maintains that the US is using sanctions to undermine economic recovery in Zimbabwe, but the western country insists the punitive measures are only targeted at 11 individuals under the recently promulgated Global Magnitsky programme.

The targeted individuals are President Mnangagwa, his wife Auxillia, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri, pro-Zanu PF mogul Kudakwashe Tagwirei and wife Sandra Mpunga, Obey Chimuka, police commissioner general Godwin Matanga, a deputy commissioner general Stephan Mutamba, senior intelligence operative Walter Tapfumaneyi and Owen Ncube, a former minister of State Security.

On its side, the US government accuses Harare of widespread corruption that is harming the economy, bad governance and serious human rights abuses.

In a video that was released by the government of Russia on its Kremlin website, Mnangagwa is recorded as saying the US was putting a wedge between Zimbabwe and Zambia as well as Malawi by isolating Harare while increasing security-related and financial support to the two neighbouring countries.

“They support our neighbours Zambia and Malawi very heavily. Americans are consolidating their power in that country, Zambia, both in terms of security and in terms of financial support to Zambia, to make sure we feel lonely,” stated Mnangagwa.

In an interview with NewsHub in Bulawayo, Effort Ncube, an international relations and political analyst, described President Mnangagwa’s statements in Russia as an unnecessary diplomatic blunder.

According to Ncube, Mnangagwa’s “gaffe” had compromised his impartiality as the incoming chair of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

Zimbabwe will take over the annual chairmanship from Zambia in August.

“That is going to undermine the already difficult relations between Zimbabwe and Zambia.” Ncube said.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Zambia became particularly frosty after the 2023 general elections in the latter country when the SADC election observer mission issued a damning report on the polls.

The mission was chaired by Nevers Mumba who was recommended to the post by Hakainde Hichilema, the Zambian president and outgoing SADC chair.

Zambia has publicly announced that it is engaging Harare over Mnangagwa’s remarks to Putin.

Zambia has publicly opposed the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia, in line with US policy, at a time countries like Zimbabwe have leant behind Putin.


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