Anti-sanctions protesters disrupt US Ambassador’s Manicaland tour

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton

By Violet Gonda
16 January 2013

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, who was touring projects funded by the US government in Manicaland province, was greeted on Tuesday and Wednesday by demonstrators who are against the restrictive measures imposed by the US.

Wharton told SW Radio Africa that on Tuesday he had gone to visit the Sangano Dairy Farm, a USAID funded project in Rusape, but had to abandon his tour prematurely because of the disturbances by the placard carrying protesters who sang liberation war and anti-sanctions songs.

Western countries, including the European Union, imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on members of the ZANU PF government and some companies more than a decade ago.

Ambassador Wharton said the US has made it very clear that it wants to see the rule of law and democratic processes respected, before the restrictions can be removed.

He said: “Sanctions do not affect the larger population of Zimbabwe. It is my goal to see our relationship normalize but it will require work from both sides.”

“Secretary Clinton spoke in Cape Town last year and said that we will go action for action with Zimbabwe.” Wharton added: “When and if we see a draft constitution and a successful referendum then we will talk about how the United States will respond.”

Suspended MDC-T Mutare Mayor Brian James said Ambassador Wharton was hounded again by a group of “rowdy protestors” in Mutare on Wednesday, resulting in him abandoning a public meeting at the Turner Memorial Library where the US embassy has set up an American corner with an internet café for the general public.

“It was very unfortunate because there was quite a reasonable crowd that had gathered to listen to the Ambassador and to engage in some useful dialogue.”

James said the group was “very disruptive” and verbally abused the people who had gathered for the meeting, damaging some furniture in the library.

“The ambassador moved aside hoping that things would subside but they basically hounded him back into his vehicle.” The Mayor added: “The sad thing about it is that an opportunity to dialogue with the ambassador was lost.”

James said it would appear that the protests were nationally organized to disrupt Wharton from meeting the people, using the sanctions issue as an excuse.

A statement issued by the US embassy said: “While the U.S. values the right to peaceful protest, and notes it as a critical element of democracy, we regret that the roughly 130 ZANU-PF protestors were not interested in a conversation.

“Ambassador Wharton spent about 15-20 minutes listening to their messages – written on placards, and verbal – but was met with no opportunity for constructive conversation.”

This was supposed to be Ambassador Wharton’s first official visit to parts of Manicaland province since he presented his credentials to President Robert Mugabe late last year.



16 Responsesto “Anti-sanctions protesters disrupt US Ambassador’s Manicaland tour”

  1. wilbert_mukori says:

    If these Zanu PF thugs have licence to intimidate the US Ambassador what chance does the ordinary Zimbabwean in the rural backwaters against these thugs? The threat of political violence in the coming months is now a certainty, the only question is whether the violence will be as bad as 2008 or worse.

    Zimbabweans will once again be denied their basic right to free and fair elections; ironically the very reason the West imposed the targeted sanctions against Zanu PF leaders, the sanctions the thugs want lifted!

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      The late and former African-American activist, Malcolm X, teaches us that during slavery, there were two kinds of slaves, namely the ‘house negros’ who worked in the master’s house and the ‘field negros’ who carried out manual labor outside the house. Malcolm characterizes the ‘house negro’ as having a better life than the ‘field negro’. According to Malcolm X, the ‘house negro’ was unwilling to leave the plantations when slavery was abolished and was potentially more likely to support the power structures that favored whites over blacks. Malcolm X, however, identified himself with the field negro.

      • wilbert_mukori says:

        Did Malcolm X also talk of the black Africans who hunted and killed some and captured other fellow black Africans and sold them to the whitemen for beads and calico! If Malcolm X was alive today he would be the first one to acknowledge there are still some black African savages alive today who are selling the continent’s resources for a song to the Chinese oppressing their fellow blacks denying them resources, hope and human dignity and even the right to life itself.

        Malcolm X was about giving all blacks their self respect and dignity. Malcolm X was a wise and thoughtful leader he would not have approved of tyrants like Mugabe. Malcolm X identified himself with field negro but never with those who hunted and sold the fellow blacks in the past or those doing it today.

        Malcolm X was a wiseman you and tyrants like Mugabe are no wiser than his boots!

        • Chimbwido Warvet says:

          And which of the two negros would you identify with, the ‘house negro or the field negro’ Wilbert? And here I am not talking about the Chinese you hate so much or R. G. Mugabe but yourself?
          You make me laugh when you say some black African savages alive today are selling the continent’s resources for a song to the Chinese.Tell us which resources and how much has been paid by the Chinese for the commodities you are referring to. And tell us how much is paid of our platinum, gold, chrome, copper, manganese, cobalt that is being exploited by western capitalists. I will be surprised if you will provide these details, and yet you are so critical of the Chinese. The trouble with you is that you want to show-off to the white folks that you are a better negro than most of us while you are the most foolish and stupid black man I have known all my life. Shut the fuck up if you do not know things boy and let those who know educate you. You have no manners and shame on you.

          • wilbert_mukori says:

            I identify with the blacks who found selling a fellow human being into slavery totally unacceptable. I identify with all the slaves who fought to end slavery whether worked in the field or in the house!

            I am critical of the Chinese Communist Party because it is one of the few governments that has shown its willingness to do business with Mugabe regardless of the latter’s brutality. After all the violence of 2008 no responsible regime would have sold Mugabe weapons; the CCP sold the tyrant a whole ship load.

            If demanding the right of every Zimbabwean to free and fair elections and the right to life itself is “showing off to the whites” then I make no apology for that.

            I have told you before you support Mugabe because he gave you some of the wealth looted from the mouths of millions now living in abject poverty – loot that will be taken away from you – and because you have blood on your hands – you were one of Mugabe’s killers – for which you will hang!

            I was beginning to think the wheel of justice does not turn but now I can see, after 33 years, it has caught up with Mugabe and his thugs. Guess what; it turns!

            I have nothing to be ashamed of; I am looking forward to regime change with confidence and hope. The future is bright, very bright – at least for those of us who love justice and rule of law and have no blood on our hands!

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            Oh my God, showing-off to whites as a better negro than most of us again and as usual standing on high moral ground as the purest person in Zimbabwe. You do not even know me and yet you talk all the nonsense about my person. Shut the fuck up, Wilbert.

          • wilbert_mukori says:

            You have been boosting of the former white-own farm you received – only those who have done some dirty work for Mugabe get such priced loot. You have been denying all the terrible things this Mugabe regime has done with passion – the kind of passion only a murderous thugs with things to hide would have. So you see you have said a lot about yourself already.

            You are letting your inferiority complex get the better of you. So you have been committing all these heinous crimes against the blacks to get at the whites? And by extension an black person who condemn these serious human rights abuses must be doing so to “show off to white”. Well I condemned these crimes because they are very serious crimes.

            There are some of us who value their own lives and that of those around not from a reference point of what someone else, white or black, will say but from the my own stand point as a member of universal human race! I am not saying I am better than you average normal human being (you are excluded in that count on account of being exceptionally stupid) but I will be damned if I am not just as good!

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            Once again, you are lying to please your constituency, the white folks. I do not own a farm at all. The only farm I had was taken by government in the 1990′s to resettle the landless people of Zimbabwe but I have not made too noise about it. Your ignorance and stupidity is out of this world. Everywhere you are, you want to show-off to the white establishment that you are a better house negro. I hope one day you will appear in the Genesis Book of Record for lying and misinforming the world.
            It is a shame and demeaning especially if it is done by a fellow house negro degrading his own people he is supposed to protect.

  2. david taylor says:

    There really is a battle of wills going on – the USA is not going to lift sanctions on the ZANU-PF leadership until there are free and fair elections. And ZANU-PF has no intention of ever having a free and fair election.

    • Chimbwido Warvet says:

      As far as the Zimbabwean people are concerned, their message has been conveyed to the American people and for them that is what is important. The demonstrations have not been carried out by the ZANU PF leadership, but by the people of Zimbabwe over what they perceive as illegal sanctions that have been imposed against their country by a foreign power.

      • wilbert_mukori says:

        So you think the people of Zimbabwe do not want free and fair elections, they are looking forward to a repeat of 2008 when millions were beaten and raped and over 500 were murdered.

        Everyone knows Mugabe and Zanu PF have “bought” Tsvangirai and MDC leaders’ support on this issue of having the sanction lifted and many other issues like Copac draft constitution by allowing the latter on the gravy train. Mugabe should know the people can see what is going on and they are not fooled for one minute.

        The people will have free and fair elections and until then, the sanctions will stay!

        • Chimbwido Warvet says:

          Let us put the issue under discussion in its proper context. There is not need to talk about baboons, Chimpanzees or monkeys here because it is irrelevant. The demonstrations were not about free and fair elections but about conveying a message to the American people over what Zimbabweans perceived as unjustified economic sanctions that have been imposed against their country by a foreign power. And being demonstrations, they are by their nature legitimate. Even the American ambassador has acknowledged that it is the right of the Zimbabwean people to demonstrate over things they are not happy about. This is the practice everywhere in the world where people demonstrate when they are not happy over something and this can not be different when it applies to Zimbabwe.

          The American Ambassador was not injured or killed in the process and I wonder why the likes of you are concerned over the outpouring emotions/feelings of Zimbabweans towards the American government. Let us discuss the question of free and fair elections when it is relevant to the subject under review.

          • wilbert_mukori says:

            “It is the right of the Zimbabwean people to demonstrate over things they are not happy about”? Really? How are Zimbabweans has this Mugabe regime beaten up, raped and murdered for no other reason than that they dared exercise their basic right to have a meaningful say in the governance of the country.

            These Zanu PF thugs were not having a peaceful demonstration, they were they there to disrupt whatever the Ambassador was going to say because in Zimbabwe no one else’s voice is heard other than that of Mugabe and those supporting him.

            The sanctions were imposed because Mugabe denied the people their right to free and fair elections amongst so many other basic human rights and the sanction will stay until all these rights are restored!

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            At least I have quoted what the American Ambassador has said when he was interviewed after the event. And you are saying what is coming out of your greasy mind. Mugabe this, raped and murdered this and that which have no relevance to the issue under discussion. And you are the person who has been given the designation of a political commentator by SW Radio Africa. What do you comment on if you can not put things in their proper context. Always going off-topic when you are supposed to be a political analyst, your newly found designation. It is a joke, boy.

          • wilbert_mukori says:

            Some one has to speak for those who were raped and for the relatives of those who were murdered by this Mugabe dictatorship since they are denied a voice, vote and life itself by the regime!

            The Ambassador knows if the people of Zimbabwe were as free to demonstrate as you say they are, then millions would be out there demonstrating for free and fair elections. He is no so stupid and that is why the sanctions are staying!

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            If you are to represent those you claim were raped and murdered, then by all means do it well. Be objective and seek the truth and not lies you are accustomed to. What a house negro that talks nonsense all the time to please the white folks. ‘The Ambassador knows this and that and he is not so stupid and that is why sanctions are staying’ But you are supposed to be a political analyst, a designation you have been given by SW Radio Africa. You are simply a stupid and foolish political commentator who does not know whether he is coming or going and if so where.

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