Delivering a lecture on the future of US-Zimbabwe relations in Harare this week , Ray said it was false to assume that the US government favour Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) over President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF).
Ray said the US government wanted to see an environment where all parties had the same ability to present themselves to the public and to compete to represent the people in government.
“The U.S. wants to see a non-violent and credible electoral contest and for the people’s will to be honored. It is not for the U.S. or any other outsider to dictate or influence who should make up the government; that is for the Zimbabwean people alone to decide. As long as the process is credible and respected, we do not care which party wins. Let me repeat that: we do not care which party wins, as long as the process is legitimate,” said Ray.
He said the U.S. fully believed that Zanu (PF) will, and should, continue to play an important role in Zimbabwe’s future.
“We are not anti-Zanu (PF) and we do recognise the many achievements that Zanu (PF) has had over the decades for the good of the Zimbabwean people. At the same time, we believe that MDC-T, MDC-N, and other political parties also have critically important roles to play – possibly in leading,but certainly in contributing to the country’s future. We value the role of these parties to ask tough questions, to propose alternative views, and to challenge the way things have always been done”.
Ray said the US recognised the value of the coalition government arrangement in bringing diverse views together.
“We respect the government officials who have engaged across party lines to foster Zimbabwe’s current recovery.Just as we recognize that there are destabilising extremist elements in each of Zimbabwe’s political parties, we also recognize that there are progress-minded patriots in all parties across the political divide”
Ray added that, “we welcome the opportunity to collaborate closely with those committed to building strong national institutions and moving the country forward, and we will continue to work to minimize the negative effects of those intent on circumventing the rule of law. We will continue to press for the protection of human rights and accountability for those who abuse them while acknowledge progress where it is made,” he said.
The US government fully recognized the opportunities presented by Zimbabwe’s current economic recovery and the U.S. was actively working to draw the attention of U.S. business to trade and investment opportunities in the country.
“As Zimbabwe’s political parties implement fully the commitments that they themselves have made in the Global Political Agreement, as state institutions are delinked from partisan allegiances, and as credible elections are held and honored, there will be no reason for the United States to retain our current sanctions policy in place”.
Ray alsdo reiterated, “I do not think that any of these objectives is terribly contentious. I would argue that those most likely to feel concerned when they hear some of these statements are those who recognise the illegitimacy of their positions of privilege or who recognize the abuses of authority in their own record”.
“Still, each of these positions is fully consistent with the constitution and laws of Zimbabwe and I believe fundamentally that the overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans – in politics and otherwise – can agree to these principles”, added Ray.