Response to Oped in the Herald Newspaper

Mr. Tichaona Zindoga
Political Editor
The Herald Newspaper
Harare, Zimbabwe

Dear Mr. Zindoga,

I am sorry to have disappointed you with my decision not to respond to your questions submitted through my Public Affairs Counselor.  With due respect, I feel no obligation in engaging in a conversation that perpetuates the story that your set of questions implied.  I do not believe that Zimbabwe is a weak nation without agency.  My belief, one that I have demonstrated through interviews, speeches, social media and conversation, is that Zimbabwe is a powerfully sovereign nation whose future lies in its own hands.  Blaming external reasons, such as targeted sanctions, for Zimbabwe’s situation or its future simply does not withstand critical analysis.  Worse, it obscures and delays the steps Zimbabweans could take to re-build and strengthen their country.

Your questions were framed around the proposition that Zimbabwe has little responsibility for either its current status or its future, and that the main forces at play in Zimbabwe are outside forces.  That frame of reference is demonstrably false and counterproductive.   If you are interested in a conversation that starts from the premise that Zimbabwe does have its own will and power, let me know.  In that context, U.S. policy toward Zimbabwe is certainly a legitimate topic.

I have noted your response in the February 15th edition of the Herald in which you reprinted both the response from my Public Affairs Counselor along with the questions you had submitted with your request for an interview. I will continue to highlight the positive in Zimbabwe, to spread the message that Zimbabwe is a country of great people and potential, that the United States is interested in a strong and prosperous Zimbabwe, and that the future of Zimbabwe is, indeed, in the hands of Zimbabweans.

Sincerely,

D. Bruce Wharton
Ambassador
Embassy of the United States of America