United States ambassador-designate to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, says he is excited about the prospect of returning to Zimbabwe and looks forward to working with all sectors of society.
A statement released Friday by the US Embassy said the ambassador, who was sworn in September 10, is expected in Zimbabwe next week.
Wharton told the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that he intends to “work to enable Zimbabwe to become a just, prosperous and democratic state that meets the needs of its people, contributes to development in the region, and play an important role in world affairs.”
He has been a member of the US Foreign Service since 1985. His additional overseas assignments include posts in Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and South Africa.
Wharton, who worked in Zimbabwe a decade ago, said in a recorded message he is excited to be returning to the country but would need help to fully understand the Zimbabwe of today.
The US Embassy said the message from Mr. Wharton represents a new trend in diplomacy which has seen diplomats use new media tools to reach out to audiences.
The previous U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, was active on Facebook.
Political analyst John Makumbe said Wharton is no stranger to Zimbabwe, adding he was a strong pusher for democracy during his time in Harare, working well with many non-governmental organizations.
“He is a fortunate person because he is coming back to Zimbabwe when the situation is even more exciting now. He comes at a time when Zimbabwe is on the verge of getting into a transition to democracy and there are those who are seeking to derail the whole transition again.”
Makumbe said this means “the battle for democratization in Zimbabwe will be in the thick of it when Bruce comes in".