United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton says the United States should first understand Zimbabwe's culture and pre-colonial history if the two countries are to enjoy good and strong relations.
Ambassador Wharton said this when he handed over a $64,000 grant to the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe in Gweru on Wednesday.
The grant, given under the Ambassadors’ Fund, is for the restoration of the Naletale National Monument, which is located 80 kilometres south west of Gweru, in Shangani in Matabeleland South.
The ambassador said his job is to build strong relations with the government as well as the people of Zimbabwe and it is important to respect what the people achieved in the pre-colonial period.
Naletale is the country’s third national monument after the Victoria Falls and Great Zimbabwe.
The monument, built in the dry stone wall style of what is known in archaeology as the Zimbabwe tradition, was - like most similar monuments around the country - constructed by the Torwa and the Rozvi who are the forefathers of the Shona.
Regional manager, Norbert Nhutsve of the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, said not many people were aware of the monument as it is located in a former white commercial farming area, and the museums department now has a programme in which school children can tour the area so they can learn more about the country’s history.
Speaking to journalists after the ceremony, Ambassador Wharton reiterated his country’s stance that the July 31 elections were not credible.
He said the U.S will continue to help Zimbabwe in various ways despite maintaining targeted sanctions against some top Zanu-PF officials including President Robert Mugabe.
Ambasssador Wharton said although European Union countries recently lifted a ban on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation to sell diamonds in Belgium, the U.S will not follow suit.
Zanu-PF says western nations’ targeted sanctions are hurting ordinary Zimbabweans but the U.S and its allies dispute this, maintaining that the targeted individuals are the only ones feeling the pinch.