Harare has seized on a document released by the U.S. State Department recently as proof that Washington is intent on bringing about “regime change” in Zimbabwe, but a senior U.S. official and Zimbabwean opposition officials have rejected the charge.
Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu charged that a report entitled “Supporting Human Rights and Democracy” proved that Washington was “actively undermining the Zimbabwean government under the guise of democracy and human rights,” and that it was backing the opposition aiming to bring down President Robert Mugabe.
The report states that the U.S. strategy is to maintain pressure on the Mugabe regime, strengthen democratic forces and to provide humanitarian aid for those left vulnerable by poor governance. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai has denied receiving U.S. funds to help it unseat Mr. Mugabe.
In a news conference Thursday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Barry Lowenkron dismissed assertions the report highlighted plans by the U.S. to bring about regime change in Zimbabwe, saying the intention was simply to allow the Zimbabwean people to determine their own destiny.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Eliphas Mukonoweshuro of the Tsvangirai MDC faction told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the MDC was not funded by the United States, unlike a number of civil society groups in the country.