U.S. Representative Donald Payne concluded a two-day visit to Zimbabwe on Friday expressing disappointment that President Robert Mugabe declined to receive him though a request for a meeting had been made with Mr. Mugabe's office two weeks before the visit.
ZANU-PF sources said President Mugabe is bitter that the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama has kept him at arm's length while re-engaging with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and maintained travel and financial sanctions on him and his inner circle.
Sources said Mr. Mugabe had hoped relations with the U.S. would improve following his meeting last year with Payne, who heads the African subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but they have not for Mr. Mugabe and the ZANU-PF side of the inclusive government installed in February 2009.
U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer Tim Gerhardson said Payne met with Mr. Tsvangirai and civil society leaders to assess political and economic progress.
Campaigns Director Briggs Bomba of the Africa Action research institute in Washington told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that Mr. Mugabe’s refusal to meet with the African-American congressman was regrettable.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tsvangirai’s MDC formation held an extraordinary national executive meeting in Harare on Friday to adopt the report presented by negotiators for the unity government parties to their party heads and South African President Jacob Zuma, mediator in Zimbabwe on behalf of the Southern African Development Community.
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation said party officials are concerned that most of the contentious issues under discussion with the help of President Zuma and a team of South African facilitators have still not been resolved.