Zimbabwe: A Status Report

Posted by James D. McGee
March 24, 2009

James D. McGee serves as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe.

I’d be happy to give you an update on the situation in Zimbabwe. The cholera epidemic that you mention is somewhat under control. We still have issues in the countryside. There are 80,000 people that have been affected with cholera, and the death total has gone above 4,000. Again, it’s a total collapse and failure of the health system in Zimbabwe that’s precipitated this unfortunate event.

We’re working hard with the international community. We have quite a few players on the ground in Zimbabwe working to alleviate the situation. And the Zimbabwean Government is trying to spin itself up to do more to assist its people, but there still is an issue and there’s still so much more to be done.

On the political side of the house, we have the new national – government of national unity, and that government is burping along, but not very well. There are still quite a few issues. As we sit here today, there are still farm invasions that are occurring in Zimbabwe. There are still political activists who have been jailed. We have at least 13 people. We have no idea where these folks are. We have no idea where these folks are.

So the political situation in Zimbabwe, even though we do have a government of national unity, there are still some severe problems that need to be dealt with. These issues have to be dealt with, I think, before we can move forward towards other political issues in Zimbabwe.

I’d say that the sanctions in Zimbabwe are one of the few issues that we’re – where we have made a difference. The sanctions in Zimbabwe need to continue and they will continue. We are going to take a very careful look at what this government is doing. We’ve laid out in no uncertain detail the five principles that need to be adhered to before we’re going to remove sanctions, and until we see some movement towards meeting those principles, sanctions will stay. The sanctions are against individuals. They’re against institutions. These individuals and institutions have been carefully looked at, and we know that they’re the reasons that this country, that Zimbabwe itself is in such bad shape today.

I’d like to share that, you know, we need to look at Zimbabwe and say we have opportunities. You know, this is an imperfect union. It’s an imperfect marriage, if you will – this government of national unity – but it’s also an opportunity. I think for the first time in 28 years, the people of Zimbabwe actually see hope. They’re hopeful that things can change and get better for the future. And I think that all of us – the Western nations, the donor nations, and especially the African nations – need to step up and provide more assistance: technical assistance, assistance as far as economic recovery is concerned. The African Union and SADC are the guarantors of this government of national unity. I’d love to see them step up and do more in Zimbabwe to assist people, to assist the government. Zimbabwe can work, and Zimbabwe can return to the past that it had before. We do need people to step up and be progressive with this.



California, USA
March 25, 2009

Wendy in California writes:

When I hear an heartaching report like this, I just long for the world to put 95% of its resources into development and diplomacy and education rather than arms.

Emmery A.
Illinois, USA
April 7, 2009

Emmery in Illinois writes:

My Dear Friend

As Rev.Jackson once said, Let's keep hope for "Zimbabwe" alive..Please me updated on the country's situation of cholera..


M. N.
Hawaii, USA
March 26, 2009

Neal in Hawaii writes:

Well, here's to hope. I'm grateful that we have capable minds in both the White House and State Dept. to grapple with these issues, and hopefully we can make headway with some of the issues affecting Africa. Thank you for making this blog available as a public resource.

United States
April 7, 2009

John in U.S.A. writes:

The fact that the state department refuses to acknowledge that "the invasion of farms" is actually whites being politically prosecuted by blacks (that's a fact also) is an indicator that mugabe and his regime of oppressive terrorists will go on and tragically all the people of Rhodesia will pay the price.

Florida, USA
March 27, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

@ Ambassador McGee Thank you for your update on Zimbabwe. I read it with great interest. From your postings I sense your deep desire to help the people of Zimbabwe. It must seem insurmountable at times. Thank you for your hard work and obvious dedication. Hopefully, things will continue to improve. Please keep us informed. Best regards.

Johannes M.
March 28, 2009

Johannes M. in Canada writes:

Well put across by Honourable McGee. Some of the benefits we as Zimbabweans are learning are: (i) politically we are not ready for governance, the spiral of political patronage is registering itself in all three parties to the GNU but especially in MDC Tsvangirai, yet it is the party we hope to lead the next democratically elected government. This would have been possible if Mugabe had succumbed defeat. We need to be ready to govern, and justly govern; (ii) the stumbling block and a major one is the Zimbabwean Constitution, it is unfortunate that the Kariba Draft is being muted as the only choice by the political leadership of all the parties concern, that reflection is not true, is not honest, and adds to the oppression we have felt in the last 29 years of no-rule, no-law. The Zimbabwean Constitution must be merited by all Zimbabweans within and without the country, it is a huge challenge but possible if and only if debate is opened up in all forums, that for now is impossible given the muffled masses. The State owns every channell that denies the ordinary Zimbabwe a say (iii) another worrying developing which is tied to (i) above is deviation to the Global Political Agreement - the agreed number of ministers balooned excessively high against a government with no revenue; issues that were to be discussed and ironed out are still outstanding. Zanu (PF) and the services chiefs are effectively in charge using the MDC-T to prolong their stay in the hope that the Zimbabwean masses forget once everything reverts back to normalcy, that might work; it worked when Zapu (PF) was swallowed in December of 1987, why that should fail now is a question history will have to answer (iv) the MDC-T is still a viable political party only if it can listen to the internal masses and its Diaspora. The Diaspora are well informed yet highly disorganised. The MDC-T has never effectively used this organ resulting in its failure to mobilize relevant experience of its exiled middle class. Reorganising the Diaspora must be a priority for Tsvangirai, he, however, faces a daunting task within the National Council to bring the Diaspora in the political arena. Zanu (PF) mobilized support during the liberation struggle of exiled Zimbabweans and it worked well for them when they formed the government in 1980. If Tsvangirai won't drag Zimbabweans in the Diaspora in; we will only have to make the motion ourselves. I thank you Ambassador McGee for putting your life in the line of fire to serve the villagers and souls you will ever never met. God bless you.

South Korea
March 30, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:


in Africa..............

a weeks ago? Madagascar occurs coup. yes, it`s common at Africa. sorry, and
some s-Korea`s compamy (Daewoo int`l) contract with ex-gov.
contract? yes, some kind of, now, it`s blowout. oh, no.

my point is this. Africa need revolution of food.(in my think, Madagascar is good place for test)
assistace is good, i agree. but, now, so many problems occur. above, we have not good solving tools.

frankely speaking, we need new market and new factories.
massive and one continent- so many people`s living and
backward. (someone blame to me. but, we abstract invest from someones)

return to point, if success, we get new market and cheap labor. at the same time, resident have opportunity, more easily approch HIV remedy, race dispute decreases, resources plunder also the interference of the west influence which comes in decreases, base of industrial development will making at Africa.

it`s just like a FX. yes, i agree. but, it`s first. retrospection tries, we contribute to so many years. but, situation is a little better. Irregularity and corruption and illiterate ratio, pirate etc. which thing one has not been solved.

my think is corn.

September 10, 2009

Sebastiano in Italy writes:

Is it possible to receive full details of the so called "sanctions"? I heard that, amongst the measures taken, there is the forbidding of sending payments in USD to Zimbabwe, because there is, apparently an embargo.



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