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Deportation of US officials raises eyebrows, deplorable

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ZIMBABWE recently rounded up United States government officials and some humanitarian workers in Harare, harassing, detaining and deporting them without following proper diplomatic procedures.

The deported officials were assessing development and governance issues in Zimbabwe where the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) funds many humanitarian, civil society, development, democracy, human rights and governance projects.
Usaid supports the people of Zimbabwe to strengthen health services, increase food security, support economic resilience, and promote democratic governance.

The NewsHawks was informed that the arrests on 17 February, detentions and deportations were happening recently, including invasion of a lodge where they were staying, but confirmations took time.

A statement by Usaid says: “The United States is deeply concerned by Zimbabwean authorities’ recent attempts to verbally and physically intimidate several US government officials and contractors — subjecting some of them to overnight detention, transportation in unsafe conditions, prolonged interrogation, seizure of and intrusion into personal electronic equipment, and forced deportation.

“This inappropriate and aggressive treatment occurred while the individuals were assessing the development and governance context in Zimbabwe to help inform Usaid’s work to support civic participation, democratic institutions, and human rights.

“This is a grave development that follows other serious incidents over the past two years in which US government officials and US citizens experienced harassment and improper treatment from the Zimbabwean authorities. These unjustifiable actions render hollow the Government of Zimbabwe’s claims that it is committed to the reforms necessary for democratic governance and reengagement with the international community.

“USAID supports the people of Zimbabwe as they seek to build a more resilient, inclusive, and democratic society — with accountable political leaders and government institutions, active citizen participation, and adherence to the rule of law. We will continue to robustly support civil society, human rights defenders, and independent media and — as seen through our recent targeted sanctions — will not hesitate to take additional measures to hold accountable those who deny Zimbabweans fundamental freedoms and good governance.

“The people of Zimbabwe deserve better.” The US has imposed new targeted sanctions on President Emmerson Mnangagwa and 10 others, as well as three entities, citing corruption and human rights abuses by them and government institutions. — STAFF WRITER.

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