AS outgoing US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols embarks on his much-awaited departure from the country, this will be the first time in more than two decades that an Uncle Sam envoy leaves a Zimbabwe that is very much on the rise despite the continued, relentless efforts by the US to sabotage it.
Ambassador Nichols’ stay in Zimbabwe was, as has become the norm for US ambassadors, replete with the US’ typically condescending attitude that constantly manifested itself through brazen and sometimes embarrassing attempts to interfere in Harare’s internal affairs.
Many who came before Ambassador Nichols tried, but failed dismally, to destabilise Zimbabwe.
While we share the same skin colour with Ambassador Nichols, the glaring difference between him and us is that we treat our visitors civilly no matter their mischief.
And drawing from the values of hunhu/ubuntu, which we are very much imbued with, we would like to wish our dear brother well as he embarks on his task wherever he is going.
That does not, however, mean that we have forgotten his antics during his stay here.
We will lay them bare so that he can learn and embrace a lesson or two about humanity.
Since he presented his credentials to President Emmerson Mnangagwa on July 19 2018, the man immediately embarked on picking up from where his predecessors left.
A year on, Ambassador Nichols was actively involved in fomenting anarchy in the country.
For instance, Ambassador Nichols was implicated as the brains behind the August 16 2019 failed demonstration where MDC youths, after receiving funding from the US Embassy in Harare, sought to destroy the country’s key infrastructure.
The following is an August 18 2019 report by The Sunday Mail which exposed Nichols’ role in the failed demonstration:
“Sources said Ambassador Nichols, his deputy Thomas Hastings and regional security officer Patrick Bellinger, including Mrs Nichols and Mrs Hastings, met MDC deputy chairperson Job Sikhala on Thursday — the eve of the planned demonstrations – at the latter’s home in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza.
Mr Nichols left after 30 minutes.
In their engagement with Sikhala, the American diplomats urged the MDC to go ahead with the demonstrations until their demands were met.
They assured him (Sikhala) that the US was watching the developments and would impose punitive measures should Government arrest or assault the protestors,” said the sources.
Ambassador Nichols was relentless in his pursuit of destroying Zimbabwe.
On October 1 2019, the US Embassy in Harare proudly admitted to having curtailed the sale of Zimbabwean diamonds on the international market.
The lie was that there was ‘forced labour’ in diamond mining in the country and this was cited as the reason for denying the sale of the diamonds.
There is no proof of the said allegations.
Said the US Embassy: “US Customs and Border Protection issued a Withhold Release Order for artisanal rough cut diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange diamonds fields on October 1 2019 due to evidence of forced labour, US law prohibits importation of goods made with forced labour.”
To his credit, Ambassador Nichols seems to have finally seen the light, albeit a little too late.
In a rare but apt approbation of the efforts that are being made by Zimbabwe, Ambassador Nichols said on Monday that Harare had done extremely well in its COVID-19 vaccination programme as well as in the ease of doing business index.
“Zimbabwe has had important progress in key areas like vaccination, its number three on the continent in terms of COVID-19 vaccines,” said Ambassador Nichols.
“There are a number of opportunities for investment in Zimbabwe, and we have encouraged that through trade missions like we have a virtual trade mission, I think there are a lot of opportunities for investment here and I think that will happen.
I think the private sector plays a vital role in promoting free markets, democracy, middle-class jobs, and incomes that build successful nations so I am a big supporter of private investment around the world.”
While Ambassador Nichols was embracing his damascene moment, Zimbabwe was taking receipt of its share of the IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDR) funder to cushion countries from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country received US$1 billion which the authorities said would be used transparently so that it benefits the masses through the deployment of resources to the various sectors of the economy, said Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya in a joint statement on Tuesday.
The funds were deposited into the RBZ account on Monday.
“We would like to inform the public that Zimbabwe has received SDR 677, 4 million (US$ 961 million) from the IMF under the IMF’s US$650 billion SDR allocation earmarked to provide additional liquidity to the global financial system,” the joint statement reads.
“The immediate impact of this support from the IMF is to increase the foreign exchange reserves of the country by US$961 million.
This will go a long way in buttressing the stability of our domestic currency.
The funds will be used prudently, with utmost accountability to support social sectors namely health, education and the vulnerable groups, productive sectors that include industry, agriculture and mining, infrastructure investment covering roads and housing and foreign currency reserves and contingency fund to support our domestic currency and macro-economic stability.
We would like to express our gratitude to the IMF for the disbursement which shall be used transparently in line with the IMF note.”
As we bid Ambassador Nichols farewell, it is important to remind him that what is inescapable, and which the progressive world has long recognised, is that Zimbabwe’s rise is simply unstoppable.
The time to make Zimbabwe great again is now!