MUTARE-A top diplomat has said recent spates of arrests on civil society were a setback on the reform agenda that will derail progress envisioned for the country.
Addressing members of the media on the sidelines of a tour of Chimanimani community projects United States Ambassador Brian Nichol said Zimbabwe should open its democratic space for civil society.
Nichol said the US will continuously engage with all progressive forces and support livelihood projects due to longstanding relations with Zimbabwe stretching from independence.
“Government of Zimbabwe has an opportunity to implement the reform agenda that it has laid, it is a positive agenda and it should be implemented.
“Unfortunately steps like the recent arrest of civil society members is a great setback on the reform agenda and I hope that this will be reversed very quickly,” he said.
Nichol said the US remains committed to strengthening ties with Zimbabwe through sustainable farming projects that would ensure food security for the country.
“We believe that the people of Zimbabwe deserve a prosperous and successful life and farming is a great traditional activity that brings sustainable livelihoods and we want to collaborate to ensure that they are well fed,” he said.
“We are deeply committed to the welfare of people Zimbabwe and we have given US$3 billion since independence, the US was the first country to recognize Zimbabwe’s independence and our commitment is a lasting commitment…we are here for the long term.”
The US envoy said they were introducing a new project that would see a farmer to farmer exchange project between the two countries strengthening ties between the two nations.
“Today we announced a new project that will bring American farmers to Zimbabwe to work with farmers in your country to help them learn the most modern techniques.
“This farmer to farmer project is a kind of people to people contact that I think will build both your knowledge and build the friendship between our countries,” said Nichol.