Align laws with new Constitution: Wharton

United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton

THE United States remains concerned about the democratisation process in Zimbabwe and has urged the African nation to align nearly 400 laws with the new Constitution.


In an exclusive interview with Southern Eye, US ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton described the new Constitution as a positive document, saying the US was ready to assist the country financially if there was a realignment of the laws.

“There are about 400 laws that have to be aligned, but that would be a very positive signal,” he said.

“This is going to be an iterative process; I can’t give you a menu that if you do A, B, and C; the United States will respond with an E, F and G.

“But it is going to be a sort of give and take; that’s why I keep talking about partnership.”

Wharton said while there were discrepancies in last year’s elections, the US government was willing to engage Zimbabwe and hoped this would thaw relations between the two countries.

“I don’t want us to wait five years for another election to sort of go through this process again, so I think the sort of things that will make a big impression on the US government include aligning the new Constitution with the laws of Zimbabwe, a process which is going to take some time.”

Zimbabwe adopted a new Constitution last year, but it has taken the government longer than expected to make headway in enacting necessary changes to capture provisions in the new charter.

Wharton added that US stood ready to lift sanctions and embargoes on bilateral assistance to Zimbabwe.

“Sanctions were put in place because of our concern about people who were undermining democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe and our concern of the long-term effect those actions had on the economy of the country and the country’s ability to meet its own needs,” he said.

“The Constitution is a very progressive document, but it has to be implemented well.

“Zimbabwean leaders should focus on those things that make Zimbabwe attractive to investors, a court system that is transparent, systems that make it easy for people to invest if it would make itself attractive to investors it would simultaneously address that whole issue of targeted sanctions.”

Wharton said indigenisation laws were not a bad thing, but they had to be consistent and transparent.

“I have talked about the importance of clear economic policy, clarifying what the indigenisation means,” he said.

“All countries have the responsibility to protect their citizens’ economic rights.”


  1. I feel that the US and allies should not set conditions as a prerequisite for granting aid to Zimbabwe but rather, citizens should take up the initiative through robust advocacy and activism in order stimulate positive policy, social, and economic change in our land, It is important also, for Zimbabweans to realise that donor dependency is not the panacea to our economic challenges since such dependence has a tendency to yoke a nation with difficult and sometimes in surmountable compliance issues. This is where we have gone astray. We have looked to the government and wealthy nations to bring change,whilst under-utilising our collective and inclusive potential in the quest for democracy and economic self-reliance.

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