05-13-17 by Spotlight Zimbabwe

Trump to fund Mugabe, says diplomat

Harare – The United States has announced plans to increase its funding levels to Zimbabwe, particularly in the health sector – despite a diplomatic tiff between Washington and Harare.

This was revealed by the US ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas Jr at the close of the just ended Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA).

The Donald Trump administration was maintaining sanctions on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, accusing the nonagenarian of rights violations and electoral fraud in previous polls.

However, Mugabe’s government argued that the West was targeting it for embarking on land reforms which resulted in the displacement of thousands of white commercial farmers and their employees in 2000.

Thomas said that Washington would maintain, and even increase, HIV funding levels in Zimbabwe, despite a change in administration.

“We are very heartened that our Congress just passed the budget within the last few days and our President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) funding is remaining constant. In fact it will likely grow to almost $150m next year,” said Thomas.

Trump took over from Barack Obama following elections in 2016.

“This means we are able to continue saving lives through PEPFAR as well as feed about 2.4 million people a day in Zimbabwe through other assistance programmes,” said Thomas.

Since 2006, PEPFAR has provided nearly $800m to Zimbabwe for HIV interventions.

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