United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry K Thomas Jnr said he will not bid former President Mugabe farewell as he retires after three years of foreign service in Zimbabwe.
Addressing journalists at a farewell well media round table on Thursday, Ambassador Thomas who is leaving Zimbabwe for US this Sunday, said regardless of working with former President Mugabe he will not say goodbye to him as he is no longer an authority in government.
“No, I will not be visiting former President Mugabe, I will call on current President Mnangagwa as diplomatic protocol requires before we depart,” he said.
Ambassador Thomas said the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the US will be revoked if economic reforms are implemented by the new government.
“Sanctions were issued by executive order and they are reissued every year. The key of course would be free and fair elections and economic reforms. The people to ask, in a few weeks we will have some very senior political delegations here , those are the people responsible for lifting sanctions or waving sanctions and I would ask them because that’s their responsibility.
“I would bet, even though am retired, that it would be based on free, fair credible elections. Just this week the indeginisation bill was passed we are waiting to see property rights, am sure we are also waiting to see media, all politicians , political parties being given access to state media, those are the things in the constitution . So we hope to see but I think you need to give government some time because they have been in office a short while to make good on their promises. But they are off to a good start in terms of BVR ,new Zec chairperson, you have even invited international monitors and observers , for the first time since perhaps 1980,” he said.
Ambassador Thomas is retiring after 34 years in foreign service.
Born on June 3, 1956 in New York City, Ambassador Thomas joined the Foreign Service in 1984. He served as the US ambassador to Philippines from 2010 to 2013. He is also a former US ambassador to Bangladesh, where he served from 2003 to 2005.
From 2007 to 2009 he was director-general of the US Foreign Service. In addition to his tenures as ambassador to Bangladesh and the Philippines, his earlier postings included service in the US embassies in India, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Peru.
He also served as executive secretary of the US department of state, director state department operations centre, and special assistant to the then US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. As of September, 2013, Thomas was serving as the state department’s diplomat-in-residence for the Southwest.
In July 2015, Ambassador Thomas was nominated by President Obama to serve as US Ambassador to Zimbabwe.
In October 2015, he was confirmed to that position by the US Senate. He presented his credentials to former President Mugabe in February 2016.