Zimbabwe’s ruling political party, Zenu-PF, is threatening the US ambassador with expulsion over claims that it funded anti-government demonstrations within the country.
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that ZenU-PF referred to Ambassador Brian Nichols as part of a “mob of hooligans”, accusing him of “coordinating violence and training rebellions and committing disturbances”.
“Our leadership will not hesitate to give them a marching order,” the party said. “Diplomats should not behave like thugs, and Brian Nichols is a thug.”
In a tweet, US Secretary of State for African Affairs Bureau Assistant Secretary Tibor Negi retaliated, describing the party’s statement as “extremely humiliating”.
“We have called the Zimbabwean ambassador to explain,” Nagy said.
Comments from #ZANUPF – while sadly not surprising – are intensely aggressive. We have called the Ambassador of Zimbabwe to explain. https://t.co/dWjDEVqZqM
– Tibor Negi (@AsstSecStateAF) 28 July 2020
ZANU-PF was previously the party of the country’s longest-running leader, Robert Mugabe, before his death in 2017.
It elected Emerson Mnangagwa to replace Mugabe, and Mnangagwa currently serves as the country’s third president since its majority-white government was overthrown in 1980.
Activists have been pressuring Mangangwa amid allegations of corruption and serious economic troubles for the southern African nation and the US Embassy in Harare has repeatedly asked the government to respect human rights in recent weeks.
Under Mugabe, Western ambassadors were regularly threatened with expulsion.