US ambassador Bruce Wharton leaves Zimbabwe

Staff Reporter

Bruce Wharton - Returning to Washington

Harry K. Thomas - President Obama's new man in Harare

US ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton has ended his tour of duty and returns to Washington where he will take up a new role at the State Department.

He leaves at a time political relations between Harare and Washington remain frayed with the US refusing to lift sanction imposed more than a decade ago over allegations of rights abuses and electoral fraud.

Wharton, who took up the Harare posting in 2012, confirmed his departure on Wednesday.

“My time as the U.S. Ambassador is up. It has been an extraordinarily rich and wonderful time for me and my family -- our second time to live in Zimbabwe -- but it is drawing swiftly to a close,” the envoy said in a statement.

“Thank you for your friendship, for teaching me about Zimbabwe, and for showing me the power or resilience.

“Though I am sad to be leaving, I know that the change will be good. Good ideas or projects that I may have had here will withstand the test of time, and my departure provides an opportunity for my not-so-good ideas to go quietly away.”

He will be replaced by former US ambassador to the Philippines, Harry K. Thomas.

Of his successor, Wharton said: “Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, is an extremely distinguished American diplomat.

“He is also a tremendously warm, smart, and decent man. He will fit right in among the millions of warm, smart, and decent Zimbabweans who are the soul of this great nation.”

Wharton said he remains deeply committed to Zimbabwe as he returns to “Washington, DC to become the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State”.

“I remain deeply committed to the ideals on which Zimbabwe was founded, ideals that Americans and Zimbabweans share.

“I will do everything I can to support progress toward those ideals in the U.S., in Zimbabwe, and across Africa and the world.

“I will miss many friends here, and hope to return in a few years – perhaps when we open our new embassy -- to renew those friendships.

“In the meantime, support each other, reach out to people who are not like you, listen thoughtfully, be proud of your great country, and look for ways to support it.”


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Denis Gwenzi
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