President Emmerson Mnangagwa's office has been alerted that the new American ambassador to Zimbabwe will carry a special message from Donald Trump to the Zimbabwean leader, sources within government tell us.

The message is said to be "friendly".

It is an interesting development in the wake of a memo sent by two US senators, both of whom are anti-Trump, to the main Foreign Relations Committee in the American Senate declaring that the elections in Zimbabwe are not free and fair even before they are held.

The reason for the unusual step of alerting Mnangagwa's team to the special message is that Washington would like the new ambassador to be received by Mnangagwa before the elections.

If that happens, as is looking likely, it would be the fastest reception of a foreign ambassador by the Head of State in Zimbabwe's entire history.

That is because Ambassador Brian Nichols is only expected to be Zimbabwe a week before the elections.

During his confirmation hearing on June 21, Nichols sounded very much like a man who did not expect things to change in Zimbabwe any time soon. His stance adopted the default American position of the Mugabe era

"As we continue to support Zimbabwe's democratic development, we must also continue to invest in the people of Zimbabwe - in healthcare, people-to-people exchanges, humanitarian aid and business development - to preserve the human capital needed to grow and improve Zimbabwe in the future."

Clearly, this is the a man who does not expect the current elections to further Zimbabwe's "democratic development". He fully expects that after the elections, the opposition will still be fighting for political space as under Mugabe, that the government of the day will continue much as it has done since 2000 or thereabouts.

Of course, there is politics to take into account:

Ambassador Nichols was appearing before the Foreign Relations Committee, which had the power to confirm or deny him the ambassadorship.

The Foreign Relations Committee has been rather open in its hostility to the Mnangagwa government. It was the FRC's Africa relations sub-committee that tabled further conditions for the lifting of sanctions under Mnangagwa just last month. The sub-committee's Chairman, Senator Jeff Flake, had told the media that he is "disappointed" with Mnangagwa because he has just been full of talk and no action on things like corruption, repealing of legislation like POSA and AIPPA and other misdeeds that do not quite meet with Senator's approval.

So, it could well be that Ambassador Nichols and President trump knew that he had to say the right things to the FRC in order to be confirmed.

There are no indications at the moment that Mnangagwa will release the contents of the special message to the public, since this is never done with this type of comunication.


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