(AFP) – May 30, 2008
PRETORIA (AFP) — The Zimbabwe government accused the US ambassador to Harare on Friday of transporting opposition victims of post-election violence to hospital and paying for their treatment.
Only days after President Robert Mugabe threatened to expel ambassador James McGee for "interfering" in Zimbabwe's internal affairs, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said there was clear evidence the envoy was siding with supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
"The US ambasssador had been collecting from the scene of crime only MDC victims," Chinamasa told reporters at the Zimbabwean embassy in South Africa.
"He drove them to hospital where he paid in full, in advance, for their medical expenditure."
Zimbabwe has been rocked by violence since a first round presidential election on March 29 between Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, which has been steadily increasing with the approach of a run-off poll on June 27.
While the United Nations and rights groups say most of the violence has been perpetrated by followers of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, the government says the real picture has been distorted.
"We have heard cases where the US ambassador has been moving round with journalists and photographers in places where there had been no violence," said Chinamasa, who is one of Mugabe's staunchest allies.
"That gives you one conclusion -- they are going to foment the violence in order to take pictures."
Relations between the United States and Zimbabwe have been tense ever since Washington imposed sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle after he allegedly rigged his 2002 re-election.
In a speech last Sunday, Mugabe threatened to expel McGee "if he makes one more wrong step."
There was no immediate reaction to the latest accusations from the US embassy in Harare.
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