Reporter- Simba Moyo

The United States of America Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas Jr will today take part as a panel member on a discussion that is reviewing the country’s progress, since attaining independence in 1980.

Thomas Jr, who started his assignment in the country on February 25th 2016 will participate in the discussion on the future of Zimbabwe organised by the Voice of America Africa Division.

During this VOA organised discussion, Ambassador Thomas Jnr. will be joined by Dr. Chipo Dendere, Assistant Professor, Gettysburg College; Dr. Tawuya Katso, Developmental and Social Consultant; and Dr. Rhoderick Machekano, Zimbabwe Diaspora Network North America (ZDNNA) while Amanda Bennett, VOA Director will give the opening remarks.

Ambassador Thomas Jr joined the Foreign Service in 1984, and has served as U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines from 2010 to 2013 and to Bangladesh from 2003 to 2005.  He also served in the White House as the Director for South Asia at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2002.

His other postings include: New Delhi, India; Kaduna, Nigeria; and Lima, Peru. A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Columbia University, Ambassador Thomas Jr. also served at Arizona State University as the State Department’s Diplomat-in-Residence for the Southwest from 2013 to 2015.

Since his posting to the country, Thomas Jr has assured the nation that the US position on the people of Zimbabwe since independence, has not changed.

“We stand by the commitments that we made to the people of Zimbabwe at independence in 1980; to work together to promote democratic institutions, equitable economic growth, public health, and food security,” he said at one time.

The Embassy says that commitment has not changed.

“The US shares the desires of the people of Zimbabwe, who want to see a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Zimbabwe that provides for its people and contributes to regional stability,” said a statement released by the Embassy in Harare yesterday.

Ambassador Thomas’ immediate assignment has included overseeing U.S. government response to the 2015–2016 El Niño induced droughts and the construction of the New Embassy Campus in Bluffhill Harare.

The latter has created more than 850 job opportunities for local Zimbabwean workers and injected more than $30 million dollars into the local economy each year since construction work began.

On the humanitarian front, the United States has ensured that humanitarian assistance reaches two million Zimbabweans during the El Niño-induced drought that led to widespread crop failure and left 4.1 million rural Zimbabweans food insecure.