McGee leaves Harare in July

mcgee_2.jpgJames McGee
HARARE - United States ambassador to Zimbabwe and an outspoken critic of President Robert Mugabe's rule, James McGee, is leaving the embattled southern African nation in July amid reports that he is going into retirement after 28 years in diplomatic servic

McGee confirmed to journalists in Harare during the Easter Holiday that
he was leaving the country, but declined to discuss the matter.

Sources at the US embassy in Harare said McGee, who once served as
ambassador to Swaziland, Madagascar, and the Comoros, was retiring from
diplomatic service.

He wanted to retire during the (George) Bush administration, but was
asked to continue in office, one of the sources said. The ambassador
has seen the coming in of the new president (Barack Obama) to retire.

McGee, who was posted to Zimbabwe in 2007, was critical of Mugabe's
style of management and recently said the country's inclusive
government made up of Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations was

During his posting in the country, he saw the tightening of targeted sanctions.

Last month, McGee said the US would not give Zimbabwe financial aid to
jumpstart its comatose economy until the full restoration of the rule
of law and upholding of human rights.

He said the US government wanted the inclusive government to craft a
new constitution in the next two years leading to free and fair

In a roundtable meeting with journalists during the Easter Holiday,
McGee called for the prosecution of perpetrators of political violence
during the countdown to the June 27 2008 presidential election run-off.

According to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC, over 200 of its supporters were killed during the bloody campaign.

"Those behind the March post-election human rights abuses of last year
should face trial. They must be brought before the courts of law and
tried, to allow for the nation to move forward," McGee said.

McGee said while there had been an improvement on the economic front
following the formation of the inclusive government, the US was still
worried about the continued abuse of human rights and lack of the rule
of law.

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