Government has historical reasons to distrust the USA
HE IS leaving in June this year, having completed the traditional tour of duty for which diplomats are posted to host countries.
This correspondent is, however, firmly of the view that United States (US) Ambassador Mr. Brent Hardt should be leaving this country prematurely in discomforting circumstances. His conduct in performing diplomatic duties in accordance with long-established conventions has been anything but acceptable; and in fact, compared to all previous esteemed holders of that portfolio in this country, he has to be the most objectionable.
He should consider himself extremely lucky not to be asked to leave the country in disgrace.
A dispassionate review of the current open impasse which he created between himself and the Government will ineluctably conclude that he is guilty of shameful transgressions of basic acceptable diplomatic behaviour.
Just imagine the crassness he exhibited when he defied the decision of the Cabinet of the host country, and rudely announcing publicly that he would be proceeding with a contentious and vexatious project despite being officially told not to pursue until acceptable factors in the project were satisfactorily resolved.
This kind of ill-perceived boldness cannot be found in the armory of any successful serving diplomat, and this Government will be applauded if appropriate action is taken against Hardt if only to assert the sovereignty of this proud nation.
No diplomatic functionary should be permitted this kind of absurd latitude.
Mr. Hardt has perhaps unwittingly committed an undesirable precedent, which cannot be wished away by pretending the defiance exhibited is harmless; and corrective action must be taken. Certainly, an apology is obligatory on the part of the US Government.
The bone of contention is an innocent sounding Leadership and Democracy (LEAD) Project, which Hardt is hell bent on completing, despite being told that the Government is not satisfied with certain aspects of the project, which have far-reaching ramifications, with perceived sinister motives that need vital clarification.
This Government’s concerns have arisen from historical events that occurred in the early sixties, which brought about destabilization in the entire country during the rule of the then PPP government; so this is a case of ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’.
(By David De Groot)