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The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe squirmed when confronted with an embarrassing question in an interview from Violet Gonda of the independent SW Radio Africa earlier this month.

Ms. Gonda, whose show is called “Hot Seat,” pressed Ambassador Bruce Wharton on whether the U.S. still considers Zimbabwe an “outpost of tyranny.”

“I don’t believe I’m not sure where that term came from,” he stammered.

Mr. Gonda reminded him that Condoleezza Rice coined the phrase in 2005 at her Senate confirmation hearing on her nomination to serve as secretary of state.

“We believe that Zimbabwe is a country that has enormous potential, that has made significant progress in the last few years,” Mr. Wharton said.

The State Department’s latest human rights report on Zimbabwe accused the government of President Robert Mugabe of targeting political opponents with “harassment, arrest, abuse and torture.”

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