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Mnangagwa's govt notes threat of fresh UK sanctions

by Staff reporter
30 Oct 2020 at 06:20hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has said it has noted the unfortunate implied threat of more sanctions by the United Kingdom and its decision to engage a number of countries and organisations to further intensify pressure on Zimbabwe.

Western countries first imposed sanctions on the country after it implemented the land reform programme to correct colonial imbalances.

On Tuesday, Britain's House of Lords discussed the corruption case of Henrietta Rushwaya, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation President (ZMF), with contributors asking what measures could be put in place to coerce the Zimbabwean Government "into upholding good governance practices".

Rushwaya was arrested on Monday at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe Harare International Airport while trying to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai.

On October 25, Sadc countries joined Zimbabwe in calling on the removal of sanctions. And two days down the line, UK was discussing Zimbabwe with a view of imposing more restrictive measures.

In a statement yesterday, Dr Sibusiso Moyo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said Government is surprised at the level of invasive interest in Harare's internal affairs which persists in the hallowed halls of Westminster Palace.

Dr Moyo said Government had noted the implied threat of more sanctions from the UK and the assurance given to the Lords that such measures are currently under active consideration in London.

"It is more than 40 years ago that the Union Flag was lowered and yet, it seems, our friends in London still regard Zimbabwe as part of their extended family requiring constant supervision, correction and even punishment when, in their own assessment, we stray from the path they and others have chosen for us," sad the Minister.

"Naturally, we are disappointed at the overally negative tone and tenor of the debate and by the uninformed quality of much of the commentary or observation made by those who spoke."

He said equally unfortunate was the clear acknowledgement by the British Government that it is actively engaging others including the African Union, the European Union, the Commonwealth, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and South Africa with a view to further intensifying pressure upon Zimbabwe.

"One would have thought that, by now, a lesson would have been learned. Zimbabwe is a sovereign state. We chart our own course based on our own national interests. We co-operate with our regional partners and indeed with all partners on the basis of mutual respect and understanding," he said.

Dr Moyo said the openness of the New Dispensation, the sincere willingness to engage and re-engage with all is not an open invitation for interference or intrusion into the country's internal affairs. He said genuine friends and partners do not prescribe or dictate but "they guide, advise and assist".

"From the Government's perspective, the UK is a respected and important trade, development and investment partner. Notwithstanding our troubled history, the lingering legacy of British colonial rule and the occasional tension within the relationship today, Zimbabwe is determined to forge a productive, mutually-beneficial partnership with the UK. Our assumption, to date, is that that desire is fully reciprocated by the United Kingdom," he said.

He said the deliberate attempt to tarnish President Mnangagwa and by way of insinuation, with the corruption and smuggling case involving Rushwaya, is a new low, even for the noble Lords.

Dr Moyo said just two weeks ago, the Government submitted the formal Instrument of Ratification of the Economic Partnership Agreement between Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom which will allow for the continuity of preferential Zimbabwe-UK trade even after Brexit. He said there are many other areas of cooperation and collaboration between Zimbabwe and the UK.

"These are the real building blocks of the relationship we seek to re-establish with our friends in London."

Meanwhile, addressing the same matter in Parliament yesterday, Kindness Paradza, the chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade said the UK and others always speak of their support for the people of Zimbabwe but they never speak of their support for the Government of Zimbabwe. He said they always profile the millions of dollars of humanitarian assistance they dispense in Zimbabwe.

"British assistance is a fact and we are grateful for it. But, none of it is channelled through the Government. One assumes that, somewhere along the line, the funds are audited and accounted-for. As Government, we are not privy to that information. Their message, though, is that we, the British, are assisting you, the People of Zimbabwe, because your own Government is failing to do so," said Paradza.

Paradza said notably, one of the principal items of interest in the debate was the arrest of Rushwaya.

"But Their Lordships' focus was more on the fact that the lady-in-question is said to be a relative of His Excellency the President than on the swift and commendable actions of law-enforcement agencies to arrest, detain and arraign her before the courts on serious charges of corruption, fraud and smuggling," he said.

Source - chroncile

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