EU chides Zim NGOs, critics

European Union ambassador Mr Aldo Dell'Ariccia, political analyst Dr Ibbo Mandaza and MDC-T member Engineer Elias Mudzuri at a Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition seminar in Harare yesterday

European Union ambassador Mr Aldo Dell’Ariccia, political analyst Dr Ibbo Mandaza and MDC-T member Engineer Elias Mudzuri at a Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition seminar in Harare yesterday

Innocent Ruwende and Nyemudzai Kakore
THE European Union yesterday dismissed claims by opposition activists and NGOs that there was a leadership crisis in Zimbabwe, saying Government was strong and able to steer the country forward through the implementation of poverty reduction strategies such as the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation. Responding to regime change lobbyists at a forum organised by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition at a Harare hotel to discuss the economy and economic sanctions, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Aldo Del’Arricia chided the civil society leaders and opposition politicians for their adversarial approach to Government.

“On the matter of supposed leadership crisis in this country, let me tell you this, luckily we don’t have a leadership crisis in this country because we have the same people we have in the party and Government.

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“If we had a leadership crisis there would be chaos. We still have a leadership, we still have a leader  who manages to keep at bay and under control these forces that are very much contradictory.”
Mr Del’Arricia advised opposition parties and civic society to be constructive in attitude and less confrontational when dealing with Government.
The EU envoy schooled the civic society activists who had denounced Zim-Asset, for alleged lack of a funding strategy, saying Zim-Asset was an economic blueprint that was very much work in progress.

“You are talking about Zim-Asset, but l have the impression that you are bashing Zim-Asset or ridiculing Zim-Asset as if it was  a development policy or a poverty reduction strategy,” he said.

Mr Del’Arricia said Government, and in particular the Ministry of Finance, understood the need to operationalise Zim-Asset, hence they were calling on the African Development Bank to provide assistance which would transform Zim-Asset from a blueprint to a development strategy document.

“Zim-Asset is just a blueprint, it’s work in progress and I think that the Government and particularly the Minister of Finance knows very well that the work is not completed and they are calling on the African Development Bank in particular, in order to provide technical assistance. It will commit it to go from a blueprint to a development strategic document which means to take into consideration the resources which are necessary, and to take into consideration the risks which are there and how to handle these risk, a chronology,’’ Mr Del Arricia said.

He rebuked the NGOs for “living in the past”.
“The civil society has a role to play but I have the impression that you are a little bit anchored to the past where instead of seeing NGOs one perceives AGOs, Anti-Government Organisations. And if you start catching the flair of the time, the trend, there is an opening to be worked upon.

“But we had four ministers (Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa, Patrick Chinamasa, Jonathan Moyo and Joseph Made)  sitting with more than 150 representatives of civil society, Churches, trade unions, Parliament to discuss about the national indicative programme of the European Union. We did not conclude it, it was Minister Chinamasa who did it,’’ he said.

Turning to proposed amendments to the Electoral Act, Mr Del’Arricia said Government’s commitment was evident in the willingness of Justice Minister Mnangagwa to engage.

“We had all the discussions about the electoral law, and we know what happened. The message of the Minister of Justice was not that ‘Okay thank you very much for your opinion, I am not bound to take into consideration, let’s forget it’. He said, ‘let’s go step by step, we remain open and there would be further amendments before the end of the year and your opinion will be taken into consideration.’ So catch this trend, have a constructive role, maybe less confrontational but I think his comments, at this meeting here, are very important,’’ Mr Del’Ariccia said.

He said things were going in the right direction between Zimbabwe and the EU.
Mr Del’Arricia said the EU and Government had been engaging since 2009 when the inclusive Government was formed and since then, the bloc had been coherent and constant in its response.

During the discussions, former legislator Cde Patrick Zhuwao hailed the statements by Mr Del Arricia.
“I think the EU ambassador is coming to terms with reality on the ground and I think this needs to be understood from the context of the fact that we have a Constitution we developed as Zimbabweans that was widely accepted and that formed the basis of an election and that has been accepted and we have a Government that is in power,” he said.
“The reality of the situation is that civil society needs to move from being anti-government to developmental organisations, that is basically what the Ambassador is saying.”

Mr Del’Ariccia was responding to some participants, among them political scientist Dr Ibbo Mandaza, MDC-T’s Engineer Elias Mudzuri and economist and director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ) Dr Godfrey Kanyenze, who had called for a change in leadership as a way of solving the country’s problems.

Dr Kanyenze said Government had so many plans, but very few developmental goals.
“Zimbabwe is an example of a state in capture,” he said. “The assets are now a political bag of the elite.

“Experience suggests that Government has been long on planning and short on implementation, with regular changes to the programme, policy incoherence and inconsistency and even reversals.”

Dr Mandaza accused the country’s crop of politicians of failure.
“The problem we have is that of leadership, we need to change the Government,” he said.

But economist Dr Moses Chundu said the regime change agenda was “an old, tired script overtaken by time and events” urging the civic society to lobby for the reform of laws to back up good policies.

“Between now and 2018 we have a Zanu-PF Government and so what the Ambassador is saying diplomatically is where there is an opening, co-operate with this Government and do not be trapped in the regime change agenda as a tired mantra,” he said.

An economist with one of the NGOs, who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity, said he had earlier on advised his colleagues against criticising Zim-Asset for the alleged lack of a funding strategy saying what they were calling for could only be found in a development plan.

“You can’t have a funding strategy in a blueprint, that detail is put in a development plan. More so a country under sanctions would be foolish to publicise its funding strategy as that will enable the sanctions-imposing countries to sabotage that strategy. In fact, Zim-Asset, recognises funding as a sub-cluster,’’ the economist said.

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  • Emperor Nero

    This regime is desparate for any positive reviews they can get.One day its the EU being accused of wanting illegal regime change in the country.The next day its the same EU getting credit for saying we have a good govt in power.This is the same EU that has been encouraging this regime to lift the illegal sanctions on ordinary citizens, through fighting corruption.What the ambassador is saying though makes lot of sense,the civil society and NGOs should not allow the regime to use them as scapegoats if Zim-asset is another failure, just like the now infamous look east policy.We all know this regime is struggling to pay its workers resulting in dates being moved.We all know legislators have not been paid,hotels are refusing to accomodate them because govt is failing to pay for hotel rooms,We all know of the crippling power shortages.We know about farmers, cotton,tobacco,maize threatening to stop farming activities if prices remain as low as they have been.We all know diamond mines being shut down due to lack of transparancy.So why is it considered unpatriotic for Zimbabweans to wonder where the funding for Zim asset will come from? We didn,t hear the EU ambassador offering to help Zimbabwe access lines of credit from IMF or the world bank.Rather he is suggesting trying to borrow money from Africa development bank,yet we all know Zimbabwe already owes this bank 750mill they have been struggling to pay back.We owe the world bank,we owe IMF so why is it a sin for Zimbabweans to question where the regime is going to get funding for zimasset?I have plans to one day have enough money to buy a lot of land in, and around Harare so i can provide decent affordable homes for those without homes,Doesn,t that sound like a noble idea? Without funding it will die a dream.

    • tafamutekwe

      True if the European Union representative is that concerned about the survival of the Zim economy he would be the most legitimate man to be making very strong submissions and recommendations to Brussels to help the government fund Zim-Asset. At least the ambassador is finally realizing that this government is now open and ready for constructive re-engagement with Europe and the rest of the West.We pray that “better must come.”

    • Golden Horizon.

      “Without funding it will die a dream.” Funding is important of course, but at an appropriate stage.The EU ambassador as quoted above makes a revealing distinction, Zim-Asset is a blueprint which is different from a development strategy document.

      “You can’t have a funding strategy in a blueprint…”, an anonymous economist is quoted in the story as having cautioned overzealous critics.It becomes clear to a patient critic that at the blueprint stage, funding is superfluous though pivotal at an appropriate stage.

      You stated a number of important problems troubling Zimbabweans.For example, challenges to do with the payment of civil servants on traditionally known days.What would you say are the causes of the problems, what could be the best solution?

      It is important to note that the EU ambassador diplomatically told the Civic society and NGOs to avoid being Anti-Government Organizations.This admonition leaves civic society and NGOs grappling to show what positive roles they have been daily playing in Zimbabwe, or will play in the future. For some sections of civic society and NGOs, bashing the government is big business, a lucrative endeavour considering the funding that comes with it from donors.

      Without the easy and lucrative business of bashing the government, some characters would soon be out on the streets, jobless.They have no other means of earning income.And the ambassador is striking a rather frightful chord, hence the panic by civic society and NGO leaders.

      Most importantly, the ambassador’s message marks a fundamental positive shift in the EU-Zimbabwe relationship.

    • Jotham

      Your Eurocentric mentality makes a sad reading. You feel that as Zimbos we need the Brishity recommendation letter to be accepted by the world- you have such a down trodden mind – you judge events after praying to your Bass(the white pink pigs). The whole trash that you wrote is typical of people who look at white Europeans as being nearer to God or God himself. You can go ahead and hero worship them. My God is not a human being. Europe is rich today thanks to their thieving and looting of African resources and the free slave labour they enjoyed over so many centuries. The Zimbabwean economy needs us more than the these whites. Zimbabwe is failing to access international funding thanks to the sanctions you are gloating about as being non-existent or targeted. Why targeted in the 1st place- companies can not operate properly because if they export the revenue earned will be blocked by the USA(diamond companies). Sanctions on Mugabe will not destroy the country but sanctions on companies will hurt the economy big time. The President has appealed to them(these whites) to reconsider(in your dirt mind you call it begging) and re-engage Zimbabwe on a rational footing. I do acknowledge the existence of corruption in Zimbabwe- but the picture being drawn by individuals like Emperor Nero are simply mere exaggerations(blowing issues out of proportion) in order to please these Europeans. All countries have corrupt officials and the most crude corrupt officials are found in the USA and Europe.

      • Mhofu Chaiyo

        Jotham, if you think being abusive will solve our problems, you are in for a rude awakening! Is this what you have learnt since independence!? Zimbabweans should realise that motor-mouth diplomacy doesnt work. In fact, vanodya vachiguta havataure!

    • Makusakatara

      Nero;

      Nobody ever said you should not question where funding for ZimAsset will come from. It is proper and within your rights as a citizen of this country. What the Ambassador is saying is that you are bucking at the wrong tree. He educated you that ZimAsset is not yet a development plan – it is still just a blue print.

      So, the Ambassador is saying to you that you are jumping the gun by attacking a blue print instead of focusing on whether the document is ok or not. What is required, first, is to acknowledge that ZimAsset is a fine draft of what we want to do and only then can we move forward. This is why he dissuaded you from living in the past where you criticize for the sake of criticising without applying your mind to whether what has been put forward is good for the country or not.

      Now, if you have to be told by a foreigner that there is no leadership crisis don’t you think that shows you have no brains? When you have to be told by a foreigner that ZimAsset – which is supposed to help you and not the foreigner – is a FINE BLUE PRINT, can’t you see that there is something wrong with your mindset?

      The EU Ambassador is merely saying that don’t see anything put forward – even by your political ‘enemy’ or opponent – as bad and unworkable simply because it is from the person you are competing with politically.

      Ambassador Del’Arricia is putting it to you that there is need for you to put a clear distinction between NATIONAL INTERESTS and personal interests. Personal interests are the desires you have to be voted into power while NATIONAL INTEREST are there, whether it is ZANU-PF in power or another party.

      Where NATIONAL INTERESTS are at stake, ALL – even those in the opposition – should support government efforts so as to improve the lives of the people; for it is these people that you both want to vote for you. He is saying that we should not be “anchored in the past” where criticising anything formulated by the government was fashionable or, conversely, where any suggestion -even noble – from the opposition is not acceptable.

      The moment we do that it means we have matured and have grown up as Zimbabweans. Del’Arricia is telling us that this is what has made Europe and America what they are today whereby if their countries are attacked or threatened, they ALL RALLY TOGETHER to defeat the threat and then start attacking each other politically when the external threat is gone or neutralised.

      It is as simple as all that; manje unobva watadza kuziva kuti ko ava vasiri kunzwisisa no kuona zviri pachena kudai zviri kumbo famba sei!!

  • moriartyO

    In the mean time more companies are closing, more people are rendered unemployed. Who cares what the EU likes and dislikes!! Zimbabweans are suffering and all u seem to care about is approval from EU

    • rukudzo

      You tend to exaggerate the suffering of Zimbabweans. No wonder why you make no impact. People are managing they business of earning a living imi muchingogwauta.

      • moriartyO

        Go and take a walk in first street, go to tokwe-mukosi, take a walk down Main Street in Bulawayo. Go to the dying town of marondera. Do I even need to talk about masvingo, kwekwe, chinhoyi is on it’s knees. Perhaps you live outside Zimbabwe and have not been there for a while.

        • rukudzo

          What is dying?

      • Lungamo

        vakuru makabva kuHarare riini?

        • rukudzo

          Ndobvira chii mu Harare iri nyika yangu. I can see difference between dying & metamorphosis. Some of you see mertamophosis as death. People of little faith.

    • Jotham

      Whom are you referring to.?

  • Mari

    Fiscal Policy=Ziro
    Employment=Ziro
    FDI=Ziro
    Monetary Policy=Ziro
    GDP=Ziro
    Ziro+Ziro+Ziro+Ziro+Ziro=ZERO

    • Jotham

      Responding to a DODO with a dead brain is of no use.

  • matt

    Zerooooo

  • Bheki Nxumalo Chidyamakono

    The top EU diplomat is being very diplomatic. In reality he is telling his audience that our rulers have the powers to change course and move the country in the right direction. Mugabe and his team have the ability to do what is right for this country but the EU man is indirectly telling us that these people just dont care. How I wish we can just deal with corruption, underutilised farms , hate speech and open airwaves then we can have the sanctions lifted. Now there are used as an excuse for incompetecy

    • Jotham

      You are talking on his behalf- now you are now his spokes person, shame

  • James Bond

    Just because the EU chap says so doesn’t make it true! If there was no crisis in Zim why would we be so deep in the muck?

    • Kikuvimbinda

      It is clear that there is NGO and opposition parties’s crisis in Zimbabwe!!!

      • James Bond

        NGOs and opposition parties don’t run government…Look in the mirror but don’t break it if you don’t like what you see!

  • Golden Horizon

    “Without funding it will die a dream.” Funding is important of course, but at an appropriate stage.The EU ambassador as quoted above makes a revealing distinction, Zim-Asset is a blueprint which is different from a development strategy document.

    “You can’t have a funding strategy in a blueprint…”, an anonymous economist is quoted in the story as having cautioned overzealous critics.It becomes clear to a patient critic that at the blueprint stage, funding is superfluous though pivotal at an appropriate stage.

    You stated a number of important problems troubling Zimbabweans.For example, challenges to do with the payment of civil servants on traditionally known days.What would you say are the causes of the problems, what could be the best solution?

    It is important to note that the EU ambassador diplomatically told the Civic society and NGOs to avoid being Anti-Government Organizations.This admonition leaves civic society and NGOs grappling to show what positive roles they have been daily playing in Zimbabwe, or will play in the future. For some sections of civic society and NGOs, bashing the government is big business, a lucrative endeavour considering the funding that comes with it from donors.

    Without the easy and lucrative business of bashing the government, some characters would soon be out on the streets, jobless.They have no other means of earning income.And the ambassador is striking a rather frightful chord, hence the panic by civic society and NGO leaders.

    Most importantly, the ambassador’s message marks a fundamental positive shift in the EU-Zimbabwe relationship.

  • Kikuvimbinda

    Hostilities between the Government of Zimbabwe and the opposition parties and NGOs, will take time to heal! The EU is very aware about that! But it could speed the healing if the EU said sorry to Mugabe’s Government!! Thank you.

  • Mangwende we Chinhoyi

    If you are a family member and you are popular at blaming your father, mother, brother sister etc, then you have a mental problem. Most African commentators find pleasure in blaming their Zimbabwean African government without offering real, practical and patriotic solutions. If you find the EU rep cautioning the appropriate groups, it means that the wrong behavior has gone too far to the extent of affecting any developmental thrust for the benefit of many.

  • Sifiso Xolile Ndlovu Zgwanyanw

    All the NGOs offered as a long term solution to poverty is a change of government. What does that even mean? How does a change of government end the poverty of a lazy person who is unwilling to work? If there are honest and hardworking Zimbabweans making a living and feeding their families then there is no excuse for those poor among us who blame the government for their inability to fend for themselves and feed their families.

  • Aliphelithemba

    Let the government continue mending ties with the EU for the country to move forward post GNU. The critics at instances have nothing to offer except playing the role of wet blankets with the hope of getting funding .A close look at the behaviour of some of the critics, one tends to identify elements of political ambitions which can easily mislead some but not all.The EU Ambassador is smart and spot on at this point.