Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Government has implored diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe to be patient as the process of political and economic reforms being undertaken is progressing steadily.
This was said last night by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo at a cocktail party hosted for diplomats serving in the country.
“Hand-in-hand with the economic reform measures introduced and the painful structural adjustment those measures have brought about, has been the parallel process of political and legislative reform,” said Minister Moyo.
“Slower than we had promised and slower than we had hoped for, these reforms are nevertheless progressing steadily.”
Minister Moyo said some Western countries were not happy with the pace of the reform process.
He said although some Western countries continued to slap sanctions on Zimbabwe, some less stringent, Harare remained open for dialogue and re-engagement.
“Those (imposition of sanctions) are sovereign decisions for those countries to make,” he said. “On our part, we will continue down our chosen path of reform, at a pace which is reasonable, responsible.
“A year is not a long time to effect the scale of reform to which we have committed ourselves. Forcing the depth and pace of such reform —especially in the ‘perfect storm’ context to which I have already referred and without any of the international support which normally underpins such massive economic restructuring would be extremely unwise: and our Western friends should think long and hard about the possible consequences of their impatience.”
Minister Moyo said Government was willing to engage and re-engage with anyone open for dialogue.
“For us, those who wish to close the door or back away, well that is your right,” he said. “We would deeply regret such a development, but cannot oblige you to engage with us.
“Should you choose that path, however, I am confident that sooner or later the same ‘you and us’ will find one another again down the road.”
Minister Moyo informed the diplomats that the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act was now law, while three pieces of legislation to replace the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act were making their way through Parliament.
He said the Complaints Mechanism Bills had been drafted, while the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Bill was in the final stages of the parliamentary approval processes.