Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Germany has said it is ready to engage Zimbabwe on long-term projects, and has denied reports that it refused entry to Zimbabwe’s envoy to Europe, Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who has so far held successful engagements with British and French authorities.
The private media reported yesterday that Cde Chinamasa, who is also Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, was blocked from entering the European country.
Speaking to journalists after meeting Vice President Constantino Chiwenga yesterday, Germany Ambassador to Zimbabwe Dr Thorsten Hutter said Berlin was ready to receive Cde Chinamasa.
He noted that Germany was under a caretaker government, so it would, therefore, not be prudent to engage on long-term programmes without substantive authorities.
“I said he (Cde Chinamasa) is welcome in Germany and that things at the moment are seen as making it less opportune for him to come at this very moment, and one of the reasons I gave is that we have only a caretaker government,” he said.
“Of course, we want to engage with the envoy on forward-looking issues, which will then be the responsibility of the full government in Germany to deal with.
“Other issues are that we would want to discuss specifics on how Government is going to modernise the economy, what exactly are the ideas of Government and how possibly could Germany come in and assist.”
Ambassador Hutter said he managed to exchange views with VP Chiwenga on several bilateral issues.
Germany, he said, was encouraged by the fact that Zimbabwe pledged to hold free, fair and credible elections later this year. “On the political side, we discussed the upcoming elections,” he said. “The Vice President assured me that the elections will be free and fair and credible.
“On my side, I told him that Germany and the European Union are very pleased with the invitation to send election observation monitors to Zimbabwe, and I assured that Germany is very willing to engage and to continue engaging with Zimbabwe on political issues, as well as economic issues.
“We did have a very good conversation on the different projects which we would like to undertake. I informed him of the meetings that I have with representatives of Germany companies in South Africa. I informed him about the impressions that representatives of German companies had while they were here this week.”
VP Chiwenga also met Botswana’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, General Louis Fisher (Retired).
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Gen Fisher said: “The primary purpose of my coming here was to come and congratulate the Vice President. If you remember, I was in the military myself. I was the chief of the defence forces in Botswana. I find it proper that I should come and congratulate him and also pledge my cooperation.
“Also to thank the gift we were given recently by President Mnangagwa of visiting Botswana. Of all the countries in the region, President Mnangagwa visited Botswana and we thought that was very special. What also we look forward between us, Batswana and Zimbabweans, we must work together. We must cooperate.
“And this has already been established by our presidents. If the presidents have set the tone, we must make sure that we work hard that our people trade, visit. We have an 800-kilometre border, the border has a long story to tell, stories of culture, stories of trade and a lot.
“So, I was pledging to the Vice President that I am here myself, General Fisher, ready to work hard to deepen our relations.”