Fungi Kwaramba and Farirayi Machivenyika
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo has told the British that the New Dispensation’s openness and re-engagement stance is not an open invitation for interference or intrusion into Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.
This comes as the British House of Lords, in a condescending manner and typical colonial hangover style on Tuesday spent time debating Zimbabwe, with members concocting lies and falsehoods of a relationship between President Mnangagwa and Henrietta Rushwaya who was arrested while attempting to smuggle six kilograms of gold early this week.
During the debate, the British also revealed yet another plot to lean on African countries and the world at large to isolate Zimbabwe, alleging fictitious human rights abuses and brazenly ignoring strides made by the Second Republic in entrenching the rule of law and constitutionalism and also arresting corrupt Government officials.
Such actions, Dr Moyo said are unfortunate as they fail to appreciate that Zimbabwe is a sovereign nation which can chart its own path without being hectored by other nations.
“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.
“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.
“The deliberate attempt to besmirch His Excellency the President, by way of innuendo, with the corruption and smuggling case involving Henrietta Rushwaya, is a new low, even for the noble Lords,” said Dr Moyo.
Since coming to power, President Mnangagwa has opened doors for engagement and re-engagements with all world nations and has been lauded for adopting political reforms that have ushered broader liberties, he has also walked the talk on fighting corruption firing, in the space of three years, two Cabinet ministers implicated in graft.
However, Western nations, that apparently, will never forgive Zimbabwe for the land reform programme are seemingly blind to the reforms, as they are misled by opposition forces in the country and regime change enablers of unsubstantiated allegations of human-rights abuses and a failure to act on corruption.
“Equally unfortunate is 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.”
Despite brazen attempts by Western nations to prescribe and dictate to Zimbabwe, the Second Republic is determined to forge a productive, mutually-beneficial partnership with the UK, Dr Moyo said.
Meanwhile, in the House of Assembly, parliamentarians also slammed the British House of Lords for its continued meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.
Some of the utterances include statements by Lord St John of Bletso that there had been “no prosecutions for corruption” in Zimbabwe and failure to acknowledge progress that has been made in the Government’s reform agenda.
Presenting his Matter of National Interest to the National Assembly yesterday, Zanu PF Chief Whip Cde Pupurai Togarepi said the British had no moral standing to lecture Zimbabwe on human rights.
Cde Togarepi slammed Lord Peter Hain for making baseless conclusions of the human rights situation in the country, saying Zimbabwe was not a British colony anymore.
“As a sovereign nation, with equal global rights, what we ask from the British is mutual respect and not to be lectured on human rights and due processes, tenets they denied our forefathers and which we only regained in 1980,” he said.
“The arrest of Rushwaya is clear testimony that President Mnangagwa is walking the talk on corruption and economic saboteurs, of whom we have many in this country, would be hunted day and night by the security forces.”
Cde Togarepi added that Zimbabweans had the capacity to resolve their differences without outside interference, especially the former colonial power.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Portfolio Committee chairperson, Cde Kindness Paradza, echoed similar sentiments.
“The obsession with Zimbabwe continues reflecting, sadly, their Lordships lingering nostalgia for an empire forever lost and, perhaps, their frustration with the inescapable truth of ever dwindling British influence across the swathes of territory where, it was once said that the sun never sets,” Cde Paradza said.
He added that the debate by the House of Lords on the situation in Zimbabwe exposed their dislike of the Government.
Cde Paradza said instead of expending their energies on the situation in Zimbabwe, the British were better off looking at the multi-million pound scandal regarding procurement of Covid-19 equipment that saw contracts being awarded to dormant companies.
“It is this kind of ignorance, accompanied by the usual British arrogance and condescension which, I believe, all Zimbabweans from whatever political persuasion they might hail, should find deeply offensive, intrusive and completely unacceptable,” he said.