‘Only London can help the situation’

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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last week announced a new Cabinet largely made up of people who had served in his previous Executive. NewsDay chief reporter Everson Mushava (ND) caught up with Christopher Mutsvangwa (CM), the new deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, to gain insight on his new role vis-à-vis Zimbabwe’s strained relations with Western countries.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

ND: Hon Mutsvangwa, you have taken over as Foreign Affairs deputy minister at a time Zimbabwe is battling to mend relations with the West that has maintained trade and travel restrictions on top party members, do you have any re-engagement plans with the West?

CM: Their position has become untenable especially after the recent elections which Sadc, Africa and the rest of the world have described as free and credible and reflected the will of the people.

It means that as the rug has been dragged from under their feet, they have to grope for a new policy.

We are very anxious that we quickly build our relations with them. We will spare no effort in exploring all avenues at improving our relations with the traditional partners in the European Union and in Washington.

We hope that London can play a more positive role. They have an obligation to move from a post-colonial mindset to an equal-partner mindset.

Only London can help the situation so that we can move onto a new page.

We will also be pursuing very vigorously engagement with emerging economies of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). They have become sources of capital, in some instances, at a much larger scale than the traditional co-operating partners. China is a biggest exporter of capital.

Even the British, to maintain the status of London as a world global financial centre, spend more time in Shanghai, courting Chinese capital.

So, we hope the same example that the Brics are showing, courting Chinese capital, they can also be gracious to let Zimbabwe court the same capital as they do.
The West is busy engaging China to their own benefit and Zimbabwe should be allowed to do the same.

We also hope that Belgium, which has a direct interest in our diamond industry, will show its influence. They promised that if elections are free and fair, sanctions will be lifted. We hope that Belgium will assert itself. It is like a relationship made in heaven. We have the diamond and they have the market. This is a relationship moved by economic interest. It is a multi-million dollar engagement. It just has to happen and we hope Britain will be gracious.

ND: Sadc has played a central role in resolving political disputes in Zimbabwe, but Mugabe at one time threatened to pull out of Sadc. Do we have special plans for Sadc engagement?

CM: Sadc has been very supportive of Zimbabwe. We have a new African narrative and we want Zimbabwe to play its role in the new African renaissance. We want to build Zimbabwe as a business destination in Africa and this can only be successful with a proper engagement of Sadc countries, which we will continue to do.

ND: America, Europe and even China, have a clear policy on Africa, Zimbabwe included. Do you see Zimbabwe following suit and formulating special position papers on its engagement with the respective countries?

CM: Yes, we were initially on the defensive, fighting sanctions, but now we are over the hill. We need to be more proactive, we have to move from being defensive to being proactive. We have to work on a white paper on Zimbabwe’s foreign policy which will reflect our economic interests because economic and business interests are the drivers of global relations.

ND: The international community has been shunning the country as an investment destination due to the country’s indigenisation law which they say is not clear and does not respect property rights. Should we expect a change of focus on the policy to attract foreign direct investment?

CM: The indigenisation policy is the foundation. We need to domesticate our resources so that people will come to Harare to negotiate some business deals. Prior to that, people would go to Sydney, Johannesburg, London and so on, to discuss about Zimbabwean assets.

The indigenisation policy has done well, it now makes Harare the focal point of interaction about those assets.

Obviously, we need to fine tune the indigenisation policy. We need to tailor-make it for various industries in the interest of how we can attract foreign direct investment into Zimbabwe.

It is a question of building upon the indigenisation platform and attracting foreign capital to Zimbabwe. And as we do so, we monitor the conditions under which we do it. It’s a dynamic process.

Our foreign policy will be that ministries will work with each other to collaborate on the programme and make Zimbabwe an investment destination.

Sanctions were premised on the concept of denying capital to Zimbabwe and we have to push hard to attract foreign investment more than before. That is the only thing that is missing. Our foreign policy will be premised on delivering prosperity to the people of Zimbabwe.

38 COMMENTS

  1. No sane investor will invest in an unstable environment as Zimbabwe where the outcome of the recent election is in dispute. Mutsvangwa is being disingenuous to say the, “…Sadc, Africa and the rest of the world have described as free and credible and reflected the will of the people” – Sadc observation was very biased and so was the AU. Which “rest of the world” is he talking about? If the national army, police and militias are complicit in stealing elections then it will never be free and fair. Holding credible elections in Zimbabwe is practically impossible.

    • Come on now, let’s build Zimbabwe together. Like any state on the face of the earth we have opposing views politically, that is normal. However, facts remain that only a couple of EU countries, USA, Canada and Australia have beef with Zimbabwe, the rest of the world is ready to do business fairly. Another fact is this: Africa and the West are equal partners in any meaningful and sustainable business relations, we are not junior partners and we will never be junior partners. We stand a better chance to prosper as a united Zimbabwe. Another fact is the government is not going to change until 2018 so there is no point crying over ‘stolen elections.’

      • Africa and West equal partners? How do you become an equal partner when you have little or nothing to offer (and you also have a hostile business environment)?

        • By little or nothing to offer, what do you mean? How do you determine what is little and what is much? When I go to Mbare to buy tomatoes, I don’t determine the price and I don’t force the hand of the trader while negotiating, neither do I consider such a relationship hostile. He has the goods so he names the price, I have the cash so I buy, negotiate or go elsewhere but never will I take the position of master over the trader or the farmer and dictate to him/her the terms of doing business including the consequences of daring to say no to my conditions. The trader sets terms and we negotiate, if the trader’s terms are ridiculous he loses. At the end of the day the trader and the buyer are equal partners, no one is the boss of the other.

          • If Africa and the West are equal partners, can you give me a rough idea of how much aid has been given to the West by Africa? Or just one Western country which is a receipient of African donor funding? How many major international agreements/conventions have originated from Africa? Do not think for one moment I condone what the West are doing? But we need to accept that there is us and them. The haves and the have nots. Accept reality, and then take it up from there. I applaud Mutsvangwa on his views, I think they are spot on. Even on the looking East policy – I think we were one of the first countries to adopt that policy and proclaim it to the world before the global economic downturn in 2008, but unfortunately we have only been looking while US, and other countries including the BRICS bloc have been doing something. Mutsvangwa is right in saying we should be proactive. Selling our diamonds to the Chinese for a song is not being proactive though.

        • @ Economist, you must surely wonder why the West wastes so much of their valuable and precious time on Africa which has little or nothing to offer. Surely, they must focus on others on this resource rich earth who have much to offer, don’t you think?

          • Africa is rich in natural resources. Having those resources doesn’t in any way make us equal. The West focus on Africa for the same reasons they focused on Africa during the slave trade and colonialism.

  2. the idea is brilliant yet team implementation hahaha.
    all knights at the round table or close to it are better off informed early that emissions on the perceived module of indegenisation of cities that are in fact part of the global village can indeed be a faulty affair, a nugatory front of the financial centre status we seek.
    so be warmed hereby that linguistic pollution may again precipitate change to climate environment.
    london and paris aint needed in rudimentary land preps !! maybe later on yes ?

  3. Usanyepere vanhu the elections were not fair or credible.they were rigged and not until you admit that you rigged the elections sanctions will remain.

  4. Chris it is not the rest of the world, we know what SADC and AU can do to an election that is why they were silent on Ivory Coast until France interfered Africa had stood by their man Laurent Gbabo. AU and SADC stood by their man so how could they discredit this sham election. Yo don’t give reasons of why such an important document like a voters roll is not given ample time to be updated and you have your people dishing out voting slips in the bush and asking them to vote and you call that credible. Yes China wants diamonds even if it means you kill your wife for them to access what they want they don’t care but the civilized world will walk away from blood rather than take your resources. The West are just saying do your things we do ours so why worry, If the west is going to China then spend your energy by going to China, but deep inside you you know China does not invest it takes. Chris Mutsvangwa you are intelligent iwewe tell me that I am lying. Remove congestion in the cities my friend and how do you do it, by making the industry to work and suddenly the jams in the city will go. As it stands everybody comes to town that is why kombis have no more places, imagine if the industry was working some kombis will be in the industry and others in town.

  5. @ Will, I must have missed that part of the UN declaration of human rights dealing with inequality of men based on one’s giving or receiving donor funding or establishing international conventions or whatever. Those same generous nations are also rather unselfish with their bombs, bullets and missiles! What great men they are! The issue we are discussing is pretty simple and it is all about fair trade. One has all the money in the world and the other party has all the natural resources in the world. We need their money and they need our natural resources. Neither of us can live without the other; both can profit from each other, it is just that one has decided to profit from the other and call the shots.

  6. All major political parties in Zimbabwe must agree on an Independent United Nations Committee to investigate the conduct of the recent elections which are in dispute if the country is to move forward. It is very clear this country is unable to conduct credible elections on its own. This is the only way to resolve this rather than expect Western nations and other nations like Australia and New Zealand to legitimise a fraudulent election. Botswana is not in agreement with the rest of Sadc that the elections were credible. ZanuPF cannot talk of being a “sovereign state” when this is done to steal elections using the army and police.
    Let’s have an Independent UN Committee to investigate the conduct of these elections. If ZanuPF and Sadc think they are credible then they should allow a UN Committee to investigate and vindicate ZanuPF and Sadc. Sadc has connived with ZanuPF to fool the rest of the world.

  7. it is very interesting. If the truth be told we need the West more than the west needs. The west has been pouring donor aid to zimbabwe regardless of the so called sanction.

  8. it is very interesting. If the truth be told we need the West more than the west needs us . The west has been pouring donor aid to zimbabwe regardless of the so called sanction.

    • There is nothing like aid. There is no such thing as free lunch. Aid is a high interest loan that comes with conditionalities. Aid creates employment in the donor country.

  9. Hameno!……mati imi zim has got natural resources so can go it alone baba scotv?…..no land(which harbours natural resources)is only but one of the factors of production and in any case,these factors of production work in co-operation with each other. Do your analysis objectively

  10. Imagine this back and forth happening in the 1950s UAE, poor but just discovered oil. I wonder what would have happened had some Saudi citizens believed they were junior partners to the powerful and rich West, since they had never given aid or formed international organisations but were in fact a beneficiary of generous British charity? Today, UAE, thanks to oil and gas exports to the West AT THEIR OWN TERMS, is a ridiculusly wealthy nation and its citizens are filthy rich! UAE has a terrible human rights record, there are no elections there and South Asian labourers there are treated like slaves. Hapan anoti bufu about UAE from the West, in fact vatori mafesi heavy! Asi isusu tikangoita kanhu kadukuduku we get such hate, the worst is our own join in when warungu chastise us and demand a larger share of our resources; Saudis have a larger share of theirs from the beginning when their principalities were nothing but deserts! Once we as Zimbabweans agree on the principle of equal partnerships with the west, it becomes easier to hold our leaders accountable since we are a democracy unlike the Saudis.

    • I have to agree with your observations Scotv but dont you think our argument with the west will carry more weight if we practice this equality that we seek at home? I mean like running elections with a modicum of decorum like our colleagues in RSA and Mauritius are doing or like what we saw in Mali? Why should our elections always be mired in controversy?

    • Thank you for your insightful comment. I have been saying this on numerous forums and it seems we lack the belief in ourselves totally. We are so much into servitude and believe we are not worth anything. We fail to appreciate that Western industries cannot run without raw materials from Africa but we accept the view that the West is doing us a favour! Since when?

    • The UAE are a lot smarter than Mugabe. Look at every deal that he entered into with the Chinese then you realize how incompetent he is. He has effectively surrendered Zimbabwe’s resources to the Chinese and we have little to show for it. These people can even build on wetlands in our cities endangering future water supplies. Go to the country side and see for yourself the environmental degradation the Chinese are causing with Mugabe’s blessing.

  11. This is below what one expects from Mutswangwa who has previously presented himself as knowledgeable.

    As a freedom fighter himself Mutswangwa should know that the West never changes its position on some issues. They never accepted liberation movements and their papers called them terrorists. The British only turned round when it was clear that the liberation movements were in little time going to overrun the country. A retail company was formed in 1979 called Big Suitcase, selling suitcases of all sizes in the anticipation that whites were going to be fleeing the country.

    What will turn the West round is not words from ZANU PF but deeds. Mugabe should be seen to be doing the right thing for the people of Zimbabwe, i.e. investing in the right areas of social and economic development.

    • @george bachinche – “Big Suitcase” – liar. The British were not forming companies in Rhodesia. There was no such thing – idiot. Mutsvangwa is nobody’s freedom fighter – he went to Mozambique to escape the law as a fugitive from justice for fraud and rape.

    • One “freedom fighter” who couldn’t steal the elections only got 0.74% – Dumiso Dabengwa. People don’t give a damn about so-called freedom fighting lies.

  12. scotv which leaders in zim can ask for accountability.in order for u to improve yo house u look at what is not in place ,not what is well organized. we need a beta Zimbabwe so don’t compareit to countries which ar worse off

    • Scotv has a very good point here. He is exposing Western double standards on democracy and human rights and our own lack of self belief. We have been giving away our wealth since time immemorial. Africa is a place where everyone goes to loot and we are seemingly unconcerned. Incidentally, we are the only continent where the slave TRADE ever took place. For some reason, are big on accepting other people and races narrative of ourselves. The alleviation of poverty in Africa comes first before everything else in my view.

  13. So, scotv, if there are only a handful of countries with an anti zimbabwe agenda, what stopped us from prospering in the past given we have been friends with china for decades?
    When you say we are equal partners, are you joking or just delusional? We are a country still being fed by Western donors and you want to claim we are equal to those who feed us?

    And by the way, who is going to come up with the development program? The same band of murderers and thieves who destroyed Zimbabwe in the past 33 yrs? Dream on scotv!!

  14. @Humba – what a load of jingoistic crap you are writing. The West has not asked to vote in Zimbabwe – all they ever asked for was free and fair elections which is not too much to ask. You talk of “giving away wealth since time immemorial” – crap. To exploit mineral wealth you need money and African countries were backward and very poor. It was the whites who came and showed us how it is done. That is not giving away wealth. You must count yourself lucky that whites who were already in the Industrial revolution came with their expertise to this part of the world otherwise we would still be mired in the Stone Age. Slavery has been all over the world not only in Africa. Slavery was there in China, Greece, India,Vikings in Scandinavia, the Mongols, the Romans. You don’t know what you are talking about.
    It is not true that Western countries want to loot our resources. In 1980 after we had voted Zanu into power the then British Governor by the name of Lord Chris Soames told Mugabe that his party, Zanu, had won the election and it was now up to his party to take the country forward and Mugabe responded by saying , “None of us has any experience in governing and we would like to ask to extend your stay in the country and help us run the country”! The British Governor POLITELY REFUSED – he gave an excuse that he has a lot of work to catch up on back home. If the British were after looting there was the opportunity to do so but the British Governor REFUSED how can you say they want to loot our resources? And the Zimbabwean national army was being trained by the British from 1980 to the year 2000 at the request of the Zimbabwean government and the Britsh did not loot anything as far as I know. You are just regurgitating the outdated jingoistic garbage.

  15. I meant to say, “The British Governor POLITELY REFUSED – he gave an excuse that he had a lot of work to catch up on back home”.

  16. ZANU PF has a huge task ahead to cleanse all these poor souls whose minds have been filled with the enemy’s propaganda. They hate themselves, despise their culture, language & history. They would kill their mothers & sisters for the white man. The Musonas, Rudadiso, Wengere, Dadiso, etc all hopeless cases – vanhu vakafa vari vapenyu!!!!!!

    • Zimbabweans are educated, they need no cleansing at all. Just deliver for them to have a better life. We are tired of this talking stuff whilst nothing happens on the ground. Even in the Bible it is written kutenda kusina mabasa kwakafa, we want a better life for everyone. Let us unite for a single purpose of taking Zimbabwe forward.

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