Govt re-engages West, snubs opposition partners

Patrick Chinamasa

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s administration has disregarded the country’s opposition, as it revives efforts to restore relations with the West.


President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa will this week lead a high-powered government delegation to Europe for discussions with Zimbabwe’s foreign creditors, as well as negotiations for support from Western countries, as Zimbabwe moves towards re-entry into the global financial system.

“I will be in Paris (France), (then) proceed to Brussels (Belgian capital) and the United Kingdom for discussions with investors and governments. We want their support in our efforts to reposition our debt and access to credit,” he told NewsDay early this week.

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said his party was not aware of the current negotiations that Chinamasa was attending, but was quick to pour cold water on the efforts.

“We have not been advised and I think it is because the Paris Club and all other multilateral institutions deal with State parties. The fact that we are no longer in government, I suppose, means the re-engagement committee collapsed at the end of the GNU [Government of National Unity],” he said.

“However, I must be clear that our position is that the problems in Zimbabwe are political. We have housekeeping issues that speak to the nature of our politics that we need to deal with as a country before any such nonsense, as re-engagement, are embarked upon.

“Chinamasa can set up camp in Brussels or Paris, but I bet nothing will change. Zimbabwe must deal with the issues of rule of law and, just as an example, Zanu PF is currently trying to muscle through Parliament the Local Government Bill despite the fact that ordinary people have rejected it. That is one of a litany of issues we have to deal with and the world must be watching.”

MDC leader, Welshman Ncube, whose party was a member of the re-engagement committee, said they last participated during the tenure of the inclusive government.

“It was a Cabinet committee and ended once that Executive ceased to subsist. Whatever efforts are there would have to be done using the structures that exist now and we are not party to that,” he said.

Former Finance minister Tendai Biti, who now leads the People’s Democratic Party, described the Zanu PF regime as “an insincere group of liars leading multilateral institutions up a garden path”.

Mugabe’s government was ostracised following the breakdown of relations with global powers, who accused the long-time Zimbabwean leader of not only defaulting on financial obligations to the Paris Club and other creditors, but also of human rights abuses.