Editorial Comment: Britain must stop duplicity, treachery

United Kingdom Minister for Africa Harriet Baldwin

Editorial Comment

THE outburst by British Minister for Africa, Harriet Baldwin, that the United Kingdom has all but lost confidence in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime is unfortunate.

Not that we supported them in the first place or that we totally agree with Mnangagwa’s trajectory thus far, but that the move by the British is not only uncalled for, but self-serving.

This clearly is perfidious – a pejorative phrase used within the context of international relations and diplomacy to refer to alleged acts of diplomatic sleights, duplicity, treachery and hence infidelity (with respect to perceived promises made to or alliances formed with other nation states) by the UK in their pursuit of self-interest.

We always have a problem with the British and some of their allies each time they try to prescribe so-called solutions for Africa, as if many of them are democratic.

Citizens differed with Mnangagwa and criticised him for playing god at a time Zimbabweans wanted the international world to support the country’s move from former President Robert Mugabe’s regime to a Second Republic, which Mnangagwa and his ilk hijacked. The citizens yearned for true democracy, the opposition political parties called for political reforms in various forms while media called for reforms to operate without fear of arrest or torture.

But did the citizens get the required international support? No. Instead, the British told anybody who cared to listen that Mnangagwa was the man of the moment and required international support. Zimbabweans across the political divide did not agree with that finding.

Was this support about Zimbabweans’ welfare or about economic prosperity for the benefit of citizens? It clearly was premised on Zimbabwe becoming a colony again – yes, the self-serving interests of the British. We have a problem with this mentality where the British, or any western power for that matter, thinks they are superior to Zimbabweans or Africans in particular.

The punitive measures they are mooting will not hurt Mnangagwa, but the poor Zimbabwean majority. Clearly, the citizens have no moral obligation to support the British’s current move. What we require to come out of this quagmire is dialogue among Zimbabweans. We demand international support for dialogue to take place as the political protagonists intransigence is hurting the country. We believe that no right-thinking Zimbabwe should rejoice over the so-called sanctions which are intended to inflict maximum damage on the country and its citizens.

Of course, Mnangagwa has lost the support of his most vocal cheerleader since the November 2017 coup. That the British have vowed not to support Zimbabwe’s bid to re-join the Commonwealth is another story. At this point we are on our own, and with our resources, it’s time to make use of our thinking faculties to extricate the country on our own.

Indeed, China did it on its own, now they believe Mnangagwa’s Cabinet is incompetent, while Russia is only interested in our valuable minerals to expand its arms market. Without British support, the European Union won’t provide a rescue package. Regrettably, South Africa is posturing while Mnangagwa has failed to meet the demands laid by the US for a bailout.

Mnangagwa must no doubt reform and reunite the country for the sake of progress. He has no other weapon under his sleeve, but Zimbabweans. This is not the time for selfishness, Zimbabwe is for us all, so we call upon all political leaders to come to the table and chart the country’s new trajectory as a matter of urgency – brick by brick, not along partisan lines. Yesterday’s call for dialogue is a step in the right direction, but a neutral venue and convener should be the guarantors not any political player, including the President. To the British, please leave us alone, you have already failed us when we needed you most.

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