BY OBEY MANAYITI
Government yesterday said it was not worried by the threat from the European Union (EU) Parliament to tighten sanctions against the President Emmerson Mnangagwa-led administration, insisting that they will stick with their all-weather friends, China and Russia.
Last week, the EU said it was not pleased with developments in the country and accused Mnangagwa of indicating left while turning right as regards his earlier pledge to reform local politics. The EU lifted most of its restrictions in 2014, but has maintained sanctions against former President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace.
Mnangagwa, along with Mugabe and Grace are among the 141 individuals and entities under United States sanctions.
In an interview yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Energy Mutodi said the EU is getting its influence from Britain. He accused Britain of working with the opposition.
“The government is fully aware who is influencing the EU,” Mutodi said. “Far from the demonstrations and the alleged human rights abuses, the EU is under pressure from
Britain to maintain sanctions against Zimbabwe. The British government under Theresa May has shown confusion as to who to support in Zimbabwe between the government and the opposition.
“They started well with ambassador (Catriona) Laing, but now with the coming of the new ambassador, the British are singing a new tune and have been issuing retrogressive
statements. However, we are clear as government that we will not tolerate those who don’t tolerate us; we will not reciprocate with love, where there is no love.”
Mutodi said the government will stick to its usual backers.
“We will work with Russia and China for our economic success.
“The British and the EU can work with the opposition and hope that it will one day come to power, but as of now we are the government. It takes two to tango so there will be no engagement with hostile and racist nations. We are a sovereign country and that must be respected.”
The sanctions are most likely to deal a heavy blow to Mnangagwa’s re-engagement efforts.
Mnangagwa at the weekend, however, pleaded with the international community to lift the sanctions, saying they were hurting ordinary Zimbabweans. This is despite him declaring that sanctions should not be used as a scapegoat to corruption and bad governance, when he was campaigning for the 2018 general elections.