Chamisa key in talks: EU

THE absence of Zimbabwe’s main opposition MDC led by Nelson Chamisa in the current political dialogue initiated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to resolve the country’s economic and political crisis is a major handicap and will affect the quality of the outcome, a top foreign diplomat has said.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Speaking on Alpha Media Holdings’ HSTV radio in Harare yesterday, European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen said the current talks by Mnangagwa and other political parties were progressive, but without the MDC, it remained a serious handicap to the Zanu PF leader’s engagement efforts.

“We think Polad (Political Actors) dialogue is important in its own right. It’s good that political parties are discussing, but obviously, we are missing the second largest political party and the biggest contender in the last election. I think it’s a major handicap to those discussions,” Olkkonen said.

Mnangagwa is currently leading dialogue with mostly fringe political parties that participated in last year’s general elections, but failed to garner representation in Parliament.

Chamisa has spurned the talks, demanding that Mnangagwa’s legitimacy should be the talking point; a demand vehemently rejected by the ruling Zanu PF party. Chamisa is also demanding that the talks be presided over by a neutral mediator and at a neutral venue.

Olkkonen said the talks would be crucial in ending the problems facing Zimbabwe, calling on a more national and inclusive dialogue which would include Chamisa.“I think the issue about what is

discussed within those fora is less important than the actual reform agenda and what is actually happening on the ground in terms of respecting rights. I think those are more crucial. I think those issues such as dialogue and a national dialogue, and we would hope to have a real comprehensive national dialogue, would be a means to an end of taking Zimbabwe forward,” he said.

The international community, particularly EU member countries, recently voiced concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe, saying they were taking the country into the dark past.

The EU and the United States last week issued strong statements that invited a backlash from government, with counter alleged meddling by the international community in internal affairs.

Olkkonen stood his ground, saying the Zimbabwe government has to investigate the abductions, torture and assault allegations and bring perpetrators to book.

“The reasons why we publish these reports is exactly to voice our concern, which is mirrored in the capitals of Europe that we want to see Zimbabwe taking off in a positive trajectory of leaving these troubles of the past. And obviously, these kind of events then dent that belief and hope that why we hope all these problematic issues are tackled seriously and investing in all these events of human rights violations are investigated, the truth is brought to life and the culprits are brought to justice,” he said.

Recently, Sadc called on the US and EU to remove sanctions against Zimbabwe, but Olkkonen said the political statements by Sadc would not change anything and movement will only come if Zimbabwe reforms.

“Well, Sadc has the liberty of stating what it wants. That is their political statement that they came out with recently. When you look at the factual assessment about the facts, because the Sadc communique talked about the economic effects and the unfairness of it, from that perspective we will not be convinced because of the limited effect of the economic restrictions that the economic measures would have,” he said.

The pressure on the EU and US to soften their stance on Harare will only be determined by how Mnangagwa responds.

“We have been discussing with the government about the reform agenda hoping that it will move forward, that we will have reforms on the political side. We are looking at the legislative agenda and also other issues and I think a lot of issues about how Zimbabwe is perceived and I have to say that its recent perceptions about limitations of democratic space and human rights violations are not helping because one has to remember that the reason why the restrictive measures were put in place were related exactly to these same issues,” he said.

In a separate statement, the US said its disappointment with Zimbabwe’s government keeps growing amid the heavy-handed response of the authorities to any form of opposition, a senior State Department official said on Monday following a crackdown last week on protesters.

“The disappointment just keeps getting worse and worse, unfortunately,” said the official, speaking on background to reporters in Washington. “The government seems to be getting even more violent in their response to any form of opposition.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

9 Comments

  1. This Eu guy is very much mistaken. The point from president Mnangagwa was very clear and straight foward. Diplomats like himself and others including other entities are allowed to operate from here but they is real need to restrict themselves to their mandate. That is very clear, straightfoward and reasonable. That is what we call the rule of law, operating acording to laid down rules and procedure. Zimbabwe can interact with Eu but cannot go further and dictate how Eu as an organisation should be managed. The europeans should come to terms that Africa does not house their colonies anymore. African countries are now independently governed nations and these aparently belong to africans not europeans. I once heard Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary generald of which most eu nations are members, complaining that China, by its intrests in Africa is violating their teritory! That’s the same mentality with this Eu guy and it needs serious adjustment. Zimbabwe is a fully sovereign nation just like european countries.

  2. One important point to take note about europeans is how they aply their standards selectively and I think that is a clear sign of dishonesty. We have nations like Saud Arabia who do not hold any elections at all but you relate very well with them, why? why? why??? We have a country in the middle east which falsely claims herritage of a place which apparently used to be one of ancient black civilisations and they commit gross human rights abuses by shooting and killing palestinians , demolishing their homes and grabbing their land and you say nothing about it! You even protect them, suplying them with the most lethal weapons ever made, why? why?, why??? If you are serious about human rights, the starting point is to compensate the african diaspora and their mainland counterparts for damages emanating from slave trade. Once you do that, your sincirity about human rights for africans will begin to make a lot of sense.

  3. So we are well aware Mr European Diplomat that you neither care about Mnangagwa, Chamisa nor any other zimbabwean but you are still suffering from that colonial mentality. If you think Chamisa should be part of dialogue which he is refusing to be then whose fault is that? And what has that got to do with you in the first place? How does that nagatively affect Eu as an organisation? We have a functional constitutional order here and we should be given room to operate according to our laid down rules and regulations. When some local citizens are foreign funded and organised to cause anarchy, we do not call such human rights. Human rights abuses hapen when foreign countries forment disorder in other countries in order to loot natural resources when the locals are buisy tearing at each other. That is a form of gross human rights abuse and we have seen western countries behaving like that in Venezuela, Iraq, Lybia, Ukraine, Chinese Hong Kong, Iran, Russia and lately Zimbabwe is on the brink. Please leave us alone

  4. Now that we are done with our elections, please do not interfer with us. I think the Eu should now be concentrating in issues such as Bre-xit. That is a typical Eu issue to worry about. President Mnangagwa has his five year term and please let us see what he can and what he cannot achieve. Please do not disturb him lest when he fails to achieve what he promised, we who voted for him would be tempted to believe it was you who caused his failure and we will have no choice but to give him yet another chance in 2023.

  5. Madagara kasulumane

    Mr Nhire

    Let me tell you that I am Zimbabwean and like what the EU is doing to highlight excesses. You can not talk about rule of law which is is equivalent to abducting and killing fellow citizens.

    If you dont like what he does chase him out of Zim and stop begging for money which we would not do if our own systems were not misusing their own resources.

    What do you want to further see, more citizens killed? Zimbabwe is not for ZANU PF neither is it for MDC. I hope Mr Nhire you are in Zimbabwe because many are wandering in the diaspora running away from persecution and looking for just peaceful leaving.

    Surely we dont deserve to lose one single soul because they are MDC. its a failure of humanity, its a failure of governance.

    Surely Mr Nhire, you cannot just look aside when these excesses are happening to other Zimbabweans, just because you a ZANU PF, or just because you voted ED. Humanity is bigger than that.

  6. Thank you Cde. Surely these people think African gvts should be told what to do by them. Their countries developed through forced labour, using our ancestors as slaves. They should compensate them for forced labour, slavery and lose of ties with their homeland. Yes, they are now considered citizens there but it is a forced citizenship because their roots was rubbed off.

  7. Zimbabwe should not borow to begin with, it should lend instead. Borrowing , for what? We have everything that is required for us to proper as long as it is managed transparently and as long as these other countries stop formenting anarchy in our country. I strongly believe our president is serious about fighting corruption but he is wrongly acused of going after political oponents. And like any other nation, Zimbabwean government has a constitutional mandate to make sure there is calm and order in the country and you need to reason along those lines. If the government leaves anyone to do as they wish because they are from Mdc, it will again not be acceptable. Everyone must adhere to the rule of law including opposition members. Do not burn shops please. Do not stone cars. Do not baricade roads with stones and burning tyres. As simple as that. This is comon sense and arresting someone who comits such acts can not be any kind of human rights abuses.

  8. Mr Europe leave us alone we know u are using yr puppet Chamisa

  9. History does not help us prosper. Zanu pf is failed history, and should go. The economy started collapsing soon after independence and i wonder why some people are getting old before making that simple realisation. how can one be stupid for the entire lifetime. this is a government for the selfish politicians and the made supporters(they support a sysytem that brings poverty to them). we are ruined by the Zanu pf which was mistakenly voted for in 1980. Ian Smith made all the development that we are currently enjoying, Zanu pf made all the messes that we are currently suffering.

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