By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s under-fire administration has claimed that the United Kingdom has “invasive interest in our internal affairs” after the British House of Lords discussed the need to extend sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Speaking in the House of Lords for the UK on Tuesday, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Baroness Elizabeth Grace Sugg on Tuesday said Zimbabwe had not made sufficient progress in respect of political and economic reforms.
The Lords said there was need to extend UK sanctions on Zimbabwe to pressure Mnangagwa to end human rights abuses and corruption.
But Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo released a statement on Thursday furious about the discourse, arguing that Zimbabwe was a sovereign state and accused the former colonial state for intruding in the internal affairs of the Southern African country.
“We take note of the debate which took place in the British House of Lords on 27 October and, once again, express our surprise at the level of invasive interest in our internal affairs which persists in the hallowed halls of Westminster Palace.
“It is more than 40 years ago that the Union Flag was lowered and yet, it seems, our friends in London still regard Zimbabwe as part of their extended family – requiring constant supervision, correction and even punishment when, in their own assessment, we stray from the path they and others have chosen for us.
“Naturally, we are disappointed at the overally negative tone and tenor of the debate and by the uninformed quality of much of the commentary or observation made by those who spoke.
“The Government representative in the House echoed London’s now well-known refrain simply dismissing our progress on reform as “inadequate” and dredging-up the usual, invariably unsubstantiated allegations of human-rights abuses and a failure to act on corruption,” SB Moyo said.
The 2017 coup announcer added; “We note, as deeply unfortunate, the implied threat of more sanctions from the UK and the assurance given to the Lords that such measures are currently under active consideration in London.
“Equally unfortunate is the clear acknowledgement by the British Government that it is actively engaging others – including the African Union, the European Union, the Commonwealth, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and South Africa – with a view to further intensifying pressure upon Zimbabwe.
“One would have thought that, by now, a lesson would have been learned. Zimbabwe is a sovereign state. We chart our own course based on our own national interests. We co-operate with our regional partners and indeed with all partners on the basis of mutual respect and understanding.”
In the same connotation, Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Kindness Paradza told the UK to distance itself from Zimbabwean issues and focus on its own problems.
“What we are saying, Mr Speaker, is that whilst the UK is wallowing in its own problems to do with Brexit, their Covid-19 response, economic decline and so on, Their Lordships might well be advised to direct their attention and their opinions to their own internal problems – and to keep out of our affairs in Zimbabwe,” Paradza said.
When Mnangagwa took over power from late former president Robert Mugabe through a military coup in November 2017, he promised economic recovery based on respect for human rights and subsequent removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe through re-engagement with the international community.
Three years down the line, his regime has been associated with massive human rights violations and the International community is rebuking it. Nehanda Radio