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‘Govt wasting money on re-engagement drive without upholding constitution’

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

Outspoken Norton legislator Temba Mliswa said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s under-fire administration is wasting money on its re-engagement drive for as long as “we remain unconstitutional in our actions.”

Norton legislator Temba Mliswa
Norton legislator Temba Mliswa

This came after the United States Embassy tweeted last week urging the Zimbabwean government to hold by-elections since their suspension last year over Covid-19 threat.

“When will the Zimbabwean government resume by-elections? Long-standing parliamentary vacancies have left over 754 000 voters in 26 constituencies without elected representation. Only by-elections will restore these citizens’ rights to representation.

“Many countries have held elections despite the pandemic, including Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, and the United States, demonstrating that COVID-19-safe elections are possible. We are confident Zimbabwe can do the same #ZimsSafetoVote #ZimVotesMatter,” the US embassy said.

Mliswa said the US advice was just an instruction from the constitution. He added that the government was wasting a lot of money trying to re-engage with the Western countries while failing to uphold its constitution.

“The comment from @usembassyharare on by-elections is simply an instruction from our constitution. We are wasting money on a re-engagement drive for as long as we remain unconstitutional in our actions. The constitution is clear in instructing on the issue of by-elections,” he said.

Soon after the 2018 election, the government initiated a US$500,000 deal with a United States-based lobby firm canvassing for the removal of targeted sanctions imposed on top Zanu PF officials to be removed by Washington.

Mnangagwa’s government engaged a man regarded as the most powerful lobbyist in Washington, Brian Ballard, who was linked to former President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. His mission is to have targeted sanctions on 141 individuals and entities in Zimbabwe removed.

Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana defended the move saying that Zimbabwe prioritizes international engagement.

“What I can only say is that Zimbabwe is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to ensure that the illegal sanctions imposed upon the nation are removed.

“So we are doing everything that’s possible, everything that is legal to make sure that the livelihoods of Zimbabweans are improved, and we can only do if we can trade freely, if we can be able to sell our minerals at the appropriate price, on the open market, rather to go using third parties and so forth, losing money. Buying things and selling at a premium. It doesn’t work. So we need sanctions removed,” he said.

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