Govern­ment warns Western em­bassies against po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Harare Bureau

THE Govern­ment has warned for­eign en­voys against med­dling in lo­cal pol­i­tics, say­ing that was not on their terms of ref­er­ence.

Re­spond­ing to state­ments is­sued last week by the United States and Cana­dian em­bassies to Zim­babwe on re­cent vi­o­lent demon­stra­tions by the op­po­si­tion, the Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices, Dr Christo­pher Mushohwe, yes­ter­day said the am­bas­sadors be­trayed clear hos­til­ity to­wards the Govern­ment of Zim­babwe, and a sin­is­ter par­tial­ity for the op­po­si­tion.

He said both em­bassies were not in Zim­babwe to in­volve them­selves in the do­mes­tic af­fairs of Zim­babwe, let alone to in­ter­fere with, or take sides in lo­cal pol­i­tics or even to give them­selves an im­pe­ri­ous role of judg­ing Zim­bab­wean pol­i­tics.

“Zim­babwe is a sov­er­eign State which is equal to any other in the world, in­clud­ing the US and Canada, what­ever il­lu­sions am­bas­sadors of those two coun­tries here may har­bour in their minds. Beyond diplo­matic re­la­tions as reg­u­lated by the Vienna Con­ven­tions, there is noth­ing else that gives gov­ern­ments of those two coun­tries or their emis­saries here any spe­cial claim to our pol­i­tics, or a judg­men­tal role on oc­cur­rences here.

“Their state­ments last week were not only un­ac­cept­ably re­pug­nant, but vainly sug­gested their gov­ern­ments play father fig­ure to a sov­er­eign state, as if Zim­babwe is un­der some kind of joint US-Cana­dian trustee­ship. For the record, Zim­babwe gained its In­de­pen­dence in 1980 fol­low­ing a na­tional lib­er­a­tion strug­gle which never en­joyed an iota of sup­port from the West,” Dr Mushohwe said.

He said Zim­babwe, be­ing a sov­er­eign State, was equal to any other in the world, and was free to pur­sue its own na­tional poli­cies as sup­ported by its demo­crat­i­cally elected sit­ting Govern­ment.

Dr Mushohwe said Zim­babwe took no orders from any for­eign state — big or small, far or near — in the pur­suit of its pol­i­tics, poli­cies and de­ci­sions.

“The US govern­ment, with more than a decade of a raft of puni­tive mea­sures it took to uni­lat­er­ally sanc­tion Zim­babwe, is the least qual­i­fied to lec­ture Zim­babwe on wel­fare is­sues re­lat­ing to Zim­bab­wean cit­i­zens. Through those il­le­gal sanc­tions, the US govern­ment has un­der­mined the Zim­bab­wean econ­omy, thereby bring­ing un­told suf­fer­ing to the peo­ple of Zim­babwe.

“The US thus should never be al­lowed to blame the Zim­babwe Govern­ment for ef­fects of its spite­ful poli­cies here. The least the US Am­bas­sador Harry Thomas here can do, is to keep his mouth shut, in­stead of com­pound­ing the crimes of his govern­ment against the peo­ple of Zim­babwe by parad­ing false piety,” he said.

Dr Mushohwe said Western gov­ern­ments, in­clud­ing those of the US and Canada, did not sup­port the con­sti­tu­tion­mak­ing process when it was un­der­way but were hos­tile to it.

“To­day, they can­not re­mind us of pro­vi­sions of the same law they op­posed only yes­ter­day or stand as watch­dogs over its daily observance here. In any case, be­fore both am­bas­sadors is­sue out their con­de­scend­ingly sick state­ments on lo­cal pol­i­tics, and on the up­hold­ing of hu­man rights here, let them pause a while to ex­am­ine their home en­vi­ron­ments where rights of men and women of colour, and rights of indige­nous pop­u­la­tions, are daily wan­tonly tram­pled upon by their own gov­ern­ments with ab­so­lutely no re­course to count­less vic­tims,” he said.

Dr Mushohwe said hardly a month ago, more and more African-Amer­i­cans were shot and killed in cold blood by the US po­lice but the am­bas­sador, who was him­self an AfricanAmer­i­can, re­mained silent on the is­sue.

“Why did he not write home to re­mind his own govern­ment on the need to up­hold the rights of fel­low blacks back home? Or re­sign in protest to vin­di­cate his claim to com­mit­ment to hu­man rights? Such rank hypocrisy is not only sick­en­ing but, for the Amer­i­can Am­bas­sador, amounts to com­plic­ity with his govern­ment in a war against his own kind. Let not those with logs in their eyes seek to cure imag­i­nary specks in African eyes,” he said.

Last week, the United States Em­bassy, Canada and Aus­tralia is­sued sep­a­rate state­ments sup­port­ing the protests and con­demn­ing law en­force­ments agents for main­tain­ing peace and or­der by ar­rest­ing il­le­gal pro­test­ers.

“The United States is trou­bled by the eco­nomic poli­cies and fi­nan­cial strains that have prompted nu­mer­ous re­cent protests in Zim­babwe and we join many Zim­bab­weans in their deep con­cern over re­ports of vi­o­lence dur­ing some of the protests,” reads a state­ment re­leased by the US em­bassy in Harare.

The US em­bassy also said it was “mon­i­tor­ing re­cent threats to crack down on ac­tivists us­ing so­cial me­dia”.

On the other hand, the Cana­dian em­bassy said: “The Em­bassy of Canada to Zim­babwe is in­creas­ingly con­cerned with re­ports of vi­o­lence and hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in re­sponse to public protest.

“The Em­bassy of Canada calls for calm and stresses the im­por­tance of peace­ful di­a­logue. The Em­bassy of Canada re­it­er­ates its call on all stake­hold­ers to re­spect the Con­sti­tu­tion of Zim­babwe, in par­tic­u­lar the free­dom to peace­fully demon­strate, the right to per­sonal lib­erty, the right to per­sonal se­cu­rity and the rights of ar­rested and de­tained persons,” read the state­ment.

In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices per­ma­nent sec­re­tary and Pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son, Mr Ge­orge Charamba, warned op­po­si­tion el­e­ments that Govern­ment would come down hard on pro­test­ers who seek to de­stroy the coun­try.

Speak­ing to ZBCTv, Mr Charamba said Govern­ment would not al­low an­other demon­stra­tion that the op­po­si­tion groups were plan­niPn­rgi Fdri­daanyd.

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