Govt, an­a­lysts blast US

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Tichaona Zin­doga and Zva­maida Murirwa

ZIM­BABWE will not ac­cept pres­sure to sub­vert the rule of law to pacify cer­tain po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests and will up­hold the Con­sti­tu­tion in the con­duct of its af­fairs, a se­nior Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial has said.

Gov­ern­ment spokesper­son Mr Nick Mang­wana said un­der Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s Sec­ond Repub­lic, the coun­try would re­spect its Con­sti­tu­tion, par­tic­u­larly with re­gards to sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers be­tween the Ex­ec­u­tive, the Ju­di­ciary and the Leg­is­la­ture.

He said this as Gov­ern­ment and an­a­lysts slammed United States Deputy As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Mr Matthew Har­ring­ton for claim­ing that Zim­babwe was ha­rass­ing po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion and that au­thor­i­ties should drop what he termed “spu­ri­ous charges” against MDC-Al­liance vice chair­man Mr Tendai Biti.

Mr Biti is fac­ing charges of in­cit­ing post-elec­tion vi­o­lence that led to the death of six peo­ple in Harare on Au­gust 1.

He is also fac­ing charges of con­tra­ven­ing Sec­tion 66A (1) of the Elec­toral Act Chap­ter 2:13, which pro­hibits the unof­fi­cial or false dec­la­ra­tion of elec­tion re­sults as he un­law­fully de­clared op­po­si­tion party leader Mr Nel­son Chamisa as the win­ner of the July 30 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

Dur­ing a US Se­nate Com­mit­tee on For­eign Re­la­tions Sub­com­mit­tee on Africa and Global Health Pol­icy, on Thurs­day, Mr Har­ring­ton sug­gested that there was “ha­rass­ment of mem­bers of the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion” and said the Gov­ern­ment of Zim­babwe “should drop spu­ri­ous charges against for­mer fi­nance minister and prom­i­nent op­po­si­tion fig­ure Tendai Biti and all those who have been ar­bi­trar­ily de­tained for ex­er­cis­ing their hu­man rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms”.

But Gov­ern­ment and an­a­lysts yesterday pushed back strongly, slat­ing the US for its in­ter­fer­ence and du­plic­ity.

“The Gov­ern­ment can­not on one hand say no one is above the law and ev­ery­one should en­joy the ben­e­fit of due process as en­shrined in our Con­sti­tu­tion and statutes and on the other hand in­ter­fere with that due process,” Mr Mang­wana said.

“Rule of law means that no­body is above the law re­gard­less of their so­cial sta­tion, in­clud­ing who their friends are within or out­side the coun­try.”

Mr Mang­wana said in line with its diplo­matic thrust of re-en­gag­ing with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, Zim­babwe was will­ing to make friends, but would not brook lectures on the con­duct of its do­mes­tic af­fairs.

Said Mr Mang­wana: “Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to en­gage with those who we don’t nec­es­sar­ily agree with us on some mat­ters in or­der to find com­mon ground. How­ever, that does not in­clude di­rec­tives from those friends or al­lies on who to pros­e­cute and who not to pros­e­cute, who to ap­point to cer­tain po­si­tions or not. That would be con­trary to the ethos which in­forms our sovereignty and in­de­pen­dence.”

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst and me­dia ex­pert Pro­fes­sor Charles Pfukwa slammed the US, say­ing it was not only seek­ing to un­der­mine the rule of law which it claims to cham­pion, but to also dis­re­gard Zim­babwe’s sovereignty.

“I would have pre­ferred the US For­eign Re­la­tions to talk about Zim­babwe not ful­fill­ing its for­eign pol­icy obli­ga­tions but when they tin­ker about the bolts and nuts of the in­ter­nal af­fairs of our coun­try, I have a prob­lem. It is no longer proper for­eign pol­icy or good in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions nei­ther is it good diplo­macy,” said Prof Pfukwa.

“No one has ever quar­relled about (US Pres­i­dent Don­ald) Trump be­ing a Repub­li­can or (for­mer pres­i­dent Barack) Obama be­ing a Demo­crat. It is not our busi­ness to do that be­cause that is their sovereign right. We deal with the US as a na­tion and not in­di­vid­u­als or po­lit­i­cal en­ti­ties,” he said.

Prof Pfukwa said the US was try­ing to in­tro­duce bul­ly­ing tac­tics with an ul­te­rior mo­tive that em­anated from Zim­babwe’s nat­u­ral re­sources en­dow­ment.

He said if the US was sin­cere, it should have pre­oc­cu­pied it­self with the Ebola cri­sis in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, killings in Somalia and the killing of a jour­nal­ist in Saudi Ara­bia.

An­other an­a­lyst, Mr Good­wine Mureriwa, echoed sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments.

“They do not re­spect the prin­ci­ple of equal­ity among states. That is why the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion im­posed il­le­gal sanc­tions on Zim­babwe that are tan­ta­mount to eco­nomic ter­ror­ism. They are do­ing all this to sus­tain their hege­mony on other states.”

Mr Har­ring­ton

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