Zim's Foreign Affairs Minister Clashes With Diplomats

Mumbengegwi was addressing foreign ambassadors on the just ended Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state meeting in Windhoek, Namibia. What began as a normal brief to diplomats ended with Mumbengegwi shouting at German ambassador, Albrecht Conze over sanctions after being told they were ‘only restrictions’ targeted on a few people.

“For the past three years those that have put restrictive measures on about 200 people in this country regarding travel and assets has helped this country with between 600 to 800 million US dollars per year,” Germany Ambassador to Zimbabwe Albrecht Conze told Mumbengegwi.

“I fail to understand how travel restrictions and restrictions on personal assets for a small number of people can be considered a threat to SADC integration and to the economic revival of this country.”

In reply Mumbengegwi in a loud voice challenged Conze saying the European Union and its allies imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe and not only on President Robert Mugabe and his close allies.

“I am sure you know the instruments that were evoced to Zimbabwe. The travel restrictions are the least harmful to the poorest of the poor in Zimbabwe.The EU in its sanctions suspended development assistance to Zimbabwe,” Mumbengegwi said.

“And development assistance has never been directed to 200 people who are under sanctions, development assistance is directed to the poorest of the poor.”

“So tell me in my face what you tell those in Europe. We wonder why the sanctions don’t get lifted if the ambassadors are going to tell their capitals that the sanctions are for a few people, the rest of the people are okay when they are not,” Mumbengegwi said.

Mumbengegwi said ZImbabwe unity deal will be fully implemented once all the sanctions are removed adding that they expect the sanctions to be removed in the next 30 days.

Mumbengegwi said they have not heard from the EU despite sending a ministerial delegation over the removal of sanctions on Mugabe and his cronies and the restoration of ties between Harare and Brussels.

Zimbabwe parties to the GPA are haggling over the resolution of outstanding issues which includes the appointment of senior government officials.

Mugabe recently told his central committee that the he will only give concessions to his partner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai once sanctions are removed.

Tsvangirai’s party has said they have no role in the removal of sanctions as they are not the ones who imposed them in the first place.