Zim wants to mend rift with Britain

HARARE - Zimbabwe has asked France to help the troubled southern African nation mend relations with former colonial ruler Britain.

Christopher Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe’s deputy Foreign Affairs minister, asked French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Laurent Delahousse to assist in resolving a bilateral dispute between Zimbabwe and the UK government that has lasted close to 14 years.

“Now that France has decided to assist Zimbabwe again, we will be glad if you may talk to your friend, whom we are emotionally attached to, to re-engage with us,” Mutsvangwa said last week.

“We want the British and their companies to come and resume business here. They must have long-term perspectives on Zimbabwe and not base their goals on emotions.”

Relations between Britain and Zimbabwe soured in 1997 when former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government pulled out of talks to fund President Robert Mugabe’s controversial land reforms.

Mugabe also accused the British of meddling in the country’s affairs by funding his political opponents.

At the height of the diplomatic feud, Britain and fellow European Union (EU) member countries in 2002 imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle.

Last month, Mugabe hinted that he was ready to engage with the former colonial master as a way of reviving the country’s ailing economy.

“The British, we don’t hate you, we only love our country better,” Mugabe told the crowd that helped him celebrate his 90th birthday in Marondera.

Mutsvangwa said the British have more to lose if they perpetuate a stand-off with the southern African country.

“The world has now become flat and one can get money from anywhere in the world,” Mutsvangwa said.

“The British may lose more if they remain playing an adversarial role to Zimbabwe.

“We have many resources here and many European countries and other emerging nations would be glad to help us.”

Although the EU and the United States condemned Zimbabwe’s last election as “deeply flawed”, there have been deliberate moves to re-engage and normalise relations with the Zanu PF-led government, starting

with the calibrated removal of targeted sanctions against most of Mugabe’s cronies.

This has paved the way for the West to begin giving money directly to Zimbabwe or to adopt various economic turnaround projects that should be the responsibility of the government.

In recent months, Western donors have announced copious amounts of funds in support of the government, reminiscent of post-war rebuilding efforts.

On Wednesday last week, Zimbabwe received a financial bail-out worth $53 million, and of this amount

$35 million is funded by Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Switzerland.

On Tuesday, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation gave the government a grant of

$9 million to boost livestock production in Matabeleland North.

About two weeks ago, the Swedish government gave the Labour ministry $15 million to assist children in the country.

This financial commitment is not tied to any specific programme and, according to  Lars Ronnas, Sweden’s envoy to Zimbabwe, the Zanu PF-led government can use the money as it sees fit.

Britain recently gave $10 million to enable the country’s poor children to access basic education.

Comments (11)

What Mutsvangwa means is that we are broke and need urgent assistance from the Imperialist UK and USA. After boasting about their Look East Policy and how the Chinese would pump billions into our economy, Mugabe and ZanuPF have discovered they are not that clever after all and they need help from the West. This is what Tsvangirai has been telling you all along, and for that he is labelled a sellout. But the West is not foolins and they know Mugabe no longer has the people's mandate after rigging the apst 3 elections. So ZanuPF will come back empty handed and ndipo pachanakidza nyaya.

Shirihuru - 24 March 2014

With this rampant corruption activities happening in Zim i dont see any help from UK, Think other means Mtsvangwa

Sigas - 24 March 2014

Money will not be given to the corrupt regime that always steal elections.Let them suffer,why begging for a relationship with the west now.Munotamba imi tongai tione............

isaacm - 24 March 2014

And what about all the monies mentioned above? In case you failed to read in between the lines, it was given to the GOZ. In earlier editions of this paper and others, it was mentioned this very EU will resume direct government funding pending the maintaining of the improving socio political situation in Zim. In any case its the same westerners who seem to indicate a shift of allegiance by blasting Tsvangirai for becoming increasingly violent against dissent and his entrenched position on his refusal to cede power despite being walloped by the great grand dad. The EUs own words and I am just quoting.

top heavy - 24 March 2014

Kana marambwa, mapiwa bhutsu neEast, you turn around and say we never said we hate the west (britain), we just love ourselves more. You think muri kuvhara ani azvarwa nhasi? You have blabbing about our enemies in Britain and Aamerica for the past 15 years...nhasi moda kuti hativengi west? Maona ka kuti China haina zvefunny nematakanana seenyu? West was better yaitombokupai budgettary support, now China said isu hatitambi netsvina pasina mvura....zvaruma manje! West will not befooled by a second of your madness. Everyone knows your stupidity and instability in words and policies...mongoi zvamarota nhasi moti thats our national policy kkkk! Muri zvimasaskam zvidhara imi! We say to the West, Britain esp not to give an ear you a madding/murdering crowd like yours! asjiki Britain!

Tongogara - 24 March 2014

Issacm whilst I agree that the reputation of corruption amongst our gvt officials makes it hard to convince anyone to give us financial aid, it is not these politicians who suffer. It is our brothers, sisters and other vulnerable social groups like orphans. People have been saying this since 2000, and we now know the actual victims of our political madness.

Munya - 24 March 2014

Munya while I agree with you that vulnerable groups like orphans to come with the status quo, suffer. I also want to disagree with on the fact that corruption is the culprit here. Even if this so-called western aid had come with the current setup they will not taste any improvement into their lives. These people must first repent and then leave office because they have failed. Kanti why abantu bekhekheleza!!!

Regalia - 24 March 2014

Hahahahaha!! Look east they said? We don't need Britain they shouted! In fact we do not need any western country!! Go to hell the chief buffoon cried!! What a joke!! Why the hell should Britain even think about coming here as long as the country is still under a criminal cartel!??? Britain has made it's conditions known and they will stick to it! Zimbabwe is a basket case we all know and there are certain things like the rule of law and respect for property rights as well as the right for an investor to choose where, how and when he will invest THEIR money in this shambles of an economy!! No one in their right mind will invest here in this rats nest! They will go to Zambia, Mozambique, DRC and we all watch as those countries we used to laugh at are now developing into wealthy and prosperous nations while we sit like rats in the sewer watching the world go by ..........

sabi - 25 March 2014

What happened now that you want the same people you called "Keep your England" and "I will keep my Zimbabwe". Are you now tired of keeping your Zimbabwe? A lot of times it is not wise to make decisions out of emotions you will only be shooting yourself in the foot. What happened to the look east policy?

gm - 25 March 2014

I'm not sure the British would like to come back and build business empires only to lose them to Mr Mugabe and his looters. They would be foolish. If the British stand to lose more as we are made to believe by Mr Mutsvangwa then why is he literally begging them to reengage with his corrupt party and Government. In fact Mr Mutsvangwa seems to be a very confused and shallow minded individual. On one hand he and his boss say the British must keep their Britain and they will keep their Zimbabwe. And when the British do just that, they start crying foul. If so many European countries are scrambling for money in a flat Zimbabwe then why do you need to engage the British so desperately. Abundance of untapped natural resources without investment to benefit from them is just as good as poverty. We can sit on top of gold deposits, build houses on diamond deposits, but remain poor so long we can not extract them. So many mines which were vibrant are now white elephants because of lack of vision, and if we still have the 70s guerrilla mentality ,guerrilla economics, guerrilla type policies, deeply rooted in Marxist and Communist theories, then we are in trouble. The world has changed, now we have smart cars, smart phones, smart planes to name but few. Move along Mr Mutsvangwa and your friends, kwete kusara se tarino. PLEASE.

mosquito - 25 March 2014

gosh what fool would ask france to make a post colonial relation between the colonised and the coloniser /occupier 'good' or 'better' for everyone you know many African countries continue to pay colonial tax to France since their independence till today! When Sékou Touré of Guinea decided in 1958 to get out of french colonial empire, and opted for the country independence, the french colonial elite in Paris got so furious, and in a historic act of fury the french administration in Guinea destroyed everything in the country which represented what they called the benefits from french colonization. Three thousand French left the country, taking all their property and destroying anything that which could not be moved: schools, nurseries, public administration buildings were crumbled; cars, books, medicine, research institute instruments, tractors were crushed and sabotaged; horses, cows in the farms were killed, and food in warehouses were burned or poisoned. The purpose of this outrageous act was to send a clear message to all other colonies that the consequences for rejecting France would be very high. Slowly fear spread trough the african elite, and none after the Guinea events ever found the courage to follow the example of Sékou Touré, whose slogan was “We prefer freedom in poverty to opulence in slavery.”.... read it and weep. this is a dreadful wrong turn driven by ignorance and nativity http://www.systemiccapital.com/14-african-countries-forced-by-france-to-pay-colonial-tax/

Sta - 25 March 2014

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