Tsvangirai meets British Africa minister

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai met yesterday with Britain’s Minister for Africa Mark Simmonds in London to try to push forward an internationally-brokered initiative to resolve the deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

Simmonds, who is also secretary in the Foreign and  Commonwealth Office, reportedly backed the idea to identify brokers among leaders of the Commonwealth states — a group of 53 countries, nearly all former British colonies — to mediate talks between President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai to extricate the country from a deepening economic crisis characterised by deep budget cuts and growing unemployment tipping more people into depression.

Zimbabwe was booted out of the Commonwealth after the flawed 2002 presidential elections, but the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting has expressed hope that Zimbabwe would rejoin the grouping as part of international re-engagement efforts that have seen the EU lift most of the sanctions it had imposed on the southern African country and some of its leaders, leaving only Mugabe and his wife Grace.

Tsvangirai has said an internationally-brokered national dialogue of all stakeholders would be a good starting point to avert the national crisis gripping Zimbabwe.

The last talks brokered by regional grouping Sadc helped end a stalemate over disputed elections and stabilised the economy but  the fragile alliance was mired with squabbling over policy and the slow pace of reforms.

“Their 35-minute discussion centred on the crisis in Zimbabwe and the ways in which the debilitating situation could be averted in the interest of the ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe,” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka told the Daily News in telephone interview from London.

He declined to go into the minute details saying this was a strategic diplomatic engagement.

Tsvangirai has been holding meetings with key figures in the EU, the British government as well as interacting with ordinary Zimbabweans who are based in the United Kingdom.

He has had several other high-profile engagements.

Tsvangirai returns home today.

Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai returns home “a day before the nation painfully remembers the grand theft of 31 July in which a monumental fraud was successfully disguised as an election”.

Mugabe overwhelmingly won the July 31 vote but his main rival, Tsvangirai, denounced it as a “huge fraud”. The EU also expressed serious concerns over alleged irregularities.

“Today, all we see is the underwhelming delivery by those who claim to have won an overwhelming election last year,” Tamborinyoka said.

Tsvangirai has said he believed an “internationally-led process” of compromise and reform was possible, but said he was not calling for another government of national unity.

But, suggesting frustration at the lack of real compromise between the authorities and the opposition, he added: “And I am aware that there are some have sought to give conditions to this national dialogue.”

Mugabe’s Zanu PF has said it will be prepared to talk to the opposition only after it recognises Mugabe as a legitimately elected president.

A diplomat in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the partners around the table were all clear that they will use their efforts, and are prepared to commit resources at supporting the regeneration and economic development of Zimbabwe.

“It’s an opportunity to work on dialogue efforts, but we don’t want to raise expectations,” the diplomatic source said from London yesterday.

“We are all going to hit the phones now, talk to our various partners, and we will give our very best effort to open the talks.”

Comments (42)

Africa Minister in Europe?Am l getting it right here?To do what?By the way do we have Europe Minister here in Africa ,so that maybe they interact and see what exact is it that they need to be common btn Africa & Europe.Surely can someone explain more about this Africa Minister.

Hapaz Hapanyengwi - 30 July 2014

Why fear international dialogue which may save Zimbabwe's failing economy?MT is working for the common good of all Zimbabweans but some of us seem to benefit from this mess; hence they hate dialogue which may bring forth legitimacy to our government &save the collapsing economy.We applaud MT's genuine concern & his efforts to alleviate the suffering of the masses.

VHUNDUKAI - 30 July 2014

If it was the foreign affairs secretary i would say it was an issue, not some junior minister.This guy is so desperate for attention that even a 35 minute greeting is turned into a milestone.We really cant blame him , he has not achieved much these days than securing the meeting.Knowing the problems in Zimbabwe don't think the duration was even sufficient for much.

Laughing - 30 July 2014

I frankly don't understand the obsession with Tsvangirai's moves or lack of in official circles, particularly when these same quarters keep telling us at the same time that Tsvangirai is finished. Is he or is he not finished?

Khumalo - 30 July 2014

I still remember Tsvangirai telling those abroad to come back home in 2009 because the situation had completely changed which was nonsense of course. "...internationally-brokered initiative to resolve the deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe"? That is never going to happen. The problem with Tsvangirai and others like Biti, Welshman et al is that they do not understand the political situation in the country they live in. Zimbabwe is under the grip of a ZanuPF military dictatorship - that is number one. These MDCs cannot treat ZanuPF as just another ordinary civilian party. we already had a Sadc-brokered initiative which resulted in the silly GNU, what else is going to change this time? Is Tsvangirai suggesting another silly GNU mach-2? He should be explicit what he means. 5 years drinking tea with Mugabe every Monday morning came to nothing.

Musona - 30 July 2014

Tsvangirai is the main menu in this puzzle whether we want or not.

SANDILE NARE - 30 July 2014

Tsvangirai should not suggest what is impossible politically! That Minister for Africa ,better called Minsiter for Post Colonial Affairs has no capacity to change the governing in Zim to accomodate a loser. The MDCT leader should ask the UK govt to withraw the sanctions for the benefit of Zimbabweans ,while preparing for the 2018 elections in four years time, a very short period for a party in disarray. Tsvangirai should know that the West has written him out and are looking for another opposition leader. Look at Mawere joining the so called Renewal Team outfit! Mawere thinks he can leapfrog Biti and perhaps attract funds from the West to replace the original regime change project leadesrship! Someone must make the facts bare for the MDCT leader. Zim politics is now beyond his ability.

Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof) - 30 July 2014

The generality of us have come to realise that there are a few amongst us who benefit from this chaos and directionless of how we conduct ourselves. such people will stop at nothing to scuttle any avenue meant to save the situation.

mambo - 30 July 2014

when one day in a near future you sleep without having your supper then you will understand what Morgan is trying to do. As of now you are still able to buy food hence you do not see Morgan 's purpose.

Diibulaanyika - 30 July 2014

@mambo - writing in riddles. What exactly are you trying to say? “Saving the situation”? Easier said than done. Tsvangirai is incapable of saving any situation. We have already had a Sadc-brokered initiative in 2009 where Tsvangirai and his gang had the opportunity to change things but they did nothing. Are we going to have international conferences after every election to sort out Zimbabwe's economic problems is the question? What will the international conference discuss? Is it another GNU? How does Tsvangirai propose to resolve economic issues seeing that he is not in government? Is Tsvangirai going to propose that the international community pours money into Zimbabwe? Has ZanuPF agreed to the international conference being proposed by Tsvangirai? No. Tsvangirai can go on and meet the British prime minister but if ZanuPF does not want an international conference then all Tsvangirai's efforts will come to zero. Tsvangirai cannot simply meet top British government officials to generate headlines, there must be sense and/or logic in what he is doing not just faffing about.

Musona - 30 July 2014

what where the discussing about, tsvangirai is nothing as far as zimbabwe is concerned, he and the west is the master killer of the economy of zimbabwe, its better for him to persuade these western idiots to withdraw these evel sanctions,, minister ,minister of what, tsitsi dzavo ndedzei, they want to find the ways they can worsen the economy of zimbabwe which iz on recession stage... NB A WHITEMAN WHICH YOU CAN ONLY TRUST IS A DEAD ONE

THE LION OF CHIRIMUHANZU - 30 July 2014

Zimbabwe was booted at the same time you are saying you expect Zimbabwe to rejoin, maybe its chirungu I thought one would say Zimbabwe would reapply to rejoin Commonwealth.hameno

jm kanhu kako - 30 July 2014

how much selling out money is the idiot bringing back

peter mayor - 31 July 2014

this country belongs to God and Jesus Christ, He knows what will happen to Zimbabwe in terms of the economy. Stop pointing at one another coz this country is not going to be rich because of MT or Why Zim seems to have more christians, churches, etc? There is a reason for this, of all the countries why was she named Dzimbahwe? lets pray for our country

chokwadi - 31 July 2014

like it or not there is no ecoconomic turn around without the hand of Tsvangirai.some of u are surviving coz of the MDC T's actions during the GNU and soon after their exit things began to worson. even zanu pf itsel knows that the solution to our economic challenges lies with the MDC T and one day u will see them soften their stance and call them for a dialogue. Political clowns like Prof Madhuku and his team do not want the country to go for a dialogue coz they know they will be excluded in the talks. so they want talks after the 2018 elections coz they are so stupid to believe that they will win the 5% votes of the electorate andbe in aq positiopn to be allocated the political parties grant that is given to political parties and share the loot

skhakhanana - 31 July 2014

Behind the scenes, people in ZANU are greasing their palms in anticipation that Tsvangirai will bring something tangible to the table for they have tried and failed. They have travelled east to China, Russia and India, South to Brazil and West to Europe and have come back none the richer. There is no need to praise Rhodesia when it was under sanctions, it was just as good as another South African province with all the support from the Apartheid government. All goods produced in Rhodesia were marked 'Made in South Africa' to evade sanctions. The plain truth though is that even under difficult circumstances, Rhodesia still managed to produce and manufacture goods unlike our present regime which borrows money from outside to purchase luxuries for the ruling elite such as vehicles. Shame on them. Tsvangirai holds our hopes in his hands, he is not looking for another GNU as he clearly states, all he is after is a way of resolving the economy for the upliftment of you and me.

Dr Know - 31 July 2014

Armchair critics won't offer solutions to our political problems but want quick results.GNU on its own was never meant to provide a panacea to our problems but just another dimension of our hard, long&torturous struggle.We need perseverance while trying everything possible in our quest for true freedom.MT's current efforts deserve support not just stupid criticism for its sake.

marombe - 31 July 2014

A point of correction Zimbabwe was not booted out of the Commonwealth but The President of Zimbabwe pulled out of the Commonwealth. I do not thing Britain will solve the Zimbabwean crisis because of the sour relationship between the two countries. It is AU and SADC issue, Mr Tsvangirai must approach the right people please.

poorjono - 31 July 2014

@marombe: Now, I don't know where Tsvangirai assumes relevance after loosing an election. This is where I think MDC-folks are kind od immature! Even though he gets audience from britsh circles, his relevance in Zimbabwe is quickly going towards zero. He is no longer needed as a bridge of some sort between europe and africa. No need. EU policy makers have already planned without the MDC and are looking for ways of engaging a Zanu-PF-led Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai is just one of those "armchair" government critics.

selele - 31 July 2014

It is only lunatics who fail to see the relevance of MT in Zim politics. The obvious steeling of the 2013 election has actually created untold suffering among the people of Zimbabwe losing jobs everyday. Selfish people don't care for as long as their party is power.Such people are in our midst but they will one day eat humble pie.

marombe - 31 July 2014

AU & SADC are led by dictators who will always support each other politically but not economically. These groups are led by hypocrites who totally failed to resolve the Zimbabwe issue.We can not waste time on thugs any more.They are never the right people for Zim, as they won't help rescue our failing economy.They only give lip service to wars ravaging Africa, blaming the west for their own failures.

KUDYAZVEMAREMA - 31 July 2014

To say Tsvangirai is an armchair gvt critic is just irresponsible.Or maybe somebody does not understand what an armchair critic is. MT is fighting hard, albeit his mistakes, in the ongoing struggle for meaningful freedom. Even president Mugabe is very much aware of what MT is doing.

kurehwaseka - 31 July 2014

Zvekuti ndinosapota Party ipi is neither here nor there!! Well, at the moment, I don't see MT adding or subtracting any value in Zimbabwe. he can on and on talking about the stolen election while down-playing the impact of his erection and can claim that Biti and co. are working for "rhodesians" and Zanu-PF at the same time. But truth of the matter is that he is moving in circles and as of now, he is just there where he started from in 1998 if not worse. Internationally, many are tired of his wailing and moaning. In this world there are more important issues than a "stolen" african election. he is trying to invite himself to dinner with Zanu-PF. Honestly, what will he change?? Yes, there is suffering in Zimbabwe but what can Tsvangirai change ? Nothing. You think Zimbabwe will get new credit lines or credit extensions simply because the ruling party accomodates a political competitor ? ndoo kurota ikoko.

selele - 31 July 2014

As of now, what Tsvangirai says carries no more weight than what we are all writing here...Armchair-stuff lol. Biti's 16 points make sense but not uk holidays disguised as working-trips.

selele - 31 July 2014

Hameno imi makabirwa mavhotsi ini rangu rakaenda chaipo hezvo tiri kutonga

madzibaba Ishumairai - 31 July 2014

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai are part of the problem; the former by hanging on to power and the latter by trying to come back into power! How can they ever be part of the solution!

Wilbert Mukori - 31 July 2014

I read all the post and drink my Mahewu. Some in favour of MT and others ZanuPF. How primitive zims can be. You want to tell me that, you cannot really see or blink for yourselves without the immature old MT or the too old ZanuPF? You are all right in asking the question, but you all fail to give the correct answer. I love Zimbabwe and am too scared to help. I just drink my Mahewu and watch.

ndaneta - 1 August 2014

@musona- your only problem is this mr man you are still browsing on the primitive grounds of economics and politics, You are talking of the smith regime, was it zimbabwe or Rhodesea by then? who were the drivers of the economy by then? yes the economy was good in the eyes of blind minded people, who only put basic needs like food into priority,. Do you still remember Zimbabwe was called the bread basket of Africa, have yu ever ask your self who were the owners of that basket of bread? reply this so that I can tell yu further until the current situation in zim

THE LION OF CHIRIMUHANZU - 1 August 2014

@musona- your only problem is this mr man you are still browsing on the primitive grounds of economics and politics, You are talking of the smith regime, was it zimbabwe or Rhodesea by then? who were the drivers of the economy by then? yes the economy was good in the eyes of blind minded people, who only put basic needs like food into priority,. Do you still remember Zimbabwe was called the bread basket of Africa, have yu ever ask your self who were the owners of that basket of bread? reply this so that I can tell yu further until the current situation in zim

THE LION OF CHIRIMUHANZU - 1 August 2014

Yes one has every right to get tired & drink Mahewu. The struggle is too long & complicated. Just drink Mahewu&watch as the Shona saying,''KWOENDA NHETE, HOBVU DZINOKORWA NEMANDA.''Zve Zimbabwe zvinotoda kushinga uye mwoyo murefu.Kutukwa ndiwo mafuta acho. THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES..Of course MT is just a human being&has to be criticized, foolishly or constructively...

KUNETA NDIZVO - 1 August 2014

Our former prime minister does not move with the times. He is still lobbying for Western involvement in Zimbabwean affairs. Don't you know, Morgan, that you get better results on engaging Mugabe but lobbying King Mswati or President Sata or President Guebuza than by lobbying a British official? The Zimbabwe government will listen to SADC leaders more than they will ever listen to the British or the Americans. It actually is correct for Bob not to listen to the West. So my dear former PM, you can fly and wail, but the answers you seek in London are actually in the SADC region. Unfortunately you routinely rubbish SADC leaders, and I am sure if you apologise to them first, you can then tell them your problem with Bob.

machakachaka - 1 August 2014

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