Chinamasa: Britain cannot wish Zim away

BRITAIN cannot wish Zimbabwe away and there is need for the two countries to move away from the early 2000s standoff arising from the violent land reform initiated by Harare, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.

In talks with British govt officials in London ... Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa

In talks with British govt officials in London … Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa

Chinamasa said this on Tuesday during at a conference in London. He was responding to a question if Harare had abandoned its violence as a way to assure investors that Zimbabwe was indeed “open for business” as he has been claiming off late.

The minister said it was not proper to keep dwelling on the past, claiming that Harare had since “moved on” and was focusing on “recapturing our relations with the UK”.

He said: “Let’s not remain in the past. We cannot move forward by remaining in the past. Yes, the British felt offended by the land reform but they cannot wish Zimbabwe away. We have a long history together and they cannot pretend that they don’t know us.”

He added, “Land reform was undertaken in a revolutionary way; we were following our destiny; I don’t want to go down that road; land reform is here to stay. Key thing now is access to capital.”

Chinamasa said while other countries like France and Germany were seemingly expressing interest in reengaging Zimbabwe, British investors were somehow “fence sitting” taking “a cue from their government”.

The minister claimed that Zimbabwe was still under British sanctions, saying he was detained at the airport on his way to the London conference.

He said: “For as long as there are sanctions we cannot move forward. As it is, I can’t come to the UK and not face problems. I come and I am detained; I was detained at the airport. I was taken aback because I thought the sanctions had been lifted; those little things really matter and let’s sort that out.”

He said President Robert Mugabe’s continued rants against the west were not a sign of policy inconsistences on Harare’s part but were “reflective of the political differences”.

Chinamasa, however, said he was on Tuesday going to attend a meeting with top British government officials to see “how to mend fences with the UK.”

He said despite “fence sitting” by the British investors, some strategic UK institutions and business people have previously supported calls for Zimbabwe to be supported.

“In Lima, some British people agreed that Zimbabwe should be supported as well as in Zambia. That was a good sign. That’s why we are here for this conference and to meet government people.”

Titled “Zimbabwe 2016: Rebooting and Rebuilding”, the one day conference held in central London is being organised by Africa Confidential.

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