Zanu (PF) will thwart progress says former minister

President Robert Mugabe’s disputed election victory and his party’s hard-line attitude is set to hold back Zimbabwe’s efforts to re-engage with Western countries, a former cabinet minister has said.

Elton Mangoma
Elton Mangoma

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, the former minister of energy and power development, Elton Mangoma, who was part of Zimbabwe’s re-engagement team, said the “flawed” results of the July 31 elections went against conditions for the restoration of normal economic and political relations between the West and Harare.

In April last year, Mangoma, along with Zanu (PF)’s Patrick Chinamasa and the MDC’s Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga, travelled to the United Kingdom for a meeting with British parliamentarians aimed at finding ways of restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The meeting was organised by Friends of Zimbabwe, a group of donor nations including Japan, Australia, the USA and Canada, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

London said the manner in which the election was conducted would be a condition for a return to normal relations and adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude.

Mangoma said that although Western countries might have been willing to restore their relations with Zimbabwe, the situation had now been complicated by the fact that “the elections were stolen”.

“I believe that the stolen election does create a dilemma for those countries in the sense that if they move to re-engage Zimbabwe, it would seem as if they were rewarding unruly behaviour. Also, there are some elements within Zanu (PF) whom I think would want to see those targeted measures remaining in place because they would want to use them as an excuse for failing to deliver,” said Mangoma.

Last week, the Zanu (PF) Secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa, told The Zimbabwean that his party would not make efforts to mend relations with the West. The bloc “will come to us on their knees”, he added, citing Zimbabwe’s untapped natural resources that he claimed to be a major stimulant for international co-operation.

Mutasa said his party would depend on its ‘look East’ policy, which has, however, come under fire from analysts who say that it has done little to aid economic growth.

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