via Mugabe, Mujuru in discord over West by NewsDay
DISCORDANT foreign policy pronunciations have rocked Zanu PF over the past few days with Vice-President Joice Mujuru saying Zimbabwe was keen to re-engage the international community including the West, barely two days after President Robert Mugabe threatened a clampdown on Western companies operating in the country.
Speaking at the burial of national hero Retired Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai on Sunday, Mugabe attacked the West for maintaining sanctions against Zimbabwe and for casting aspersions over his recent re-election.
“They (Western powers) have companies here and we have not imposed controls or sanctions against them, but time will come when we will say tit-for-tat. You hit me, I hit you. You impose this on me, I impose this on you,” Mugabe said.
“Our attitude is not going to continue as it was in the past — passive. We have had enough and enough is enough.”
A day later, Mujuru was singing a different tune saying: “As a nation we are now focusing on investing in our economy to generate business, employment and raise the social welfare of our people. Further, Zimbabwe will continue engaging the international community for political, economic and social co-operation.
“We constitute the international community and it is our wish to remain a member of this family,” said Mujuru, in a speech read on her behalf by outgoing Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Engineer Walter Mzembi at the just-ended United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly in Victoria Falls.
“True, we once had our problems, which, with the assistance of the African Union and the Southern African Development Community, I am glad to say we have managed to resolve successfully.“
The United States and European Union imposed targeted sanctions including travel bans and asset freezes on Mugabe, members of his inner circle and several companies following the 2002 disputed elections and alleged human rights abuses.
Analysts said Zimbabwe needs to adopt a policy of engagement with various international players including the West to encourage foreign direct investment necessary for the revival of industry and the creation of jobs.
Political analyst Ernest Mudzengi, however, said there was no need to read much into Mugabe’s angry reaction as the common position in Zanu PF was to re-engage the West.
“The statements came from two different contexts. If you follow closely what he (Mugabe) has been saying, he wants re-engagement, but sometimes he has to grandstand. What Mujuru said accurately represents the Zanu PF position and the President’s statement was just an angry reaction. He has indicated the need to re-engage even in his inauguration speech,” said Mudzengi.
Another analyst Prosper Manjoro said that Zanu PF was desperate to re-engage the West and Mugabe’s statements were just politicking.
“The only truth is that re-engagement is inevitable, the biggest challenge is what the conditions are. The spirit of moving forward is a given. Mugabe was speaking at a political party-like function and Mujuru at a government function and usually it is the party position that prevails,” said Manjoro.