Government takes exception and offence in instances where accredited diplomatic personnel dabble in “opposition politics in Zimbabwe”, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo has said.
In a no-holds-barred meeting with ambassadors from Western countries held in Harare on Thursday, Minister Moyo said although the new administration was not averse to criticism, it was deeply concerned with the “one-sided character of the brickbats” following the August 16 illegal demonstrations.
Thursday’s meeting was convened a day after the same missions issued a statement criticising the way Government handled the protests.
Zimbabwe’s top diplomat said although ambassadors had the right to associate with whomsoever they want, this did not translate to interfering in the affairs of a sovereign State.
“You may all have your personal likes or dislikes: you may have friends and acquaintances across the broad spectrum of Zimbabwean politics. Indeed, as diplomats, it is to be expected and it is perfectly acceptable that you should engage all players across that spectrum and gain as full as possible an understanding of this country and its robust socio-political and economic dynamic. Nothing is wrong with that,” said Minister Moyo.
“But when any accredited representative allows themselves to become actively engaged in or associated with that political dynamic; and is sucked into the crude machinations which, today, constitute opposition politics in Zimbabwe, then, Excellencies, we do take offence and we do take exception,” he said.
Police had decided to issue a prohibition order, which was upheld by the High Court, after establishing “grounds of probable violence, danger to life and probable destruction of property”, he said.
Three people – Evidence Ncube (28) of Gokwe, Masimba Jemwa (41) and James Pfundira (27) – have already been jailed for two months by a Harare court after they were arrested at a police roadblock while travelling in an unregistered Nissan Hardbody vehicle during the MDC-Alliance’s illegal demonstration.
Notably, the trio was found in possession of a satchel containing machetes and a knife.
Minister Moyo also questioned why the ambassadors have remained deafeningly silent despite continued incendiary rhetoric from the opposition calling for the removal of a democratically elected Government.
“Your Governments, Excellencies, are quick to condemn us for any breach of law or for any failure to uphold the rule of law. But you are silent when opposition formations blatantly disregard the law, defy the High Court and repeatedly threaten to overthrow the elected Government of the day through violent protests and the promotion of chaos and anarchy. . .
“Again, Excellencies, your silence at this stated determination – to undermine democracy in Zimbabwe, to overthrow the Government and plunge the country into chaos – is deeply concerning,” he said.
Minister Moyo said despite dealing with a mob acting in open defiance of the law, which had also committed “provocation at its worst” by marching to Munhumutapa Offices — the seat of the Presidency — police had carried out their duties satisfactorily.
No serious injuries or fatalities had been recorded on the day, he said.
Dr Moyo said the nascent signs of economic recovery are making the opposition increasingly uneasy as they know that a growing and stable economy spells a bleak future for them.
“Our brothers in the opposition know full well that once these beacons become more visible, and once the economy begins to move, they face a very bleak future; and so, they direct their efforts at undermining that recovery, and dousing those beacons and doing everything they possibly can to slow or even halt any economic recovery. . .
“This determination to sabotage economic revival and to prolong the plight of so many Zimbabweans is an integral part of their broader thrust to destabilise this country and to achieve, by violent, unconstitutional means, what they failed to achieve via the ballot box in July 2018.”
Minister Moyo also exhorted the embassies to counsel the opposition and civil society, which had shown a determination for what he called “political insurgency”.
“Going forward, Excellencies, we count on you, in your engagement with opposition formations and civil society, to impress upon them to put the nation ahead of narrow, partisan interests; to operate strictly within the law; and, with regard to the opposition formations, to desist from the reckless, provocative threats of insurrection and insurgency which, on a daily basis, characterise their rhetoric and actions,” he said.