Fungi Kwaramba in New York, USA
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday revealed how the British made a major climb-down after he insisted that he could not sign the book of condolences for the late Queen Elizabeth II because Zimbabwe is under illegal economic sanctions.
Addressing Zanu-PF members drawn from the United States and Canada structures in New York, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans should never pander to the whims and caprices of anyone, but should always hold their heads high and insist on being accorded the respect befitting an independent and sovereign people.
Presently, Zimbabwe is under a painful regime of sanctions that were imposed by the United Kingdom and the US as punishment for the land reform programme that corrected colonial land inequities.
The sanctions were meant to arm-twist Zimbabwe to restore land to the minority whites, a chapter that the President resolutely said is now closed.
And despite the sanctions, the Second Republic, under President Mnangagwa, has been on a growth trajectory building on his “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo” philosophy.
“When the Queen (Elizabeth II) passed on recently, I was invited to go and write my condolences at the British Embassy in Harare. So my Foreign Affairs (and International Trade) Minister (Ambassador Frederick Shava) went there and he told me that the Australian and Canadian Ambassadors were there waiting for me to come. I then sent a message to the Foreign Affairs Minister to come back because I was not going there. The reason is, the United Kingdom imposed sanctions on us and we cannot go to the United Kingdom because of sanctions, so I said in terms of international conventions, the Embassy is a territory of the United Kingdom and I didn’t want to breach those sanctions,” the President said.
President Mnangagwa said the British Ambassador (Melaine Robinson) made a major diplomatic volte-face by saying that Zimbabwe was not under sanctions.
“I said Zimbabwe can never walk to the United Kingdom or to the embassy, but the Head of State, the personification of Zimbabwe cannot, still I cannot violate the territory of the United Kingdom, at the time we were in Angola. We insisted until we got a formal invitation saying that I can go to the embassy and that I will not be contravening anything. He (Ambassador Shava) persuaded me to go, I then went to the embassy to sign the book of condolences. Thereafter, I received a formal invitation to the funeral. I said I had assigned my Ambassador (to the United Kingdom Colonel Christian Katsande) to represent Zimbabwe at the funeral. I then sent a message through him that I am upgrading my representation from Ambassador to Minister, so I sent the Minister. I am saying this because we should not be moved around like little boys,” the President said to thunderous applause from members of the Zanu-PF US and Canada structures.
President Mnangagwa said when he came into office in 2017, he set targets for his administration that is currently pursuing Vision 2030, to make Zimbabwe an upper-middle class economy.
Such targets include food security, which has been met despite the weather vagaries caused by climate change.
Most of the targets have been met because of a visionary leadership that has insulated the agriculture sector, Zimbabwe’s economic mainstay, through the construction of dams in every part of Zimbabwe to ensure irrigation all year round.
This is in fulfillment of President Mnangagwa’s mantra of development that leaves no one and no place behind. Remarkably, the Second Republic has achieved this in wheat production whose reserves now last for 13 months from the previous two months’ supply.
Food security has also been enhanced through local production of fertiliser, which was previously imported from Ukraine.
Similar success stories are being registered through the completion of projects like the Gwayi-Shangani dam and pipeline that was mooted in 1912 but only began with the dawn of the New Dispensation led by President Mnangagwa.
Rural industrialisation has also gathered pace through the setting up of industries in formally marginalised areas like Mwenezi where a Marula Processing Plant has been built, while in Mutoko a packaging plant for horticultural products has been set up.
In the next three years, each of the 35 000 villages in the country will have a solar-powered borehole where villagers can do their farming throughout the year and earn a living.
President Mnangagwa called on Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to register to vote in next year’s elections and come home to vote for Zanu PF, whose leaders cannot campaign in foreign lands because of sanctions.