The United States should make decisions on Zimbabwe from an informed position and stop reading only the text of opposition political parties that are afraid of elections, President Mnangagwa has said.
He said the US, which last week proposed multiple prescriptive reforms as a precondition for re-engagement with Zimbabwe, should have an appreciation of the situation on the ground to make rational decisions.
Two US senators — Messrs Jeff Flake(Republican) and Chris Coons (Democrat) — who are members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee unveiled a proposed revised version of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) of 2001.
They proposed conditions similar to demands made by the MDC Alliance through its Plan and Environment for A Credible Election (PEACE) documents launched by its presidential candidate, Mr Nelson Chamisa last week.
Mr Chamisa and fellow principal in the MDC Alliance coalition, Mr Tendai Biti, including Mr Dewa Mavhinga — the director of Human Rights Watch in Southern Africa, a non-governmental organisation — appeared before the same US senate committee on December 13 last year and urged the US government to maintain the current sanctions regime on Harare.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Africa Report—a France-based magazine that focuses on African politics and economics— here yesterday, President Mnangagwa said he was glad the planned visit by American politicians soon would be an eye opener.
“Fortunately, Mr Flake and Mr Coons are coming to Zimbabwe,” he said.
“They are going to realise that the distance between Harare and Washington is very wide. This is why they are saying things that don’t exist in Zimbabwe. They only reproduced an agenda of the opposition which they were given last December by members of the opposition but when they come we shall say members of the opposition are here, can you go around with them and find where the military is participating in the elections. (They will find) zero and they will be able now to talk to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and they will get concrete answers; the Electoral Act is there.”
He added: “When looking at what they are saying, you realise that they are not informed. They are just reading the text of the opposition who are afraid of these elections.”
President Mnangagwa said most of the electoral demands by opposition parties were attended to with their consent.
“As a matter of fact most of things they are talking about, during the 2013 elections we came together as political parties and did amendments and on remnant issues which had not been done again we came together as political parties and agreed and made amendments to the Electoral Act as agreed by the liaison committees of political parties. That has been done and achieved.”
He said no law in Zimbabwe forbids ex-military personnel from joining independent bodies or government entities.
“They talk about military people in Zec,” President Mnangagwa said.
“We have no law in our domestic jurisdictions which forbids them say, for example, a person who joins army at an early age and then resigns at 28 perhaps to become an accountant or medical doctor or joins any parastatal must not be seen near democracy.”
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was dumping toxic politics and entrenching democracy.
As such, he said, criticism from opposition parties was necessary as it strengthened his administration.
“I was surprised when almost all opposition parties attended my inauguration,” he said.
“I felt very good we have such chemistry but I realise that in any democracy, you don’t always agree. This is how democracy is. The best argument will win the day.”
He added: “I accept the opposition parties. I have no problem with them. In fact the more they interrogate and make constructive criticism of our administration I like it because I correct myself.”
President Mnangagwa reiterated that the forthcoming harmonised elections would be credible, free and fair.
Political parties, he said, should commit themselves to non-violence before, during and after the polls.
He also used the interview to clarify the amendments made to the Indigenisation Act as well as highlight the investment opportunities abundant in Zimbabwe.