Government yesterday slammed an attack by opposition protesters on a Zimbabwean delegation in London led by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Busi Moyo, who is on a four-day re-engagement programme to strengthen ties and lure investors.
In a statement, Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Service Mr Nick Mangwana, who is part of the delegation, described the attack as tragic and embarrassing to peace-loving Zimbabweans.
“The delegation in London had great engagements with different stakeholders. Government of Zimbabwe condemns the violent attacks against the delegation by a group of opposition protesters outside Chatham House in London. It’s tragic that the sceptre of violence during protests we see in Zimbabwe forcing the security services to act has reared its ugly head in foreign land discrediting, not the Government, but the hoodlums themselves and embarrassing peace-loving Zimbabweans,” said Mr Mangwana.
“The attacks have not, however, disrupted Minister SB Moyo’s successful engagements in the UK in any way. Undeterred, his programme continued with fruitful meetings with the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, investors and tonight we end with engaging a progressive Zimbabwean Diaspora and other key stakeholders, whose support for our country’s economic and political reform efforts remains steadfast.
“The Government of Zimbabwe remains committed to peaceful dialogue with all parties, with a view to building our country around shared values, including the principles of respectful disagreement and non-violence. We affirm the right of Zimbabweans to protest but to do so peacefully.”
Minister Moyo was attacked by placard-waving protesters who were demanding the release of MDC-Alliance national deputy chairperson Mr Job Sikhala who has been arraigned before the courts for allegedly trying to subvert a constitutionally-elected Government.
The charges stemmed from a rally in which he addressed opposition supporters in Bikita last weekend where he called for the overthrowing of President Mnangagwa before 2023 when his current term officially ends.
In a video clip that went viral on social media, Minister Moyo is seen battling to get into his waiting official car with aides pushing away his attackers who were mostly women donning the Zimbabwean flag.
The paltry crowd could be seen showering the delegation with bottled water and calling the delegation names.
On Thursday, Minister Moyo had lunch with the powerful Westminster Africa Business Group in London where he invited them to grab investment opportunities that were abound in Zimbabwe.
The Westminster Africa Business Group, which brings together politicians and businesses in the interests of the UK and Africa, has been doing that since 1947.
Yesterday, Minister Moyo addressed business leaders at the Royal Institute of International Affairs also known as Chatham House.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Mr Kindness Paradza said it was a shame that the MDC thugs had allowed to be used by the country’s detractors to scuttle the re-engagement programme.
“It is very unfortunate that our citizens allowed themselves to be used by those who don’t want to see this administration succeeding. What they fail to understand is that the very same minister whom they attacked and abused is currently pushing to avail to all our citizens in the Diaspora, primary documents such as birth and death certificates, identification cards and passports, through our embassies that are dotted around the world.
“Actually, London had been identified as one of the venues to launch this program. Both Minister SB Moyo and his Home Affairs Minister counterpart (Ambassador) Cain Mathema had committed themselves to preside over the launch.
“But because of this hooliganism, which we strongly condemn as Parliament, my fear now is that London may miss this opportunity,” said Mr Paradza.
He added that his Committee, which is championing the Zimbabwe Investment and development Agency Bill, had made provisions to include incentives for Diasporans wishing to invest back home, and the agenda was being pushed by Minister Moyo.
“Shame on you all those who took part in this criminal act,” said Mr Paradza.