Western diplomats raise concern over crisis  

Blessings Mashaya
WESTERN countries yesterday expressed concern that President Emmerson Mnangagwa, pictured, is failing to fulfil inauguration promises he made two years ago and urged him to allow dialogue to end the political crisis.

This comes as Mnangagwa is under growing pressure from long-suffering Zimbabweans over his government’s failure to mend the country’s broken economy.
In a statement, the heads of mission of Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America said Mnangagwa was failing the country.
“Two years ago in his inaugural speech, … Mnangagwa vowed to serve the country and all of its people. It is in this spirit that the heads of mission express their deep concern with the current political, economic, social and health crisis that most Zimbabweans are facing today. The heads of mission stand by the people of Zimbabwe in their desire for a peaceful and prosperous democracy. It is because we care about the people of Zimbabwe that our governments provide extensive humanitarian assistance to those affected by drought, natural disasters, and disease, including, in this difficult year, the new global pandemic of Covid-19,” read the statement.
The diplomats said the government must respect human rights.
“Covid-19 must not be used as an excuse to restrict citizens’ fundamental freedoms. Freedom of press, of opinion, and assembly are all universally recognised human rights and are guaranteed by the Zimbabwean Constitution. The government also has a responsibility to investigate and prosecute those responsible for violating human rights.
“The heads of mission further reiterate their calls for the government to address corruption and illicit extraction of Zimbabwe’s wealth for personal gain, which continues to undermine Zimbabwe’s development and the well-being of its people. If Zimbabwe is to reach its potential, its wealth and resources must be used to serve all Zimbabweans,” they added.
The western countries said it was high time the government ends the blame game.
“Finally, the Zimbabwean people have the right to engage in dialogue to build a better future for their country. But the necessary discussions have so far been hindered by the unhelpful rhetoric and blame assigned to several groups, including diplomatic missions and non-state actors.
“We ask the government to move away from such language and instead deliver on its long promised reforms and reach across the divides. Implemented to the benefit of all, they will make a difference to the life of all Zimbabweans.
“We hope this government is able to deliver on its initial vision to live up to the commitments it made when it came to power. As before, we stand ready to provide support in response to meaningful progress on reforms,” they added.
Reflecting on his two years since he assumed office this week, Mnangagwa said he was committed to improving the welfare of the populace and highlighted several projects implemented under his watch.
“Two years ago today, I was inaugurated as your president. I vowed to serve Zimbabwe and its people so that we could move towards a more prosperous future . . . Zimbabwe is not without its challenges. But rest assured that myself and this government are fully committed to improving our great nation for the benefit of all Zimbabweans . . . Brick-by-brick we will build Zimbabwe,” he said.

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