SENIOR STAFF WRITER
ZANU PF MPs have expressed concern over the United Kingdom (UK) criticism of Zimbabwe, saying the country’s former colonial master was not an oasis of democratic practice, the Daily News reports.
This comes after Zimbabwe was debated in the British House of Lords on Tuesday where members argued that they have not seen sufficient progress towards economic and political reforms in the country, claiming also that corruption was escalating citing the arrest on Monday of Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya as an example.
It also comes as President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government responded to the criticism by launching a scathing attack on the UK over alleged interference in the country’s internal affairs.
Rushwaya was arrested in alleged possession of 6kg of gold at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on her way to Dubai. Six more suspects have since been arrested in connection with the matter.
On Thursday, Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi told Parliament that the UK government had no moral high ground to criticise Zimbabwe as it had also committed atrocities against the country’s citizens during colonial rule.
“Indeed, it pains me that those neo-colonialists in the mould of Peter Hain are making baseless conclusions as they try to meddle in the affairs of our sovereign state, a country borne out of the revolutionary struggle for self-determination,” Togarepi said.
“We are not a British colony and we certainly do not care a hoot about what they discuss in their Houses.
“As a sovereign nation with equal global rights, what we ask from the British is mutual respect and not to be lectured about human rights and due processes, tenets they denied our forefathers and which we only regained in 1980.”
The Gutu South legislator suggested that instead of enduring the bullying by the British government, Zimbabwe should consider appealing to international courts, demanding reparations for the “atrocities committed during the colonial era, and indeed even today through illegal economic sanctions that are designed to make Zimbabwe bleed, only because we dared take back our land”.
“Mr Speaker Sir, why is … Peter Hain lying? Who lied to him that Rushwaya is … Mnangagwa’s niece? Is there anything honourable in parroting and reproducing falsehoods from social media platforms in the so-called House of Lords, perhaps House of Lies?
“In his ignorance, … Hain insinuates that what Rushwaya did had the blessings of the president, what a load of rubbish from a supposed to be Lord,” fumed Togarepi.
He said instead Rushwaya’s arrest was a sign of Mnangagwa’s commitment to fight corruption.
Contributing to the same debate, Makonde MP Kindness Paradza, who also chairs Parliament’s committee on Foreign Affairs, said the criticism was a reflection of “disdain, condescension and ill-will” that the UK has towards Zimbabwe.
“As already stated by the chief whip, notably one of the principal items of interest in the debate was the arrest of Rushwaya. But their Lordship’s focus was more on the fact that the lady-in-question is said to be a relative of the president than on the swift and commendable actions of law-enforcement agencies, to arrest, detain and arraign her before the courts on serious charges of corruption, fraud and smuggling,” Paradza said.
“Their Lordships spent quite some time on the issue of corruption in Zimbabwe. One eminent Peer, Lord St John of Bletso, stated that there have been no prosecutions for corruption in Zimbabwe and even asked what measures the British government was taking to get South Africa to get involved in Zimbabwean affairs.