Heads of foreign missions in Zimbabwe say President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government should implement promised reforms, end corruption and allow freedom of opinion.
In a join statement, heads of missions of Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, United Kingdom and United States of America said Zimbabwe is also expected to protect citizens from contracting COVID-19.
But in a tweet, Mnangagwa on Wednesday issues a statement spelling out some of his achievements since he came into power, noting that the country will overcome its challenges for the benefit of Zimbabweans.
“Two years ago in his inauguration speech, president Mnangagwa vowed to serve the country and all 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 stands by the people office 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 COVID-19.”
They stressed that COVID-19 must not be used as an excuse to restrict citizens’ fundamental freedoms.
“Freedoms of the press, of opinion, of expression and of assembly all universally recognized 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 reiterated their calls for the government to address corruption and illicit extraction wealth for personal gain “which continue to undermine Zimbabwe’s development and well-being of it’s people. If Zimbabwe is to reach its potential, it’s wealth and resources must be use to serve all Zimbabweans.”
They said 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 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 to deliver on its long-promised reforms and reach across the divides. Implement to the benefit of all, they will make a difference to the life of all Zimbabweans.
“We hope the government is able to deliver on its initial vision and 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 the reforms.”
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa was unreachable for comment. In his latest tweet posted Thursday, President Mnangagwa acknowledged that Zimbabwe is facing some challenges.
“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 for all Zimbabweans.”