By Staff Reporter
A GROUP lobbying for the removal of US and western sanctions against Zimbabwe has made sensational claims US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols once offered cars and houses as bribe so they could turn their campaigns against government.
The claims were made by representatives of the radical Broad Alliance Against Sanctions who on Tuesday appeared before parliament’s Foreign Affairs Portfolio Committee.
The anti-sanctions group, which denies any links to Zanu PF, has set up base outside the US embassy in Harare for almost a year in a campaign to demand the scrapping of sanctions imposed 2001 on the Harare administration over alleged rights abuses and the stifling of the free enjoyment of democracy by authorities.
Through its spokesperson Sally Ngoni, the group said it was once invited for a meeting in December last year by Nichols who allegedly offered four of its members some cars and houses if they agreed to go and camp at either Munhumutapa offices, Africa Unity Square, Parliament or State House.
“Four people attended a meeting which was chaired by Ambassador Brian Nichols and offered us houses and vehicles of our choice so that we go and demonstrate at Africa Unity Square, Munhumutapa offices, State House or Parliament against the government.
“We turned down his offer. He told us to protest against our government saying it was the one responsible for the imposition of sanctions,” Ngoni said.
Before the hearing, the group of more than 20 people sang revolutionary songs outside parliament before being ushered into the building.
Said Ngoni, “The ambassador spoke about reforms and democracy but let me tell him that there is no absolute democracy anywhere in the world. We want to be given space to define democracy in our on context,” she said.
Ngoni also expressed anger over how the members of the lobby group were surviving.
“To be honest, it is not easy to stay Musango (in the open),” she said while referring to the group’s 355-day long camp outside the embassy.
“This is now an economic warfare. We sometimes go hungry having just one meal per day.
“The place has no ablution facility. We used the bush system until a well-wisher brought us a mobile-toilet which is shared by male and females.”
The defiant US government last week renewed its targeted sanctions on Zimbabwean individuals.