By Alois Vinga
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-engagement efforts aimed at wooing back powerful western countries seem to be heading for the rocks after the European Union (EU) condemned his government’s heavy handedness for the third time inside five days.
EU Head of Delegation to Harare, Timo Alkonnen told the launch of a project funded by the western block that Mnangagwa needed to stop politicking and pay attention to reforms in order to unlock Zimbabwe’s full potential.
“Zimbabwe is full of potential for economic growth and prosperity for its citizens, however, something is holding back the country from unlocking this potential.
“You cannot separate the economy from the political sphere. There is need to respect the democratic principles that underpin a developmental state,” Alkonnen said.
The EU was a joint signatory to a damning statement issued early this week that condemned Mnangagwa for the current spate of abductions, torture and attacks on civil society as well as political opponents across the Zimbabwe. The condemnation also came in the aftermath of government’s decision to ban protests organised by the main opposition in five cities across Zimbabwe.
On Wednesday Mnangagwa and Alkonnen clashed at a Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) awareness launch after the envoy again raised the issue of human rights violations.
Mnangagwa hit back immediately reminding Alkonnen that he had “chosen the wrong platform” to raise civil rights issues.
But the EU representative looks like he is ready to take the fight to the wire and Thursday picked up from where he had left off a day earlier.
“Needless to say, I condemn with the strongest possible the physical assaults and threats against union leaders,” he added.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Peter Mutasa and secretary general Japhet Moyo have reportedly received death threats twice inside the last month alone.