Tuesday, November 27, 2007

(HERALD) Government snubs McKinnon, Tsvangirai

Government snubs McKinnon, Tsvangirai
Herald Reporter

GOVERNMENT has once again snubbed fresh calls by outgoing Commonwealth secretary-general Mr Don McKinnon for Zimbabwe to rejoin the club until Britain is prepared for equality and scoffed at MDC faction leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s call for the grouping to help in the Sadc-initiated talks between political parties in Zimbabwe.

Reacting to Mr McKinnon’s statement prior to the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting in Kampala, Uganda, last week, the Minister of Information and Publicity, Cde Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, said the Government’s position remained the same as long as Britain treated Zimbabwe as an unequal partner.

"Our position is clear. What made us withdraw from the group? We can only think about that if Britain changes its attitude towards Zimbabwe and treats us as an equal partner," he said.

Mr McKinnon --- who has since been replaced by Mr Kamalesh Sharma of India --- last week urged Zimbabwe to reconsider its withdrawal from the group, urging South African President Thabo Mbeki to talk to President Mugabe on the position.

The former secretary-general in September shocked the European world when he made a sudden climb-down admitting that Cde Mugabe was a hero in Africa while urging the European Union to ensure that Zimbabwe is invited to next month’s Africa-EU Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.

He said then that he had visited a number of African countries across the continent where "(President) Mugabe is still very much of a hero".

However, Cde Ndlovu said the British have continued to unnecessarily bully Zimbabwe because of the land reform programme, which saw Zimbabweans being resettled on vast tracts of land that was once occupied by a few minority whites.

"The British are bullies who do not want to treat us as equals. They treat the Commonwealth as a political tool to settle their colonial scores and agendas. They treat countries in the Commonwealth as if they are still their colonies and still maintain that mentality, but we are saying no to that kind of treatment, hence our position still remains," he said.

"We ceased to be a British colony after the Union Jack was lowered, folded and sent back to England, but the British were shocked by the land redistribution exercise and our efforts to economically empower our people and acquiring majority stakes in local companies," he said.

He added that Government efforts to economically empower its people had pushed the British to impose illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Cde Ndlovu described the Mr McKinnon as the country’s arch-enemy shedding crocodile tears after calling for economic sanctions that continued to hurt the ordinary Zimbabweans.

"The Commonwealth is actually under pressure from member countries to persuade President Mugabe for Zimbabwe to rejoin the group because their meetings have become dull without the President, but our position still remains," he said.

He, however, called on the group of former British colonies to convince the British and its Western allies to remove the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

Cde Ndlovu also dismissed opposition faction leader Mr Tsvangirai’s call for the Commonwealth to help in the talks currently being held between the ruling Zanu-PF and the two MDC factions.

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