Sunday 7 April 2024


 PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has emphasised Zanu-PF’s neutrality in the opposition’s internal conflicts and acknowledged the potential advantage it presents for his party, saying the struggles are an opportunity to solidify Zanu-PF’s dominance in Zimbabwe’s democratic landscape.

In an exclusive interview with “Brick by Brick” magazine, the President admitted to relishing the opposition’s internal strife. For him, these battles serve a purpose — they weaken the adversary, rendering it incapable of challenging Zanu-PF.

When asked about the factional wars that have left the Western-born opposition in disarray, the President’s response was succinct: “I laugh and enjoy.”

“Look, I am the head of a political party. If my opponents are fighting, I laugh and enjoy. Why would I bother to say I want a very strong opposition that can challenge me?

“It’s good to have an opposition. Our laws allow opposition that is why opposition parties are here. They have their internal conflicts and internal difficulties. It’s legitimate to them. They must resolve their problems. They cannot expect Zanu-PF to go and intervene and say, ‘Look, you are becoming weaker and weaker, and this is not good for us.’ NO! We will not do that,” said the President.

After losing last year’s harmonised elections to Zanu-PF, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) finds itself ensnared in factional wars marked by recalls from both Parliament and local authorities. These internal conflicts have not only triggered costly by-elections but have also led to CCC splintering into four distinct factions. These factions now vie for access to funds disbursed under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.

In response to wild and baseless assertions by opposition officials and their supporters regarding infiltration, the President’s solution is straightforward — remove the infiltrators.

“They should remove those who have infiltrated them (laughs). That is the only solution. Just remove them,” he said.

Furthermore, President Mnangagwa said that the governing party, which played a pivotal role in establishing democracy and political pluralism following a protracted liberation struggle, cannot enact laws that suppress individuals  from expressing diverse opinions or viewpoints.

“If people don’t understand each other and can’t work together, they will say so. You can’t put a law that says don’t differ  (laughs)”.

On the international stage, the President vehemently criticised the American government for overlooking the genocidal massacre of Palestinians in Gaza by Israel. Paradoxically, the same America then proceeded to lecture Zimbabwe about democracy and human rights, employing a double-edged approach.

“This is why we have said America applies double standards. This is a clear example of double standards. There is nothing about human rights you can speak of here in Zimbabwe, totally.

“We are a free, democratic country. We allow the opposition and we allow elections. If America wants to know where democracy is practised, they should come to Harare. They should come to Zimbabwe and see democracy in practice,” he said.

Zimbabwe, in its bold attempt to rectify colonial land inequities, faced the imposition of illegal economic sanctions by the Western world. The punitive embargoes were explicitly wielded as a tool for regime change.

Recently, the US made partial adjustments to these illegal sanctions, but President Mnangagwa remains steadfast — such piecemeal changes are unacceptable. The sanctions must be entirely lifted.

“Well, these sanctions have been placed on us since 2001. It’s now about 23 years on. These sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are illegal. That is the position also of the United Nations Security Council. Now, the Biden administration proposed to remove some of them and leave some of them on.

“We are saying no. In the first place, they are totally illegal. They must go in totality. We cannot feel that he is being benevolent by removing part of the illegality and leaving part of the illegality on us. The illegality must go in total,” he said.

“These sanctions have been on us for more than 23 years. I don’t think there is anybody in Zimbabwe who is losing sleep over the sanctions. We only get reminded of the sanctions when people talk about them. We don’t feel that we are on sanctions,” said the President.

President Mnangagwa reaffirmed Zimbabwe’s commitment to its engagement and re-engagement efforts on the international stage. Simultaneously, the country remains focused on implementing policies that drive accelerated industrialisation and modernisation, aligning with the ambitious goals of Vision 2030.

*Chronicle will tomorrow publish another story from the interview, the President addressing the Gukurahundi issue and exploring avenues for a lasting solution. Herald


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