THE principals in the inclusive Government of Zimbabwe do not have the people’s mandate to keep extending the life of the current administration, President Mugabe told the visiting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Navanethem Pillay yesterday.
For that reason, he added, Zimbabwe will be going for elections this year without fail.
He said principals in the inclusive Government do not have the people’s mandate to continue extending the life of the Global Political Agreement – the legal document that gave effect to the current arrangement.
President Mugabe had an hour-and-a-half-long meeting with Ms Pillay at State House.
Sources said the President told the UN envoy that elements scared of elections were deliberately delaying the completion of the Constitution-making process.
“They touched on the issue of elections with President Mugabe bemoaning the slow pace of the Constitution-making process, which he blames on those who are afraid of going for elections,” a source told The Herald newspaper.
Quoting the President, the source said: “The President said, no, we must have elections this year. In any case, principals to the GPA do not have the mandate of the people to extend the life of the inclusive Government to next year.”
President Mugabe outlined to Ms Pillay how illegal Western sanctions were hurting the economy and the people of Zimbabwe.
“He told Ms Pillay that the illegal sanctions on the country were causing economic hardships and infringing on the enjoyment of economic and social rights by citizens.
“He gave an example of Bulawayo where industries have closed down as a result of sanctions,” the source said.
President Mugabe narrated to Ms Pillay how Zimbabweans were not benefiting from minerals such as diamonds because of sanctions, saying the Americans were frustrating diamond sales despite the fact that the country was granted permission to export her gems by the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme.
The US intercepts payments meant for Zimbabwe whenever the country exports its diamonds, through the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
President Mugabe also talked about the abuse of the country by the Western media that peddle lies about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.
Ms Pillay told President Mugabe that she celebrated his release from prison during the war of liberation.
“She said she celebrated Cde Mugabe’s release from prison and followed his life history, which has been one of struggle for the civil and political rights of his people,” the source said.
In an interview after meeting the President, Ms Pillay commended President Mugabe’s stance against political violence.
“I commended the President for making a call that there should be no violence in future elections and I urged him to continue to make such calls.
“I also urged him to ensure that future elections would be free and fair,” she said.
Ms Pillay said President Mugabe recounted to her the country’s history and attributed “some of the current problems to the past”.
Earlier, Ms Pillay had visited Boka Tobacco Auction Floors where she interacted with farmers.
The UN envoy acknowledged the pivotal role the historical land reform programme has played in empowering the poor.
“I see that there has been an improvement. Poor people and women now have the dignity to produce (on farms) and see their children going up to university.
“I have noticed women farmers. This is welcome and it gives them an opportunity to claim property rights,” she said.
Ms Pillay’s visit comes at a time when most tobacco farmers have already sold their crop since the opening of the selling season.
However, Ms Pillay observed that most women were still disempowered as they did not own land.
She said smallholder farmers were also facing challenges such as lack of inputs.
“I need to know how they can be assisted and to know how Government is responding,” Ms Pillay said. She said she was impressed that former farm workers “now have the dignity to produce their own crop”.
Ms Pillay sought to know how farmers were allocated land by Government.
She asked if there was discrimination according to political affiliation during land redistribution.
“This programme is open to all Zimbabweans who want it and can apply for it,” said Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chairperson Ms Monica Chinamasa.
She added: “What happened was that some people could not believe it and stood aside and watched but after realising the land reform is a reality and other people are benefiting from farming they now need land.
“There is serious need for land. The programme is open to everyone.”
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