Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda and chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development Cde David Chapfika, were recently denied visas by the US embassy to attend an International Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference in Washington.
The conference was meant for Speakers’ of parliament from across the world and was supposed to discuss wealth creation and poverty eradication and ran from April 12-17.
Speaking during the launch of the Zimbabwe Institutional Strategic Plan, Multi-Donor Support Programme for Parliament and Office of the Auditor General, Adv Mudenda reiterated calls that sanctions against Zimbabwe should go.
“I was supposed to attend a Speakers’ forum in Washington two weeks ago and I wasn’t given a visa and up to now I do not know my crime,” he said during the address.
Speaking in an interview afterwards, Adv Mudenda said they were scheduled to meet officials from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
“The meeting was supposed to discuss wealth creation and poverty reduction. I made an application together with Honourable Chapfika and he was also denied.
“The meeting was organised by IPU, an organisation which brings together parliamentarians from all over the world. We were going to interface and the last part of the programme was to meet the IMF to discuss how funding could be accelerated particularly in developing countries,” he said.
Advocate Mudenda said Zimbabwe was not represented at the meeting although some members of his delegation had been given the visas.
“Strangely, our accompanying officials were given visas including my two aides,” he said.
The IPU is parliamentary organisation that was formed in 1989 and is the focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue and works for peace and co-operation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy.
According to information on its website the IPU supports the efforts and works in close co-operation with the United Nations, whose objectives it shares.
Adv Mudenda and Cde Chapfika are part of the 113 senior Government and zanu-pf officials on the US sanctions list.
Apart from the officials on the sanctions list the US also enacted the sanctions law, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act that directs US directors sitting on boards of multi-lateral institutions to vote against Zimbabwe when it comes to receiving support or debt rescheduling.
Meanwhile, Adv Mudenda said he was optimistic that all the sanctions passed against Zimbabwe would eventually end.
“We take a cue from Cuba whose people suffered for 50 years until somebody discovered that sanctions do not work but dialogue,” he said.
Of late relations between Cuba and the US have started thawing with the re-establishment of direct communications between the two Governments after the US embargo failed to topple the Cuban government since its 1959 revolution.
Efforts to get a comment from the US embassy were fruitless.