"We will solve own problems" – Mutambara

Harare — The embattled DPM Arthur Mutambara has told Netherlands ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Jos Weterings, that Zimbabweans will solve their problems not to please Europe but because it is in the national interest to do so.

Ambassador Weterings had paid a courtesy call on DPM Mutambara at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare and had an hour-long closed-door meeting with him.

The flip-floping DPM Mutambara said Zimbabwe would continue to engage and deal with Europe as an independent nation and as equals. "We are saying to the Netherlands and Europe understand us as one people, as one nation. The inclusive Government is going to succeed. Zimbabweans are working together and have decided to bury the hatchet," he said.

"We want to continue engaging Europe as an independent nation with capacity and authority. We deal with Europe as equals. We deal with the Netherlands as equals. Yes to negotiations. Yes to engagement but on our own terms."

DPM Mutambara said Ambassador Weterings’ courtesy call came at a time when Zimbabweans were celebrating the life of the late fearless founding nationalist and national hero Vice President Joseph Msika whom he described as a great unifier. "Zimbabwe is going to continue with the spirit of vaMsika  working together as Zimbabweans," he said.

DPM Mutambara said it was important to present "a team Zimbabwe approach" as the nation commemorated Heroes Day.

Asked what kind of support the Netherlands had given to the inclusive Government so far, Ambassador Weterings said his country provided humanitarian assistance last year worth US$30 million and about US$20 million this year.

But DPM Mutambara told Ambassador Weterings that although Zimbabwe appreciated humanitarian aid, it required investment. "What we want is investment not handouts, not charity. "We want investors from Netherlands and Europe to work with us. We are open for business. While we appreciate aid but that is not what we want. Our future is trade and economic development," he said.

In response Ambassador Weterings said: "We are trying to move from food aid to providing seed and fertiliser."

Relations with a number of countries that had adopted a hard line stance against Zimbabwe started mellowing following the formation of the inclusive Government this year.