Out-going German Envoy accuses Zimbabwean Generals of politicking

Harare, – Outgoing German ambassador to Zimbabwe, Albrecht Conze has advised that while Zimbabwe was on its way out of the doldrums, the military should stop dabbling in politics.\r\n

“Generals should stay in their barracks,” he advised. “It never works if generals mix in politics, not anywhere in the world.”

Conze’s remarks come in the wake of statements by Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba that the country should have elections this year, while at the same time saying President Mugabe should be life president.

“There are two statements that Zimbabwe should hold elections this year and the other that Mugabe should be president for life, even someone at secondary school would be laughing at these contradictions,” he said.

Nyikayaramaba’s statements have elicited condemnation from political parties and civic society, who argue that this is evidence that the country needs security sector reform before any elections are held.

On sanctions, the German ambassador said he was optimistic that these would have been repealed within the next two years.

“These restrictive measures for 160 people are not cast in stone, my personal prognosis on that is that two years from now nobody will be talking about them as they would have seen their day,” Conze who has been in Zimbabwe for almost three years said.

He was optimistic that Zimbabwe was on its way out of the woods and in about a decade it would be self sufficient and able to bail out its African neighbours.

The out-going ambassador said he was optimistic that the Southern African Development Community would be able to stamp its authority on the Zimbabwe issue, making sure that the country would not have flawed elections.

“All signals from Pretoria are pointing to the direction that the troika meeting in Zambia will be the basis of that meeting,” he said.

The Zambia meeting, held about two months ago, was considered as a turning point with regional leaders taking a harder stance against Mugabe. A follow up meeting is scheduled for 12 and 13 June in South Africa, although proper dates are still to be fixed.

Conze said he had been able to change how Zimbabwe was viewed in Germany and this had seen a lot of investors seeking investment opportunities in the country.

He said Zimbabwe was now viewed as a rogue and a failed state and was now seen in the same light as the Democratic Republic of Congo, something that was far from the truth.

Conze also said his country could have brought in lots of foreign direct investment in the country if the government had not introduced the controversial business laws.

Conze said every foreign investor who looked at Zimbabwe’s indigenisation laws which forces companies to cede 51 percent of their shares to locals, must think which world Zimbabwe lives. He said Zanu (PF’s) claims that everyone in the world was indigenising and favouring locals to foreigners was not true, adding that the big rise of the Eastern Tigers and then of China came from the opposite attitude.

“It came from opening up and attracting foreign capital. It came from saying look we are here we want to develop but we are undercapitalized, what do you want to invest?”

Zanu (PF) is using the law for its political mileage by threatening to seize foreign owned companies which it is promising to give to indigenous people.

Conze was bidding journalists farewell on Thursday. He said he would embark on a one year study at Harvard University.