MEMBERS of the Germany Parliament on Tuesday said President Robert Mugabe’s government should not expect financial aid from Berlin “any time soon” for as long as corruption and human rights violations persist.
Head of the visiting Bundestag delegation, Frank Heinrich, said Germany had “doubts” about Harare’s approach to governance.
He said: “We had our doubts and that has been so for some years now, about the democratic ways and the approach by the government that happens to be in power putting it down to the grass roots people.”
Heinrich and his colleagues are in Zimbabwe for dialogue with President Mugabe’s government. The five member Bundestag delegation which will also visit several other African countries for similar engagements, met with Zimbabwean government officials including the speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, and members of the civil society.
Germany is one of the western countries which slapped President Mugabe with sanctions for gross human and property rights violations in 2002 following political violence which was preceded by the land grab programme which displaced white commercial farmers from their land without compensation.
The human rights situation continued to worsen after the sanctions regime was put in place but was to improve significantly between 2009 and 2013 when President Mugabe and the two MDC formations were in a Government of National Unity.
However, the situation was to change again after the tenure of the five year long fragile political coalition.
Of late, there have been fresh reports of abductions and the arresting of peaceful protesters throughout the country, forcing some EU member states and the US government to call for both calm and respect for human rights.
“So, we are saying we want to talk with you and we want to invest in relations, but as long as these points have not been clarified we are not giving any money because we want to be responsible to our tax payers for every cent we give and we want to be in control of that,” said Heinrich.
He added: “We are not giving government any money as long as they do not show us that they have done what they promised in areas of corruption, human rights, freedom of speech and some democratic areas.”
This comes soon after deputy foreign affairs minister, Edgar Mbwembwe, said Zimbabwe looked up to “great” Germany and pleaded for assistance. Speaking on the EU member state’s national day in Harare last week, Mbwembwe said Zimbabwe was grateful to Germany for the “support and the goodwill”.