Powers can’t ‘impose’ solutions on Zim

Foreign powers cannot “impose” political or economic solutions on Zimbabwe even though the deepening crisis in the African nation threatens to destabilise its neighbours, a senior Mozambique official said on Friday.

“Each time you try to impose a solution from the outside, the results most of the time are not what we like,” Henrique Banze, Mozambique’s Deputy Foreign Minister, said in an interview with Reuters.

“We cannot define a plan for them although we are indirectly affected. They have to design it and come to us,” he said.

Banze said Mozambique was frustrated with its inability to get Mugabe’s government to embrace negotiations with political opponents, but he added that the former Portuguese colony would continue to apply diplomatic pressure on Harare.

In 2004 Mugabe rejected a United Nations proposal that would have seen ex-Mozambican President Joaqim Chissano mediate between Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Zimbabwe’s economy, once one of the most promising in Africa, is suffering from a lengthy recession marked by high unemployment, chronic shortages of fuel and food and an inflation rate of 1 281%, the world’s highest.

The crisis, which critics blame on mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe’s government, has disrupted trade links in Southern Africa and led many

Zimbabweans to move to Mozambique, South Africa and other countries in search of work.

Zimbabwe is Mozambique’s second largest trading partner in Africa after South Africa.

In 2006, South African deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad said the increased number of Zimbabwean economic refugees fleeing the meltdown in their country called for an urgent solution. There are reportedly over two million illegal Zimbabweans living in South Africa, he said.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been grappling with the Zimbabwean problem for the past six years, has hitherto stuck to a policy of quiet diplomacy in dealing with the situation.

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