On the occasion of Zimbabwe’s 41st Independence Day, Zimbabwe’s envoy to Ankara Alfred Mutiwazuka stated his country is “a chum to all and an enemy to none”. Talking to Anadolu Agency completely, Ambassador Mutiwazuka highlighted the Sothern African country’s publish-independence high-tail, and the hot international policy. He stated Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has viewed the country do essential progress, bettering governance, opening up home political space, upholding the rule of law and property rights and guidance the country toward a new period. Noting that “Zimbabwe is originate for substitute”, Mutiwazuka moreover commented on Turkey-Zimbabwe household, contemporary developments within the country besides to the continuing pandemic and its effects. Excerpts:
On April 18, 1980, Zimbabwe gained its independence from the UK. What is the significance of Zimbabwe’s Independence Day?
Alfred Mutiwazuka: Let me open by announcing that I’m proud to reveal that I preserve a historical truth of being the important resident ambassador of Zimbabwe to Turkey, which is a mannequin country. Let me moreover proper desire all people a joyful Ramadan as we moreover revel in our Independence Day. Now, going abet to the historical previous of the country. You realize we got independence on April 18, 1980, and we outdated to be known as “Rhodesia”.
We’re a feeble colony of the British empire. Rather a pair of the countries in southern Africa had been colonized by the British, so that you would possibly per chance presumably presumably uncover that we say English in heaps of the southern Africa. But, Zimbabwe needed to fight a power armed battle in inform to realize independence. It used to be spirited for the British colonialists to let breeze Zimbabwe. Right here’s extraordinarily essential, this signifies that of we aloof appreciate challenges of interference in my country. Most severely attributable to the assets. Zimbabwe is neatly off in assets fancy minerals, agriculture, and basically the most productive sunshine on this planet. Even the British management outdated to get hold of new meat from Zimbabwe on a weekly basis.
Now having stated that, we went to Lancaster Dwelling convention, having a unilateral declaration of independence from feeble Top Minister Ian Smith, and this signifies that there used to be an agreement with the British empire which gave birth to this country known as Zimbabwe.
At present now, we are going to appreciate 41 years of self-rule, self-independence. For us, we are very indispensable furious by the fact that we had been able to make your mind up our appreciate destiny as a country. But this has attain at a rate. Cherish I indicated earlier on, you’ll uncover that heaps of the feeble colonial masters aloof appreciate so indispensable curiosity in our country.
My country persevered more than 20 years of business sanctions from the Western countries. Why I ought to mention that is this signifies that of after we went to the Lancaster Dwelling negotiations, which gave birth to Zimbabwe, basically the most emotive field used to be that of land.
You would maybe presumably presumably uncover that sooner than independence, about 80 to 90% of the land, the productive land, used to be owned by a pair of folks, largely white folks, white industrial farmers. Majority folks had been confined to what we known as tribal trustees. As a consequence, after we went to negotiations with the British authorities for the period of the Lancaster Dwelling convention, we agreed that after a particular period, the precept which we agreed to at Lancaster, which used to be known as the “keen vendor, keen buyer precept” when it involves farm acquisition can be utilized for a particular period. Then after that the authorities can pass in and take the land.
But what came about then used to be all confusion attributable to successive changes when it involves the British management led by conservatives. I ponder it used to be very deliberate. It used to be a signed agreement, but they made up our minds to withdraw from that. So, the predominant plan back used to be that the British authorities failed to fund the land reform program. So this gave birth to a plan back where majority of the oldsters within the country grew wired.
So here is the background to our independence. Zimbabwe used to be a breadbasket of the SADC [Southern African Development Community] location. We outdated to manufacture food to feed the total of southern Africa. We outdated to export heaps of our minerals, we outdated to export heaps of our goods. But as time went by and the land reform program began, biting sanctions had been imposed. This affected almost every sector of our economy. So the brand new authorities, the brand new dispensation, is now seeking to readdress all those challenges which are the disorders of human rights, governance, rule of law, reforms in electoral acts etc.
I’m able to now relate you safely that this has been a exciting time for the previous three years. My new president is getting heaps of kudos from the worldwide community. As a truly breeze instance, we did appreciate a presence here in Turkey, but after the brand new president came in 2017, his first project used to be to originate Zimbabwe for substitute. He noticed Turkey as our savior when it involves financial relationships. That is precisely where we are now. We desire to appreciate an very fair proper time what we appreciate done within the previous 40 years. We desire our appreciate destiny, we grab what we desire. We moreover appreciate chums, so here is precisely where we are.
Since its independence, what are some areas that Zimbabwe has made progress in all these years and what are some areas it is striving to toughen and toughen?
I’m able to reveal one space where Zimbabwe has made essential progress and it is the training sector. At present, Zimbabwe’s literacy payment is ready 93%. We’re no 1 in Africa, primarily based fully on UNESCO, when it involves the literacy payment. Whenever you breeze to Zimbabwe this present day, you would possibly per chance presumably presumably say to anybody in English or in local languages.
We have got about 12 provinces, and there are colleges and a faculty in every province. One of the most provinces appreciate two universities. In every fraction of the country, you’ll uncover a important and a secondary college. There are moreover technical colleges. So we appreciate made training because the core field when it involves our style.
We have got moreover made progress in agriculture. All all over again, fancy I discussed the topic of land reform. Of course, there used to be a flight of experienced farmers, who knew farm the land. But as soon as they left, we moreover had some folks who worked on the farms and had which appreciate. So agricultural sector didn’t endure that indispensable when it involves production.
We’re able to manufacture food, we are aloof able to export a pair of of our food. But basically the most productive plan back we had in successive years is that of drought. Zimbabwe relies largely on rain, which comes around October, November, December. If we produce no longer appreciate rains, then we endure.
We moreover appreciate one other sector known as the energy, which provides electrical energy to the country. It used to be very right after independence. The authorities’s policy to do distinct every Zimbabwean has access to electrical energy and access to water, keep aside stress on the few power know-how facilities.
The authorities launched a rural electrification program where folks within the rural areas would possibly per chance presumably presumably well moreover access electrical energy. But then, the predominant points of energy production, fancy our Kariba Hydroelectric Dam and the Hwange Thermal Energy Place did no longer meet the necessities of the brand new dispensation and the brand new economy, this signifies that of all people desired to manufacture and all people wanted access to electrical energy. Thus, the authorities used so to access worldwide finance, and there is a rehabilitation course of ongoing at Hwange Thermal Energy Place.
After I came to Turkey, I realized that we can moreover do insist of the expertise of Turkish substitute folks’s solar production. They appreciate solar facilities here. I appreciate visited a pair of of the companies and I ponder we can fragment that too this signifies that of in Zimbabwe we moreover appreciate sunshine all year long. We can get hold of pleasure from solar energy.
The different space of success has been our health sector. Cherish I stated, when the authorities came within the few health facilities, hospitals, and clinics had been supposed for a pair of folks. As they made up our minds to expand all these facilities to the total folks, there used to be stress. However the authorities used to be able again to appreciate a clinic in every province, we call them provincial hospitals, and clinics in shrimp areas or suburbs. They customarily made particular that health services are free for all folks. That used to be moderately an fulfillment by the authorities.
Then, obviously, we moreover say regarding the topic of worldwide household. Zimbabwe at that time, earlier than independence, used to be an remoted country. We made up our minds that we wished to affix, what we call, the community of countries. We did that, and we had been active participants in worldwide organizations, in particular the UN, the African Union, SADC and other worldwide financial establishments. I’m able to relate you our presence in those worldwide our bodies has been moderately impactful. We have got had moderately a bit interactions and engagement with those explicit establishments and this has helped us in a single method moreover to preserve a long way off from the very awful destiny of sanctions.
So, briefly, I desired to certainly fragment with you the successes of the previous 41 years, no longer to reveal that we appreciate failed in other sectors. It’s proper a quiz of after we proceeded with our land reform program and then we started getting heaps of “battling” from the Western countries. No doubt, our economy suffered. And as it suffered, other sectors moreover adopted. So we realized that by the quit of 2016-2017, when the brand new authorities, now led by President Mnangagwa, made up our minds that we wished a new imaginative and prescient for the country. We made up our minds to trade the course in 2017, and here is precisely where we are.
So, no topic issues we had when it involves the land reform program, I’m able to fortunately insist you that that has been settled this signifies that of the hot authorities signed, what we call, the worldwide political agreement with the farmers who their farms. There’s a plan back of compensation for these farmers, and here is a plan back which is moreover being addressed at worldwide level. My supreme hope is that as soon as here is settled, the rest sanctions, in particular from the People, will be eliminated. Then Zimbabwe can pass indispensable faster when it involves financial style.
Is there any cooperation with Turkey within the gap of coaching?
We worth the reference to Turkey. Truly, sooner than our opening an embassy in Turkey, we had been privileged to appreciate scholarships, extended by the authorities of Turkey by approach to its establishments. And as I say to you today, I ponder we appreciate about 165 of our Zimbabwean students attending colleges in Turkish universities, courtesy of scholarships. So, that program is ongoing.
On a aspect expose, when I provided my credentials to His Excellency President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in November 2019, he addressed the identical field [of cooperation in education]. I stated: “Your Excellency, we appreciate so indispensable stress when it involves faculty students, and dropouts from high college. We produce no longer appreciate ample universities.” And he asked: “So what produce you want me to provide” and I stated per chance you would possibly per chance presumably presumably take in most of our students who ought to pass to faculty. He elevated the selection of scholars who’re going to peep in Turkey from 20 to 50 directly. I certainly used to be moderately furious. Thus, the collaboration is there.
You say regarding the Maarif Foundation, and we are engaged on a sexy framework fancy a MoU [memorandum of understanding]. We’re already taking a take a look at into it so that they would possibly be able to dwelling up their colleges in Zimbabwe. We’re moreover having Yunus Emre Foundation to educate Turkish language, today with my colleagues here, we are learning Turkish language. So that collaboration is already ongoing. We’re moreover taking a take a look at at partnerships between local universities… So many colleges of cooperation, engineering, agriculture, ITC etc. We have got got the framework, but sadly attributable to the hot COVID-19 rules there has no longer been indispensable movement.
Within Turkey’s policy of “Opening Up to Africa”, the country opened its embassy in Harare in 2011. Since then, bilateral household and the frequency of high-level contacts appreciate elevated between the two countries. How would you preserve in suggestions the hot space of household between Turkey and Zimbabwe?
AM: We established diplomatic household with Turkey on June 21, 1982.Tthe Turkish embassy in Harare used to be doing wonders earlier than we even came here, so a pair of of the agreements which are at the signing level had been done even earlier than we came here to Turkey as an embassy. So, we are engaged on that and it is going to be fully realized. The Turkish embassy in Harare since 2011 has been able to in fact penetrate when it involves making known the international policy of Turkey and moreover what they are in Zimbabwe for. Zimbabweans began to chat about Turkey. They had heard about Turkey however the bodily presence of the embassy made an impact.
We have got benefited from the Zimbabwe-Turkey partnership or even the Africa-Turkey partnership. What we appreciate done now as a country is that we appreciate opened an embassy here, and appreciate in operation the Zimbabwe-Turkey substitute council. Right here’s a truly efficient technique when it involves doing substitute in Turkey and Zimbabwe.
An agreement has already been signed between the Turkey’s international household board and one of our confederation of Zimbabwe industries and the two are working collectively to do distinct agencies are able to fragment data.
Let me relate you that Turkey as a country is very standard in Zimbabwe. You say of Turkey, and folks snarl they ought to breeze to Turkey attributable to the quality of goods. We have got been importing heaps of our completed products attributable to the sanctions. The usual of completed products from other countries in all equity wretched, but when these products attain from Turkey all people desires to employ. I ought to take this likelihood to call on the Turkish businesspeople to focal point on doing massive investments in Zimbabwe. Please let’s appreciate your completed products, more of those completed products in Zimbabwe. Honest straight away, we are in want of products from Turkey this signifies that of our substitute has been incapacitated.
We produce no longer appreciate substitute working, we produce no longer appreciate manufacturing sector working attributable to sanctions. We can’t access capital, we can’t get hold of novel instruments and machinery to provide the manufacturing we outdated to provide and as a outcomes there is shortage of distinct goods. I always call on our businesspeople to realize abet to Turkey, aid substitute boards and conferences so that they would possibly be able to see what they wish and do preparations to get hold of these completed goods. So in that respect, I’m able to reveal the presence of Turkey in Zimbabwe used to be very helpful.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic appreciate an impact on bilateral household? Was as soon as there a operate dwelling for the household and if that’s the case, did they both attain their targets?
I ought to admit that after we came to Turkey as an embassy in October 2019, we had been working very laborious to do distinct distinct projects, distinct areas of cooperation are realized as rapid as imaginable. But COVID-19 came in 2020 and our plans to put collectively high-level legitimate visits between the two countries had been affected. That will presumably presumably had been essential this signifies that of within the occasion you see and say over with every other, you get hold of a snappily figuring out which then outcomes into an MoU or an agreement. Unfortunately, that failed.
Last year, my minister of international affairs used to be imagined to support Antalya Diplomatic Discussion board, but attributable to COVID-19 he would possibly per chance presumably presumably well no longer attain. The Turkey-Africa partnership moot used to be moreover keep aside off attributable to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected all people. We had been moreover hit the method proper fancy every other country. But it certainly moreover relies on the health transport procedure we appreciate at home. My country is under sanctions, which moreover hit the health sector, resulting in shortages of equipment and instruments. The COVID-19 came fancy a death certificate for all people… Fortuitously, the authorities used so to intervene, securing the topic materials which used to be wished. I’m able to guarantee you that my president and the authorities used so to possess the pandemic in step with the WHO protocols.
We’re moreover joyful this signifies that of there are heaps of lessons learned for the period of the time of COVID-19. One of many lessons used to be produce substitute within the brand new identical outdated that is on-line substitute, Zoom conferences etc. Right here’s what we had been doing to do distinct we preserve the lines of conversation originate between the two governments. This has been very efficient. We have got been keeping conferences between authorities departments here and our counterparts in Harare. We can also signal an agreement by approach to a Zoom meeting and that is the reason precisely what we are doing.
There are a vary of companies here in Turkey which are focused on working in Zimbabwe in sectors fancy energy, infrastructure, highways, and shopping malls. We’re already engaged on agreements on this regard.
What are some areas Zimbabwe appears to be like to be to cooperate in with Turkey, in particular with a bilateral substitute quantity that reached $17.7 million in 2019?
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As I told you earlier, one of predominant sanctions from the EU is palms embargo on Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a feeble British colony, so all our products, militia instruments had been imported from the UK. So, as soon as they keep aside sanctions on Zimbabwe, that used to be the quit. As a consequence of sanctions, you would possibly per chance presumably presumably’t get hold of spare functions, can no longer accelerate the aircraft, can no longer power the automotive.
But, obviously, the authorities managed to provide one or two things, conserving the militia actions in operation. Right here’s one space which I had been religiously talking to my colleagues here from the defense substitute. There are three companies I appreciate talked to. They are into substitute of autos, armored autos, drones and tanks. Some of them are going to Zimbabwe as rapidly as imaginable to say about with their Zimbabwean counterparts.
We chanced on a gap in Turkey attributable to the products… I’m joyful about it this signifies that of we are no longer certain by the EU sanctions on Zimbabwe, we are able to provide substitute in that respect. As a consequence, our counterparts stated yes they would possibly be able to breeze to Zimbabwe and take a look at at what we appreciate and per chance modernize our total militia instruments which I chanced on very provocative… They had been imagined to pass to Zimbabwe last month but attributable to COVID-19, there had been some changes. But I’m hoping that within the next two months they’ll have the selection to pass and meet the connected technical folks and see how we can pass on.
In phrases of quantity of substitute, it’s no longer very thrilling. I ponder basically the most novel figure I got used to be fancy $20 million which is correct a figure when it involves what we can produce. His Excellency Erdogan challenged me when I met him. He stated ambassador now that you is also here you’ve work to provide, within the occasion you allow this country I desire you to hit $100 million quantity of substitute between both countries. I stated, His Excellency, I will produce it and he told me produce it. He stated from now on do particular to work with the chamber of commerce, Abroad Financial Relatives Board of Turkey (DEIK) and moreover with the substitute councils.
Right here’s precisely what we had been doing, I’m able to relate you that we are getting right outcomes. The most straightforward plan back is the topic of COVID-19 … Turkish substitute folks ought to breeze to Zimbabwe, they ought to take a look at what’s accessible, they ought to substitute with Zimbabwe. The agreements are in predicament. We have got already got gorgeous devices in predicament so that they are able to operate with self belief and guarded when it involves investments. I appreciate an responsibility, I ought to develop this relationship between Turkey and Zimbabwe. I am hoping that with all this pork up I’m getting from the authorities of Turkey, the businesspeople will have the selection to provide it. The quantity of substitute is very low, we should always make stronger it.
Last month, the Zimbabwe authorities stated it targets to vaccinate 10 million folks against the brand new coronavirus. What number of folks had been vaccinated to this point? Is the vaccination advertising and marketing campaign welcomed by the customary public?
The field of COVID-19 has been a plan back. There had been so many myths surrounding COVID-19. Some stated it be proper a flu and this is able to presumably presumably well breeze away the next day to come … But it certainly grew to turn out to be out to be moderately a project for all governments. I ought to proudly snarl that my authorities has done thoroughly when it involves vaccination, when it involves containing the pandemic. We had been the important in Africa to receive the SinoPharm vaccine from China and moreover the SinoVac. The vaccination program is occurring thoroughly.
The vaccination had its appreciate issues in my country this signifies that of so indispensable counterfeit data is circulating on social media. Apparently, folks focal point on in these conspiracies theories, so there is resistance … We have got resistance even from health staff.
The last statistics I got used to be that we are now at number eight amongst the Africa countries that are vaccinating folks. We had been the important country on this planet to pass to a tourist resort known as Victoria Falls to vaccinate folks and tourists in that total city. I know Turkey has a truly right tourism sector and I desire this insist would possibly per chance presumably presumably well moreover be carried in touristic places. I ought to moreover thank the Turkish authorities for vaccinating all of us… Thanks very indispensable.