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EU Ambassador Says Zanu PF Infighting Normal Party Politics

FILE: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaks at the 34th Southern African Development Conference (SADC) summit in Victoria Falls, August 18, 2014.

The European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philipe Van Damme, says there is nothing unusual about the on-going infighting in Zanu PF ahead of the party’s December congress.

Mr. Van Damme says the nature of politics the world over means at one stage or the other opponents will fight for political space as is happening in the ruling party.

Responding to questions after making a presentation on the future of Zimbabwe-European Union relations at the Southern African Political and Economic Series Trust, Van Damme said while it is not the duty of diplomats to discuss internal party politics, what is happening in Zanu PF is not unusual in politics.

The international community is obviously watching events in Harare closely but has largely been silent as the infighting in Zanu PF intensifies ahead of its elective congress.

First Lady Grace Mugabe has intimated in her speeches attacking Vice President Joice Mujuru that her husband’s deputy has been working with some Western countries in an effort push President Mugabe from office.

Several representatives of foreign governments approached by Studio 7 refused to comment, saying the in-fighting was an internal matter.

But some political analysts told Studio 7 while the international community is extremely concerned about the goings-on in Zanu PF, they will not comment publicly as doing so would be violating the law on diplomatic relations.

Political commentator Blessing Vava said the international community does not want to be seen to be interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal politics.

Vava said with President Robert Mugabe, now 90 years old, many Zimbabweans and the international community are anxious to know who would take over the ruling party and possibly the country.

He said even though the EU has lifted sanctions on Zimbabwe, Zanu PF is likely to continue with its Look East Policy after the congress.

But other experts told Studio 7 that Zanu PF looks keen to work with European and international partners as witnessed by the recent visits by business delegations from Britain and Denmark.

Van Damme said the EU is already supporting Zimbabwe in a number of areas including the implementation of the International Monetary Fund’s Staff Monitored Program.

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