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Mugabe Says Zimbabwe Ready to Engage Western Nations

President Robert Mugabe being driven in the traditional limmousine at the official opening ceremony

President Robert Mugabe officially opened the eighth parliament of Zimbabwe on Tuesday saying his government is ready to engage countries that have previously imposed sanctions on him, members of his inner circle and a number of companies.

President Mugabe, who has been isolated from the international community, the West in particular, for more than 10 years said Zimbabwe is ready to work with all progressive members of the global community.

Mr. Mugabe said sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe must be removed unconditionally.
He spoke as the European Union (EU) agreed to lift sanctions on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation on Tuesday.

EU Foreign Affairs spokesman Michael Mann said European block had carried out a review of the ZMDC’s inclusion on the regional body’s sanctions list and “begun the process of delisting the ZMDC”.

Belgium, the centre of global diamond trade, pushed for the policy change following an earlier agreement which Britain had been reneging on. The removal of the ZMDC from the list boosts Mr. Mugabe’s Zanu PF party which has been calling for the lifting of the so-called targeted measures imposed in 2002 over alleged vote rigging and rights abuses.

Mr. Mugabe said he will fight corruption, adding his government will intensify the indigenisation process to ensure Zimbabweans are significant players in the economy.

The president said government has established the Zimbabwe Public Service Investment Trust to ensure public servants’ participation in the indigenisation program.

Mr. Mugabe said, among other issues, the first session of the eight parliament will pass legislation that will deal with lawmakers that abuse the Constituency Development Fund.

Official opening of parliament
Official opening of parliament
He said government will transform parastatals into profit-making and transparent entities, adding management will now be required to sign performance based contracts.

Mr. Mugabe said his government will fight corruption and members of the Anti-Corruption Commission will have to declare their assets to ensure graft is rooted out of both private and public entities.

Some of the bills that parliament will deliberate on include the Land Commission Bill, the Border Post Authority Bill, Public Private Partnership Bill and the Sovereignty Wealth Fund Bill.

Parliament was officially opened amid pomp and fanfare that included a police mounted escort for the presidential limousine, a military parade, inspection of the guard of honor, a military parade and an air force fly-past.