FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa has revealed how he and Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya were recently booted out of a South African hotel at the instigation of unnamed Zimbabweans he accused of an attempt to sabotage the embattled Zanu PF led government.
Chinamasa said the siege on government affairs by enemies who included former ministers in the now defunct inclusive government has been so intense that he and Mangudya now keep their foreign trips a closely guarded secret.
He was, however, quick to boast that the Zanu PF led government has succeeded in defusing the impact of western imposed sanctions on the country.
“The existence of sanctions sends signals to the world that we are not a country to do business with. Some of our colleagues do not quite understand it,” Chinamasa said last week.
“There are very respectable people who wear very expensive suits whom we have given platforms but have been going to undermine the way forward.
“We have gotten to a point where Dr Mangudya and I no longer tell anybody where we are going. I mean it. Our activities are off the record.
“Where ever we went, there would be someone doing an email threatening including former ministers of this inclusive government who should know better,” said the minister.
Chinamasa was addressing diplomats, business and civil society leaders at a discussion forum called by a local think-tank Sapes Trust in collaboration with Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, National Endowment for Democracy and Catham House.
His comments follow government’s refusal last year to reveal where it was printing bond notes, and earlier refusal too, to divulge where and how it was trading the country’s diamonds.
In his address, Chinamasa narrated his nightmares at a South African hotel.
“Last week, we had a conference with the Diasporans in Johannesburg,” he said.
“The hotel where we were originally to hold this was booked three months before. On the afternoon just before the day of the conference, they (hotel staff) said they had been threatened by five people, through emails and so on and had to cancel the booking.
“We only had about two to three hours to look for alternative accommodation.
“This is by Zimbabweans, not by South Africans! Why would you want to stop a dialogue between government and Zimbabweans who are in the Diaspora!
Chinamasa said it was “not good to rubbish our own country”.
But the minister had something to cheer, saying sanctions which the current government has blamed on the country’s economic slide, have lost “tempo”.
“The spirit or the tempo is reducing. It’s still there but it’s reducing,” Chinamasa said in unsolicited comments.
“Clearly, we are not where we were say three, four years ago. There is greater spirit to cooperate, to collaborate and basically to take Zimbabwe back into the mainstream of the world economy.
“Even when we engage with the United States, they are always blaming the congress but overally I think I must acknowledge of course that there has been a reducing commitment to effect regime change on the country and this is why I said we will remain very wary, we will remain on our guard.”
His comments come after the MDC-T and ex-Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s party have taken turns to slam the British government and the IMF for warming up to President Robert Mugabe’s overtures before the Zimbabwean administration could meet their earlier demands for a set of both economic and political reforms.