By A Correspondent- The Zanu-PF government has tasked Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo to approach the United States President-elect Joe Biden in a fresh bid to mend the frosty relations between Harare and Washington.
This was disclosed last week by acting Zanu-PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa who told journalists that government had resolved to engage Biden and his team to ensure that Zimbabwe is admitted to the international community and improve relations with the US which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
“The coming in of Biden may not change much for us. However, we believe that a lot of water has gone under the bridge and there is no reason anymore for our relations to continue being frosty,” Chinamasa said.
“We have tasked Moyo to engage the Americans for improved relations because there have been a lot of changes on the ground, which do not warrant the continuation of the strained relationship,” he said.
Chinamasa said they were aware that Biden was the co-author of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Reform Act (Zidera), adding that he was convinced that the sanctions law could be repealed by Biden and his new team.
“Biden co-authored Zidera with other senators from his Democrats camp and Republicans. Zidera was then signed into law in December 2001 by (President George) Bush, cutting Zimbabwe from accessing international loans and capital for development. They had thought that by enacting that law they would collapse our economy immediately, but they failed. A lot has changed on the ground. Biden should see that we must work together and repeal Zidera,” he said.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the White House were strained after the later imposed sanctions on the country citing human rights abuses and electoral malpractices.
Biden as a senator back then, cosponsored Zidera which was signed into law by the Bush (Jnr) in 2001 at the height of the violent land grabs by Zanu-PF militias.
Biden recently won the US presidential race against sitting President Donald Trump and is set to be sworn in as the country’s 46th President on January 20, 2021.
However, Trump has refused to concede defeat or to participate in the transition to allow Biden to move into White House. Analysts have likened Trump’s behaviour to that of dictators such as the late former President Robert Mugabe.
Relations between the US and Zimbabwe deteriorated further during the Trump administration when Chinamasa described the US ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols “a thug”.
Zanu-PF accused the US delegation of fomenting unrest ahead of planned anti-corruption demonstrations on July 31.
The party also threatened the US ambassador with expulsion, amid intensified crackdown on opposition and union activists ahead of the foiled anti-corruption demonstrations.
Government has been pressing for the removal of the sanctions with its voice amplified by Sadc and African Union leaders who also sang the same chorus that they should be removed. However, political analysts said Biden’s win did not necessarily mean that the US foreign policy on Zimbabwe would change.
US said it would not remove the sanctions against Zimbabwe unless it undertook electoral reforms and respected human rights.