By Dr Masimba Mavaza | In the first dispensation Zimbabwe got alienated from its social circles and found itself with fewer and fewer people to turn to. Imagine realising one day that all your friends and family have gone from your life. Loneliness can be cruel, and it affected millions of people living in Zimbabwe.
The second dispensation had a complete change of focus without changing principles. The President Emmerson Mnangagwa took a path which made Zimbabwe an enemy of none and a friend to all.
This kickstarted the reengagement program. Re-engagement is making life less lonely for millions of Zimbabwean people every year. The nation confirms that reengagement activities are making them happier and more able to trust others. As a nation we now have hope that lives will be impacted positively. Through his wisdom MNANGAGWA has opened doors which were shut for a long time.
The international engagements Zimbabwe participated in gave people a new life,regular afternoons of conversation and laughter with friends of all ages.
“Something to look forward to each month has been made real by the reengagement project.
Zimbabwe has managed stay connected to the outside world.
”Before this, Zimbabwe used to be so lonely surviving on straw.
In 2022 alone Zimbabwe participated in the Cop26 where the president visited Scotland after a long time in the deep freezer of isolation. The same year the president attended Belgium and Switzerland Davos.
Having realised that ED Mnangagwa is serious the
Joe Biden administration invited Zimbabwe to the Africa summit to chat a new path forward with Zimbabwe after almost two decades of sanctions against the late President Robert Mugabe and the whole nation.
The US government sent out formal invitations for its 13 – 15 December US-Africa Leaders. Only governments that don’t have diplomatic relations with the US (Eritrea, Western Sahara) or have been suspended by the African Union (Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Sudan) weren’t invited.
In a marked departure from President Barack Obama’s original 2014 summit, the Biden team asked the government of Zimbabwe to join as the US is getting satisfied by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s flawless leadership. This marked a great international victory a score which is sweeter than honey. Any way Zimbabwe is full of honey and milk. Zimbabwe which is not desperate had to send Ambassador Fredric Shava who is the minister of Foreign Affairs as president Mnangagwa remains under US sanctions, accused of undermining democratic processes in the country despite playing a great role in conserving democracy in Zimbabwe.
Biden’s goal, a National Security Council spokesperson says, was to host a “broadly inclusive summit.” Which obviously exposed their double standards.
Because Zimbabwe is not out to make enemies the president allowed comrade Shava to represent Zimbabwe.
“There are countries across the continent [which] […] struggle and are challenged on the democracy and governance side,” Dana Banks, the White House point person for the summit, tells The Africa Report. “But it’s important to have those conversations, right? You have to be able to talk about your concerns … That is the mature engagement that we are seeking with our African partners.”
The summit which is held yearly saw most African leaders calling for the removal of sanctions.
Zimbabwe’s government welcomed the invitation as a chance to repair ties with Washington a goal which MNANGAGWA has achieved at a speed of light.
“We are in continuous re-engagement with the United States and any other Western country,” Livit Mugejo, a spokesman for the ministry of foreign affairs and international trade, said. So the invitation of Zimbabwe to attend the [US-Africa] summit provided another opportunity for the government to continue with its re-engagement efforts.
To see the clear results of Mnangagwa’s re engagement effort Zimbabwe was invited to the United States-Africa summit despite being on US sanctions for 20 years, because Washington recognised that zimbabwe will shape the future of the world and also because the United States is losing out to China diplomatically it can not do without Zimbabwe and Africa. Washington said in its strategy paper toward Sub-Saharan Africa, published in August: “Sub-Saharan Africa is critical to advancing our global priorities. It has one of the world’s fastest growing populations, largest free trade areas, most diverse ecosystems, and one of the largest regional voting groups in the United Nations (UN).”
While Africa remains the poorest continent, the US says: “It is impossible to meet this era’s defining challenges without African contributions and leadership.
On its strategy towards Africa, Washington says: “This strategy reframes the region’s importance to US national security interests. In November 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed that ‘Africa will shape the future—and not just the future of the African people but of the world’.”
However some Zimbabwe critics in Congress however aren’t pleased. These are the people who have been fed with lies by the Zimbabwean own opposition. Because of these people our efforts to turnaround our fortunes as a country is being slowed down.
African leaders descending on Washington, D.C. for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, was a key moment for the United States to try to reset its relationship with African countries. It was not a one sided affair. The question as heads of state, business leaders, and civil society experts gather is whether the event can deliver on its myriad objectives, from addressing food security to expanding trade. It was a summit which was approached on fifty fifty basis.
There was a comprehensive look at the relationship of Africa and America. It was indeed a two sided affair.
The long gap since the last summit in 2014, along with the tense relationship between the U.S. and Zimbabwe and the US and the continent during former President Donald Trump’s administration — during which he infamously called African nations “shithole countries” — placed extra pressure on the meeting.
After not having an Africa policy during the Trump years, the fact that there was the strategic document that came out in the summer and now this summit, that was a positive step.
There is an expectation that in order to demonstrate a real shift in U.S. policy and attitudes, the summit in future needs to go beyond pageantry, canned speeches, and a parade of symbolic announcements which will be followed by real action.
Zimbabwe needs America to deliver concrete policies, agreements, and business deals. Zimbabwe is open for
Business and will not be willing to waste time on things which are not profitable to us. So Zimbabwe took the summit seriously. President MNANGAGWA does not need just a photo op, but an opportunity to engage on a shared vision, with those who believe in the new dispensation.
The summit came at a fraught time for the continent. Countries are dealing with a deluge of shocks: lingering economic effects of the pandemic, historic high inflation, a mounting debt crisis, rising fuel and food prices, and devastating natural disasters connected to climate change. These have not spared Zimbabwe so we groan under the evil force of these things.
Zimbabwe has been accused of the abysmal human rights, corruption, and democracy breaches. None of these has never been proved.
In a contradicting move
Ahead of the summit, the US Treasury Department lifted sanctions on 11 Zimbabwean officials.
The number of countries which came together to fight on Zimbabwean side was encouraging. Ra Maphosa of South Africa has been lobbying for Zimbabwe to be invited to the summit, and his efforts were rewarded. Ramaphosa also reportedly pressed Biden to lift sanctions a request which we all wait to see. Because of Zimbabwe’s re engagement program the US and other Western powers have long been under pressure from Southern African nations to amend their policy toward Harare.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has repeatedly called for the removal of international sanctions on Zimbabwe, arguing that they harm the country’s economy and that of the entire region. The 16-member group has declared 25 October as ‘Anti-Sanctions Day’ in solidarity with Harare.
President Mnangagwa’s effort has helped. As we move to the 2023 elections we must look at the achievements achieved by the president and by ZANU PF.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on Human Rights, Alena Douhan, likewise denounced the humanitarian impact of the decades-old sanctions after visiting Zimbabwe last year.
Back in Zimbabwe ED is moving on building the country brick by brick. He needs one more term to complete the work he has started. The country is built by its owners.