Mnangagwa Shoves Self To UN Struggling for AU Recognition
19 September 2023
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Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Desperation: A Risky Gambit at the United Nations General Assembly

By Farai D Hove | Emmerson Mnangagwa, the President of Zimbabwe, finds himself in a precarious position as he embarks on a journey to the 78th Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly. His decision to attend this global gathering is marked by the glaring absence of recognition from the majority of African continent leaders, with only a small circle of personal friends extending their support. This desperate move exposes the challenges facing Mnangagwa’s presidency and his quest for international legitimacy.

The Zimbabwean state media, particularly the Herald newspaper, has been instrumental in crafting a narrative that downplays the crisis of legitimacy surrounding Mnangagwa’s presidency. The newspaper has reported on his departure to the UN General Assembly with an air of enthusiasm, conspicuously sidestepping the glaring issue that tarnishes his international standing.

Mnangagwa’s attendance at this global forum follows his controversial victory in the August 23 and 24 harmonized elections, an outcome contested by opposition parties and civil society groups. While his election may have been acknowledged by a few international figures, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the widespread skepticism surrounding the electoral process casts a shadow over his presidency.

In his congratulatory message, Guterres expressed willingness to collaborate with Mnangagwa’s government on various development initiatives. However, these diplomatic niceties cannot mask the underlying issues that challenge Mnangagwa’s legitimacy, including allegations of electoral irregularities and human rights abuses.

Mnangagwa’s desperation to address the General Assembly is driven by his aspiration to re-engage with the international community and secure foreign investments. His government’s economic transformation agenda aims to elevate Zimbabwe to a middle-income society by 2030, a lofty goal that hinges on international support and partnerships.

While in New York, Mnangagwa intends to hold bilateral talks with fellow leaders and engage business interest groups in a bid to attract investors to Zimbabwe. This endeavor may prove to be an uphill battle, given the persistent concerns regarding political stability, corruption, and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

The theme of this year’s General Assembly debate, “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity,” underscores the significance of trust in international relations. Mnangagwa’s participation in this event is an attempt to rebuild trust and restore confidence in his government’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and global peace. However, the glaring absence of support from his African counterparts calls into question the authenticity of this endeavor.

As Mnangagwa departs for the United Nations General Assembly, he is seen off by high-ranking officials from his government. This show of support at home contrasts with the international isolation he faces, highlighting the complex web of challenges confronting his presidency.

In conclusion, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s decision to attend the United Nations General Assembly is a testament to his desperation to salvage his international reputation and secure foreign investments. However, his precarious position, marked by a lack of recognition from the majority of African leaders, underscores the uphill battle he faces in re-establishing his legitimacy on the global stage. The outcome of his diplomatic efforts in New York will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for Zimbabwe’s future and its pursuit of sustainable development and prosperity.