PRESIDENT Mnangagwa’s charm offensive at the ongoing 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is bearing fruit as evidenced by the high level engagements he is having and the support and commitment Zimbabwe has been getting from Africa, Europe and the wider international community.
It is refreshing that at a time when detractors of the country had sought to besmirch efforts to re-engage the world through instigating violent protests, Zimbabwe has emerged largely unscathed from the sad episode and is ploughing full throttle ahead as it seeks to take its rightful place in the community of nations.
Last week, President Mnangagwa kicked off his diplomatic offensive by dispatching special envoys to Zambia and other Sadc countries with a special message explaining the origins of the violent protests and the response of Government and the country’s security apparatus.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo, who was part of Zimbabwe’s advance delegation to the AU summit, met African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat whom he briefed on the situation in Zimbabwe.
Emerging from the meeting on Saturday, Dr Moyo said the continental bloc, Sadc and other major powers were fully apprised of developments that took place in the country and could “see through the events.”
“That was an event and it is now behind us. We are in contact with the rest of the world. Sometimes people can see through these events. They can see through these events as time goes by and they realise that certain issues which appear to be so negative may not be necessarily negative,” said Minister Moyo.
The world, he said, is now well apprised on what transpired in Zimbabwe.
“We have engaged the whole of Sadc, we engaged the African Union and we are actually engaging even the Americas, the Eastern countries like China and it is quite clear that our re-engagement programme is going back on and it is going to continue,” said Dr Moyo.
Re-engagement, he added, was a two-way process. “It is not a fact that those people who were engaged are those we want.
They also want us. There is chemistry between these countries. They have got serious interests in coming to Zimbabwe. It is a win-win situation,” he said.
As part of re-engagement efforts, Dr Moyo was yesterday expected to meet representatives of the US government, China and Vietnam, among many others.
“We are persuading them to understand that what happened in Zimbabwe is not a barrier to progress. It is not a barrier to investment. It may only be a hump,” he said.
On his meeting with AU Commission chairperson Mahamat, Dr Moyo said: “The AU Commission chairperson wanted clarity on the situation at home. I explained what happened. The cases, if they were workers, unfortunately they were hijacked by people who had other sinister motives and they ended up being mixed up with some political interests, which had been taking place in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We have explained the situation and he is (Mahamat) very clear about that and now he says he can easily speak about Zimbabwe. I also handed him a letter from President Mnangagwa so that he can read on his own about the situation in Zimbabwe.”
We are glad that Zimbabwe’s re-engagement drive is back on track and the country can now focus on wooing more friends and establishing strong diplomatic, trade and bi-lateral ties with other nations.
Re-integrating Zimbabwe into the global community of nations has been one of President Mnangagwa’s priorities since he assumed power in November 2017 because it is crucial that the country sheds its pariah status.
The country cannot continue on a path of isolation and hostility towards other nations as that is retrogressive.
Already there are signs that the negative sentiments emanating from events of last month are beginning to subside with President Mnangagwa securing lines of credit worth at least US$500 million from the Eastern and Southern Trade and Development Bank.
The United Nations Development Programme also pledged to help mobilise resources to ensure Zimbabwe’s economy is revived.
Norway Prime Minister Ms Erna Solberg also paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa in Addis Ababa and discussed bilateral relations and investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.
Earlier on Saturday, President Mnangagwa had met Ethiopian Airline chief executive officer Tewolde Gebremarian and Africa’s biggest airline offered a life-saving partnership deal for Air Zimbabwe that include bringing planes to Harare for joint operations, training of pilots and turning Zimbabwe into a regional aircraft maintenance hub.
Indeed the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra appears to be gaining traction and we hope that the commitments and deals that the President is clinching in Ethiopia will come to pass and add impetus to ongoing efforts to turn around the economy.
We also appeal to the generality of Zimbabweans to support Government efforts to re-engage with the international community by desisting from embarking on needless violence which tarnishes the image of the country.