A new era in prag­ma­tism

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - OPINION & ANALYSIS - Kuda Bwititi

WHERE the for­mer Pres­i­dent Mr Robert Mu­gabe was fiery and bel­li­cose, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa has per­son­i­fied calm­ness; and where his pre­de­ces­sor was bel­liger­ent, ED has cho­sen to en­gage.

These traits were all on dis­play at the just-ended 73rd Gen­eral As­sem­bly of the United Na­tions.

It, there­fore, be­comes clear that in terms of both tact and craft, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa and Mr Mu­gabe, though both rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies, are not cut from the same cloth.

Since his in­au­gu­ra­tion on Au­gust 26th, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa has preached the gospel of peace and tol­er­ance.

It must have been a Da­m­a­scene mo­ment for the nay­sers, es­pe­cially those who doubt his sin­cerely to shep­herd a new Zim­babwe, when Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa de­liv­ered his maiden speech at the United Na­tions on Wed­nes­day.

As has be­come his trade­mark, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa stuck to the script and made a strong case for Zim­babwe.

He mag­nan­i­mously ap­plauded all coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions that ob­served the July 30 elec­tions and, most im­por­tantly, pledged to take heed of the rec­om­men­da­tions they made, which es­sen­tially is an indi­ca­tion of how he in­tends to con­tinue to deepen and en­trench democ­racy in Zim­babwe.

The Pres­i­dent also as­sured global lead­ers that Gov­ern­ment will in­ves­ti­gate the re­gret­table loss of life that oc­curred on Au­gust 1st.

He told the world that an in­ter­na­tional team of ex­perts has al­ready been gath­ered for the probe.

He was not ob­li­gated to do it, but he did it any­way in a clear demon­stra­tion of his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s trans­parency.

Fit­tingly, he took the global au­di­ence through the elec­tion cam­paign and the vot­ing process.

Per­haps the big­gest take­away from Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa’s maiden speech at the UN was its prag­ma­tism.

In con­tem­po­rary pol­i­tics, there is no room for rab­ble-rous­ing rhetoric.

An­other crit­i­cal is­sue that came out of the speech was the land is­sue.

While ac­knowl­edg­ing the obli­ga­tion to com­pen­sate some white com­mer­cial farm­ers ac­cord­ing to the dic­tates of the laws of the land, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa em­pha­sised, for the umpteenth time, that the land re­form pro­gramme is now wa­ter un­der the bridge.

The land is­sue has re­mained a thorny is­sue in Zim­babwe.

Sur­pris­ingly, it is not so much the white farm­ers who have been mak­ing the loud­est noise.

It is the US that has been mak­ing the loud­est clam­our, ar­gu­ing that the uni­lat­eral and il­le­gal eco­nomic sanc­tions im­posed on Zim­babwe can only be lifted if Zim­babwe re­spects some past tri­bunal rul­ings on land.

This is notwith­stand­ing the fact that the tri­bunal has since be­come de­funct.

It is im­por­tant to high­light that the ac­ri­mony over the land re­form pro­gramme stems from es­ca­la­tion of the bi­lat­eral dis­pute be­tween Harare and Lon­don.

For two decades be­fore the land re­form pro­gramme, Bri­tain had re­neged on its ear­lier pledge to fund the ex­er­cise.

With Zim­babwe dig­ging into the land re­form pro­gramme, Bri­tain nat­u­rally felt that it to de­fend its kith and kin.

But given that re­la­tions be­tween Bri­tain and Zim­babwe are thaw­ing, it makes no sense for the United States or the Euro­pean Union to re­main stuck in a time warp, even when it’s clear that the po­lit­i­cal dy­nam­ics have fun­da­men­tally changed.

ED has there­fore re­mained stead­fast in his re-en­gage­ment ef­forts with both the US and the EU.

The “open for busi­ness” mantra seems to be gain­ing trac­tion judg­ing from the re­cep­tion and in­ter­est from in­vestors.

The Pres­i­dent’s meet­ing with the World Bank vice pres­i­dent for Africa, Mr Hafez Ghanem, is in­struc­tive.

Ger­man-based scholar Hans J Mor­gen­thau (1904-1980) - who is re­puted for his works on re­al­ism in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions the­ory - once noted in his sem­i­nal pa­per on “The Fu­ture of Di­plo­macy”, that di­plo­macy is an el­e­ment of na­tional power and that in­di­vid­ual coun­tries must be aware of the in­stru­ments at their dis­posal to ad­vance their na­tional in­ter­ests.

Em­bold­ened by his tri­umph in the July 30 har­monised elec­tions, ED has not sought to van­quish his op­po­nents, he has called for na­tional-build­ing.

He is ob­vi­ously alive to the fact that Zim­babwe can de­velop sus­tain­ably when there is unity of pur­pose, peace and the rule of law.

Clearly, the coun­try’s new for­eign pol­icy is not about widen­ing rifts, but build­ing bridges and pro­mot­ing na­tional in­ter­ests through peace­ful means.

Be­ing non-con­fronta­tional, how­ever, does not mean be­ing blind to is­sues of na­tional sovereignty.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa made it clear that Zim­babwe, just like other African coun­tries, is against the con­tin­ued oc­cu­pa­tion of the Sa­harawi Repub­lic by Morocco.

He urged global lead­ers to rally be­hind the Sa­harawi Repub­lic’s quest for in­de­pen­dence.

It was also heart­en­ing to lis­ten to Rwan­dan Pres­i­dent Paul Kagame, who is also the African Union chair­per­son, mak­ing a case for Zim­babwe. Such an en­dorse­ment at a global stage is just the tonic Zim­babwe needs af­ter years of iso­la­tion and be­ing treated as a pariah State.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa

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