Mile­stone in Zim’s en­gage­ment pol­icy

. . . diplo­mats’ double down on anti-sanc­tions push

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FRONT PAGE -

THE em­phatic en­dorse­ment of the Anti-Sanc­tions Day by Heads of State and Gov­ern­ment of the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) is one of the ma­jor break­throughs of Zim­babwe’s en­gage­ment and re-en­gage­ment pol­icy, which has so far yielded sev­eral mile­stones.

This was said by For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Trade Min­is­ter Dr Sibu­siso Moyo last week as he un­der­scored the suc­cesses recorded by the coun­try’s en­gage­ment ef­forts ahead of the Oc­to­ber 25 SADC Anti-Sanc­tions Day.

Diplo­mats sta­tioned in and out­side the coun­try have made a com­mit­ment to ratchet up Zim­babwe’s anti-sanc­tions lobby.

SADC Heads of State and Gov­ern­ment last year, de­clared Oc­to­ber 25 as a day of sol­i­dar­ity with Zim­babwe as it fights to have the two-decade-old em­bargo lifted.

Mem­ber states are set to hold a se­ries of events in their re­spec­tive coun­tries in sol­i­dar­ity with Harare.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa will de­liver a spe­cial ad­dress to the na­tion, while a mu­sic gala will be held in Bu­l­awayo as part of a se­ries of ac­tiv­i­ties that will take place to mark the grow­ing lobby.

In a state­ment, Dr Moyo said SADC’s dec­la­ra­tion was one of the high-points of Zim­babwe’s diplo­matic en­gage­ments.

Re­la­tions with SADC fall un­der the pil­lar of con­sol­i­dat­ing ties with tra­di­tional al­lies.

“Per­haps the most ev­i­dent mea­sure of suc­cess in this re­gard has been SADC’s very clearly ar­tic­u­lated sol­i­dar­ity with Zim­babwe in its call for the im­me­di­ate re­moval of all sanc­tions and other puni­tive mea­sures still im­posed on our coun­try: and the nam­ing of

25 Oc­to­ber each year as Anti-Sanc­tions Day,” Dr Moyo said.

He said SADC Heads of State were unan­i­mous in their po­si­tion that sanc­tions cause col­lat­eral dam­age on the en­tire re­gion, hence the need for co-or­di­nated ef­forts to have them re­moved.

Dr Moyo said it was sig­nif­i­cant that SADC’s call for the im­me­di­ate re­moval of sanc­tions has re­ver­ber­ated to the African Union, the Non-Aligned Move­ment and Caribbean and Pa­cific coun­tries. Fur­ther­more, the anti-sanc­tions lobby has been so suc­cess­ful that the United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res and UN’s Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on the Right to Food, Hi­lal Elver, have called for the em­bargo to be lifted.

Un­der the pil­lar of con­sol­i­dat­ing re­la­tions with long stand­ing part­ners, Zim­babwe has also strength­ened re­la­tions with its all weather friends such as China, In­dia, Rus­sia and Brazil.

Other pil­lars of the coun­try’s diplo­matic pol­icy are en­gage­ment and re-en­gage­ment, which re­spec­tively en­tail boost­ing re­la­tions with coun­tries that Zim­babwe had mi­nor re­la­tions with and re­build­ing strained re­la­tion­ships with West­ern coun­tries.

Un­der the en­gage­ment pil­lar, suc­cess has been recorded through en­hanced re­la­tions with new and re­turn­ing part­ners such as Sin­ga­pore, the United Arab Emi­rates, Turkey, Aus­tralia, France, Oman, Pak­istan and the Nether­lands.

Re-en­gage­ment refers to clos­ing ranks with the West, par­tic­u­larly the United States of Amer­ica, the United King­dom and the Euro­pean Union, where re­la­tions had bro­ken down.

“In all cases, doors have been opened to us and we are ac­tively and cor­dially en­gaged.

“Of course, di­ver­gence re­mains - es­pe­cially on the is­sue of sanc­tions and con­tin­u­ing puni­tive mea­sures im­posed on Zim­babwe — but the mere fact that we are talk­ing to rather than at the US, UK and EU ad­min­is­tra­tions rep­re­sents a very sig­nif­i­cant ad­vance on where Zim­babwe stood prior to Novem­ber 2017,” Dr Moyo said.

Re­cently, the For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter held pro­duc­tive vir­tual

meet­ings with US As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for African Af­fairs, Am­bas­sador Ti­bor Nagy and UK’s Min­is­ter for Africa, Mr James Dud­dridge.

The high-level Zim­babwe/EU min­is­te­rial di­a­logue will re­sume any­time soon, as it has been af­fected by Covid-19.

Dr Moyo said Zim­babwe’s on­go­ing re­form pro­gramme is home grown and its pace will not be de­ter­mined by out­siders.

He said sev­eral mile­stones had been recorded in the re­form agenda in­clud­ing the re­peal of POSA which has been re­placed by the Main­te­nance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA).

AIPPA will be re­placed by suc­ces­sor leg­is­la­tion such as the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act, Zim­babwe Me­dia Com­mis­sion Act plus the Data Pro­tec­tion Bill.

Other achieve­ments in­clude align­ment of all statutes with the Con­sti­tu­tion as well as sign­ing of the Global Com­pen­sa­tion Deed to put clo­sure to the Land Re­form Pro­gramme.

All this progress has, how­ever, been ig­nored by the US, which has in the past been par­tic­u­larly vo­cal about POSA and AIPPA.

Last week, diplo­mats from dif­fer­ent parts of

the world pledged un­flinch­ing sol­i­dar­ity with Zim­babwe on Oc­to­ber 25.

Speak­ing to The Sunday Mail, Namibia’s chief diplo­mat to Zim­babwe, Am­bas­sador Bal­bina Daes Pien­aar, said the Anti-Sanc­tions Day is “of great sig­nif­i­cance to Namibia”.

“Namibia is a SADC Mem­ber State and sub­scribes to the col­lec­tive re­solve on the un­con­di­tional re­moval of sanc­tions against Zim­babwe.

“The rea­son why SADC was formed is to en­able mem­ber states to co-or­di­nate their de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes in order to serve the cit­i­zens of our re­gion prop­erly. We know that sanc­tions are a brain­child of our de­trac­tors do­ing all they can to ef­fect regime change in our re­gion, tar­get­ing mainly for­mer lib­er­a­tion move­ments. Their focus is to un­der­mine and dis­rupt pro­grammes aimed at re­gional de­vel­op­ment while want­ing to con­tinue plun­der­ing our re­sources.”

Speak­ing dur­ing a vir­tual meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa on Fri­day, China’s chief en­voy to Zim­babwe, Am­bas­sador Guo Shaochun, said the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy stands solidly be­hind Harare in call­ing for the un­con­di­tional lifting of the il­le­gal sanc­tions.

“As al­ways, China is pre­pared to as­sist Zim­babwe in what­ever way it can to defy the im­pact of sanc­tions and re­alise de­vel­op­ment. Ev­ery coun­try has the right to choose its own path of de­vel­op­ment which is suit­able for its own na­tional con­di­tions. Now more than ever, Zim­babwe needs more re­spect and gen­uine sup­port. China will con­tinue to call for the im­me­di­ate, un­con­di­tional re­moval of sanc­tions on Zim­babwe,” he said.

Am­bas­sador Guo said the sanc­tions are af­fect­ing or­di­nary Zim­bab­weans, con­trary to the West’s claims that the mea­sures are tar­geted.

“These sanc­tions are claimed to tar­get only very few in­di­vid­u­als and en­ti­ties. But the detri­men­tal ef­fects on the en­tire Zim­bab­wean econ­omy and pop­u­la­tion are there for all to see. It is even more ac­cept­able that these sanc­tions un­der­cut Zim­babwe’s ef­forts to tackle the hu­man­i­tar­ian chal­lenges brought about by Covid-19.”

In an in­ter­view with The Sunday Mail, Zim­babwe’s Hon­orary Con­sul to Is­rael, Mr Ronny Levi Mu­san, said he is mo­bil­is­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in Is­rael to com­mem­o­rate the Anti-Sanc­tions Day.

“On Oc­to­ber 25, I will join in prayer with the heads of the Church in the Holy Land, who will pray for the cit­i­zens of Zim­babwe in the Holy Sites. I am con­vinced that the heads of the churches in Zim­babwe will also hold spe­cial prayers on this im­por­tant day,” he said.

“In ad­di­tion, we will hold a num­ber of meet­ings with key fig­ures in the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment to dis­cuss with them ways to help Zim­babwe. It should be noted that we have al­ready sent to His Ex­cel­lency the Pres­i­dent the recorded greet­ing of the For­eign Min­is­ter of Is­rael and the let­ter of the Prime Min­is­ter of Is­rael ex­press­ing sup­port for deep­en­ing re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries, which will un­doubt­edly help Zim­babwe in­ter­na­tion­ally in this mat­ter.”

SADC Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Dr Lawrence Ster­gom­ena Tax said through the SADC sec­re­tariat, or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Africa, Caribbean and Pa­cific States (OACPS), the African Union Bureau of Heads of State and Gov­ern­ment, and the African Union Re­gional Eco­nomic Com­mu­ni­ties (RECs) have been roped into the anti-sanc­tions lobby.

At its 39th summit in Dar es Salaam, Tan­za­nia, in 2019, SADC passed a res­o­lu­tion to make Oc­to­ber 25 the Anti-Sanc­tions Day.

Speak­ing at the summit, the then chair­per­son of SADC, Tan­za­nian Pres­i­dent Dr John Magu­fuli, said the re­moval of il­le­gal sanc­tions im­posed on Zim­babwe by the West would ben­e­fit the whole re­gion.

Am­bas­sador Guo

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