PRONOUNCEMENTS that the European Union (EU) is ready to re-engage Zimbabwe are a welcome development because it will see the country shed off its pariah status and return to the global family of nations, especially after reports that Queen Elizabeth II was also keen to have the former British colony return to the Commonwealth club.
Given that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has indicated willingness to chart a new political and economic trajectory from the past, we are hopeful that he will fulfil to the letter conditions that will see Zimbabwe finally return to the family of nations.
Operating in isolation has not been profitable for Zimbabwe given the punishing socio-economic situation that the population has been forced to bear, as the country operated in isolation without the requisite international support.
We have every reason to believe that Mnangagwa will utilise the opportunity that he has for the good of the nation rather than squander it and sink the country into deeper mire.
As the Council of the EU has resolved to engage the new administration with emphasis on economic and political reforms, our prayer is that the urgency and seriousness that Mnangagwa has so far demonstrated on the economic front will also be extended to the political front.
It is not yet clear whether the Zanu PF government will be able to address concerns around electoral reforms raised by the opposition and other key stakeholders ahead of the crucial harmonised elections, but our hope is that the necessary electoral reforms would have been effected by that time. Indeed, peaceful, inclusive, credible and transparent elections are critical and they should be seen as such by all stakeholders.
One critical step in that regard is to welcome international observers upon whose reports the international community will make its informed decision on whether or not Zimbabwe is fully repentant by fully embracing and effecting the necessary electoral reforms.