Mnangagwa hires top Washington lobbyist

The government of Zimbabwe has hired Ballard Partners to represent it in Washington, making it the first firm to lobby on the country’s behalf in more than a decade. Brian Ballard, a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s campaigns, and the firm’s other lobbyists will counsel Zimbabwe on “communication with U.S. government officials, U.S. business entities, and non-governmental audiences,” according to a disclosure filing.


“In as much as the government of Zimbabwe has been denied access to international financial institutions and been under intense diplomatic pressure from Western countries, it shall be the main objective of the firm to encourage a re-examination of Zimbabwe by the State Department with a view to establishing the best possible bilateral relationship with the United States and facilitating the restoration of Zimbabwe’s membership in good standing in the community of nations,” the firm’s contract states. The contact is worth $500,000 a year.

It’s not the first African contract for Ballard, who has also worked for the government of Mali and opposition political parties in Congo and Nigeria. James Rubin, a former State Department official in the Clinton administration who will be the lead lobbyist for Zimbabwe, said in an interview that the firm’s lobbyists thought carefully before agreeing to work for the country, which was ruled for decades by the brutal dictator Robert Mugabe before he was deposed in 2017.

While the country’s new leadership isn’t perfect — the government cracked down violently on demonstrators in January — “it is far, far better than Zimbabwe’s government was under Mugabe,” Rubin said. They’ll work to secure Zimbabwe, which remains under U.S. sanctions, with a fair hearing from “an administration in which Africa is not the highest priority,” Rubin said. Better relations with the U.S. might also “encourage Zimbabwe not to turn to China or Russia,” he said. “I’d rather they work with us than with the Chinese who don’t care at all about human rights” or democracy, he added.

However the move to hire a lobbyist is largely seen as a waste of resources in a country that is suffering from a foreign currency crisis and whose administration seems to be ignoring the call to reform.

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  1. nice move we were tired of one oppostion party feeding inaccuracies to the trump government and this is a good neutraliser

  2. Mnangagwa is missing the point here. There is absolutely no one outside who can listen to him, to a point of taking him serious if he can’t resolve the political crises in the country. This is the same disease that consumed us for the past 38 years. This old mindset of 60-70s must change. ED do have a very good opportunity of making things right and be remembered by the next generation of doing the right thing.

  3. it doesn’t need rocket scientist to know that this govt is only power hungry no wonder they pretend all is well and normal to kill people for excising their right to demonstration. they have made selfish remarks which have exposed them to the international community that they were ruthless. one can not claim of stolen guns and army uniforms being used by rogue elements whom you didn’t arrest for committing the crime. Baba varikumusoro kudenga pindirai vana ve Zimbabwe vo shungurudzwa kasingaperi. Iyo company yapihwa basa inonzi inehushamwari na Trump so what

  4. nyama inonaka inotaura yega, just do the right thing and everyone will lobby for you

  5. A mere waste of scarce resources, all ED’s regime needs to do is implement the reforms that the US foreign affairs mission recommended. Of course BALLARD would not turn down a business opportunity, payment is not based on success.

    1. Wezhira Wezhara

      What reforms are you talking about? Unlawful change of Govt through the backdoor are the reforms you are advocating for. Even America itself cannot specifically name the nature of threats posed to its foreign policy by Zimbabwe.

      Some people lobbied for the imposition of these sanctions and therefore there is equally a need to lobby for their removal. Nowhere in the world will any Govt fold its hands while a country degenerates into chaos in the name of human rights.
      And we know whenever there is an event which seeks to promote Zimbabwe in good light, the MDC sends its rogue elements into the streets to cause mayhem.

  6. wasting of time hahaha wasting resources hahaha.

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