BY OBEY MANAYITI
FOREIGN Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo yesterday claimed that more foreign countries were warming up to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration, but said Zimbabwe would not rush to re-engage the West.
Addressing ambassador designates at a diplomatic orientation course in Harare, Moyo said government was doing all it can to mend the country’s battered human rights record.
Among the ambassador designates were top MDC Alliance official and former Mabvuku/Tafara legislator James Maridadi and the recently retired military generals.
“It is clear, therefore, that re-engagement will be more of a process than an event; That it will be anchored in confidence-building measures, sending the right signals with regard to reform and with regard to our commitment to the conduct of ‘decent politics’; and the pursuit of economic policies that will restore and sustain macro-economic stability and that will provide guarantees on government’s intention to meet its international obligations,” Moyo said.
Critics argued that human rights abuses under Mnagagwa bear comparisons with the brutality witnessed under former President Robert Mugabe’s 37-year reign.
Moyo indicated that the main objective of the re-engagement process was to normalise all aspects of the country’s relations with the West so that the country gets an opportunity to work in harmony with other countries.
“These include ending Zimbabwe’s estrangement from the Western world and reopening lines of communication at the political level, to achieve the removal of sanctions and all other punitive measures imposed on Zimbabwe in order to unleash the country’s full economic potential, to restore confidence in our national economic policies and to project Zimbabwe as a nation that values democracy, respects human rights and the rule of law, upholds its international obligations, property rights and generally abides by all tenets of good governance,” Moyo said.
Even in the face of civilian killings in the August 1 post-election shootings and the clampdown of fuel protests in January, which saw 17 people killed by the security forces, the government was getting “encouraging” responses from the West, Moyo noted.
He challenged the ambassador designates to represent the country to the best of their abilities and be able to draw foreign direct investment into the country, among other goals.
He said the country was faced with a myriad of challenges and it was the role of the ambassadors to foster synergies that would be beneficial to the country so that it is able to overcome its challenges.
“As you are all aware, Zimbabweans are yearning for improvement in their lives and well-being. They are rightly demanding that government should solve the myriad challenges facing the country in particular the high levels of poverty due to high levels of unemployment, a non-performing economy, the tight fiscal space and a serious liquidity crunch, all affecting the performance of the economy,” Moyo said.
“They are calling for improved service delivery by government in all the social services of health, education, water and sanitation and to offer them opportunities to improve their lives.”
He added that it was, therefore, critical for the ambassadors to engage the Zimbabwean diaspora so that they fully contribute to the development of the country through accessing investment opportunities and providing skills and expertise to key sectors of the economy.