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Zim must realise its position in global geopolitics

United States envoy Robert Scott

ON Wednesday United States envoy Robert Scott jetted into the country. He did not hide his mission.

 “I am here to engage in a series of meetings with government, civil society and other actors in the political, social and economic arenas to listen to, to take on board their messages to me, but also to pass along our hopes from the US specifically for peaceful and inclusive elections,” the deputy assistant in the Bureau of African Affairs told journalists. 

“That would be the primary goal of my trip here, but I am also looking forward to having meetings and to taking aboard additional information from my two-day visit here.”

On the same day, the Minister of Foreign Economic Relations of the Sverdlovsk Region of the Russian Federation, Yarin Vyacheslav also arrived in the country. His mission is to discuss potential areas of economic co-operation and to broaden co-operation on account of the political relations between Zimbabwe and Russia.

Last week, the most significant event in the country was the visit by African Development Bank (AfDB) president, Akinwumi Adesina and former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano to headline a meeting with Zimbabwe’s debtors and thrash out a solution to the southern African nation’s US$17,5 billion debt.

With the exception of Russia, all the other officials had one message: The country must hold free and fair elections to remove the tag of disputed polls and pariah status that has been attached to Zimbabwe for a greater part of the past two decades.

Adesina said free and fair elections would be important in helping Zimbabwe navigate the debt overhang which has been compounded by protracted defaults and penalties.

The AfDB, Adesina said, wanted to curate the process of helping the country clear its debt overhang, which has meant that it has been unable to access any new funding.

He was very blunt about what is required: “A lot depends on this coming election I am sure the government is fully aware of that.”

The polls, he said, must be free, fair, inclusive, transparent as should the electoral processes as a whole.

Who will our leaders listen to? The call by Equatorial Guinea’s leader Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to use his incumbency to hold on to power by any means necessary, or be the statesman who puts his people first by prioritising free and fair elections that guarantee better prospects for the country?

Events in the past two weeks show that Zimbabwe matters globally, and our leaders must act responsibly because they will be held to account.

As Chissano said, it is time Zimbabwe starts behaving like a mature democracy.

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