Interesting times ahead of us

King Charles III’s coronation

IT was, indeed, all well and good that President Emmerson Mnangagwa was invited to the United Kingdom to attend King Charles III’s coronation and that he duly accepted the invite.

Following this very historic occurrence, in the context of a Zimbabwean leader visiting London for the first time after decades, there has been all manner of speculation over whether icy relations between the UK and Zimbabwe are thawing or not.

While we all hope that relations between the two countries mend as early as yesterday, some of us are, however, really concerned that this may happen before Zimbabwe starts respecting human rights, the rule of law and resolutely fighting corruption, the ills which created the rift between the two nations in the first place.

We raise this concern because if by any chance the UK goes on to recommend that Zimbabwe be readmitted to the Commonwealth of nations, which the latter is currently clamouring for, without insisting that the southern African country acts on human rights violations, corruption and on its penchant to disregard the rule of law, then we might as well forget that democracy will ever flourish in this country.

The prospect of Zimbabwe being readmitted to the Commonwealth is, in fact quite bright at the moment contrary to what many believe; and global geopolitics and events at King Charles III’s coronation attest to this.

If truth be told, given the state of the world at the moment, whereby Russia and China are brazenly splitting nations and global opinion, the UK and its Western allies would rather befriend pariah nations like Zimbabwe than alienate them with the hope that they will reform, somewhere along the line.

For those who cared to notice, despite Eswatini’s King Mswati facing accusations of human rights violations in his kingdom, he was seated in the front row, literally shoulder to shoulder with King Charles III during the coronation ceremony. This sitting arrangement was quite telling.

While Mnangagwa was perched in a corner right at the back, this was conveniently done, in our view, so as not to trigger a public outcry.

The fact of the matter is that he was in the same room and that simple gesture means a lot in light of current global politics.

The UK can no longer afford to keep Zimbabwe out of the house and Mnangagwa’s invitation to King Charles III’s coronation, as we see it, is one of the first steps being made by the former coloniser to bring back the southern African nation into its fold. For UK, this was its best chance so far and it shrewdly seized it.

In the meantime, while Mnangagwa has been talking tough about who he will invite to observe this year’s elections, he is now in a very serious conundrum with regards to inviting the UK, if not King Charles III himself, who incidentally presided over Zimbabwe’s elections for independence in 1980 as his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II’s representative.

By attending King Charles III’s coronation, Mnangagwa inadvertently or knowingly drank from the proverbial poisoned chalice, and we are afraid to say the man is now in a very tight and uncomfortable corner akin to the place he was seated during King Charles III’s coronation in London.

There is no way he will not invite the UK to observe  this year’s elections after the UK honoured him thus.

Zimbabwe is indeed heading for interesting times.

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