Sanctions triggered by abuse of power

Source: Sanctions triggered by abuse of power – NewsDay Zimbabwe

Cyprian M Ndawana

DEAR President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Your Excellency, it is inconceivable that United States (US) President Joseph Biden would be impressionable on seeing you.

As I see it, it is implausible that he would call a staffer and ask him to make sure that he had a chat with you.

Methinks it is likewise unthinkable that his view of Zimbabwe is totally different from that of the US embassy personnel in Harare. Anyone who is familiar with a thing or two about etiquette would rule out such conduct on the US President.

Lest I am suspected to be inferring that you were not being truthful, it suffices to admit my admiration of your creative language.

It reminds me of Jesus’ artful expressions of an elephant passing through the eye of a needle and a log in someone’s eye.

Actually, relations between Zimbabwe and the US are based on policy.

They are not personal such that they are subject to whims of individuals.

Consequently, perspectives of the US President and those of the ambassador would not, at any given time, be at variance.

President Biden knows full well how to carry himself. It would be utterly indecorous of him if he were to fall short of the conventional conduct of the presidency.

After all, over the centuries, the American body politic thoroughly fine-tuned the deportment of the presidency.

Your Excellency, what you said to Zanu PF supporters, who were bussed to welcome you on arrival at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport from the 26th United Nations leaders climate change conference (COP26) held last month in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, was incredible. It was politicking at it worst to claim that you pressed the Western leaders to remove sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

Yet, your body language at the meetings relayed a totally different message. Methinks it was devoid of maturity to raise hopes of party loyalists with the claim that the re-engagement exercise was bearing fruit.

It cannot be fruitful when a corruption convict heads international diplomatic offensive. At most you merely chatted and posed for pictures with each of the world leaders.

It cannot be stated with certainty that you scored the much-touted diplomatic headway. Far from it, Zimbabwe is as isolated as she was two decades ago. Moreover, you had no scheduled meeting with such influential leaders as the US President.

With all due respect, the meetings you held with global leaders such as Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Union council president Charles Michel do not essentially culminate in a diplomatic euraka moment.

At most, these were courtesy meetings, meant to exchange pleasantries. Given that the core business of COP26 was global climate change, it goes without saying that it could have been a huge departure from the norm to force the sanctions issue down the throats of world leaders.

Your Excellency, your claim that the view of the US embassy in Harare is at variance with that of Washington was altogether a figment of your imagination. There is no way the embassy could ever be so ill-disposed towards a host nation that it violates its mandate.

It was, therefore, imperative that the US State Department would be obligated to place the matter in its correct perspective.

It explained the basics of diplomacy that under the chief of mission, embassies are responsible for pursuing and explaining US policy in countries they serve.

It emerged that, indeed, you met with Biden, but, it was nothing short of a brief interaction.

As I see it, it is inconceivable that the US embassy in Harare would, by any stretch of imagination, hold views that are at odds with their masters in Washington.

Your Excellency, it should have dawned on you long back that the restrictive measures and targeted sanctions are a consequence of abuse of power. Screws were turned following successive controversial elections and failure ti implement economic and political reforms.

It is imperative that you come to terms with the fact that the international community sympathises with citizenry. Imposition of the restrictions, which are binding only  on 83 individuals and 37 entities, was in  response to yearnings for peace and  democracy.

It is prudent for you to demonstrate Statesmanship. Time is of the essence; the British House of Lords has also spoken plainly. It made very clear the conditions Zimbabwe has to fulfil for her to qualify for re-admission to the Commonwealth.

Barely a month after your cleric emissaries pleaded with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lords made it clear that the ball has always been in your court. It had all along been up to you to play it or to deflate it. Essentially, it was not at all necessary to solicit for the archbishop’s support.

Your Excellency, your obvious embarrassment at COP26 was apparent from the onset. It was evident that you approached the conference with a wrong mindset. While the UN agenda was climate change, you had your own, the sanctions.

Methinks you are paranoid about sanctions. Concequently, you are of the view that all world leaders connived against you.

As Julius Caesar presaged: “What we wish, we readily believe, and what we ourselves think, we imagine others think.”

Your Excellency, the Lords spelt with profound clarity the steps Zimbabwe has to take for her to qualify for readmission to the Commonwealth.

It is, indeed, a process that demands of you candour, scruples, and moral rectitude.

Essentially, the virtue to pursue a difficult, yet honourable objective distinguishes Statesmanship from showmanship.

Your Excellency, it is time you refrained from blaming the crookedness of your boots on the manufacturer, yet the boots took the shape of your feet.

  • Cyprian Muketiwa Ndawana is a public speaking coach, motivational speaker, and speechwriter.