Second Republic’s reengagement charm turns global heads 

Source: Second Republic’s reengagement charm turns global heads | The Herald

Second Republic’s reengagement charm turns global heads
President Mnangagwa’s work ethic has charmed the world and there is no denying that his re-engagement thrust, which recently saw a three-day State visit by his Belarusian counterpart Aleksandr Lukashenko, is testament to his efforts to put Zimbabwe back on the global high table.

Fungi Kwaramba-Political Editor

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement initiative has opened up new frontiers for Zimbabwe with his invitation to attend the coronation of King Charles III in London in May, being the pinnacle of the success of the foreign policy thrust, analysts have said.

While Zimbabwe has been isolated from the Western world for more than two decades owing largely to the land reform programme, which restored land back to its rightful owners—the country has managed to turn a new page owing to the President’s thrust of “friend to all, enemy to none”.

Relations with countries like the United Kingdom and the United States, which were angered by the land reform programme and subsequently imposed a raft of illegal economic sanctions to punish Zimbabwe, are now thawing with President Mnangagwa set to visit the UK in early May for the coronation of King Charles III.

Analysts canvassed by The Herald said the invitation is demonstrative of the strides the Second Republic has made in reaching out to erstwhile colonisers and also is a harbinger of improved relations, especially economic, that could be derived from such bilateral ties and also the re-admission to the Commonwealth.

Political analyst Dr Alexander Rusero said the world has been charmed by President Mnangagwa and there is no denying that the invitation to the UK is a major coup.

“The invite attests to the efficacy of Zimbabwe’s foreign policy under President Mnangagwa. Whereas Zim-Anglo relations have been characterised by frostiness since 1997 when the Tony Blair-led government came to power, the diplomatic iceberg is slowly thawing and shifting towards cordiality of the erstwhile glory days. You can’t pretend something is not happening.

“Thus, broadly speaking, Zimbabwe’s diplomatic charm is bearing fruit and these signs are also in sync with observations at home, where the Foreign Affairs Minister (Ambassador Fredrick Shava) is among the best performers in President Mnangagwa’s Government. There is, thus, some empiricism to that presidential performance evaluation of ministers,” said Dr Rusero.

Another analyst, Mr Gibson Nyikadzino, said President Mnangagwa has proved to be a reformist leader who is not stuck in the past.

“Zimbabwe’s foreign policy thrust under President Mnangagwa has moved towards a common-purpose interaction from the belligerent, acrimonious, and turbulent policy shifts by the previous administration that bordered on diplomatic hostility. 

“In that transition, Zimbabwe has been to Commonwealth (a British-led bloc) meetings and attended the US-Africa Summit last December and the Commonwealth has indicated Zimbabwe is making strides to be considered for readmission.

“The new policy is ameliorating the decades old Zim-Britain rivalry that has been known, thus the extension of the invitation. Zimbabwe is historically linked, politically and economically connected to some aspects of the British system. So, this transformation and relationship is a signal of what will ultimately become of Zimbabwe-Britain relations. It is a move towards an amicable friendship and restoration of relations,” he said.

Apart from the new diplomatic frontiers that are being opened under the visionary leadership of President Mnangagwa through re-engagement—engagement has also seen the country opening new embassies, notably in Rwanda, Turkey and Belarus. All these have been reciprocated with vast economic opportunities for Zimbabwe.

Many more embassies are set to be opened as the country repositions itself in a fast-changing global world that was for long characterised by Western unilateralism, but is now being reconfigured towards multilateralism.

In his column in The Sunday Mail yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the country has taken measures to safeguard its national interests against sanctions, such as the misnamed Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery Act and another similar US legislation, the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act — two related extraterritorial laws that seek to punish Zimbabwe and Africa at large for daring to chart their own independent paths.

“Against such threats, it is vitally important that Zimbabwe evolves quickly by securing herself and her interests in this fast-changing, often hostile, global order. New alliances are forming; old rules are being rewritten or being replaced entirely by new ones, which are not always just and fair, especially to small, vulnerable states endowed with rich resources. We have to be prepared, lest we are left behind, or simply get overrun in the emerging struggles and often hostile alliances,” the President said.

President Mnangagwa is leading a new era where African leaders are beginning to walk a new path without the fetters or constraints of erstwhile colonisers whose primary motive is to hook African countries through unfair trade practices, fuelling terrorism, and sponsoring puppets to subvert the will of the people.

Therefore, exciting times lie ahead for Zimbabwe as it plays yet again a leading role in the emerging global order where the global south is coalescing together through various platforms such as BRICS.

According to Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov, the number of countries seeking to join BRICS has, since the outbreak of the Russian/Ukraine conflict, increased as the world takes a new shape, with the protection of national interests foremost—as that breaks western fetters and manipulative tendencies using western financial systems.

“It’s worth mentioning that over the past couple of years, including during the first year of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, the number of countries that want to join the BRICS and the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation has increased dramatically. As of now, there are about 20 of them,” Mr Lavrov said.

Mr Rusero said the new path that has been taken by President Mnangagwa is a masterstroke considering the “unpredictability” of global affairs.

“About the new embassies, in the context of the unpredictability of global affairs and the fact that Zimbabwe is reeling under economic sanctions, dispersal of dependence is a viable strategy in international relations. In other words, you don’t rely on the same partners for co-operation and assistance, you spread that through opening as many channels of co-operation and diplomatic engagements as possible,’’ said Dr Rusero.

Another analyst Mr Augustine Tirivangani said the Western world has no choice but to embrace Zimbabwe as a nation, with its vast economic resources and as it orbits towards platforms such as BRICS.

“The British commandeered the whole Western world, including the then mighty US to sanction Zimbabwe for daring to nationalise the land and all in its womb, which had been the colonial mainstay of the British. Sanctions worked in their favour then because Zimbabwe was umbilical-corded to the US dollar system. Now that Zimbabwe is inching towards an alternative global monetary system, this trap falls away and the only hope the British have is re-engagement on Zimbabwe’s terms — what an opportunity,” he said.