Re-engagement efforts paying off — SB Moyo

S. B Moyo

DESPITE the continued existence of illegal economic sanctions, which must be unconditionally removed, the country’s re-engagement efforts are paying dividends as the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa remains committed to rebuilding the country and engage the broader family of nations, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo has said.

As things stand, Dr Moyo told Parliament on Thursday in a ministerial statement, that the Government was satisfied with successes registered in strengthening relations, rebuilding broken ties and establishing new relationships with the international community, notwithstanding the setbacks caused by sanctions and successive droughts.

“When one reviews the progress we have made over the past two to three years, it is inevitable that we see both positive and negative developments along our chosen trajectory; but I believe it is fair to say that, overall, we can be satisfied that, notwithstanding the occasional setback, we have advanced along the path of further strengthening existing relationships, of rebuilding broken relationships and of establishing new relationships — and that this multifaceted process has gathered enough traction to warrant not only its active continuation but indeed yet further impetus and acceleration.

“Mr Speaker Sir, it is my firm contention therefore, that, regardless of the occasional diplomatic skirmishes with the West, regrettably often overblown by both our local and foreign media and notwithstanding the West’s  stubborn reluctance to acknowledge progress in the implementation of Government’s home-grown reform agenda, our re-engagement efforts are paying dividends in terms of the New Dispensation’s commitment to rebuilding Zimbabwe’s image and to returning our country to

its rightful place within the Community of Nations.”

Legislators led by Norton MP, Mr Temba Mliswa had requested through Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda that Minister Moyo updates the nation on reengagement efforts that have been made by Government.

In his presentation, that was lauded by legislators from across the political divide, Minister Moyo, whose portfolio superintends international trade and investment, chronicled several investment deals running into millions of United States dollars that have come from various sectors, mostly energy and mining, as a show of confidence from the international community on the Second Republic.

“Mr Speaker sir, the Re-engagement aspect of our foreign policy was always going to be a process rather than an event and it was never going to be easy, or quick, to regain the confidence and trust of those Western countries and institutions which parted ways with us around 2000, in the wake of the Land Reform Exercise — without doubt the primary trigger for the diplomatic, political and economic isolation which followed and which, in some respects, is still with us today. I refer, of course, to the illegal, punitive sanctions and other restrictive measures still in place against our nation,” said Minister Moyo.

The country’s top diplomat added that the ultimate objective of the country’s reengagement efforts is to have sanctions lifted and return Zimbabwe to the international community.

Minister Moyo said it was understandable that some people were sceptical on the success of the re-engagement efforts given that the illegal sanctions remained in place.

He, however, said it was critical to note that the European Union had removed individuals from its sanction lists, an indication of positive movement of their efforts.

“Our view, of course, is that sanctions are unjustified and obsolete and must go. The success of our diplomatic engagement in this direction is clearly demonstrated by the solidarity of fellow SADC and other African nations, of major powers such as China, India, and the Russian Federation, of the group of Non-Aligned countries, the ACP group of nations and many others who continue to intensify their call for those sanctions to be lifted. There was no such unanimous chorus prior to November 2017,” he said.

Minister Moyo said the success of re-engagement efforts was measured by the constructive dialogue with Western nations including the United States, EU and the UK, something that prior to November 2017 was virtually non-existent.

It was also measured by the frequency of such dialogue and the constructive tenor of the discussions.

“With regard to European sanctions, I believe we are all aware that, as from February, 2020, there are no longer any individuals on the EU’s active sanctions list although Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) remains sanctioned and an arms-embargo remains in place against Zimbabwe,” he said.

Minister Moyo’s statement comes at a time when the SADC region is preparing for the anti-sanctions day on October 25, in solidarity with Zimbabwe under the theme, “Resilience, Solidarity, Progress in a Sanctions Environment”.

And with Zimbabwe ticking all the boxes of political and economic reform and also performing tremendously against all odds, Dr Moyo told ZBC on Tuesday that although sanctions and the outbreak of Covid-19 had taught the country to be self-reliant, their removal will see Zimbabwe flying higher.

“We have heard during the advent of coronavirus a call on removal of sanctions on countries which have had sanctions in Africa. This has been done by different players so I think there has been tremendous progress in that regard and even this year, the 39th United Nations General Assembly, you have seen quite a lot of heads of state who have been calling for the removal of sanctions,” said Dr Moyo.

“We are saying can these sanctions be removed, they are no longer relevant.”

Due to the illegal sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwe by the Western world as punishment for the successful land reform programme, the country has lost billions of dollars in terms of investment.

Deprived of access to lines of credit, the country has been funding its projects alone, doing a remarkable job in infrastructural development, industrialisation and increasing capacity in the key mining, agriculture and tourism sectors. – Herald