NEWLY-appointed Foreign Affairs minister Fredrick Shava yesterday said he was ready to engage the West in a bid to enable the country to join the family of nations.
Shava was sworn in at State House yesterday by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to replace Sibusiso Moyo, who succumbed to COVID-19 in January.
“I would like to be a friend of all and an enemy of none,” Shava said after being sworn in.
“We are going to try our best to reaffirm our friendship with our all-weather friends and we will also bring countries that have been disgruntled by our land reform programme and imposed sanctions on us so that we talk to them,” he said in apparent reference to the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
The West imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe over alleged human rights abuses, including the August 2018 and January 2019 shooting of civilians by the military.
“The mandate of foreign affairs is strengthening relations with the regional and the international community and we will be doing that,” he said.
Shava also promised to work round the clock for Zimbabwe to be competitive in regional trade and promote the country’s industrial advancement.
“I would also want to make sure that we become visible on the sub-region and regional trade map, and so we will be working hard to ensure that our potential in export and industrial advancement is recognised,” he said.
The former ambassador to the United Nations in New York is not new to government after holding several portfolios in the 1980s.
Shava previously held the Labour, Manpower Planning and Development portfolio from 1981 to 1986, and was Minister of State for Political Affairs in 1987 before he was implicated and subsequently found guilty over the Willowgate scandal.
He also served as ambassador to China from 2007 to 2014 before being appointed ambassador to the United Nations.