Dialogue could be the answer

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Editorial comment

 THERE has been deliberate misrepresentation of UN Special Rapporteur’s call for dialogue in her interim report on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights by ordinary Zimbabweans.

Professor Alena Douhan recommended the immediate unconditional suspension of the illegal sanctions.

They are illegal because the UN Security Council is the only legitimate authority to impose legal sanctions and not the US and its allies.

The UN Special Rapporteur emphasised the need for dialogue between the imposers of sanctions and those burdened by the sanctions.

Clearly in this case it refers to the West and the ZANU PF Government.

Why CiCZ spokesperson Marvelous Khumalo, thinks Prof Douhan proposed dialogue was between President Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa, only God knows.

Unless of course Chamisa decides to join the US as an appendage. 

Prof Douhan’s observation of the gaping difference in perception between the illegal sanctions imposers and their victims cannot be doubted.

Indeed the idea of re-engagement and engagement through dialogue with other heads of state and government, is the corner stone of President Mnangagwa’s foreign policy.

This inevitably should lead to elimination of misconceptions.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, is a typical example where leaders congregate to share ideas through dialogue.

It is at such conferences where those who rub shoulders with President Mnangagwa, will further learn about investment opportunities in a country open for business that he leads.

What is significant about this conference is that leadership of a sovereign state is the sole criterion of the invite.

An invitation should not be seen as a gesture of benevolence.

Why should some states be given the pariah tag, just because of differences in policy?

The recent so-called Conference on Africa in France, where opposition politicians were cherrypicked to represent their countries is unacceptable.

This condescending attitude by former imperial powers must stop.

The over 120 leaders at COP26 were Heads of State and Government and were equal since they were all leaders of sovereign states.

Thus President Joe Biden and Premier Boris Johnson were at par with our own President Mnangagwa.

Once this principle is universally acclaimed, then the proposed dialogue between ZANU PF and the West suggested by Prof Douhan becomes routine.

But any dialogue between Zimbabwe and the US, Britain or the EU should not be on conditions required to lift the illegal sanctions.

They should be suspended unconditionally.

According to Prof Douhan, a legal person in her on right, Zimbabwe is not obliged to bow to any conditions by the West, because they are a nullity since the sanctions are illegal. 

President Mnangagwa, like Prof Douhan, is an advocate of dialogue even within his country.

That is why he formed the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) made up of losing presidential candidates in the last general elections.

Chamisa, for reasons best known to himself, opted out.

And this is the internal forum, without external interference, for opposition politicians to share ideas with the ruling party.

It must be noted , however, that internal political gymnastics was outside the mandate of Prof Douhan’s probe.

Therefore, to suggest that the UN Special Rapporteur recommended dialogue between President Mnangagwa and Chamisa is outright mischief.

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