Zim elections not about UK

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WHILE the focus on MDC-T Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s disastrous encounter with the British last week has been primed on his puerile performance in London, one critical issue that has yet to be unravelled has been that of the opposition’s failure to assert a pro-Zimbabwe foreign policy like the one the new ZANU PF Government has been pursuing in recent times.
Their London trip was no exception.
Where an opportunity to demonstrate that the MDC had finally come of age by putting Zimbabwe’s interests first, the Alliance squandered it by demonising the country, a strategy that they have used to maximum effect in the past.
Rightfully dubbed ‘Mission of Shame’, the sham trip was on undoing the work of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Lieutenant-General Dr Sibusiso Moyo (Retired) who had been on a global re-engagement offensive to the US, the UK and Europe.
His mission was to clarify developments in Zimbabwe since November 2017.
Indeed events of November 2017 which saw a change in the country’s ruling order have taken the thunder from the MDC which had thrived on an infantile mission to lobby for the global isolation of Zimbabwe.
A clearly confused Chamisa has yet to come to terms with the change and has been sticking to the old but widely discredited strategy of making Zimbabwe a pariah state.
The MDC-T’s failure to read politics especially in the context of geoglobal relations had until last week when they landed in London been visible for so long.
It had produced many negative results for the country with salvation being sought outside Zimbabwe.
Western governments who promptly danced to the opposition’s tune were the supposed curators of the country’s electoral processes while the voter was duly and bizarrely ignored.
London was supposed to provide an extension for that project.
However, London had other ideas.
As the trio left London, battered and bruised, the invaluable point that Britain is not a factor in Zimbabwe’s forthcoming elections was still lost on the perpetually inimical Tendai Biti and the ever divisive David Coltart who happened to be the organiser of that trip.
The London trip was bound to be a disastrous outing from the onset.
First, it was the excitable Chamisa shamelessly lying that they had been invited to the UK by the Queen, before a stern rebuke from the clearly agitated British seemed to have cowed the bellicose MDC-T leader into some semblance of common sense.
That was not to last long as Chamisa and his cohorts came from London guns blazing and attacking the UK for allegedly ‘favouring’ President Emmerson Dambudzo and ZANU PF.
Before that, Coltart revealed the real reasons behind the trip.
The ex-Rhodesian police officer claimed in a facebook post on the eve of the London trip that only the MDC Alliance had the monopoly to solve Zimbabwe’s problems.
He accused President Mnangagwa’s new administration of breaching the country’s Constitution without elaborating.
The Judiciary was not spared from Coltart’s furious diatribe.
Said Coltart: “The main purpose of the week (in Britain) will be to promote British investment in Zimbabwe in a new era under an MDC Alliance government.
We will explain that the fundamental difference between the MDC Alliance and ZANU PF is that we, unlike ZANU PF, will implement Zimbabwe’s new Constitution in full — in letter and spirit — and that we will respect the rule of law.
“For all ZANU PF’s rhetoric about Zimbabwe being ‘open for business’ the one thing they have never learnt in 38 years of misrule is that the single most important factor in any investor’s decision to invest in a foreign country is security of the investment.”
As the July 2018 harmonised elections beckon, the MDC-T has failed to comprehend one fundamental factor of international relations and diplomacy; true diplomatic relations are built on the basis of nation to nation mutual companionship.
They are not drawn from a wish list of an inane political party whose misguided politics is wont on playing to a slipping gallery.
Following the invitation by his counterpart Boris Johnson, Dr S.B. Moyo went to London where he sold Zimbabwe’s vision to its former colonial master.
The new Zimbabwe vision was naturally well received.
“I have been here on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and I was invited by my counterpart Right Honourable Boris Johnson whom I had a session with and I can tell you it was a superb session,” said Dr SB Moyo.
“It basically signified the entry of Zimbabwe into the family of nations, and as a consequence of that I also extended, in fact we had already extended, an invitation to the Commonwealth to even come and observe our elections.
“I can assure you that the meeting I had with Honourable Boris Johnson and other foreign ministers from the Commonwealth, they actually declared a lot of solidarity, support, encouragement and actually welcomed Zimbabwe into the Commonwealth, but we are saying as the executive, as people who lead the people, we do not want to run as the executive and join the Commonwealth and then leave the people behind.
We want to make sure that we are together with the people, we are in it with the people because we are a listening dispensation.
What you want is what we will do.”
But Chamisa was not amused with Britain which he accused of ‘favouring stability over governance’.
“There’s a tendency to align with one political party against another. There has been a shift by the British government to focus on stability at the cost of governance. That is a false calculation,” said Chamisa in London on Tuesday last week.
Britain’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing and her deputy Simon Thomas have been severely criticised by the MDC and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for ‘praising’ ZANU PF’s reform agenda.
They have, however, rejected the criticism saying the UK is attempting to normalise relations with Zimbabwe.
It is important to note that Ambassador Laing has said Britain is normalising relations with Zimbabwe not ZANU PF.
This is the point the MDC is failing to comprehend.
They have also failed to realise that gone are the days when they used to accost the world to ‘convict’ Zimbabwe of such ‘crimes as human rights abuses, election rigging and repression of political opponents, corruption and mismanagement of the economy – days when they were still darlings of the West.
The most vocal of the Western nations was the US which according to Gabriel Chaibva, one of the founding members of the MDC conspired with the likes of Biti and Welshman Ncube to urge the US to slap Zimbabwe with economic sanctions.
Chaibva made the startling revelation during a ZBC TV programme Melting Pot a few years ago.
What came out of the contributions of Biti and Ncube was a document called The US Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act.
It was signed into law by former US President George W. Bush on December 21 2001 and it empowers the president under the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to: “Support democratic institutions, the free press and independent media,” in Zimbabwe.
Indeed, American officials were not making the situation any better for the MDC.
For instance, on the eve of a US Congress meeting on Zimbabwe sanctions, former MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai travelled to America in March 2001 where he met one of the leading figures in the sanctions issue, Senator Russell Feingold who said:
“Tsvangirai told me to paint as bleak a picture as possible for Zimbabwe,”
Tsvangirai was in the thick of things.
In January 2002, he pleaded for sanctions to be imposed on his country before the March presidential election.
Tsvangirai said after two years of ‘softly-softly’ diplomacy by Zimbabwe’s neighbours, it was time for genuine sanctions.
“Targeted measures should be imposed immediately to freeze money and assets held overseas by Mr Mugabe and his associates, while South Africa should impose a fuel, transport and electricity blockade.” Tsvangirai told the BBC while in South Africa.
“We are aware that smart sanctions, if they are immediately implemented, will have the personal effect on the leadership of ZANU PF.”
The costs of the MDC’s isolationist project have not only hit hard on the image and international standing of Zimbabwe, they have had an immense effect on the country’s coffers as well.
Estimates say, as at June 2013, the sanctions had cost Zimbabwe about US$46 billion, totally crippling the nation and driving the black majority into poverty never experienced before.
With Zimbabwe headed for yet another election, it is the Zimbabwean voter who will decide who forms the next government in Harare.
Any illusions on the purported influence of Britain will be vanquished in July.

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