The Sunday News
Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement overdrive under His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa clearly situates our transitional experience within the broader and the most sought dynamism of modern statecraft.
With President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wide solicit for an inclusive multilateral commitment base, an independent observer can note that Zimbabwe is being ushered into a modernity which is built on the solid strength of progressive diplomacy.
While realism remains at the core of state to state interactions, the world needs to reinvent a realism couched on peace, equal economic growth and cultural integration.
In a world that is fast leaning towards complex interdependence and not the primordial paradigm to power, it makes more sense for Zimbabwe to be seeking partnerships which advance economic growth, uplift of the lives of the ordinary citizenry following the painful hammer of economic sanctions which have paralysed every facet of human-life in Zimbabwe in the past decades.
The continued rifling of the sanctions discourse in our face by Washington is a clear sign of sectorial interest lobby and the deliberate missile targeting of President Mnangagwa’s hard diplomatic offensive since 2017.
The break-away from structural rigidities in our foreign policy should build new hopes for peace and stability. This is a tall order which requires hard diligence and apt commitment. China has made this route to be worth pursuing.
A lot can be learnt from China in this regard. In fact, the current construction of power in China is a template and a model that can be used to structure and nurture alternative thought to state-building.
China’s approach to political construction is mind opening and reflective. Mind opening in the sense that it exposed how our open-arms to engage and re-engage are giving us access to many options of rebuilding our country.
China has shown the world that alternative dimensions to international realism do exist beyond nuclear proliferation and interference. Realism is not about aggressive monopoly capital and power capture.
Realism is not the crude modus operandi of decimating weaker political actors, instead, China has demonstrated how much realism is built on establishing an egalitarian order.
For instance, China’s current economic progress cannot be traced to any form of imperial conquest and invasion.
However, this is not the case with several states who have catagorised themselves as the “First-World/Developed-World”.
The oligopoly dilemma continues to be a punctuating contradiction for many states who have arrogated global supremacy.
Today we speak of the Global-North and the Global-South divide which is sustained by an uneven interaction of world power.
Here, the Global-North deposits the morals, standards and values to the Global-South in a bid to teach how economies should be managed.
The Global-North is also a political moral prefect teaching the “Third-World” human-rights and democracy. China is a fast growing global power and yet her foreign policy is not significantly hegemonic as expected. China has maintained an ardent non-interference principle.
This a firm gesture which substantiates the magnitude of China’s respect of the autonomy of other nations. China has also managed to forego the propensity of ego considering its strategic positing in the global capital hierarchy.
Therefore, the astute rationality of Zimbabwe’s current proximity to China through President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s open foreign policy substantiates a well-defined leaning towards progressive partnerships.
Here is China, a country that was battling with reform and reconstruction a few decades ago just as we are doing currently; today the same China is the Second-Best economy of the world. It only makes empirical sense to strengthen bilateral ties with such a world power.
On the other hand, it is also expected to open the door for other friends and potential friends.
However, it is historically indelible that China is Zimbabwe’s unique and timeless friend. This bring me to my second importance point on the reflective thrust of China — as a historical and an ideological beckon.
Before rising to her contemporary economic prominence, China shouldered the cost of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle and that is indicative of friendly sacrifice.
Even after independence China did not keep a distance from us. China remained closest to Zimbabwe even at a time everyone had ditched us because we chose to do the right thing by giving back the land to its rightful owners.
In the face of global persecution through sanctions and the call for Article 7 of the United Nations to be evoked against Zimbabwe China remained consistent.
It was at that point when we took a defiant position to “Look-East”. To “Look East” was and is still no burden as it is equivalent to “Looking Within”.
The fraternal relationship we have developed over the years makes it no hard to draw inspiration from China. This relationship is now complimented by the “Xi Jinping thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New-Era”.
This governance model under President Xi Jinping of China offers a refreshing perspective to world politics.
Through this approach China is dedicating its energy to integrating the world’s marginalised countries to contribute to a new world order.
This has been seen through the successful materialisation of the Forum on Africa-China Co-operation (FOCAC). China has generously handed millions of dollars for advancing development initiatives in Africa, such a fund could be crucial in generating projects which strengthen various sectors of human livelihoods in Africa.
The FOCAC agenda also demonstrates China’s role in replacing the conventional aid model with growth anchored aid for African economies. Contrary to the expected, after the West’s massive pour of aid in Africa, poverty remains unaddressed, political instability is still prevalent and some countries are far from coming to peace after many years of war.
This could be a clear sign that this form of aid could be actually sustaining the crisis that Africa is currently experiencing. Therefore, China’s humble reach-out to Africa must be applauded as it testifies the need to re-order the world system.
China’s open business partnerships must be exploited for the success of Africa’s growing economies.
In the case of Zimbabwe, our maintained transactional ties with China which go beyond the petty aid relief narratives which promote the imperial facet of dependency and neo-colonialism. Without doubt China has opened her door to grow with the peripheral forces of the global sphere. Zimbabwe is privileged to be China’s long-term ally and this is telling of an unwavering fraternal relationship of this two countries.
A future of shared prosperity between China and Zimbabwe is inevitable. Zimbabwe must play her part in sustaining this relationship, but China also has to exploit the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” agenda to secure its interests, at the same time helping Zimbabwe to unlock its value-chain in the areas of mining, agriculture and manufacturing.
The fast-growing relationship between our country and China is a reaffirmation of the past that we have shared. The exchanges between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Xi Jinping symbolise the past’s reincarnation into the present.
The relationship by these two Heads of State epitomises the prospects of the diplomatic permanence between Harare and Beijing. This means that both countries have a long chapter for the benefit of generations to come.
This long story destined for the pages of our future history texts must leave lessons for the world that non-exploitative intercontinental relations are possible.
The story of Zimbabwe and China must one day illustrate the scientific meaning of solidarity and mutual beneficiation.
As it stands, China provides very instrumental tenets for the socio-economic reform that our country needs — of which much of the development approaches being applied in China dovetail some of our own systems of structural renewal.
Therefore, we need to be cognisant of the many options we have in our diplomacy basket, but we must dare not forget our past with China. If the future becomes China; one day we must be found on the right.
–Richard Mahomva is a political-scientist with avid interest in classic and modern political theory. He also has a distinct passion for the architecture of governance in Africa. He is by and large a literary aficionado. Feedback: [email protected]