The Sunday News
Takunda Maodza in ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
Zimbabwe’s re-engagement efforts are on track after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration briefed the world about the violent demonstrations that rocked the country last month, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo has said.
Government is in contact with the world and many now appreciate the circumstances surrounding the disturbances that the MDC-Alliance and its partners engineered, stoking violent protests that prompted security forces to step in.
The opposition sought to besmirch the image of security forces by alleging that disproportionate force had been used against protesters. In an interview yesterday, Minister Moyo, who is accompanying President Mnangagwa to the 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Union
Assembly, said the politically motivated disturbances failed to derail re-engagement efforts.
“That was an event and it is now behind us. We are in contact with the rest of the world. Sometimes people can see through these events.
They can see through these events as time goes by and they realise that certain issues which appear to be so negative may not be necessarily negative,” said Minister Moyo.
The world, he said, is now well apprised on what transpired in Zimbabwe.
“We have engaged the whole of Sadc, we engaged the African Union and we are actually engaging even the Americas, the Eastern countries like China and it is quite clear that our re-engagement programme is going back on and it is going to continue,” said Minister Moyo.
Re-engagement, he added, was a two-way process. “It is not a fact that those people who were engaged are those we want. They also want us.
There is chemistry between these countries. They have got serious interests in coming to Zimbabwe. It is a win-win situation,” he said.
As part of re-engagement efforts, Minister Moyo is today expected to meet representatives of the US government, China and Vietnam, among many others.
“We are persuading them to understand that what happened in Zimbabwe is not a barrier to progress. It is not a barrier to investment. It may only be a hump,” he said. Minister Moyo has already met the African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.
“The AU Commission chairperson wanted clarity on the situation at home. I explained what happened. The cases, if they were workers, unfortunately they were hijacked by people who had other sinister motives and they ended up being mixed up with some political interests, which had been taking place in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We have explained the situation and he is (Mahamat) very clear about that and now he says he can easily speak about Zimbabwe. I also handed him a letter from President Mnangagwa so that he can read on his own about the situation in Zimbabwe.”
The focus of the ongoing AU Assembly is on refugees.
“Focus is primarily on refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and they are looking at the causes of all these and how we can remedy these causes or reverse this issue, which has caused the continent to have about 6,5 million refugees,” said Minister Moyo.
He said reform of the AU and its financing were also agenda items. The summit, which starts today, runs under the theme “Refugees,
Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacements in Africa”.