…as Harare isolation plays out at US-Africa Summit
ZIMBABWE’S international isolation will be amplified this year as the country is one of three African countries that will not be represented by a head of state at the US-Africa Summit to be held in December.
This also comes as activists and human rights organisations convene in the United Kingdom next week to give their take on the obtaining Zimbabwean crisis with a view to stopping the abuses of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime.
The US-Africa summit was called by US President Joe Biden, with Mnangagwa not invited as he remains on the sanctions list together with his deputy Constantino Chiwenga.
Instead, the US has invited Foreign Affairs minister Frederick Shava who is not on the sanctions list.
Despite spending millions of taxpayer dollars on a public relations stunt and expending energy on an international re-engagement exercise, Zimbabwe continues wallowing in isolation amid reports that the United States has not invited Harare to the crucial summit in December that will be attended by over 50 leaders.
“We invited the Foreign Affairs minister. We could not invite the President or his deputy as they are all on the sanctions list,” US embassy officials told The NewsHawks this week.
Zimbabwe missed out on last year’s virtual Democracy Summit.
The US has constantly called Zimbabwe to order over alleged human rights violations and corruption, among other pressing issues, saying relations between the two countries can only normalise if Harare seriously addresses the concerns.
Several top officials in Mnangagwa’s administration and businesspeople linked to the Zimbabwean government and its leader were placed on the US sanctions list for their involvement in acts of human rights violations and corruption.
While Shava is likely to use the meeting to try and mend relations with the US, human rights activists under the Restoration for Human Rights (ROHR) grouping will attend the meeting in the UK. ROHR spokesperson Vongayi Mufara confirmed a meeting has been penciled in for next week with the minister of Africa Foreign Commonwealth and Development office Vicky Ford over the Zimbabwean crisis.
“We petitioned the FCDO, Sadc, AU on human rights violations in Zimbabwe and advocating for diaspora vote of which we are being denied the vote because they know the diaspora will not vote Zanu PF and we were called for a meeting next week,” Mufara said.
Recently, Mnangagwa dispatched Shava and Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to meet Ford as part of Zimbabwe’s international diplomatic re-engagement efforts.
Ford told Parliament that she met Shava and Ncube to discuss political and economic issues ahead of next year’s general elections.
“Ahead of upcoming elections in 2023 I stressed the importance of civic space, and the need for all political parties to respect the rule of law, refrain from violence and be able to campaign freely,” Ford told Parliament last month.
Zimbabwe is once again on the radar of the international community ahead of the 2023 elections which observers fear will be bloody.
There is concern over the blocking by police of Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) rallies, arbitrary arrests of opposition lawmakers and activists, among other issues.
The Zanu PF government is also accused of coming up with legislation to throttle civic space, including the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill that has received worldwide condemnation.