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Mnangagwa re-engagement plan in danger

by Staff reporter
30 Sep 2023 at 18:35hrs | Views
This week, political analysts and prominent economists cautioned that President Emmerson Mnangagwa's efforts to re-engage with the international community could be jeopardized by several unfavorable reports issued by regional and international election observer missions following last month's elections.

On August 23, Mnangagwa secured 52.6% of the vote, while his closest competitor, Nelson Chamisa, who leads the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), received 44%. However, Chamisa rejected the results, alleging that Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu-PF party had exploited their incumbency advantage to win the polls.

Preliminary reports from observer missions such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the European Union (EU) raised doubts about the credibility of the election.

In his address to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly this week, Mnangagwa asserted that Zimbabwe's elections were free and fair. He continued his global campaign to persuade world leaders that the country was committed to implementing reforms, saying, "I am pleased to highlight that our country enjoyed peace before, during, and after our free, fair, transparent, and credible elections." Mnangagwa also criticized the 23-year-long sanctions on Zimbabwe, attributing them to economic hardship.

Since taking office in 2017, Mnangagwa has pursued a new approach, seeking to re-engage with Western nations after years of isolation. He has also launched initiatives to attract foreign direct investment.

However, in the wake of the contested elections, Mnangagwa faces the daunting task of convincing global leaders that Zimbabwe is genuinely ready to embrace reforms and reintegrate into the international community.

Gift Mugano, the Executive Director of Africa Economic Development Strategies, emphasized that under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) enacted in 2023, the United States has outlined specific conditions that Zimbabwe must meet to end its international isolation. These conditions include respecting the rule of law, human rights, and constitutionalism. Mugano also emphasized the importance of Zimbabwe settling its $14 billion foreign debt to institutions like the World Bank and the Paris Club to access new lines of credit. The country's total debt of $17.5 billion represents a debt-to-GDP ratio of approximately 90%, one of the highest in the region.

Persistence Gwanyanya, a prominent economist and member of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's monetary policy committee, echoed the need for addressing election-related concerns to regain global market confidence.

Professor Stephen Chan, a world politics expert at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, highlighted the critical nature of observer reports, suggesting that Zimbabwe's lack of legitimacy could lead to continued isolation. He noted that Mnangagwa, while remaining in office, faced a credibility crisis as a result of these reports.

Mnangagwa was inaugurated a few days after the polls on September 4, with the ceremony attended by several heads of state, including Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Filipe Nyusi, the Mozambican president.

Source - the independent