‘Focus on those matters which unite us, as opposed to our areas of differences’ – ED tells diplomats

By Justin Mahlahla

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called on diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe to strengthen relations between their countries and Zimbabwe, instead of focusing on areas of differences.

In a virtual address to members of the diplomatic community at State House, President Mnangagwa reiterated Zimbabwe’s commitment to working with all countries towards a more prosperous and peaceful world.

“The Second Republic’s policy on engagement and re-engagement remains my administration’s overarching thrust. As the Government of Zimbabwe, we are committed to be a friend to all and an enemy to none. Our arms remain outstretched to embrace all those countries who are ready to work with us, albeit guided by mutual respect of our independence, sovereignty and unique national realities,” he said.

“As we begin yet another year in our relations, I challenge you, the diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe, to look through the lenses of possibilities and focus on those matters which unite us, as opposed to our areas of differences.

“My country has much more to offer towards building a more peaceful and prosperous world for all. The opportunities are immense across the whole socio-economic spectrum. Tap into these, by projecting the correct picture to your capitals, and encouraging your private sectors to invest in Zimbabwe.”

President Mnangagwa to commended the general deepening of relations between Zimbabwe and countries from both within the African Continent and those overseas.

“My Government welcomes the Commonwealth Secretary General’s assessment missions to Zimbabwe and her on-going consultations with Commonwealth Member States. We count on the support of the Commonwealth Member States in reviewing the issue.

“We look forward to a successful year ahead with ever flickering hope and optimism. In spite of the temporary setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges we may face within our respective jurisdictions, it is important that we remain on course towards building a world characterised by peace, unity love and a higher quality of life for all our people.”

He noted that the challenges and opportunities that countries individually and collectively face within the comity of nations, demand that they all work harder towards strengthening multi-lateralism, diplomacy, collaboration and cooperation. “We owe this to present and future generations and after all, we are stronger together,” he added.

“Allow me, Your Excellencies, to recognise and commend the material and technical support that Zimbabwe received from some of your countries in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The milestones attained by my administration would not have been as notable without your generosity, which greatly impacted our COVID-19 National Response Strategy.

“Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen; As you are aware, the Second Republic has registered numerous successes underpinned by a reform agenda geared towards accelerating sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction as well as human capital development with focus on science, technology and innovation,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said Zimbabwe is focused at enhancing production and productivity, leveraging on God-given natural endowments, hard-honest work and innovation, as it marches towards achieving our vision of becoming a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030.

Through the devolution and decentralisation agenda, his administration continues entrenching and fostering inclusive development, which leaves no-one and no-place behind, especially for our rural communities, women and the youth, he added.

“Zimbabwe is on the move and I invite your countries to partner with us on this amazing journey to realise sustainable development and greater prosperity. Let us build and strengthen partnerships that enable investors to take advantage of our improved political and ease of doing business environment. Be rest assured that private capital is safe in Zimbabwe,” said the President.

He added that government is ready to take advantage of the trade arrangements under SADC, COMESA, the Tripartite Free Trade Area, African Continental Free Trade Area, the European Union, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the World Trade Organisation.

Regarding climate change and adaptation measures, President Mnangagwa mentioned Zimbabwe’s efforts in increasing collaboration and partnerships, at both hi-lateral and multi-lateral levels, to increase climate knowledge, improve adaption capacity and reduce over-reliance on climate sensitive sectors, as well as the mainstreaming of climate-change adaptation and resilience into national policy, across all levels.

“My Government is unflinching in its commitment to democracy, constitutionalism, good governance and the rule of law. The preparations for the upcoming by-elections to be held on 26 March 2022 are on course. As an administration, we are unequivocal in our calls for peaceful and non-violent campaigns and elections. In line with our laws and best practices on the conduct of elections, all accredited diplomats and other observers are free to observe our elections.

He castigated some elements within the opposition parties for instigating violence and undertaking acts that destabilise peace in the country.

“It is most unfortunate however, that as Zimbabwe prepares for the 2023 Harmonised General Elections, some forces are already seeking to influence the national discourse and destabilise the peace and stability we are enjoying as a country.

“Sadly, this is not new to us and is part of the decades-old regime change agenda. Those of you who may be inclined to perpetuating this blatant interference in the internal affairs of our country are urged to introspect and stop this unbecoming practice. Let the people of Zimbabwe enjoy their unfettered right to choose their leadership. It is our democratic right, a right which we fought for, and a right which we will protect, respect and uphold to the letter.”

He then repeated calls for the removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West.

“Your Excellencies; Allow me to seize this opportunity to reiterate Zimbabwe’s call for the unconditional removal of the illegal and unilateral sanctions imposed on our country by some Western countries. It is my Government’s expectation that the independent, evidence-based Report being compiled for submission to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2022 by the Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights.”

These illegal sanctions continue to be a stumbling block to the sustainable development of our country and cause undue suffering to the ordinary people, he said.