Democratic renewal . . . Government rectifying past mistakes

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter 

ZIMBABWE is on a path of democratic renewal that has seen it rectifying its past mistakes as part of its reform agenda, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr Sibusiso Moyo, has said.

Dr Moyo said this in an article published yesterday in Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper.

Government is lobbying Kenya to support its readmission into the Commonwealth as part of its re-engagement drive.

Kenya is the chair of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.

Dr Moyo said Zimbabwe is on course to rectify its mistakes that have seen it being a liability to its neighbours. 

“A stable and prosperous Zimbabwe is a piece of the larger equation. Too often the mistakes of the nation’s past have been passed onto our neighbours. We want to rectify this. Zimbabwe can once again become a reliable and responsible partner that drives economic success in the region,” he said.

The Minister added that far reaching reforms were underway.

“Institutional change is underway to change the police modus operandi from a security function to the protector of citizens’ liberties. Laws out of kilter with constitutional protections for freedom of assembly and speech are being repealed and replaced. Government is leaner and cleaner; anti-corruption authorities have targeted high-level officials — including ministers — and fiscal austerity measures supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have reined in government spending,” he said.

“The question for the international community is whether it would like to support this reform agenda. Institutional change cannot take place overnight. Transitional politics must travel across rocky terrain. And a new political culture takes time to mature. But our direction of travel is clear. The re-integration of Zimbabwe into the Commonwealth would — through expertise and experience — inject a quickening momentum into the journey. It would bolster Zimbabwe to navigate these challenging yet hopeful times.”

Dr Moyo said Kenya holds a crucial position in the Commonwealth hence its importance in lobbying for the readmission of Zimbabwe into the 53-country member club of mainly former British colonies.

“Key among those platforms for global collaboration is the Commonwealth. We seek Kenya’s support for Zimbabwe’s application to re-join. Kenya is the current Chair of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group — the organisation’s leading decision-making body — and the process of readmission is already underway,” said Dr Moyo.

He said with Commonwealth support, the country’s reform programme can be delivered faster and with greater durability.

“The 53-country club of nations provides opportunities for collaboration and the sharing of experiences and best practice — helping governments to improve the lives of their citizens,” said Dr Moyo.

He said Government was also in the process of implementing the Motlanthe Commission and Election Observer Reports recommendations to improve on the country’s democratic space.

Meanwhile, in an interview, Industry and Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said sanctions need to be removed as they are affecting the country’s drive to attract investors.

He said a lot of the country’s strategic companies cannot operate at full capacity due to the strain posed by sanctions while some of them were forced to shutdown.

Minister Ndlovu said African leaders, in joining the call for the removal of sanctions, have also realised that for Africa to progress, Zimbabwe needs to be given a fighting chance.

“We are not saying remove them now. We have always been saying remove them and we are happy that the region and the continent at large have joined us in this clarion call. Obviously, sanctions have far bearing effects on the generality of our people, the economies of the region and the economy of Africa as a whole. 

“Every leader wants to see Africa realise its full potential and as long there is one nation that is being denied its ability to realise its full potential, Africa will not realise its full potential,” he said. — @nqotshili