IT is a good thing that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has embarked on an aggressive campaign to have Zimbabwe — for over two decades an international pariah State — re-admitted into the global family of nations as he seeks a different trajectory from that of his combative predecessor, Robert Mugabe.
But such a campaign can only be successful if the country’s foreign missions across the globe are functioning efficiently, something that is only possible if the embassies are well-funded to be able to do their diplomatic job adequately.
Failure to bankroll these missions will present a stiff challenge to the international re-engagement efforts. It would appear the sickness afflicting the country’s economy has been so viral that it has not spared the country’s foreign missions, many of which are now ailing due to inadequate funding. It is critical, therefore, to make this a priority area.
It goes without saying that these embassies are, by nature, supposed to be the face of Zimbabwe and represent the country’s interests internationally, but they often end up seriously compromised as ambassadors are forced to hitch-hike to attend to official business. The nation must indeed, do some serious self-introspection with regards to this.
The fact that Finance minister Mthuli Ncube only allocated the country’s diplomatic missions $45,3 million against a demand of $67,3 million — as reported by acting secretary for Foreign Affairs Chitsaka Chipaziwa — proves beyond a trace of doubt that we still have a long way to go and it is going to be an uphill task to convince the world that we have turned a new page.
Consequently, against such a grim backdrop, the country faces a mammoth task in its spirited drive of re-engagement as its image internationally has been so battered that it would require significant funding to be spruced up.
How does government hope to lure investors when its representatives abroad are forced to hitch-hike so that they attend meetings? Ambassadors do not only represent the face of the President and his political ideology, but carry the wishes and opportunities available in their homeland.
It is sad to note that some ambassadors resort to being beggars from their fellow diplomats, reducing the country’s stature to that of a destitute nation. While it is an open secret that we have a long-running economic crisis, the path we have chosen as a country to re-engage and fight for integration into the global village does not come cheap. It comes with sacrifice.
Besides the global outlook, Zimbabwe ought to move away from perpetual electioneering. The idea of keeping the country in a conflict mode does not win investors, but keeps them away from the country, resulting in low foreign direct investment. We, therefore, urge both Zanu PF and the MDC to find each other and work together for the good of the nation. Presenting a united front to the international community will go a long way in establishing goodwill that will consequently help restore the country’s image and economy in the long run.
Faced with a poor foreign representation and a perpetual political bickering society, no investor would consider such a country.