ED makes maiden UNGA appearance

by Elijah Chihota

President Emmerson Mnangagwa will make his maiden appearance at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) which opened on 18 September 2018.

The first day of the high-level General Debate will be Tuesday, 25 September 2018, and is scheduled to last for nine working days.

Critics of the Second Republic are already questioning why President Mnangagwa has embarked on that trip. These people can be forgiven for their lack of knowledge on how diplomacy operates as they have a poor understanding of what transpires at such gatherings. To some who are hare-brained, their assumption is that World Leaders attend such gatherings just to eat cookies and drink tea. On the contrary, it is at such gatherings that world economies are shaped by exploring possible areas of co-operation.

At the UNGA gathering, President Mnangagwa is set to mix, mingle and rub shoulders with other World Leaders. The President will use his charm to court potential investors given that the country has embarked on an all-inclusive approach and an open for business policy.

Despite childish cries from the MDC Alliance, that President Mnangagwa suffers a legitimacy crisis, the crux of the matter is that he won the  July 30 polls by 2 460 463 votes beating his closest contestant Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance who garnered 2 147 436. Despite Chamisa’s outrageous claims that he was the winner of the harmonised election and immediately filed a case with the Constitutional Court, which Chief Justice Luke Malaba and his bench working on evidence ruled on 24 August 2018 that President Mnangagwa was the elected President of the 2nd Republic of Zimbabwe. Former President, Robert Mugabe also endorsed the President’s victory.

“There was an election, Zanu PF was represented by Emmerson Mnangagwa and (Nelson) Chamisa represented MDC-Alliance and results came out saying the person who won was Emmerson Mnangagwa and I said zvava mugwara zvino,” said Mr Mugabe.

Regionally, the elections were endorsed as largely free and fair by the African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Commonwealth. The COMESA observer mission commented that the election was “peaceful, transparent and adhered to regional and international standards.”

The President has enunciated his Vision 2030 of a middle income economy anchored on agriculture, mining and infrastructural development. Agricultural land constitutes 16.32 million hectares translating to 41.88 percent. With President Mnangagwa’s thrust of promoting irrigation development across the country, manufacturers of irrigation equipment from Spain, Italy and Israel, among others can easily find a niche market in Zimbabwe to supply their products which are also in demand. The country is also endowed with perennial water bodies which would be utilised to promote food security at household level as well as building the country’s strategic grain reserves.

At the UNGA summit, the President would get an opportunity to advance his re-engagement strategy by engaging other leaders. Given the side meetings which are held at UNGA, President Mnangagwa is set to maximise such a platform to sell investment opportunities in the country. Zimbabwe is endowed with over sixty minerals among them gold, platinum, lithium, tantalite, diamond and palladium all of which are in demand the world over.

The “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra, which is underpinning the country’s economic turnaround drive, would be marketed at the event thereby creating the much needed co-operation and cultivating mutual relations with other nations. It is such relations that form the bedrock of sound and fruitful trade relations.

The MDC Alliance, still smarting from an electoral defeat, is planning demonstrations in New York in a bid to soil the legitimacy of President Mnangagwa’s presidency. The planned attention-seeking protest is a non-event which should not cause anyone sleepless nights. The MDC Alliance garnered 63 National Assembly seats against ZANU PF’s two-thirds majority at 145 constituencies, a fact which confirms latter’s dominance of the local landscape and strengthens President Mnangagwa’s victory.

It against this background that the world will view the MDC Alliance’s childish tantrums in New York, which are merely meant to ineffectually derive satisfaction in embarrassing President Mnangagwa and ZANU PF on the world stage.