Happiness Zengeni in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia—
The European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) have both pledged unwavering support to President Mnangagwa’s Government in its efforts to reintegrate Zimbabwe into the international community and reforms to place the economy on a growth trajectory. AU chairperson Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat will visit Zimbabwe soon to assess how the AU can support the country in its preparations for harmonised elections, to be held by June this year and renewed efforts to have illegal sanctions imposed by the West lifted.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant-General Minister Sibusiso Moyo (Retired) said here yesterday at the conclusion of the 3oth Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly. It was President Mnangagwa’s inaugural participation in the assembly since he assumed office in November last year.
The President briefed the summit on the peaceful transition in Zimbabwe. He said AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, singled out Zimbabwe among African countries with strong institutions, saying that if all countries on the continent had institutions of similar nature and calibre, there would be less problems.
“In response to the submission by His Excellence, the Commissioner for Peace and Security categorically stated and praised three countries for having very strong institutions, which demonstrated that if all the African countries can have institutions of that nature and calibre, there will be fewer problems in Africa.
“Those countries are Zimbabwe, Kenya and Liberia. Zimbabwe for its (peaceful) transition, Liberia for its elections and Kenya for strong institutions, which governed a situation which was going out of hand,” he said.
In his submission at the AU summit held under the theme “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: Sustainable Path Towards Africa’s Transformation”, President Mnangagwa assured African leaders that Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President Mugabe, also Africa’s icon, was well and Government had guaranteed safety and wellness.
“In his intervention on institutional reform of the AU, His Excellency, the President underscored the need for a sustainable inclusive and transparent reform process,” the minister said. The President also pledged support to ongoing consultations regarding plans to establish the Free Trade Area to be launched at the AU’s extraordinary summit.
At the summit, Zimbabwe was elected to Peace and Security Council of the African Union for the period 2018-2020. The country and other members will thus be active in the search for solutions to conflicts on the continent. The President held a series of meetings with his colleagues, heads of State and Government on the summit agenda and pursuit of a new economic thrust for Zimbabwe.
Minister Moyo said the President’s message was consistent and clear that “Zimbabwe is open for business” and that the forthcoming elections would be free and fair. Further, he said that President Mnangagwa held fruitful discussions with European Union commissioner for development Neven Mimica who is also scheduled to visit Zimbabwe in April to see how EU can help in ongoing reforms.
“A new era is opening up, and the EU will support ongoing reforms and efforts. I am looking forward to visiting the country in April,” he said. Minister Moyo said Mr Mimica expressed the EU’s strong desire to engage President Mnangagwa’s administration as well as to ramp up support for economic development from the EU’s perspective.
“It is in this context that the EU commissioner for development proposed that he wanted to visit Zimbabwe and he will come together with the commissioner for peace and security to support and show solidarity with the new administration,” he said. The minister said that the visit is meant to provide confidence to investors and for the international community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe.
President Mnangagwa has already pronounced his Government’s position that it will seek to reengage with and reintegrate Zimbabwe into the international community to end nearly two decades of isolation. The president took the opportunity and his time in Ethiopia to meet Zimbabweans living in Addis Ababa and invited them to contribute towards economic revival of the country.
In his acceptance speech new AU chairperson and Rwanda President Paul Kagame, who took over from Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, said Africa could fight corruption through improvements in education.
He also emphasized the importance of observing the rule of law and imposing stiffer penalties. He said corruption was not limited to Africa, but that it was a global phenomenon.