Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo says the international community reengagement drive is “going very well” and will soon yield the desired results.
Since assuming power in 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has embarked on a charm offensive to thaw relations between the Southern African country and Western countries and pluck out Zimbabwe from international isolation.
The country`s number one diplomat told CITE in an interview on the side lines of an exporters meeting in Bulawayo recently that they have already achieved a lot so far.
“In fact as I said re-engagement is a process, it is not an event but I can assure that with both Europe, UK and the Americas we are progressing very well and we have reached a certain level which we had not reached before,” he said.
Tuesday, CITE reported that the Zimbabwean government had hired yet another American lobby group, Avenue Strategies for an annual fee of just over US$1 million per year to spruce up its image in the US, barely a few months after hiring another one for US$500,000.
Pressed on the continued human rights abuses and the recent arrest of civil society activists on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, Minister Moyo said the “law had to take its course”.
In May, seven civil society activists were arrested on subversion charges after attending a peace building workshop in the Maldives.
George Makoni, Frank Mpahlo, Tatenda Mombeyarara and Gamuchirai Mukura were arrested May 20 upon arrival at the Robert Mugabe International Airport.
The following day, women’s rights activist, Farirai Gumbonzvanda was arrested at the same airport while a week later, two more women’s rights activists, Stabile Dewa and Dr. Rita Nyampinga were picked up.
Four of the activists were granted bail by High Court judge, Justice Tawanda Chitapi.
“If somebody has been arrested and issue is before the courts of law I cannot comment unless those who arrested obviously saw something which justifies that particular action,” Moyo said.
He added that the country had to follow due process when it came to the law.
“We are a state which respects the rule of law. It does not mean anybody can do anything that she or he likes even if he is a committing an offense. Rule of law means you must respect the law and if you then interfere with the law then the law enforcement agencies will come on you. We don’t know what happened, we hope it is something viable for them to be arrested,” the minister noted.
On Operation Restore Legacy, which led to the overthrow of longtime leader Robert Mugabe in November 2017, the former army strongman said they were happy about the ground they had covered so far although there were challenges.
“We have done some work although we have challenges. But in as far as how much we have covered, we have taken many steps but this is a process. We are happy about the stage we are now on,” he said.
The main challenge faced by the new administration is the economy, said Moyo.
“The economy was under siege for the past 20 years that’s why we want this economy to come out of the hole it is in but for it to come out there will be pain but what I can tell people is to have patience, the pain is temporary as we want to come out of it so that we can all be happy” Moyo said.