…as US remain unmoved until reforms are implemented
President Emmerson Mnangagwa (ED)’s engagement of two United States of American lobbyist firms to spruce the two countries’ frost relations was just a waste of money, as the US has remained unmoved in its stance on Zimbabwe- analysts have said.
In a bid to clean his tainted global image, Mnangagwa, early this year contracted two US firms Ballard Firm for US$500,000 and Avenue Strategies for over $90,000/month, amid warnings by analysts that what he needs is to reform.
They said it was a waste of cash as no amount of money paid to lobbyists and public relations companies could wash away and clean Mnangagwa’s image with high levels of corruption, impunity, and abuse of citizens standing in the way.
Veteran journalist Hopewell Chin’ono had this to say then;
“Whoever is advising ED does not understand how the US government works. In March I wrote about how these lobbying pursuits were futile.”
Another renowned journalist and Vanguard Africa editor Jeffrey Smith, agreed, said Mnangagwa had to contract two lobbyists because one was not enough to whitewash his horribly abusive and wholly rotten regime.
He too believed the move was a waste of money and not going to help matters.
The two journalists seem to have been vindicated in their prognosis, the US recently imposed sanctions on Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe and his wife, Ms Chido Machona.
Sanyatwe is the commander who oversaw the killing of unarmed civilians by the Zimbabwe National Army on 1 August 2018.
But Mnangagwa’s regime still do not seem to learn, instead of reforming, thinks it is being unfairly treated.
The Government of Zimbabwe recently summoned US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols over the sanctions.
Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador, James Manzou, recently met Ambassador Nichols at his Munhumutapa offices where he expressed Government’s displeasure over the imposition of sanctions on Sanyatwe and his wife.
Meanwhile, political analyst, Alex Magaisa also believes the summoning of the Ambassador is misguided, and that without reforms, the US will remain unmoved. He adds his voice; “Clearly, Ballard Partners, or whatever the name of the DC lobbyists, are sleeping on the wheel, or they knew it was a hopeless cause, but they couldn’t turn down easy cash from another authoritarian regime.
“Millions of scarce taxpayer dollars spent, but Washington remain unmoved.”
Another political analyst Elder Mabhunu says the problem with Mnangagwa and his team is that they do not understand how the US government works, and the summoning of Ambassador Nichols by the government will not work, until it addresses the necessary political, economic, and media reforms among others.
“The clueless regime is indeed lost, they think summoning US Ambassador will change anything. No.
“What they need to do to have sanctions removed is return to rule of law, respect human and property rights and shun corruption which scares investors. Then everything falls into place,” he says.
Meanwhile, the US defended its move and stance saying Mnangagwa is misdirecting his energy by blaming Zimbabwe’s economic crisis on sanctions.
United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairperson Senator Jim Risch says Mnangagwa should implement the reforms he promised including holding members of the military accountable for shooting and killing unarmed civilians.
He was speaking on the anniversary of the August 1, 2018, massacre in central Harare in which left six people died, Senator Risch said Mnangagwa should end a culture of impunity which also saw at least 18 people being killed during fuel protests in January this year.
“As Zimbabweans mark this sombre anniversary, we are reminded of all that can go wrong when regime preservation comes ahead of real democratic change,” Senator Risch said.
“Zimbabwe is facing a worse political and economic crisis today than in 2017 when long-time ruler Robert Mugabe was forced from power by the country’s military. Today, citizens are suffering under staggering inflation, regular fuel and water shortages, rolling blackouts, a failing currency, and an increasingly repressive political environment.
“President Mnangagwa’s efforts to cleanse his government’s image abroad and to convince the Zimbabwean people that their economic woes are the fault of very targeted U.S. sanctions are the wrong priorities. These sanctions are on individuals who violated the rule of law and caused this political and economic chaos,” he said.