Our international relations should mirror our long and redefined relationship with the international community
By Andrew Nyathi
Zimbabwe, for the first time in its long and turbulent history, attained independence and ushered a democratically elected government in 1980.
The historic elections, followed by the inauguration on April 18, 1980 and the installation of a new Government was indeed a milestone and ushered in a period of profound and fundamental change in our country.
The anachronistic, unjust, immoral and criminal system of white minority rule came to an ignominious end and was replaced by a majority driven democracy.
Therefore, as TPF we view this period as a victory for the people of Zimbabwe as a whole.
Our emergence as a democratic country in the decade of the 20th century has thrust us into a fundamentally transformed world.
The cold war per se had ended; the great contending forces of capitalism and socialism no longer dominate the world scene.
A new era had dawned whose main content is, inter-alia, the ever-growing conflict between a highly-industrialized and affluent North and an impoverished, under-developed, highly populated South.
More and more issues of development, human rights, the environment, rule of law, South-South co-operation, North-South relations, multilateralism, peace, security and disarmament, development, etc., must now be dominating the international agenda for years to come.
Our response to these basic issues obviously would be informed by the necessity to advance our common national interests in the first place and, secondly, to ensure that the Southern African region and Zimbabwe, in particular, develops in conditions of peace, security and stability.
The foreign policy is an integral part, or rather, an extension of national policy and interests, becomes, consequently an important component in our strategy for development and social purposes.
In formulating foreign policy, we are, therefore, being extremely careful not to let preconceived ideas, in-built prejudices and rigid attitudes to cloud the basic issues at stake.
Objectivity, pragmatism and meritocracy must for a long time be the watchwords and an objective approach can only re-enforce the adage that administrations might change but fundamental interests don’t.
For the effective pursuance of our foreign policy objectives, it is absolutely necessary that the responsible department of government carries out its tasks in an unbiased manner.
Hang-ups and hang-on of the past and old prejudices should not be allowed to interfere in the workings of a department that has its brief clearly spelt out.
It becomes an urgent priority for the TPF government to ensure that the Department of International Relations is, therefore, re-vamped and transformed into a truly effective tool augmenting policies of the peoples’ government.
International Relations shall belong to the people of Zimbabwe
⦁ It will mirror our long and new relationship with the international community
⦁ It will reflect the rich tapestry of international heritage
⦁ It will demonstrate the desire to live in harmony with neighbours
⦁ It will signal the intent to contribute creatively to Africa’s future
⦁ It will beckon to international services so that it may fulfil its calling as a responsible global player
⦁ It will summon all Zimbabweans to think beyond the immediate, to reach towards the challenges of tomorrow.
⦁ These ideals echo the words of the founding principles which proclaims
“THERE SHALL BE PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP!”
Zimbabwe under TPF shall be a fully independent state which respects the rights and sovereignty of all nations. Zimbabwe shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation – not war.
A democratic Zimbabwe will not affiliate with any international military blocs; because we believe peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding equal rights, equal opportunities and status for all.
The right of all the people of Africa to independence and self-governing, shall be recognized, and be the basis of all our close cooperation.”
In essence, TPF’s foreign policy will be about promoting and protecting the interests and values of citizens. Our commitment to peace and to human dignity in the far corners of the globe, but recognize that the security of our people and the yearning for a non-racial, non-tribal, non-sexist democracy also lies close to our policy.
Zimbabwe is a trading nation; our international relations should actively seek to accentuate the significance of this by promoting the economic interests of all our people.
TPF will always be grateful for the international solidarity which supports the agenda of Zimbabwe by Zimbabweans, a democratic Zimbabwe will be in solidarity with all those who struggle to better the lives of people.
Zimbabwe’s, foreign relations, under the TPF government, will reflect our domestic character – a constitutional state bound by the rule of just laws, and respect for human rights and freedoms.
Trade (not aid) and Regional Integration: Regional and International Co-operations
Zimbabwe’s economy is highly dependent on imports of technologies and intermediate goods, as well as on exports of primary commodities (minerals and agricultural raw materials).
The imports of intermediate goods and technologies are about 84% of total merchandise imports, and the exports of primary commodities are about 58 percent of total merchandise exports.
This structure of Zimbabwe’s foreign trade is the result of the underdevelopment of the technology sector of the economy.
TPF government, through its strategy of technology development and industrialization of the economy, will reduce Zimbabwe’s imports of intermediate goods and technologies. It will increase the exports of manufactured goods.
An increase in the export of manufactured goods will enable the country to earn more foreign currency.
TPF government shall honour Zimbabwe’s international commitments and uphold the principles of the UN Charter, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Protocols and agreements of SADC as well as AFCFTA.
THE PRINCIPLES OF TPF GOVERNMENT POLICY
The historical events of the past few years have profoundly affected the international community to the extent that the world is confused. TPF will correct this starting with this effort of explaining ourselves.
We believe, however, that the changes which have occurred need to enunciate in seven principles which will guide policy.
⦁ A belief in and preoccupation with, Human Rights which extends beyond the political, embracing the economic, social and environmental.
⦁ A belief that just and lasting solutions to the problems of humankind can only come through the promotion of Democracy, worldwide;
⦁ A belief that Justice and International Just Laws should guide the relations between nations;
⦁ A belief that international peace is the goal to which all nations should strive for. Where this breaks down, internationally- agreed on peaceful mechanisms to solve conflicts should be resorted to.
⦁ A belief that our policies should reflect the interests of the continent of Africa;
⦁ A belief that Zimbabwe’s economic development depends on growing regional and international economic cooperation in an interdependent world;
⦁ A belief that our foreign relations must mirror our deep commitment to the consolidation of democracy.
The ending of the Cold War helped to terminate a series of conflicts, but new ones are surfacing throughout the world; individually and collectively they present the international community with new challenges, eg ISIS.
At the same time increasing global interdependence has opened up new opportunities and new threats as inequalities in international relations become more accentuated. Africa has put forward (AFCFTA) the African Continental Free Trade Area and also Africa vision 2063 as well as the commitment to silencing of the guns.
As TPF we believe we must silence the hunger ahead of everything.
The demise of the East-West conflict worsened the under-developed South and enhanced the industrialized North.
Zimbabwe occupies a unique position at this confluence of world affairs. We shall strive to ensure that increasingly global economic interdependence does not widen the division between the South and the North.
This goal is important because it touches upon the desire of our people for justice, economic participation, human rights and for democracy throughout the world.
If the gap between the South and the North continues to widen, these ideals will collapse and the world will be plunged into a new bipolarity.
As a country of the South, it is also in our interest to ensure that the position of the countries of the South is not prejudiced in the world economy.
Although a more dangerous place, the world dare not relinquish the commitment to Human Rights.
This has a special significance for Zimbabwe; our struggle to end colonialism and power of conquest was a global one and we believe that a change has enhanced the necessity for a worldwide Human Rights campaign.
Zimbabwe should and must play a central role in this campaign.
In the aftermath of the Cold War, an international cry has gone forth for democracy. Zimbabwe shall devote its energies to the accomplishment of democratic ideals throughout the world.
We are conscious, however, that new demands on the ideals of democracy have recently emerged.
In part, they arise from an apparent rediscovery of self-determination which, in some cases, undercuts the sovereignty of established nation-states.
These differing points of views understandably generate tension. Our hope is that this can be creatively be settled within regional and international fora.
The changing nature of global society has increased the importance of the reformed United Nations and other institutions in the search for peace.
We recognize the times necessitate the redesigning of international organizations. In accepting the importance of this, we insist that their central role in the maintenance of international law dare not be devalued the interest of the people.
We are conscious that Africa’s global position has been acutely affected by the ending of the Cold War about fifty years back. Our continent and the destiny of its people will no longer be subject to the vagaries of superpower rivalry and conflict.
It will enjoy greater self-determination. From an economic perspective, however, the shift in attention away from Africa has grave implications for the further marginalization of our continent which we can ill-afford.
A democratic Zimbabwe’s future is inextricably intertwined with that of Africa. As a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Unity (AU), Zimbabwe will have the opportunity to contribute to the issues which affect the African continent and stop the toxicity and insults hailing.
Therefore, our links with this continent are of particular importance but we recognize that this alone will not help arrest the declining international interest in the continent.
Accordingly, we shall dedicate our foreign policy to ensure that Africa’s people are at the centre of human progress.
In charting this future, TPF shall strive to contribute towards improving the basic human condition of all Africa’s people.
Only this will ensure that the continent’s peoples are able to participate in the democratic processes of their countries. Democracy will enhance necessary economic growth.
Free will and free participation are essential to unleashing the talents that reside within the citizens.
Global change has brought economics and development to the centre of international relations. Zimbabwe’s security, the well- being of our people and international peace are all linked to economic growth.
But growth without development and redistribution will, both deny freedom and hamper democracy. Zimbabwe, under TPF Government’s engagement with the regional and world economy, is a central part of its foreign policy.
We will become a player in the international economic fora and seek to enhance our own strengths and our declared commitment to the South.
We believe that Zimbabwe can do better without sanctions and unilateral isolation policies of some countries.
Thanking you again at The Digital Sunday Express for the opportunity to spell out our party principles.
Will continue with the conversation next week.
Cheers for now.
Andrew Nyathi is Secretary-General of The Patriotic Front. The views and communication expressed do not necessarily represent the editorial position of The Sunday Express.
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