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Shava’s diplomatic flaws exposed

Foreign Affairs minister Frederick Shava

A UNITED Kingdom-based commentator says President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s trip to London for the coronation of King Charles III exposed the weakness of the Foreign Affairs ministry in diplomatic planning.

Mnangagwa only met UK’s Minister of State Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell and former Prime Minister Tony Blair during his visit, while other leaders such as Rwanda’s Paul Kagame had a high-level meeting with the current British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.

“Personally, I put the blame squarely on the bureaucrats who are meant to assist Mnangagwa navigate international platforms, arrange meaningful meetings for the country’s benefit,” UK-based political commentator Lloyd Msipa commented on his blog.

“Instead, we saw senior bureaucrats behaving like children running around taking selfies on London streets. It is clear to all that the Foreign Affairs ministry is not fit for purpose and (minister Frederick) Shava is not visible anywhere.”

Zanu PF celebrated Mnangagwa’s invite to the coronation as a sign of thawing relations with London.

London and Zimbabwe had a fallout during the late former President Robert Mugabe’s rule over human rights violations and farm invasions.

Mnangagwa has sought to mend the relations through his re-engagement drive.

Msipa, however, said Mnangagwa’s handlers had missed an opportunity during Saturday’s coronation.

“In essence, President ED was set up by the incompetence of his own team that failed to lobby and arrange meaningful meetings with key people well ahead of his visit. They even failed to quarterback other African heads of State who could have facilitated a soft landing for President ED,” he said.

Confronted over his failure to organise a high-level meeting for Mnangagwa on the sidelines of the burial of national hero Abraham Kabasa on Monday, Shava refused to comment on the issue.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said.

Commenting on his meeting with Mnangagwa, Mitchell said: “Last week, Zimbabwean President Mnangagwa and I had the chance to discuss the importance of peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in Zimbabwe later this year.”

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