Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders have been left frustrated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s refusal to accept former South African president Thabo Mbeki’s mediation between his administration and opposition MDC leader Nelson Chamisa.
A SADC diplomat accredited to Harare told The Independent that regional leaders have realised that it’s Mnangagwa rather than Chamisa, who is against serious dialogue, with companies from South Africa and Botswana not happy about Zimbabwe’s hostile investment climate. The diplomat is quoted as saying:
There is growing frustration in the Sadc region about Mnangagwa’s failure to give Mbeki the chance to mediate in the political impasse. They now think that Zimbabwe is not serious about transforming its economy. There is huge disgruntlement over this issue in the diplomatic circles and the entire region.
Basically, the concerns are coming from the fact that there are many South African and Botswana companies investing in Zimbabwe and they are feeling the heat from the economic meltdown as they cannot repatriate their profits.
The general economic environment has been very unfriendly. There was a lot of optimism when Mbeki started the moves, but all that has dissipated now. Sadc leaders are also disappointed that the political impasse in Zimbabwe has persisted for far too long.
Mbeki visited Zimbabwe mid-December last year on a SADC-initiated mission to facilitate dialogue between Mnangagwa and Chamisa after regional leaders realised that the country’s problems were a result of its toxic political climate.
The veteran statesman was expected to return to Zimbabwe in late December but Mnangagwa’s recalcitrance has kept him out.