By John Mbizvo | Opinion |
Zimbabwe is a landlocked nation which relies heavily on its sisters in the SADC region.
To the East Zimbabwe has Mozambique. A troubled neighbor who happens to be dealing with a growing insurgency in the north and to the west. Islamic Insurgents are gaining ground in Cabo Delgado, while a break away of the RENAMO bandits has also surfaced.
Zimbabwe has a decorated military veteran Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba as Ambassador to Mozambique.
Mozambique is of strategic importance, Zim grain and fuel use the Beira corridor.
The new Minister of Foreign Affairs needs to play a leading role towards security partnership with Mozambique to curb insurgency while protecting Zim’s goods along the Beira corridor.
To the North Zimbabwe has Zambia. Zambia is a neighbor facing uncertainty as the nation heads into election season. Hakainde Hichilema squares off with Edgar Lungu for the Presidency.
Prices of food are skyrocketing in Zambia, and the nation is in a costly battle with one of the largest commodity brokers, Glencore.
Zambia is also dealing with its own debt crisis. President ED Mnangagwa deployed a security mind Charity Charamba to serve as Ambassador in Lusaka. The situation in Zambia needs security hawks to keep a close eye on it while accurately forecasting what will happen and how ED Mnangagwa should prepare for it.
To the South we have South Africa. ZANU PF and ANC have enjoyed a solid relationship between them. The relationship becomes a bit easier considering that Dr. Obert Mpofu and Ace Magashule as the Secretary Generals of both parties have good chemistry between them which has grown into a healthy working relationship.
ANC Comrades like Tito Mboweni and Gwede Mantashe might have a bone to pick with ZANU PF, but Ace Magashule and Obert Mpofu have found a way to keep all dogs on a leash.
Pretoria is under immense pressure from different corners to firm its hand when dealing with Harare. #ZimbabweanLivesMatter is a demonstration of the unrelenting pressure being exerted on Pretoria.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs needs to be shrewd and tactically capable of navigating the stormy relationship between Harare and Pretoria.
Botswana has her own problems to deal with, and President Masisi seems to have a good vibe with ED Mnangagwa. Masisi has refused to follow the Ian Khama footsteps of perennial hostility towards Harare. The relationship between Harare and Gaborone seems to be stable and cordial.
The West is a bed of thorns on which the Minister of Foreign Affairs has to lay on. Taking criticism from the West over ZANU PF and Government behavior, taking criticism from ZANU PF and government over the West’s attitude towards Zimbabwe. It is one big diplomatic and security entanglement which needs a mature character like Will Smith to handle it.
Monica Mutsvangwa has been touted as the front runner to replace SB Moyo. Monica is a graduate in International relations, who has a security and intelligence background. Monica has the charisma and charm of an iron lady.
Monica Mutsvangwa has proven to be an asset as the face and voice of Government. She held the Ministry of Information with grace and dignity, far much better than Jonathan Moyo.
Ambassador SK Moyo is another name that has been suggested. The Ambassador is a diplomat par excellence, a gentleman and a brilliant communicator. His health is his major stumbling block.
Some journalists have pointed fingers at Kazembe Kazembe suggesting that he was the President’s favorite to take over the Foreign Affairs portfolio.
Kazembe Kazembe made a mess of things at the ICT ministry and created the Lazarus Muchenje Netone saga which has left one of the most profitable parastatals without a stable CEO.
Equally Kazembe has failed to manage the fires in his Mashonaland Central backyard. Kazembe is still a political lightweight who lacks diplomatic prowess to manage Foreign Affairs. Kazembe’s academic record remains unclear as does his political record.
Others have suggested Stuart Comberbach a seasoned diplomat and Trade expert who served as advisor to SB Moyo.
Some have thrown in Kirsty Coventry while others have suggested Deputy Minister of Agriculture Haritatos.
The wildest and most interesting name on the cards has been that of Energy Mutodi. Mutodi has been labeled and branded a clown, a fool, a loud mouth. Mutodi has been called all sorts yet President ED Mnangagwa saw it fit to appoint him as Deputy Minister.
During his short lived tenure Mutodi became famous for his sharp tongue which he used to dispatch anti government and anti ED critics. Mutodi majored in Geography and war studies and holds a PhD in finance.
Last on the list is Kindness Paradza. Paradza a journalist by profession has served as Chairman of the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs.
SB Moyo’s shoes are likely to be the hardest shoes to fill. ED Mnangagwa has a limited pool of resources to pick from and the country’s diplomatic health needs a skilled political surgeon.
John Mbizvo is a Political Analyst.