By Deborah Harry
It’s been almost over a week now since the dictator of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa flew into the UK for the UN COP26 summit in Glasgow. Looking back at his brief presence in Scotland, there is no other way to describe it other than as a massive flop.
Everything that he did and every attempt he made to portray his presence at this summit as a huge success for his regime fell flat on its face. At the end if it all, he was just another tin-pot dictator gate-crashing an international summit by default.
It’s pointless to analyse his speech because every sentence that he uttered was either a lie or a very big lie. In addition to those lies, he made up other lies about having fruitful meetings with the US President and senior member of the Royal Family.
But the more unhinged of his lies was his claim that his presence at COP26 was evidence that the West are re-engaging with Zimbabwe. Absolute nonsense.
The West has always engaged with the people of Zimbabwe through NGOs which do a lot of humanitarian work. However, the West have rightfully refused to acknowledge or do business with his regime because Zanu are unhinged thieves who couldn’t be trusted to run a village kraal without stealing or using violence.
If Mnangagwa had made that boring speech in Harare there would have been thousands of people bussed in and given scarfs and alcohol to cheer on command. The truth of the matter is that he was invited to COP26 only on the basis that it was a UN event where every country of the world is represented.
In other words, he was there only because Zimbabwe is a country. But he wasn’t the elected representative of Zimbabwe because we know he rigged that 2018 election. He was there because Zimbabwe has people, the same people his government are punishing with poverty and violence, yet he claims to represent them. No shame in this one.
If his presence in Glasgow was such a success and evidence of western re-engagement with Zanu, then why didn’t he go to London afterwards? Why didn’t he host his own scheduled meetings? He could not attend his own Galla on the 2nd Nov (which became flop because of our effective protest); and he was nowhere near his own Presidential Investment Conference.
He was a prisoner trapped in his hotel enclosure (picture). Why not appear at one of those business discussion panels at Chatham House? The truth is, he is still under sanctions and could only be in Glasgow where the summit was being held, there’s no western re-engagement for him and his gang.
His presence in Scotland was a huge flop and rightfully so. It’s now up to Zimbabweans from all walks of life including the people who are having their Road to Damascus moment with the #NgaapindeHakeMukokamana chant to come up with a plan to get rid of this man and his people at the next election.
We cannot go on like this.
Deborah Harry is the Organising Secretary of the opposition MDC Alliance (Reading Branch, UK)