Zimbabwe has been excluded from participating in a democracy summit in the United States next month where President Joseph Biden is expected to host more than 100 nations, according to the privately-owned NewsDay newspaper.
This comes at a time when President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week claimed that he had a refreshing chat with Biden at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland. Mnangagwa claimed that Biden assigned one of his aides to look at ways of re-engaging Zimbabwe. The U.S. has not responded to these claims.
Critics say the United States’ exclusion of Zimbabwe from the summit is a blow to the country’s constructive engagement agenda.
NewsDay reports that some of the invited nations are Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Zambia, Cyprus, South Korea, Brazil and India.
The newspaper quoted the U.S. Embassy Harare as saying they can’t comment on participation by individual countries or organisations.
The U.S. Embassy said the December 9-10 virtual summit for democracy is expected to bring together leaders from a diverse group of the world’s democracies.
NewsDay quoted the embassy as saying, “In roughly a year’s time, a second in-person summit will take place. Both events will bring together heads of state, civil society, philanthropy, and the private sector, serving as an opportunity for world leaders to listen to one another and to their citizens, share successes, drive international collaboration, and speak honestly about the challenges facing democracy so as to collectively strengthen the foundation for democratic renewal.
“The initial summit will galvanise commitments and initiatives across three principal themes: defending against authoritarianism, fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights.”
Organizers of the summit say it is meant to “set forth an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal and to tackle the greatest threats faced by democracies today through collective action.”
Zimbabwe’s Information Secretary Nick Mangwana and presidential spokesperson George Charamba were unreachable for comment as they were not responding to calls on their mobile phones.
Zimbabwe has been campaigning for the removal of targeted sanctions imposed by the West on Zanu PF officials following alleged human rights violations and election rigging.
A United Nations special envoy, Alena Douhan, who assessed the impact of the sanctions on the country, has urged the West to remove the sanctions saying they are devastating the southern African nation’s economy.