EXCLUSIVE:Hillary Clinton coming to Zimbabwe
Itai Mushekwe/Nancy Mabaya
COLOGNE/VANCOUVER– Former U.S. Secretary of State, and First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, is reportedly coming to Zimbabwe next year, as an invited “special guest” to mark the inuguration of MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, as president, should the ex-premier win the 2018 watershed elections, Spotlight Zimbabwe, can exclusively reveal.
According to high level diplomatic sources and senior members in Tsvangirai’s party, Clinton is set to receive a formal invitation for the anticipated inauguration ceremony, once results of Zanu PF’s pending defeat have been confirmed. The opposition insiders said a list of other dignitaries set to grace the occassion, should it unfold is already being drawn in confidentiality. Spotlight Zimbabwe has been made aware that a number of African presidents and opposition leaders in Southern Africa are making the invitation list, including at least two other Western leaders.
Some of the prominent politicians confirmed to be earmarked for the invites, are Botswana and Ghana presidents, Ian Khama and Nana Akufo-Addo respectively. South African and Zambian Opposition leaders, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Mmusi Maimane and United Party for National Development (UPND) boss, Hakainde Hichilema, are also reportedly going to receive invitations. Hichilema has been in police custody for over a month, facing treason charges after a row over the presidential motorcade. Media reports last month also suggest that, Tsvangirai’s MDC-T has joined forces with Maimane in an opposition alliance involving eight mainstream parties in the region.
“We are not wasting time with preparations,” said one of the MDC-T senior members, who was a cabinet minister during the days of the inclusive government with Mugabe. “If we win, the inuaguration of the president is going to be reminiscent of our country’s 1980 Independence Day celebrations. President Tsvangirai’s victory is going to be Zimbabwe’s real awaited Independence Day. That is why we expect former U.S. Secretary Clinton to join us as a special guest. Zimbabwe is dear to her, because of our political and economic potential not only in the region but entire continent. Secretary Clinton and our president also continue to have a good working relationship, eversince they met in Washington in 2009 when he was prime minister.”
Tsvangirai met both Clinton and former U.S President Barack Obama in June 2009, in a bid to search for financial assistance for the economy, which is still trapped in a tailspin.
However, other diplomatic sources are giving credit to former finance minister, Tendai Biti, as the brainchild behind Clinton’s invitation, to what is likely going to be the country’s biggest grand coalition administration led by Tsvangirai if Zanu PF is dislodged from power in July 2018, with Biti himself expected to land one of the key powerful government posts.
“Tendai Biti is the one with political contact to Hillary Clinton,” said a Scandinavian envoy who has worked in Zimbabwe for years. “Biti and the likes of former vice president, Joice Mujuru, are the silent power brokers and kingmakers of the grand coalition project. Very soon Biti’s influence is going to be seen, because the Clinton political factor is important for a post-Mugabe government in Zimbabwe, due to her influence on global foreign affairs. Clinton can still bounce back as U.S president in 2020.”
Biti’s mobile phone was unreachable last night when we sought a comment.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader was among delegates invited to attend, the Democratic National Convention organised by the Democratic party, for their then presidential candidate Hillary in Philadelphia, in 2016.
The US presidential elections ran on November 8 2016, with Clinton locking horns with Republican candidate Donald Trump. It was the 58th quadrennial American presidential election, held on Tuesday. The Republican ticket of businessman Donald Trump and Indiana Governor Mike Pence defeated the Democratic ticket of Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator from Virginia Tim Kaine.
During her campaign, Clinton viciously criticised President Trump as a danger to the U.S. economy, and said Trump would reduce the economy into a Zimbabwe model, by drawing comparisions with Harare’s beleagured economy.
Clinton is not an ally of the Mugabe administration, which accuses her of sponsoring economic sanctions against the regime. In February during a birthday interview, Mugabe shed crocodile tears for Hillary, explicitly stating that he wanted her to lose “because of her anti-Zimbabwe stance”.
“I was surprised by his election (Trump), but I did not like Madam Clinton to win either,” said Mugabe. “You see, I knew she could slap sanctions on us as a legacy. Indeed (former US president Barack) Obama did that just before he left. Why did he have to do it? … Why didn’t he leave it to the incoming president to make his own decision? We’re just now under sanctions imposed not by Donald Trump but by Obama. What arrogance is that?”