Mabasa Sasa in New York, United States
This time last year, then Vice President Mnangagwa’s world was collapsing around him. Still recovering from an attempt on his life via an assassin’s poisonous intents, he was soon to be fired as Zimbabwe’s Vice President. That forced him to leave the country as his enemies sought to finish the job that the poison had failed to accomplish.
Barely a year later, he is preparing to address the United Nations General Assembly for the first time as elected President of the Second Republic. A remarkable upturn in the books by any measure.
President Mnangagwa takes his international charm offensive to the biggest stage of them all on Wednesday when he gives his maiden statement to the General Debate of the 73rd Ordinary Session of the General Assembly.
From fighting for his life, he is now fighting to make Zimbabwe’s economy tick again and bring the country out of international isolation that has lasted close to two decades.
Which is why his meetings with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel are of key importance.
The UN is the world’s largest international organisation, while Belgium is the seat of the influential European Union. Reviving Zimbabwe is not armchair work.
And President Mnangagwa has been kept busy by a full schedule of engagements since arriving here last week in the company of Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya.
Apart from his first statement to the General Assembly, the President is scheduled to address the High-Level Meeting on the Fight Against Tuberculosis and to also lend his weight to agendas being steered by his Zambian counterpart President Edgar Lungu (High-Level Roundtable Event on Ending Child Marriages) and South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa (Nelson Mandela Peace Summit).
The Nelson Mandela Peace Summit is today.
President Mnangagwa is billed to deliver a statement there as part of the international community’s push to establish a “Mandela Decade of Peace”.
President Mnangagwa has put Zimbabwe’s economic turnaround at the top of his administration’s “to do” list, and his engagements thus far in New York have been geared towards his stated objective of delivering a middle-income economy by 2030.