Zvamaida Murwira in NEW YORK
President Mnangagwa faces a hectic schedule during the 74th Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 74) with a long list of crucial bilateral meetings lined up with representatives of countries, international bodies, multilateral agencies and business, including global media gurus.
He is also expected to deliver his address tomorrow.
Today, President Mnangagwa will attend the official opening of the summit by UN secretary-general Mr Antonio Guterres before holding bilateral discussions with United Kingdom Minister of State for Africa Mr Andrew Stephenson.
On Saturday evening, the President hinted that discussions with the British Minister will centre around illegal sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe by UK and her allies.
The President has also lined up a meeting with Mr Guterres, during which he will raise the issue of the illegal embargo imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and European Union (EU).
Addressing Zanu-PF supporters from Canada and the US at the weekend, President Mnangagwa noted that the sanctions were illegal in that the UN had rejected them through a veto by China and Russia in 2009, but were eventually imposed outside the global body’s framework.
Another crucial bilateral meeting President Mnangagwa is expected to have is with Commonwealth secretary-general Mrs Patricia Scotland.
President Mnangagwa indicated at the weekend that his meeting with Mrs Scotland would focus on Zimbabwe’s desire to rejoin the group of former British colonies.
He said it was high time Zimbabwe rejoined the Commonwealth given that the reasons why Harare had withdrawn had been overtaken by events in that the land reform programme aimed at correcting historical land imbalances was now complete.
A group of renowned international media gurus has been lined up to hold meetings with President Mnangagwa on the sidelines of UNGA 74.
President Mnangagwa is also expected to hold crucial business meeting with captains of industry from the Middle East. He will be joined by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya.
Other meetings will be on the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, mainly in the area of health and Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo is expected to attend.
President Mnangagwa is scheduled to deliver his UNGA 74 address on Wednesday and he has already indicated that the issue of sanctions will be one of the highlights of his message to world leaders.
There are other high level meetings and debates that President Mnangagwa is expected to attend during the summit where world leaders will reflect together on challenges facing the globe.
Nearly 200 leaders will converge on the world’s most prominent diplomatic stage this week where speeches on issues around climate change and trade should take centre stage.
The annual General Assembly will unfold this week against a backdrop of crises: the warming planet, economic uncertainty and flaring conflicts that threaten to further entangle the United States in the volatile Middle East.