Zimbabwe has ditched American consultancy firms engaged more than three years ago to help thaw diplomatic relations with the United States.
In 2019, the then Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo hired four lobbyists – BTP Advisers, Mercury International Limited, Ballard Partners and Avenue Strategies – paying them millions of dollars, according to The NewsHawks.
Frederick Shava, Moyo’s successor, has indicated that bilateral engagements between Zimbabwe and the United States will now be held at the government level. Shava told The NewsHawks:
Let me say from the onset that there have been a few consultancy companies who have come forward to offer their services to pose the two governments to talk to each other.
They have come and gone and let me say also that the best interaction between the United States and Zimbabwe is still government official channels and this is what we are encouraging. As Zimbabwe we are talking to Congress, we are talking members of the House of Representatives and recently as you probably followed Zimbabwe was invited to the second US-Africa Summit in Washington DC albeit at the level of minister of Foreign Affairs and we are still hoping that this warming up will improve and Zimbabwe will be invited at the level of the Head of State. I just want to say that the emphasis is now on the interactions between governments without third parties as much as possible.
Zimbabwe and America have endured a sower relationship since the millennium when the Western nation imposed sanctions (ZIDERA) on Zimbabwe following the fast-track land reform programme which was marred by human rights violations.
The American consultancy firms, which Zimbabwe has ditched, were expected to mend relations between the two nations as the southern African nation embarked on the diplomatic re-engagement drive.
But the move yielded little as Washington demanded more political governance reforms such as upholding the rule of law, respecting property rights and overhauling electoral laws.