The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Correspondent
THE impending change of Government in the United States is unlikely to result in a shift of Washington’s foreign policy towards Zimbabwe owing to long-held ideological differences and prejudices, local political analysts have noted.
Democratic party candidate Mr Joe Biden beat incumbent and Republican Donald Trump in the November 3 presidential election and is set to assume office in January next year.
Speaking separately, the analysts said Washington was likely to maintain its hardline stance towards Harare in line with precedents set by successive US governments since 2001, when Zimbabwe was placed under tough economic sanctions.
Senior Law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe Professor Lovemore Madhuku predicted that Washington would maintain its posture towards Zimbabwe.
He said Zimbabwe should continue with its reform agenda and the growing lobby for the lifting of sanctions.
“There is absolutely no difference between a Biden presidency and a Trump administration when looking at relations between Zimbabwe and the US,” said Prof Madhuku.
“The difference between the two only exists in the domestic affairs of the US.
“As a general rule, the effect of the outcome of an American presidential election is much more significant within the US itself than anywhere else.
“Their current foreign policy towards Zimbabwe was adopted in 2001 under President Bush and it has not changed through three presidents, including under (Barack) Obama and Trump.
“Our approach towards the US must not depend on the identity of the person who occupies the presidency of that country.”
Political commentator and Media studies lecturer at the Great Zimbabwe University Dr Gift Gwindingwe said under Mr Biden, Washington was likely to maintain its sanctions regime while continuing to push for a change of Government in Harare.
“The Americans want to see regime change in Zimbabwe: so until such has happened, I do not see our relations improving at all,” said Dr Gwindingwe.
“The Americans have set some preconditions, which they demand before relations can normalise. It’s likely that they will continue to do so.
“In essence, they want the current Government to reform itself out of power, which is ridiculous because no Government will do that.
“So, I do not foresee any change in tactics under the new Washington administration.”
Dr Gwindingwe noted that Mr Biden, who was a co-author of the US sanctions law — Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act (ZIDERA), is likely to keep the law on the US statute books.
He added: “Biden’s win does not mean much for Zimbabwe because like we have witnessed before, the American foreign policy does not change because there has been a change of administration.”
Harare-based political commentator Mr Naboth Dzivaguru said it was likely that Mr Biden’s administration would continue with the policy of sponsoring rogue civil society groups in Zimbabwe.
“Democrats generally are known for funding civic society organisations that engage in public disobedience against foreign governments,” said Mr Dzivaguru.
“They are good at funding rogue civil society groups across the world.
“For example, in their own country they had the #Blacklivesmatter movement, which effectively played a part in killing off the Trump administration.
“During Obama’s administration, we witnessed how a lot of Non-Governmental Organisations were formed with the intention of pressuring our Government through acts of violence and civil disobedience.
“USA foreign policy ricochets between hawkish and dovish approach and oftentimes they combine the two with the aim being to achieve maximum gain.
“Their foreign policy is straightforward — It’s either you are with them or against them. It’s a straitjacket.”
He said Government should expedite the promulgation of a law to criminalise campaigning for sanctions and another to regulate the operations of Private Voluntary Organisations.