(Last Updated on January 27, 2021 by GERALD NCUBE)
HARARE – Former US deputy assistant secretary of State for African Affairs, Todd Moss has told the Emmerson Mnangagwa led government that paying top-class Public Relations firms to promote a false front opposition party to do government’s bidding will not help the efforts to remove the sanctions.
Last year, it emerged that a United States-based PR firm, Mercury Public Affairs LLC was engaged to help spruce up then MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe’s image as the legitimate leader of the opposition.
The same company had earlier been engaged by Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Ministry to do it’s bidding in Washington and was reportedly organising a trip to the US Capital for POLAD members led by Khupe, ZimLive reported some time last year.
“Paying PR firms by the Foreign Ministry to promote a ‘false front’ opposition to have a Foreign Ministry paid lobbyist to arrange meetings for supposed opposition leaders in Washington DC, that was utterly counterproductive.
“And the Foreign Ministry paying to organise events for a false flag opposition absolutely had the opposite effect that I think was intended,” said Moss.
Moss also said that approach will definitely not work under the current administration led by Joe Biden, adding that paying those firms to do the work was a “waste of money.”
He further said no one in Washington still believed the reform promises previously touted by the current regime and that the US had noticed that things were getting worse in Zimbabwe.
“Of course, for context, the backsliding in Zimbabwe itself where the conditions seem to have gotten worse, not better have continued, Washington has definitely noticed. I don’t think there is anyone in Washington DC who is any longer kind of buying promises from the government.
“And I actually think the opposite is happening where those in Zimbabwe either paid by the Zimbabwean government or working for the Zimbabwean government who are peddling obvious false propaganda including some cabinet members, I think they are at risk of facing a global backlash.
“And I do think some members of the Zimbabwean political elite who are hoping one day to be welcomed back into polite international society, they would find those doors closing for them,” he added.
When Mnangagwa ascended to the Presidency in 2017, he made ambitious reform promises in the hope to re-engage Zimbabwe with the International community particularly the West after years of isolation.
However, the continuing deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe characterised by the massive crackdown of opposition political members and human rights activists has dealt a huge blow to that objective.