tjir5-3d - On Crossroads: Reflections on Zimbabwes...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No.3, Fall 2006 61 On Crossroads: Reflections on Zimbabwe’s Relations with Britain at the New Millennium Percyslage Chigora * The period following the election of the Labour Party in Britain into power has seen the relations between Zimbabwe and its former colonizer, Britain deteriorating. Deterioration of relations has been witnessed in the actions of government officials, civil society groups, media organizations, academics and citizens. Antagonism between the two countries arises from the conflict of values 1 essentially the pursuit of their divergent national interests in the postcolonial world where state autonomy is a myth coupled with the fact and the legacy of colonialism is very much alive. These divergent views, which are evident, bring into focus the nexus between land reform and economic development as well as issues on governance, human rights, political stability, race relations and equity. The network of class interest, commonality of interests and patterns of co-operation has a great bearing on a country’s foreign policy. Cooperation between nations exists primarily when there is a commonality of interests, of which absence of the same presents some degree of enmity, a situation depicted by the current state of relations between these two states. Background to Zimbabwe’s Foreign Policy In understanding any country’s foreign policy it is important to outline the essential actors, their objectives as well as the overall geographical, historical and strategic factors that are at play. Since independence Zimbabwe reflects a policy that is more or less consistent and predictable. This is attributed to the manner in which the policies are formulated and that the present leader has been in power and has been the locus of decision making since independence in 1980 and through the manner in which nationhood was achieved. 2
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No.3, Fall 2006 62 According to Stan Mudenge, Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Zimbabwe’s foreign policy objective is fundamentally to help safeguard and enhance the security and prestige of the country. Also it is geared towards the improvement of quality of life of the Zimbabwean people. This is done through interaction with other countries at various levels in order to influence the behavior of other actors so that the international environment is conducive to the attainment of these goals. Hence, Zimbabwe is “guided by an overriding belief in and love for mankind, the sacredness and inviolability of our national sovereignty and the need for freedom, justice and equality for all” 3 Lessons from the period of the struggle for independence of Zimbabwe are factored in, and play an important role in the foreign policy making process. The secretary for Foreign Affairs once hinted “ our belief in ourselves as a people in charge of our destiny controlled by no power.” 4 Emerging is a major lesson that successful foreign policy is largely dependent on the
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tjir5-3d - On Crossroads: Reflections on Zimbabwes...

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