TOP businessman and former African Sun Group Chief Executive Officer Dr. Shingi Munyeza has cautioned President Emmerson Mnangagwa against attending the Davos economic series of meetings on Switzerland “with no agenda while back in Zimbabwe the house is burning.”
Munyeza’s call comes as even US President Donald Trump has cancelled his appearance at the Davos summit to attend to biting problems back home.
Announcing the new shocking fuel prices at State House Saturday evening, President Mnangagwa reiterated that he was headed for Switzerland to take the message that “Zimbabwe is open for business.”
He said: “In Switzerland, I shall be attending the Davos World Economic Forum. Alongside other world leaders and business executives, I shall be consolidating and reaffirming our message that “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” and “Dialogue” in the context of our policy of engaging and re-engaging the world.”
Dr. Munyeza says the President must have promoted dialogue at home first before embarking on the Davos trip.
“You don’t just go to Davos without an agenda. Last year when he (Mnangagwa) went to Davos, there was at least an attempt to have a broad stakeholder consultation. This time the house is burning and no stakeholder consultation. Dialogue is paramount,” Munyeza said.
He added: “A President must never run away from dialogue just because he does not trust the other parties. Actually when mistrust exists, dialogue becomes paramount.”
Dr. Munyeza’s comments dovetail with a statement made by journalist and documentary film producer Hopewell Chin’ono on Saturday.
“President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa and his delegation are headed to Davos next week for the second time since he became leader of the former breadbasket of Southern Africa in November of 2017,” Chin’ono said.
He called the President’s Davos trip a “spectacular public relations disaster”, as the President was going to be embarrased for having not fulfilled promises he made at last year’s Davos meeting.
“I am not a prophet and neither am I a doom monger, but this will be a spectacular public relations disaster for President Mnangagwa and for Zimbabwe.
“This time he will be exposed as a man not yet ready to deliver on his previous promises of reform that he declared with fanfare when he went to the Swiss resort town of Davos in January of 2018.
“Davos is the place where countries come to sell their economic dreams and plans that are underpinned by a living reality that the world media can easily and openly audit in real time.
“It is also a place where world leaders meet big business, global capital and real economists ready to interrogate claims made by political elites to entice investment.
“Whilst at Davos last year, President Mnangagwa promised to repeal draconian laws such as AIPPA and POSA and align the current laws to the 6-year-old Zimbabwean constitution, that has not been done yet one year on.
“He promised to reform the media landscape and allow broadcasting plurality and space for more media voices, he also promised to implement economic reforms that would attract local and foreign investors to part with their money and help kick start Zimbabwe’s moribund economy.
“Nothing of that sort has been done since his Davos trip last year, I say so because as you shall see when he gets there, these are the questions that he will be asked by the world media which he can’t avoid, otherwise what will be the purpose of traveling to Switzerland if he doesn’t speak to the media to convey a message?” Chin’ono queried.
President Mnangagwa insists he will engage world business leaders to take investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, even as companies operating are already crumbling under a myriad of challenges that include currency distortions and fuel crisis.
The President said: “Given that the World Economic Forum is a premier Forum for the interaction of political and business leaders, Zimbabwe will take full advantage of this opportunity to market itself and to seek gainful investment partnerships.
“For its recovery, Zimbabwe cannot go it alone. To this end, my delegation will include our own business leaders who will be interacting with their counterparts and potential investors,” the President said in a statement Saturday.
On the contrary, US President Donald Trump said Thursday that he’s canceling his trip later this month to the global forum in Switzerland because of the partial government shutdown, now in its 20th day.
The president was scheduled to leave January 21 to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an annual event that attracts high-profile business and political figures, plus thinkers, artists and other elites.
He blamed the cancellation on Democrats in Congress, saying they are not willing to negotiate a resolution to the shutdown, which is hung up on Trump’ demand for money to build a wall on the southern border.
“Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very important trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum,” Trump tweeted. “My warmest regards and apologies to the @WEF!” Trump tweeted.
Running from 22 to 25 January 2019, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters is the foremost creative force for engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities to shape the global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of each year.
For over four decades, the World Economic Forum’s mission – improving the state of the world – has driven the design and development of the Annual Meeting objectives.
Annual Meeting participants will come together to address the most pressing issues on the global agenda. They will do so in an exceptional atmosphere – the “Spirit of Davos” – based on interdisciplinary, informal and direct interaction among peers.