US president Joe Biden excludes Zimbabwe from historic Democracy Summit

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Jekesai Njikizana /AFP
  • US President Joe Biden has invited SADC countries for a historic summit, except for Zimbabwe.
  • The summit will seek to drive international collaboration, and speak honestly about the challenges facing democracy.
  • Zimbabwe has slipped from partly free to not free on Freedom House's score card.

US President Joe Biden has invited 100 heads of states from across the globe for a virtual two-day roundtable which will be held in December.

Of note, most of the SADC countries, save for Zimbabwe, are expected to attend the Democracy Summit.

Tanzania and Eswatini are also not gonna be there. Eswatini is plagued with political problems while Tanzania have also not been invited.

While the public diplomacy section of US Foreign Affairs said it would not comment on how each country was selected, it added the summit would be an opportunity "for world leaders to listen to one another and to their citizens, share successes, drive international collaboration, and speak honestly about the challenges facing democracy so as to collectively strengthen the foundation for democratic renewal".

The summit will be followed by another sometime next year, where Biden will host 100 world leaders in the District of Columbia.

"The December 9 to 10 Virtual Summit for Democracy will bring together leaders from a diverse group of the world's democracies. In roughly a year's time, a second in-person summit will take place," the department said in a statement.

ALSO READ | Zimbabwe stocks have rocketed 370% as investors seek cover

But for Zimbabwe, it is a diplomatic loss after President Emmerson Mnangagwa claimed to his supporters on his return from the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow he had discussions with Biden who promised to look into sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

A research fellow at the University of Witwatersrand, Dr William Mpofu, said Zimbabwe was failing to uphold human rights, freedom of expression, democracy and the rule of law which was basic tenets required from it.

"If you look at the diplomatic performance of Zimbabwe, all the attempts to re-engage and even join the Commonwealth, they have been 'Idi Amin' in nature. As a statesman [Mnangagwa] should do better than lying to the people," he added. 

According to global human rights and democracy think tank Freedom House, Zimbabwe's status in the past two years had deteriorated from partly free to not free due to the authorities' intensifying persecution of opposition figures and civic activists.

Despite strained relations, the US is the single biggest country offering donor assistance to Zimbabwe.

Since independence in 1980, it has spent at least US$3.5 billion through initiatives such as food security, support for economic resilience and health outcomes. 

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of Hanns Seidel Foundation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Rand - Dollar
15.54
-1.0%
Rand - Pound
21.12
-0.7%
Rand - Euro
17.59
-0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.16
-0.6%
Rand - Yen
0.14
-1.0%
Gold
1,814.56
-0.3%
Silver
23.52
+2.1%
Palladium
1,906.50
+1.5%
Platinum
987.00
+1.1%
Brent Crude
86.48
+0.5%
Top 40
68,282
-0.9%
All Share
74,956
-0.9%
Resource 10
74,510
-0.3%
Industrial 25
94,294
-1.4%
Financial 15
15,338
-1.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE