China’s GSI is a timely call: Tanzanian ambassador

Albert Chavhunduka

Tanzania Ambassador to Zimbabwe Professor Emmanuel Mbennah says African nations should engage and address issues that are inhibiting development in the continent, adding the call for a Global Security Initiative (GSI) by Chinese President Xi Jinping is timely, appropriate and should be supported by African countries.

According to President Xi Jinping, the central thrust of the GSI is that it is a prerequisite to equitable and sustainable global development and it calls for the prioritisation of indivisible and sustainable cooperation of all states to achieve global peace and development.

In an exclusive interview with Review & Mail, Ambassador Mbennah said global peace was very fundamental especially at a time when the world was trying to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ambassador Mbennah said a peaceful environment was what Africa needed for the continent to develop itself and increase its participation in global affairs.

He further added that it was in the interests of African countries to support China’s initiative as collaboration on certain global issues would also ensure the protection of team peace which was endangered.

“It is within the context of peace that nations can engage to address issues that are inhibiting development and there are many of them. That kind of collaboration requires an environment of peace. So whether or not we should have peace is not something we should negotiate, we need peace. It must always be considered to be very unfortunate when there is no peace or team peace is being endangered,” said Mbennah.

“So the call to have a focus on global peace, it’s a very important call, it’s timely, needed and appropriate. There may only be issues of modalities to promote that global peace. If there is no trust between nations, to think that we are at peace is very difficult, so it implies that we need to build trust among and across nations.

“So I think it’s a timely proposal and it should be supported. There may be issues of defining the modalities, issues to do with the willingness to let go of certain assumptions on certain parts.”

Mbennah said China’s proposed initiative was in line with Africa’s aspirations and its development agenda and the continent would benefit economically if there was peace in the world.

“I cannot speak for all of Africa but in my view and as a Professor, I think Africa would want peace for the world. Africa has a very huge development agenda and it is part of the globe, we cannot say we are in Africa and we don’t want to fight with any big nation, we only want to consider only our environment, we are part of the globe and we cannot stay away from a call for a global peace process,” he said.

He said Africa had a lot of resources, a very young population and was a big market thus stood to gain economically in many ways if and when there was peace in the world.

“So it’s good for Africa that the world is at peace, therefore the call by President Xi Jinping is a good call at least from the perspective of Africa,” he said.

The diplomat further noted that the importance of cooperation for the achievement of peace could be drawn from how SADC countries were working collaboratively to deal with the terrorist insurgency in in the Cabo Delgado region in neighbouring Mozambique which was threatening regional stability.

“The recognition of the threat, I think a clear understanding of the scope of the threat is obvious, the commitment to address the threat collectively, it’s clear. We have countries in SADC that are participating in Cabo Delgado, including Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique itself and other countries,” said Mbennah.

He said SADC was sufficiently vigilant to make sure whenever terrorism popped up, there was necessary action, adding that the regional bloc should be commended for the efforts, plans and mechanisms in place with regards to dealing with terrorism.

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