Why SA envoys snubbed the opposition


By Dr Masimba Mavaza

The opposition was breathing fire over the snub by the
envoys from South Africa. They were quick to spread
wrong information and casting aspersions with sole aim of
soiling the good name of Zimbabwe.
So what really is an envoy?
An envoy extraordinary or minister plenipotentiary, usually
known as a minister, is a diplomatic head of mission who
is ranked below ambassador. Ambassadors were only
exchanged between great powers, close allies, and
related monarchies. Envoys are sent for a specific
So an occasion when a person or group goes somewhere to collect information 
about something and report back to the one who has sent
them. They always go with specific mandate and must
never go beyond the mandate.
A fact-finding mission or visit is one whose purpose is to
get information about a particular situation, especially for
an official group. For each commission or fact-finding
mission, information on the mandating authority, the
mandate, the members, and links to the related
resolutions and reports, where available, are provided
AMONG all the instruments available to the President in
his conduct of foreign relations, none is more flexible than
the use of personal representatives. He is free to employ
officials of the government or private citizens. He may
give them such rank and title as seem appropriate to the
tasks; these designations may be ambassador,
commissioner, agent, delegate; or he may assign no title
at all.

He may send his agents to any place on earth that
he thinks desirable and give them instructions either by
word of mouth, or in writing, or through the Department of
State, or in any other manner that seems to him fitted to
the occasion. Some have been exceedingly formal; others
completely informal. Many agents have borne

commissions like those of Government officers, ensuring
them diplomatic rights, dignities and immunities.
Unfortunately the opposition were confused and put out
the narrative that a special envoy was appointed by
African Union chairperson, South African President Cyril
Ramaphosa to probe reports of gross human rights
violations in Zimbabwe.

The confusion was made worse by
the fact that the South African president is again the
Chairperson of AU. When the envoy jetted out of the
country after completing their mission MDC spokesperson
Fadzayi Mahere as usual, told the Press that the envoys
aborted their proposed meetings with the opposition and
civic society groups under unclear circumstances. Mahere
was confused by the fact that the envoys were to meet the
president, she is in the same dream that Chamisa is a
president of Zimbabwe. The envoy was for the president
not assumed presidents.
Presidential Spokesperson George Charamba clarified that
the Presidential envoys sent by South Africa’s
Cyril Ramaphosa to interact with Zimbabwean
stakeholders were not mandated to meet anyone else
outside the Presidency. Their mandate was to meet the
The problem we have is that the Opposition believes that
they are equal to the president. So they labour under the
illusion that they must meet any foreign dignitary who
visits the president.
It is not correct that the envoys were barred by President
Mnangagwa from meeting the two MDCs as mandated by
their principal. This was one of the normal tainting
campaigns by the opposition.
Presidential special envoys are deputations between two
heads of State. Theirs is to deliver a message from one
head of State to another and, to take back the response to
sending Head of State.
They may not re-interpret their mission or purpose to do
any other business without undermining their status as
special envoys. There is thus no sensible reason to have
expected the Mufamadi-led Special Envoys to have

branched out of their strict mandate defined by the two
interacting Heads of State and governmentst by meeting
other groups inside the country.
Simply, that is not the role of Presidential Special Envoys.
Second confusion is to imagine this is a sub-regional
intervention. It is not. It is merely a BILATERAL
interaction between two close Heads of State
representing two close sister republics.
If Sadc has to get involved – and there has to be very good
grounds for that outside adulterated images circulated by
the hashtag nonsense – that will happen through
appropriate mechanism, namely Sadc Organ.

Commented cde George Charamba:
“Baleka Mbete, Sydney Mufamadi and advocate Ngoako
Abel Ramatlhodi met President Emmerson Mnangagwa at
State House and were not expected to meet main
opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and civic
society organisations. They created their own imagination
of a meeting with the envoys. The opposition had believed
that the trio had arrived on a fact-finding mission
“following recent reports by the opposition, of difficulties
that the Republic of Zimbabwe is assumed to be
The scenario tells us the desperation in the MDC and civil
civic camps in trying to soil the Zimbabwean name. The
creation of a smoke screen and trying to obstruct the
course of justice on the arrested political activists in
Zimbabwe has made the world panic and view Zimbabwe
in a different way.


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