Zimbabwe has engaged two lobbying firms in Washington to get the United States government to lift sanctions on Harare which have been in force since 2003.
It hired Ballard Partners on a two-year contract in February. The contract runs until 13 February 2021 at a fee of US$500 000 a year payable quarterly at US$150 000.
Zimbabwe hired another firm, Avenue Strategies Global, in April on a one-year contract which runs until 5 April next year.
The firm was paid a deposit of US$270 000 and will be paid a further $90 000 a month.
The move has come under severe criticism with Movement for Democratic Change vice-president Tendai Biti, who is in the United States to launch his book: Democracy Works tweeting: “The desperate illegitimate regime is spending millions in arms, cartels, patronage & professional diaper removal services whilst by -passing the imperator of genuine structural reforms at home centered on legitimate political dialogue . Truth is this regime is beyond redemption.”
Trucila Mutasa added: “It’s sick to wake up thinking that someone can choose to be exploited by paying millions of dollars just for encouragement services only! This is how stupid people are always loosing the fight.”
Nyaradzo Bosha, however, disagreed. She said: “Good move from the Zimbabwean Gvt, the image of Zimbabwe has been damaged and sanctions are killing us. Facing the problem head on.”
Zimbabwe has intensified its fight against sanctions which it says has cost it billions and has the support of the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has today left for Maputo to attend the US-Africa Business summit which runs until 21 June.
The summit was organised by the Corporate Council on Africa and the government of Mozambique and is expected to bring together more than 1 000 US and African private sector executives, international investors, senior government officials and multilateral stakeholders.
Here are the contracts with the lobbyists: