GOVERNMENT has described the extension of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the United States as a travesty of justice saying Zimbabwe has embarked on a path of rapprochement and expected a reciprocal gesture from Washington.
US President Donald Trump on Monday extended by one year sanctions against Zimbabwe, saying the new government’s policies continue to pose an “unusual and extraordinary” threat to US foreign policy.
The renewal comes despite calls by African leaders, including South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, for the sanctions to be lifted to give the country a chance to recover from its economic crisis.
In a statement yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services secretary Mr Nick Mangwana regretted the development, as the ruling Zanu-PF party said the country had embarked on reforms that should not be ignored.
Analysts also slammed the extension of sanctions as “completely counterproductive”.
“The continued unilateral imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe by the United States is a travesty of justice against the Zimbabwean people,” Mr Mangwana said.
“There appears to be a serious lack of consideration to the effect these sanctions have on the generality of our people. It is ironic that sometime we are being told that United States is a big donor to Zimbabwe. Whilst goodwill and support is appreciated, what Zimbabwe is looking for from the United States is to be allowed to transact openly and freely like a normal member of the community of nations. This why we say Zimbabwe is Open for Business not for charity. Zimbabwe has no history of aggression against any nation, so the statement that “Zimbabwe poses an extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States” is absurd. Since the advent of the New Dispensation, Zimbabwe has done its best to engage with all nations it had fallen out with in a policy of Re-engagement. We have also opened new diplomatic frontiers in a policy of engagement.”
Mr Mangwana continued: “We have kept out of internal affairs of all other nations, so we surely cast no threat to the interests of any nation nor their foreign policy.
We have embarked on a policy of rapprochement with the United States and would naturally expect our warm gestures to be reciprocated and to witness a shift in US foreign Policy on Zimbabwe as the logical dividend. Going forward Government of Zimbabwe hopes for a widening and deepening of this partnership. The Second Republic has seen Zimbabwe embarking on a highly committed Reform Agenda under the stewardship of President Mnangagwa. Whilst this is an internal process purely initiated by Zimbabweans for the benefit of Zimbabweans, it’s contradictory for all this to be rewarded with brickbats and sanctions further crippling our economy.”
Zanu-PF also condemned the extension of sanctions against Zimbabwe by the US Government.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday said there was no justification for the US to impose sanctions over a bilateral historical issue between Zimbabwe and Britain.
“On March 4, 2019, President Trump announced the extension of illegal sanctions by a further one year against the Sovereign Republic of Zimbabwe primarily on the alleged basis that His Excellency President Mnangagwa and his Government have not lived up to the commitment to effecting what the US terms “reforms”.
“The perpetuation of hostilities by the US and other like-minded countries is unjustifiable, despicable and contemptible to say the least as it comes against clear efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe towards implementation of its national reform agenda including engagement and re-engagement policy,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
He said the party noted with concern that this development came hard on the heels of another similar decision by the European Union to extend sanctions on Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe, under the new dispensation has instituted remarkable electoral reforms which created a conducive environment for free, fair and credible elections as manifested in July, 2018.
“The country has witnessed the upholding of human rights fundamentals and the liberalisation of the media and many other freedoms as enshrined in the national Constitution. It must be understood by the Trump administration that there was no justification in the first place for the US to impose the sanctions over a bilateral historical issue between Zimbabwe and Britain,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
He added that it was wrong for the American Government to infer that the recent harmonised elections in Zimbabwe were irregular as they were endorsed by domestic, regional and continental bodies like Sadc, the AU and various other international observer missions. “The verdict by the Zimbabwe Constitutional Court on the electoral challenge by MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, declaring President ED Mnangagwa the winner of the elections brought the matter to finality,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
A top American economist Professor Mr Steve Hanke also condemned Washington’s move saying imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe was counterproductive.
“Zimbabwe is right to detest the West’s #sanctions,” Mr Hanke posted on his Twitter handle.
“For nearly two decades, #sanctions kept the #Mugabe regime in power and hamstrung the Zim economy. Like all sanctions, sanctions on Zim are completely counterproductive.”
Prof Hanke once served on the Council of Economic Advisors under former USA president Mr Ronald Reagan.
Renowned economist and late Morgan Tsvangirai’s advisor, Mr Eddie Cross, also condemned the US sanctions.
“If you look at list of demands in the Zidera, the US making legal instrument for sanctions on Zimbabwe, more than three quarters of those demands have received attention in the past seven months,” he said.
“I would have expected Trump to give some recognition to that. The European Union has done so and a number of other nations have recognised the progress being made.”
Meanwhile, Zanu-PF will hold its 326th Ordinary Session of the Politburo at 10AM today.