EU, US Slams Zimbabwe’s Anti-Sanctions Day

The United States and the European Union has labelled the anti-sanctions day held in the country as a distraction.

The world powers insisted sanctions were not Zimbabwe’s problem but corruption.

As such, it won’t help the government meet the strong reform agenda set out by President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he came to power soon after the November 2017 coup.

Dr Stergomena Tax, the chairman of Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states, in a statement prior to the anti-sanction day, rallied behind Zimbabwe in calling for the removal of sanctions imposed at the turn of the century when Harare embarked on gross human rights violations.

“Sanctions have caused suffering among Zimbabweans and continue to have a far-reaching effect on Zimbabwe and the entire Sadc region,” he said in the statement.

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Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun also backed the call in a tweet, saying: “Injustices in international relations forced developing countries into subjugation and poverty & still hold them back in independently choosing a path of development. #ZimSanctionsMustGo.”

However, UK ambassador to Harare, Melanie Robinson, argued that sanctions cannot be blamed for the situation Zimbabwe finds itself in.

“It’s not sanctions, it’s corruption that drives away investors and leaves teachers, doctors, nurses and services struggling. Zimbabweans must be free to expose corruption, rights abuses and see perpetrators face justice,” she said.

The US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian A Nichols, said if the energy used by Zimbabwe to rally other SADC member states in call for an end to trade and travel restrictions imposed on Mnangagwa’s government, companies and individuals aligned to it was channelled into reform the country would greatly improve.

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“I think if the government of Zimbabwe put the energy that they put into organising these types of events and generating statements from other Sadc members into pursuing the reform agenda the better,” he said.

“The government of Zimbabwe campaigned and talked about reform three years ago in November 2017 and 2018 at the inauguration of President Mnangagwa. If they have events on the reform agenda and the conditions, the restrictive measures that the US, the EU, Canada, Australia and others have imposed would be met.

“I think this is a hollow exercise in that it does not solve the interests of the people of Zimbabwe,” he told journalists.

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It is the second year that the anti-sanctions solidarity day is being held.

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