British govt speaks on Zimbabwe economic sanctions

United Kingdom’s (UK) Minister for Africa, James Duddridge (Image: Sky News)

LONDON – The United Kingdom’s (UK) Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, has said his country’s sanctions on Zimbabwe are targeted on those who are violating Zimbabwean citizens’ human rights.

In a post on Twitter, the Conservative parliamentarian asserted that the UK stands for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and is committed to dealing with corruption to ensure a better future for Zimbabweans. Duddridge said:

The UK stands up for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Our sanctions only target those who disregard these values in Zimbabwe and across the world. The UK is committed to tackling corruption and ensuring a better future for Zimbabweans.

Meanwhile, the United States of America and the European Union (EU) have also dismissed the Zimbabwean government’s claims that sanctions have impeded economic development over the past two decades.

Zimbabwe insists that Western powers imposed sanctions on Harare as punishment for its land reform programme and the sanctions are part of their illegal regime change agenda.

The embattled Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged the United States of America and the United Kingdom to reciprocate the friendly gestures the Southern African country is exhibiting.

Delivering his State of the Nationa Address (SONA) speech at the State House Thursday, Mnangagwa reiterated that Zimbabwe was open to engage and re-engage with all countries in the world. He said:

“As a result of my government’s Engagement and Re-engagement Policy, we are emboldened by the cooperation and solidarity from genuine and well-meaning members of the international community. Call by the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, for the lifting of the illegal sanctions were most welcome and are indeed appreciated. I further acknowledge and commend the EU for taking some positive steps towards normalising relations with my country.”

“We urge the United States of America and the United Kingdom to reciprocate the hand of peace and friendship Zimbabwe has extended. Our hand of friendship remains stretched out to all. In light of the above, “Zimbabwe is open for business and dialogue,” and stands ready to welcome investments into our mining, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and infrastructure development sectors, among others.

Since his ascendancy to power through a military assisted transition in 2017, Mnangagwa has been aggressively pushing a re-engagement agenda to reconnect Zimbabwe after it was isolated by the international community two decades ago.

Meanwhile, some countries including the US, the UK and the EU have said the implementation of the much-needed reforms was a prerequisite to re-engage.

While Zimbabwe is claiming to be reforming, at “its own pace,” Japan believes Zimbabwe is indicating left and turning right as no concrete action has been taken to suggest its commitment to implement the reforms.