Anti-Sanctions March: Mnangagwa exposes himself – US

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangangwa

THE United States used Friday, the day set aside by Sadc to protest against sanctions against Zimbabwe, to put President Emmerson Mnangagwa on the spot over the real causes of the country’s economic challenges.

Zimbabwe and Sadc accuse the United States, European union and Britain for leading an assault on Zimbabwe with economic sanctions which have been blamed for crippling the country’s economy.

However, the US which has insisted that corruption more than sanctions is responsible for Zimbabwe’s collapse quoted Mnangagwa expressing similar opinion.

“President Mnangagwa said, ‘Our nation can no longer be held back, and our development stunted due to corruption.’ Corruption is an impediment to Zimbabwe’s growth,” said the US Embassy through its Twitter account.

The embassy went on to quote Mnangagwa’s address in Shona in January 2018 saying, “Takaita masanctions edu atidzorera shure, asi ikozvino hatichafaniri kuramba tichichema namasanctions. Nezvatinazvo, tikabatana tinosimuka. Nyika yedu inosimuka.”

The embassy went on to say, “Zimbabwe is ranked 160 out of 175 nations on the anti-corruption list of corruption perceptions. US$2.8billion goes missing from command agricultural subsidies and there is no accountability. Not the way to build confidence in Zimbabwe and attract foreign business and investment.

“Zimbabwe loses up to US$1 billion per year due to #corruption. Corruption deters foreign direct investment. U.S. companies decide where and when to invest based on a conducive and lucrative business environment.”

The massive march that Zimbabwe’s government tried to rouse for a new anti-sanctions public holiday appeared to fizzle on Friday, with hundreds of people turning out in the capital, Harare.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government blames years of U.S. sanctions for devastating economic conditions including galloping inflation and severe shortages of basic goods and services.

The U.S denies that sanctions against selected entities and officials, including Mnangagwa, are responsible for the southern African nation’s crisis. Washington blames corruption, mismanagement and human rights violations instead, and it says the U.S. is the biggest provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, whose 300% inflation is the second highest in the world after Venezuela’s.

The sanctions were imposed over alleged human rights violations amid troubled elections and the seizures of white-owned land.

Mnangagwa, who took office after longtime leader Robert Mugabe was forced out in late 2017, at first urged Zimbabweans to “stop mourning” about sanctions. He has since turned the sanctions into a rallying cry like his predecessor and frequently blames them for the collapsing economy as hopes fade he will revive the country’s fortunes.

Marchers on Friday carried signs saying “Sanctions must go now” and “Sanctions are a crime against humanity.” Hundreds of other people, including children in school uniform, were bussed to the national stadium for festivities such as a soccer match and an all-night concert.

Zimbabwe also has rallied regional neighbors to support its fight to have the sanctions lifted. Neighboring South Africa’s ruling African National Congress said its secretary general Ace Magashule would join an anti-sanctions “picket” at a popular border crossing.

The European Union, which also came under criticism from some at the rally, said it has not imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. “Our restrictive measures comprise of a travel ban and asset freeze against former presidential couple, a ban for European companies to do business with Zimbabwe Defense Industries, and an arms embargo. That’s all,” the EU mission tweeted.