Mnangagwa says there is a way around sanctions; ‘we move-on’

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, pictured, who replaced long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in July ©Getty Images

HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday challenged the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) to roll up their sleeves and get the country working again amidst the renewal of sanctions by the United States of America.

Mnangagwa was speaking at the inaugural meeting of the PAC at State House. He said:

Our country continues to suffer from the deleterious effects of the illegal sanctions imposed on us by the United States of America and the European Union.

As a result, there is a need for us to leapfrog the development, modernisation and industrialisation of every facet of our economy so that we catch up with other countries in the region and beyond.

Going forward, there is also a need for us to harness our potential in the various spheres of the economy through leveraging on our geo-strategic location to attract investment and facilitate trade across the region.

The United States State Department on Thursday said; the government of Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed to bring about political and economic changes needed to improve the country’s reputation.

The comments relate to President Donald Trump’s decision this week to extend by one year U.S. sanctions that target more than 100 entities and individuals in Zimbabwe, including Mnangagwa.

“We believe that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has yet to implement the political and economic overhaul required to improve the country’s reputation with the community of nations, and with the United States,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.

“The actions of the targeted individuals continue to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes,” he said, adding that there were ongoing concerns in the United States over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa has called for U.S. sanctions to be lifted against the ZANU-PF ruling party, top military figures and some government-owned firms. The sanctions were imposed during long-time rule of former president Robert Mugabe.

Washington has called on Mnangagwa to change Zimbabwe’s laws restricting media freedom and allowing protests.