Mnangagwa to meet Boris Johnson in New York

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (Image: Daily Express)

NEW YORK, US – Britain should carry its baggage of sanctions as it leaves the European Union and must not continue to saddle the Western bloc with the issue of the illegal embargo imposed on Zimbabwe, President Mnangagwa has said.

He said the EU must start on a clean slate and not continue to be preoccupied with the issue of sanctions which was primarily a bilateral issue between Harare and London.

Mnangagwa said this here while addressing Zanu-PF supporters from Canada and the United States who had come to New York in solidarity with their leader who is attending the 74th United Nations General Assembly. 

He said he would, together with the African Union and Sadc, make pronouncements on the need to lift illegal sanctions during the ongoing UN General Assembly where leaders across the world are meeting to discuss global issues.

“And you are aware that the European Union has relaxed sanctions and we are persuading the EU that Britain must leave with its baggage of sanctions and leave the EU clean, without sanctions which it was persuaded to carry,” said Mnangagwa. “I am seeing a British Minister here and I am going to tell him what I am telling you.

“We had our Sadc conference in Tanzania last month where Sadc for the first time made a bold resolution against sanctions, unanimously. We discussed this issue quietly and we felt that as Heads of State we need to come together and as a region make a bold statement to condemn the sanctions imposed on us because there is no justification. 

“I am sure you are aware these sanctions were rejected by the United Nations and were imposed outside the framework of the UN. So, Sadc will speak about that, the same with the AU chairman (Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi) who must make a statement and our Sadc chairman (Tanzanian President John) Magufuli.

“We are very happy, we have support from our region and of course we will pronounce for ourselves on that.”

On rejoining the Commonwealth, President Mnangagwa said he was set to meet the body’s secretary general Mrs Patricia Scotland on the sidelines of the summit to impress on her the need for Zimbabwe to rejoin.

“The issue of the Commonwealth, as you will remember, we were not expelled from the Commonwealth, no,” he said. “We did withdraw from the Commonwealth. So, readmission to the Commonwealth is on the basis that we had withdrawn and we feel that the issue that prompted us to withdraw is now behind us, which is that of the land reform, which is now complete and behind us, and I will be seeing (Commonwealth Secretary General) Madam (Patricia) Scotland to discuss this issue.” 

Responding to concerns raised by people in the diaspora, President Mnangagwa said they were considering to create a party province for them and ultimately a Parliamentary seat.

“Our people in the diaspora not only yourself in America and Canada, but also in other parts of the world have pleaded that they want to have an eleventh province, called the Diaspora province,” he said. “This was debated in our Politburo, we now have a small committee which is working on how the eleventh province of the people in the diaspora can be structured, which may, underline ‘may’, result in having diaspora representation in Parliament. 

“We have a committee working on how that can be crafted, but at least we recognise the role of our people in the diaspora.”

President Mnangagwa briefed his party supporters about the demise of the country’s founding leader Robert Mugabe in Singapore early this month, who has since been declared a national hero.

He said he heard about him being unwell while he was attending a conference in Japan and had intended to visit him.

“In fact, when we discussed about the issue, it turned out that treatment had stopped, doctors had stopped treatment, chemotherapy, one, because of age and also because the cancer had spread and it was not helping anymore,” said President Mnangagwa. 

“He would have come back home, but the family said they wanted to remain. Of course they would have wanted me to come to Singapore, but also we had our Vice President General (Constantino) Chiwenga who is in a military hospital in Beijing who was going into a major operation and those two demands.” 

The Zanu-PF members donated various medical accessories for use by national health centres such as Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.