US, EU differ with AU on lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe

U.S. Senators Jeff Flake, Zimbabwe Politicians Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti, Author Peter Godwin

The African Union and the Southern Africa Development Community are pushing for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe to save the country’s economy from collapsing.

But amid the push, Western countries who imposed the restrictions nearly 20 years ago say Harare should blame itself for not taming graft and guaranteeing civil liberties.

In a series of dispatches, both the African Union and SADC said the removal of sanctions will discourage the mass emigration of Zimbabweans to neighbouring countries and put the country in good stead of international lenders for loans to stabilise the economy.

Meeting in Dar es Salaam on October 25, the 16-member bloc representatives from southern Africa, including Zimbabwe and chaired by Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, called for removal of all sanctions on Zimbabwe to pave way for socio-economic transformation.

“The removal of sanctions will benefit Zimbabweans and the SADC Region, as well as, enhance co-operation of SADC with the European Union and the United States of America,” the representative resolved.

The EU, one of the sanctioning bodies, said the earliest removal of sanctions can be considered is after December when the Union could discuss the matter.