ED pledges engagement with west over sanctions
By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has put diplomacy ahead of confrontation with countries that have maintained sanctions on the country, marking a departure from his predecessor Robert Mugabe who persistently rowed with the west over the tough economic measures.
He was speaking to Chinese media on his arrival to Beijing, China where he is set to join other leaders for the China-Africa summit which gets underway this Monday.
In his comments, Mnangagwa said his government will not fail to remedy the country’s dire economic situation because of sanctions imposed on his country by the West soon after the turn of the century.
“If we bury our heads in the sand and say there are sanctions, we will always remain behind,” Mnangagwa said.
Recently, the US government amended the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act which places a Zimbabwe trade embargo for companies with American business links.
During his rule, former President Mugabe was often scorned for reducing all the country’s economic troubles to the continued existence of sanctions.
Mugabe used nearly all international forums and even speeches during burials of national heroes to bash the west for keeping its sanctions on his government.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said earlier this year that his former boss unnecessarily blamed his failures on sanctions even when there were so many issues that were not affected by sanctions.
However, in his interview with Chinese media, Mnangagwa took a different approach from that of his predecessor’s aggressive stance.
“To those who have put sanctions on us, we are extending our hand of friendship, we are saying let us re-engage, engage with those who have not engaged with us before and re-engage with those who have disengaged with us and say what are the difficulties making us not work together, let us dialogue around those issues.
“But beyond that, as Zimbabweans, we are saying what potential, what resources do we have so that we exploit them to grow our economy rather than say oh let us cry for those who have imposed sanctions on us to remove them.
“They have their own reasons. So, we are not going to sleep because some people have imposed sanctions on us.
“So we must ourselves do what we can without forgetting to appeal to those who yesterday were against us and ask them whether there are any reasons anymore against us.”
Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe’s economic woes were better reversed through admitting some of the Zimbabwean government’s policies constrained economic growth.
He cited the now heavily amended indigenisation law he said constrained the flow of capital in the economy.