'Remove illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe,' Mnangagwa pleads with the West

Emmerson Mnangagwa (Picture: AFP)
Emmerson Mnangagwa (Picture: AFP)

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly urged the west to lift sanctions against his country while the United States government continued to set stringent terms for their removal.  

According to Daily News, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, Mnangagwa described the ongoing sanctions against his country as "illegal".

Mnangagwa was a former Robert Mugabe enforcer, but he now styled himself as a reformer, saying his country looked forward to playing a role as a "responsible member of the family of nations".

Mnangagwa called for the immediate, unconditional removal of "continued illegal sanctions" as he badly needed foreign investment in Zimbabwe's long-collapsed economy, reported AP.

He himself remained a target of US sanctions for alleged rights abuses.

But while the now-ousted Mugabe could be counted on every year for an acid blast at the US and others over perceived meddling, Mnangagwa stuck to the earnest language of "peace, unity and tolerance" as he insisted Zimbabwe was "open for business".

Technical assistance

Mnangagwa this week irked the country’s opposition when he disclosed that he had offered US President Donald Trump a piece of land in the luxurious town of Victoria Falls.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader, Nelson Chamisa, criticised  the land offer, describing it as Mnangagwa's desperate attempt to buy "legitimacy" after winning a disputed election on July 30, said a New Zimbabwe.com report.

Meanwhile, according to another New Zimbabwe.com report, US ambassador Brian Nichols said his country was only going to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe once there was an improvement on human rights and the full implementation of the 2013 charter.

Nichols also said that his country was prepared to offer technical assistance to the country in the realignment of 27 laws to the 2013 constitution.

President Trump reportedly recently signed into law the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Act (Zidera) of 2018 (S 2779) following a disputed vote. 

A NewsDay, report said that the new law, which amended the Zidera of 2001, would effectively extend US sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2000, as they accused ex-president Robert Mugabe of trampling on human rights, rigging elections and repression of press freedom - accusations that the nonagenarian denied. 

The sanctions led to devastating economic challenges, with the country reportedly now sitting with about 85% unemployment.

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