Zimbabwe MDC Alliance criticized for urging U.S. to maintain sanctions

Zimbabwe’s opposition coalition the MDC Alliance has been criticized for urging the United States to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The MDC Alliance leaders Tendai Biti and Nelson Chamisa, as well as activists Dewa Mavhinga and Peter Godwin, on Tuesday appeared before the United States. Senate foreign relations committee to allegedly urge for maintaining sanctions on Zimbabwe until there were signs of reforms in the African country.

“Further, once we show signs of an irrevocable and irreversible trajectory towards legitimacy, democracy, and the rule of law, we shall require your full support as we re-engage key international institutions,” Biti said in a statement on the same day.

Report Focus Reports that The U.S. government imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2001 ostensibly to “support the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle to effect peaceful, democratic change, achieve broad-based and equitable economic growth, and restore the rule of law.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Sibusiso Moyo said in a statement that it was surprising that the opposition politicians wanted the newly installed government to undo 37 years of former president Robert Mugabe’s rule in the two weeks it has been in office.

“Selfish political ambitions should never be given flight at the expense of the welfare of our citizens,” he said.

Former opposition candidate in the 2013 parliamentary elections Eric Knight posted on social media that Biti’s statement was irresponsible.

“We are all itching to see the recovery of Zimbabwe and we need all the factors that have been suffocated our economy corrected as soon as yesterday, not tomorrow and certainly not after elections,” he said.

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Many Zimbabwean netizens have also posted on social media criticizing Biti’s statement, while others support him saying that nothing much will change under Emmerson Mnangagwa’s leadership.

Mnangagwa, inaugurated on Nov. 24 as Zimbabwe’s second executive president, has pledged re-engagement with Western countries that had imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe for nearly two decades, costing it an estimated 40 billion U.S. dollars in potential revenues.