A leading US senator blames Zimbabwe government for hardship

A leading US senator Jim Risch has accused the Zimbabwean government of trying to deflect blame for the economic hardships facing the country.

The Zimbabwean government is today marking an anti-sanctions day with marches in Harare and other places to oppose sanctions imposed by the US and the EU.

“If Zimbabwe’s leaders put as much time, financial resources, and effort into delivering on their long-promised reforms as they have in distorting facts and organising ‘anti-sanctions’ campaigns, Zimbabweans would not continue to suffer,” Mr Risch said through a statement released on Thursday.

The US imposed financial restrictions on Zimbabwe in 2001 and later in 2003 imposed targeted sanctions on individuals and entities it accused of subverting democracy and human rights abuses.

Currently, 85 individuals are on the country’s sanctions list.

The Zimbabwean government says the sanctions have crippled the economy and made living conditions harsh for the poor.

The EU says its sanctions can be lifted when Zimbabwe demonstrates that conditions that led to their imposition “have substantially changed”.

The UK high commissioner to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson has also called on the country to focus on fighting against corruption and rights abuses:

Separately, the EU has today announced an additional $60m (£47m) in humanitarian aid to the country.

It says the “funds will directly benefit the struggling population in the fields of health and resilience building”.

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