President Emmerson Mnangagwa says there is no animosity between Zimbabwe and the United States of America but there only exists constructive criticism between Harare and Washington which can easily be mended.
Speaking after meeting a team of US Senators who paid a courtesy call on him at his offices in Harare today, Mnangagwa said he had great faith in the deliberations held.
“The feeling that America is hostile to Zimbabwe is a creation of the media. Of course, it is important to accept constructive criticism so that where we feel that we were doing things in a matter that we feel was correct, if there is constructive criticism we can always benefit from such engagements.
“This meeting presented us with an opportunity to dialogue and iron out where we felt there were grey areas. The time has come around for us to look at issues which are challenging so that together we can find a way to resolves them. That is the spirit I want our people to accept,” he said.
Relations between Harare and Washington took a nosedive in the early 2000s after the highly disputed and violent land grabs which gave birth to the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) (S. 494), an act passed by the United States Congress which imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe , allegedly to provide for a transition to democracy and to promote economic recovery.
Senator Christopher Coons, who is leading the US Senate team, said he was briefed on the progress that has been made so far since Mnangagwa assumed office, taking over from former President, Robert Mugabe on November 24, albeit after the intervention of the military.
He said he was encouraged by what he saw and was told and his team’s mission was to offer an open-handed friendship and convey their hopes on the new dispensation.
“Today was a very frank discussion. We came to offer an open-handed friendship and assure him (Mnangagwa) that we are very hopeful of the new dispensation. We want to take advantage of it in a positive way.
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“We discussed a lot of things which range from the political-s0cio-economic progress. We are pleased that the president has carried his message from his inauguration. Today he walked us through specific steps on his plans to improve the economic environment and the roadmap to the elections which include media being available to all policial players, which is in accordance with the constitution.
“He also told us how the voters’ roll will be concluded and be availed to the public as well as all political parties. The president offered a number of things on his part that make up his vision for the future which includes upholding the constitution and promised an election that is free and fair, which is very encouraging on our part,” said Senator Coons.
Questioned on whether the sanctions will be removed anytime soon, Senator Coons said it is not an overnight process but there is a possibility that the ZIDERA will be reviewed before its stipulated time in February next year, provided the two countries find each other.
“Some of the sanctions currently in place are executive, they were imposed by presidents, some are legislative as a result of ZIDERA and I know there is confusion on which is which exactly but on this of supporting and encouraging our friends in Zimbabwe, on this path that the president has taken, I think there is an agreement between our executive and administration but I cannot speak on behalf of President (Donald ) Trump
“But I will simply say we are hopeful that we can take action earlier, that is before February. We would want to see positive steps and concrete actions. but this journey of strengthening the US-Zim relations is not just about one date, its not just about elections and should not be measured only on if one piece of the sanctions are lifted, there are several things we would want to see together which are for the better future of Zimbabwe and to make America and a better and stronger partner in that, so we have a long way to go,” lamented Senator Coons.
Mnangagwa inherited an economy that is on its knees and since coming into office, he has been making calls to re-engage the country with the Western bloc following years of isolation.
His “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra could be key to taking the country back to its former glory and one of the several steps to achieving that is through engaging the strongest economy in the world, the USA.
Lovejoy MutongwizaPresident Donald TrumpPresident Emmerson MnangagwaSenator Christopher CoonsZimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA)