By Darlington Gatsi
THE just-ended United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) turned into an anti-sanctions crusade with several African leaders singing from the same hymn book condemning the embargo against Zimbabwe, much to the delight of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The ruling party, Zanu PF, has argued Western imposed sanctions were hurting ordinary citizens and need to be removed immediately.
The anti-sanctions protests were buttressed by solidarity messages from various African leaders.
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa and his Foreign Affairs Minister, Naledi Pandor, condemned the sanctions against Zimbabwe, saying they were having ripple effects on their country.
Zimbabweans fleeing economic hardships, which the ruling party argue were as a result of the economic sanctions, have been finding comfort in South Africa.
Speaking upon arrival from the UNGA summit Tuesday, President Mnangagwa said he was very happy by the messages by African leaders, including African Union (AU) Chairman, Macky Sall.
“Most importantly this time around we had several Heads of States from Africa in their statements to the United Nations General Assembly, they implored the United Nations to persuade America and Britain to lift sanctions.
“I think we had about 11 Heads of States, who spoke about sanctions that they were unjust and illegal and must be removed,” said Mnangagwa.
At the turn of the millenium, Zimbabwe’s relations with the West got frosty with the latter being placed under embargo over what the former termed “gross human rights violations.”
But, government has maintained the imposition of sanctions was as a result of the fast tracked land reform programme the country embarked on in the early 2000s.
With an economy nosediving, President Mnangagwa said “big boys” from America were “anxious” to invest in the country.
“Well I had a group of investors and they were really big boys in the American economy. Most of them are anxious to come to Zimbabwe and invest,” he said.
However, political analyst Lazarus Sauti said much should not be read in the solidarity stances by African leaders in Zimbabwe’s quest for sanctions to be removed.
“It is all about African agency in African and international politics. The solidarity messages can show the ‘oneness’ of African countries, but they are not enough to force the hands of the West to consider removal of sanctions.
“African countries were not on the table when the US imposed these sanctions. Why should it listen to Africa now to remove the sanctions?,” said Sauti.