Mnangagwa says Zim-US relations on the mend; claims Trump govt disregards ZIDERA

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By William Milasi

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has claimed that relations between Zimbabwe and the United States are on the mend despite Washington maintaining sanctions imposed against Harare nearly two decades back.

Predecessor Robert Mugabe campaigned strongly but unsuccessfully against the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) and other sanctions imposed by the US at the turn of the millennium.

Mugabe blamed the sanctions for Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown while the US insisted that the measures were targeted at individuals and organisations responsible for human rights abuses and electoral fraud in the country.

The current Donald Trump administration has repeated the annual renewal of the sanctions but Mnangagwa told supporters at a rally in Gweru this week that relations were improving regardless.

“I must say this to you the Americans have ZIDERA sanctions, but we now have a big American company that has come in to do Batoka (hydroelectric project) at $5, 2 billion,” he said.

Asked how the US company would bypass ZIDERA, Mnangagwa said, “The Donald Trump administration is paying a blind eye on them (sanctions); things are changing.”

Mnangagwa added that the look the country’s look East Policy was also paying dividends as China has been investing in millions of dollars into Zimbabwe’s mining sector.

“When I met President Xi Xinping in China he told me that they once withheld a $100 million loan facility for the country without giving reasons.

“He however, told me that he is now releasing the fund and it is going to support the small-scale miners.”

The Zanu PF leader also claimed that his administration has so far secured investment commitments worth $16 billion.

“We are entering an interesting economic period. We have attracted in this country around $16 billion in terms of projects alone and this must go towards the creation of employment.

“Business brings food on the table, sends children to school, builds hospitals and there is development only if there is business; so, Zimbabwe is open for business.”