US sanctions blow: Chiwenga blames ‘a mistake that has been made’

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By Staff Reporter

VICE president Constantino Chiwenga has blamed without clarification ‘a mistake that was made’ for the decision by the United States (US) government to renew its sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Chiwenga was speaking to state media in Russia where he was said to be delivering a special message to the Moscow administration from President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Last week, the US confirmed it was keeping in place sanctions against Harare which first imposed in 2001 following allegations of gross human rights abuses and electoral fraud.

The decision represents a major blow to Mnangagwa’s efforts to re-engage the West as he tries to rebuild Zimbabwe’s shattered economy.

Responding from Moscow, Chiwenga said the country was being punished for “a mistake that has been made”.

He did not explain what that mistake was.

“Every country on this Mother Earth, you know, has people and it is those people that sometimes make mistakes, but a country cannot be punished because of a mistake that has been made,” said the vice president.

Washington took the lead in condemning Zimbabwe’s July 30 elections after deadly violence rocked Harare leaving six people dead and several others injured.

The fatalities occurred after the military swooped into the capital shooting at opposition activists protesting against the election results.

No arrests have been made over the killings although scores of opposition supporters have since appeared in court over the violence which preceded the military intervention.

Chiwenga said the sanctions renewal by President Donald Trump’s administration would hurt ordinary people.

“What does a poor child — who knows nothing and who does not even understand — gain? I think people must be able to live together, discuss the issues,” he said.

“We will go ahead to rebuild our country. They can say whatever they want, but what we want to do is to prove them wrong, that it (Trump decision) is not correct.”