War vets get green-light to besiege US embassy in Harare

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By Leopold Munhende

POLICE have approved an anti-sanctions demonstration by war-veterans scheduled for Saturday.

The former liberation war fighters notified the police early this month, of their intention to petition the US embassy in Harare, demanding that its government removes sanctions imposed on leading figures in the Zanu PF administration.

“We have no objection to your holding an Anti-Sanctions Vigil at the American Embassy on the 29th of March from 1400hrs until they give a positive response.

“We trust and pray that your event will be a success although the regulating authority still reserves the right to stop the event should it turn out to be a public order threat or violate any Zimbabwean law,” reads the police statement in part.

The United States has maintained targeted restrictions on individuals mainly within the ruling Zanu PF party renewing them annually arguing Zimbabwe poses a threat to its foreign policy.

US President Donald Trump extended sanctions on the country by a year over “unusual and extraordinary policies which are a threat to US foreign policy.”

Trump in the executive order last month said the sanctions will remain in place until the Mnangagwa and his government respects basic human rights and institutes media as well as economic reforms.

Zanu PF officials have over the past two decades blamed sanctions for an economic crisis that has druven most citizens into poverty over the last two decades.

But the US has hit back arguing the targeted measures have not affected Zimbabwe’s ability to trade but bad policies and toxic politics are among the things Harare needs to correct.

The European Union and Canada have also maintained sanctions on Zimbabwe. Since former President Robert Mugabe was removed from power in November 2017, Harare has tried to woo the international community with a charm offensive.

However the shooting of six people by the army in August last year and the military crackdown that left 17 protestors dead in January this year seem to have emboldened Western power in particular to keep Mnangagwa at an arms’ length.

Mnangagwa has received support from the African Union and Sadc on his calls for the removal of the sanctions with South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa turning into a shrill proponent for the lifting of the measures.