Saturday, May 14, 2011

(STICKY) (ZIMPAPERS) PM blasts West over sanctions

PM blasts West over sanctions
Saturday, 07 May 2011 23:32 Local News
By Victoria Ruzvidzo in CAPE TOWN, South Africa

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has lambasted the West for maintaining sanctions on Zimbabwe, describing them as a huge impediment to progress.

Although this is a dramatic shift from his previous stance where he chose to describe the sanctions as “restrictive measures”, analysts said he is seeking to influence regional opinion in his party’s favour ahead of the Sadc summit where Zimbabwe’s political situation is scheduled for discussion.

Responding to questions from journalists at the just-ended World Economic Forum on Africa meeting here, PM Tsvangirai said during negotiations on the Global Political Agreement it was agreed that sanctions needed to be removed. Mr Tsvangirai’s remarks came as the media onslaught on Zimbabwe moved a gear up at the end of the meeting.

“They (sanctions) are an impediment. We don’t want them and I certainly believe that they should be removed,” he said. Zimbabwe has been hamstrung by sanctions imposed by the West, with the worst hit being the ordinary Zimbabwean. The MDC, headed by Mr Tsvangirai, has in the past campaigned for the introduction and renewal of sanctions.

Recently, the European Union and its allies strengthened their stranglehold on Zimbabwe while also targeting individuals believed to be pro-Government.

In yet another sommersault, Mr Tsvangirai also dispelled reports that security personnel had taken over the running of the country as reported by some sections of the private media and the international Press.

“The Zimbabwean army and other security personnel uphold the Constitution. The security establishment is not there to subvert civilian authority,” he said.

The media here, particularly from Britain, sought to hype-up the situation in Zimbabwe, insinuating, during Press conferences, that Zimbabwe would soon be another Cote d’Ivoire.

“There is no basis for a repeat of the Ivory Coast. It’s a disaster. I don’t believe it can happen in Zimbabwe. There is no basis for it,” said the MDC-T leader.

On elections, Mr Tsvangirai said he believed that they would not be held this year as Zimbabwe was not yet ready for them.

Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Charles Ray, on Wednesday regurgitated his country’s rhetoric by downplaying the biting effects of sanctions on ordinary Zimbabweans, choosing instead to spell out a new strategy by his government to spread propaganda to Zimbabweans through new media such as the Internet.

Ambassador Ray also said the US embassy would continue to support pirate radios and online editions which are anti-Zimbabwe and neo-imperialistic in scope. Responding to questions posed by Gweru-based journalists during belated World Press Freedom Day commemorations held in the city, Ambassador Ray maintained that the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were “targeted” derisively referring to the Government initiated Anti-Sanctions Campaign as a mere “waste of time”.

When asked to explain the effects of the so-called “targeted sanctions” on scholarship programmes, lines of credit and the balance of payments support, Ambassador Ray was evasive and could only say: “I have heard every journalist present is asking about the effects of the ‘targeted’ sanctions on Zimbabwe.”

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