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Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Calls for End of Sanctions, Re-Engagement With West

Major General Sibusiso Moyo
Major General Sibusiso Moyo

Zimbabwe’s recently-sworn in Foreign Minister, Retired General Sibusiso Moyo, says he and the new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa are pursuing a new agenda for the country, despite being part of the same party and government of the past 37-years.

“Naturally, whilst it’s the same government, Zanu-PF government, but obviously its doing things differently because of the personalities,” he explained to VOA’s Zimbabwe Service.

The retired general, most famously remembered for being the face of the November 14th military takeover when he announced it on the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), said his ministry’s top priorities include reengaging with the international community and developing the economy and creating a better life for the people of Zimbabwe.

“It is a ministry now which is focusing on reassuring our friends and creating new friends, reengagement with those who were sitting on the fence before,” said Moyo, referring to western countries such as the United States and countries in the European Union, and others who had pulled away from Zimbabwe and imposed targeted sanctions due to allegations of human rights abuses and rigged elections.

Revisiting his criticism of the testimonies to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations by Tendai Biti of the MDC Alliance, Dewa Mavhinga of Human Rights Watch, and author and journalist Peter Godwin on “The Future of Zimbabwe,” Moyo said its important for Zimbabweans to show unity at this time, specially on the issue of sanctions, which he said must be lifted.

"If you are going to assert that a particular government must maintain a certain position where we know that there are sanctions which hurt the people of Zimbabwe, then we are not sure exactly who you are representing. If you have got a problem, let's talk about it," challenged Moyo.

He said as a government, they are not opposed to Zimbabweans engaging with the world, but the agenda should be in light with that of his his ministry and government.

"I'ts not an issue of Zanu-PF. We must be responsible citizens. We are all Zimbabweans and we are not a government of a party, we are a government of all the people of Zimbabwe and therefore, when there are issues that need dialogue, they must be discussed in-house. We don’t just say if we have got certain grievances, 10-days of a government into office … we don’t really restrict personalities going outside the country, it's not our desire, but we are saying the issues which must be discussed, in different forums must be those which resonate with national interest."

On the welfare of Zimbabweans, Moyo said, “Our primary interest at the moment is economic development and emancipation of our people. And in that regard, we are expecting that our function is going to be directing direct foreign investment into Zimbabwe and then also create markets where products are going to be exported into the world.”

With millions of Zimbabweans in the diaspora looking for answers on whether or not the new government will make it possible for them to vote from abroad, Moyo deferred to the constitution, which does not specifically speak to the diaspora vote, but states that all Zimbabweans over the age of 18 are eligible to vote.

“In as far as the issue of vote is concerned, we are going to follow the law, what the law says, and we are going to be constitutionally compliant, throughout.,” he said.

“Secondly, as far as attracting them back, we are going to be creating an appropriate environment so that our diasporians can then be comfortable to come back home and interact, and set up businesses, secure businesses in a very successful economy of Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe Foreign Minister, Retired General Sibusiso Moyo
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