The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, which campaigned for the removal of sanctions while the party was in the unity government, is now saying Zanu-PF should single-handedly campaign for the lifting of the measures imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told Studio 7 that his party’s Standing Committee has agreed that the MDC-T will no longer allow itself to be sucked into the sanctions debate.
Prior to the July 31 national elections which the opposition party lost to Zanu-PF by a wide margin, party leader Morgan Tsvangirai was using his position in government as prime minister to campaign for the lifting of the restrictive measures imposed on Mister Mugabe and some senior Zanu PF officials in 2002 for alleged vote-rigging and human rights violations.
Mwonzora said the fact that Mister Mugabe and his inner circle remain on the sanctions list does not mean that ordinary Zimbabweans are under sanctions.
He encouraged President Mugabe to stop attacking Western countries that imposed sanctions on his leadership and instead use persuasive language to allow Zimbabwe to re-engage with the West.
Mwonzora said the campaign for the lifting of sanctions has nothing to do with the MDC-T, noting that this is a bilateral issue that should be dealt with at government level.
But Zanu-PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the behavior of the MDC-T is not expected of a party that has been in government.
Gumbo said the sanctions should be unconditionally lifted to allow Zimbabwe to trade with the countries that imposed those restrictive measures saying they are hurting ordinary Zimbabweans.
He disputed the West’s allegations that his party rigged elections, adding that Zanu-PF fought for human rights in the liberation struggle of the 1970s.
At a meeting that he held Tuesday with Anders Liden, the Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe, President Mugabe urged the West to be sincere with re-engagement talks and remove the restrictive measures imposed on him and some top officials of his party.