A Zimbabwean author now residing in the United States has called on Washington not to remove its sanctions on Zimbabwe because this would be tantamount to rewarding President Emmerson Mnangagwa for an internal coup with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Peter Godwin, a former journalist and author of several non-fiction books on Zimbabwe, told the Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, “if we reward Mnangagwa’s ‘same as it ever was’ ZANU-PF for its internal coup, for example, by prematurely dropping individual sanctions, we would help cement the culture of impunity that already infects Zimbabwe, where the perpetrators never face the consequences of their actions, and where real freedom and reform remain elusive”.
The United States imposed sanctions o Zimbabwe in 2003 and has not removed them since.
The European Union also imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe at about the same time but has removed them leaving only Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.
People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti also addressed the same committee yesterday and put forward proposals which he said should be the way forward for Zimbabwe.
Godwin said people should not expect too many reforms from Mnangagwa.
“You should expect Mnangagwa to entice his own people and the world with a ‘reformist stance’. He will try to rebrand the party, presenting it as ZANU-PF 2.0, ZANU-PF-lite, non-ideological, technocratic, managerial, open for business, safe once more for foreign investors,” Godwin said.
“He has already mentioned a partial return of land to some white commercial farmers, he has embraced the rhetoric of anti-corruption, offering a three-month amnesty window to return ill-gotten gains.
“But these promises don’t stand up to scrutiny.
“What, for example, of his own corruption, and that of many of his new cabinet – 8 of the 22 are on US sanctions list – joined by bonds of massively corrupt selfenrichment, and repressive political violence?
“For them to put distance between who they now purport to be, and their nearly four-decade record in office, is preposterous.”
Godwin said for Zimbabweans both within the country and in the diaspora, as well as the international community, to believe this, is to fall for a ZANU-PF confidence trick, a survival bait-and-switch.
“ZANU-PF has long been a vampiric entity, sucking the blood from the nation,” he said.
“Mnangagawa is 75 years-old. He is most unlikely undergo a benign metamorphosis.”
Godwin’s full testimony below.
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