Zimbabwe sanction debate a diversion from 'murderous regime', says MDC

Hundreds in Harare and in Pretoria marched against the sanctions imposed 80 individuals including President Mnangagwa and 50 companies.

FILE: The MDC's Tendai Biti. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe’s opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said the protests calling for the lifting of sanctions against that country were just an attempt to deflect attention from real issues.

Hundreds of Zimbabweans staged protests in Harare and Pretoria calling for the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) to end sanctions against the country.

Financial and travel restrictions by the EU and US currently apply to more than 80 individuals, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and 50 companies.

America has also imposed a ban on arms exports.

Some of the sanctions were imposed more than two decades ago and in March the US government added to its list military officials involved in last year's deadly crackdown on protesters.

Members of the African National Congress (ANC) members in Gauteng and some Zimbabweans living in South Africa staged a protest outside the US embassy in Pretoria calling on the EU and US to reconsider their position.

ANC secretary in Gauteng Jacob Khawe said: “For the mere fact that these ones are not imposed by the United Nations, they are economic sanctions. Economic sanctions, in their nature, are meant to create instability in a country and that is why we are calling against them.”

But MDC vice president Tendai Biti said President Mnangagwa 's administration was just playing a political game.

“The sanctions debate is false agenda and a false narrative of deflection and diversion. The real sanctions in Zimbabwe is the murderous regime that has been killing its people and a government that has been stealing.”

The EU and US maintain that the sanctions have been imposed on individuals and companies and have no impact on the economy.