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Former Zimbabwe PM Wants Sanctions Lifted

FILE - Zimbabwe opposition party Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai addresses a news conference in Harare, Sept. 18, 2013.

Former Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said removing targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe will create conditions whereby President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party would have no excuses to make for their failing economic and political policies.

Tsvangirai, who is leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is currently visiting the United States.

His remarks come at the time when the European Union recently began easing sanctions on Zimbabwe and normalizing relations.

On the other hand, President Barack Obama this month issued an executive order to continue targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe for what the president called “unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States” by some members of the Zimbabwe government, including President Mugabe.

In an interview with VOA during a visit to our Washington studio, Tsvangirai said he believes sanctions are being used by the Zimbabwe government as an excuse for their failing policies.

“There are two approaches. The United States maintains a hardline position. The European Union has relaxed it (sanctions), but they have said that the travel ban will still retain on the president and his wife. But everyone else has been removed. So, as far as I am concerned, sanctions must never be used as an excuse for the failure of economic and political policies in the country. And that’s why for us, removing these things (sanctions) will actually create condition where ZANU-PF has no excuse forever,” Tsvangirai said.

Tsvangirai said he’s in Washington to re-engage with various institutions to explain to them that what he called the deteriorating political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.

He said Zimbabwe needs electoral reforms before the next elections, and that his party will not take part in any election in the country until the government institutes necessary electoral reforms.

“You know that after the 2013 election, everyone adopted a wait-and-see attitude, but there are new developments that we would like to engage everyone. It’s just the United States, but I think we need a global reach in order to tell the Zimbabwe story that it is not over until it is over. The crisis in Zimbabwe needs global attention once more,” he said.

Tsvangirai reiterated why he had said the MDC would not take part in any more election in Zimbabwe without reforms, particularly after the outcome of the 2013 presidential election.

“In 2013, there was an election that was conducted without the necessary electoral reforms and the outcome has been in dispute. It has caused political paralyses, political stalemate in the country. So we are saying that going into another election without the necessary electoral reforms will just produce the very same conflictual positions that will not take the country forward,” Tsvangirai said.

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