President Emmerson Mnangagwa should immediately set up a team of tacticians to come up with sanctions-busting strategies aimed at ameliorating the suffering of Zimbabweans due to the effects of restrictive measures, Zanu PF-linked cleric Obadiah Msindo has said.

By Precious Chida

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, a week after Mnangagwa led a Sadc solidarity anti-sanctions march in Harare, Msindo also urged the President to quickly deal with people in his government and the party had imposed internal sanctions on the country.

The cleric said the Western sanctions were being reinforced by self-imposed internal sanctions by those pushing factional agendas, not supporting the vision of the President and giving a half-hearted commitment to their work while advancing selfish interests.

“The President should set up a team to find ways of circumventing the effects of the sanctions because as it appears, the Western countries are not willing to remove them despite the call from the whole continent,” Msindo said.

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“Apart from setting up the team, the President should also identify and deal with various people in government and party whose actions are a threat to his vision. Their actions are an indirect way of imposing internal sanctions on the President and the country.”

Msindo’s call comes after Mnangagwa last week indicated that sanctions were hurting all sectors of the economy, leading to the economic meltdown now chewing right into the livelihoods of the ordinary people.

The US, which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2001 through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, has repeatedly denied that their sanctions were hurting ordinary people, insisting they were simply targeted restrictions on certain individuals and entities linked to the State.

But Msindo said people around Mnangagwa should not wait for the West to remove the sanctions on the country, but find ways that can enable the country to survive.

“We need a team that can think outside the box, that is why the President appointed them,” he said.

The controversial cleric said it was sad that the country was under sanctions because it had reclaimed its land, but equally saddening was that the beneficiaries of the land reform were not utilising the resource, resulting in food insecurity in the country.

“Those who got land and are not using it, are imposing internal sanctions on the people and the President should deal with such saboteurs. The issue of production on the farms should be compulsory,” he said.

“With production on the land, Zimbabwe could be food secure and generating enough foreign currency. We have huge international markets for farm produce such as soyabeans, tobacco and other cash crops.”

Zimbabwe is an agro-based economy and prior to the land reform, was the breadbasket of the Sadc region.

However, the country turned into a basket case after the land reform programme, after most beneficiaries grabbed land for speculative reasons.

“There should be a deliberate policy to enforce production on the farms as this can be a way of busting the embargoes,” Msindo said.

The cleric said the billions of dollars sought by the country from America and other international funding institutions could actually be generated from maximising production on farms.