Vice president, Constantino Chiwenga says he is not worried by the fact that he remains enlisted on sanctions as he dismissed being embroiled in a nasty rivalry with his principal, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The remarks come shortly after US President Joe Biden extended sanctions against Zimbabwe, saying on-going repression by the country’s government “presents a continuing threat to peace and security in the region”.
Biden’s move to renew the two-decade-old sanctions came a few days after the European Union (EU) extended by another year its own arms embargo.
Chiwenga “downplayed” the measures after being challenged to share his views on the fact that he remains on the US sanctions list during an exclusive interview by The Third Eye.
He told the publication the US can have as many “sanctions as they want” arguing that whatever the course of action, nothing can ever take away the fact that he is Zimbabwean as well as his determination to defend “what the people of Zimbabwe “suffered and maimed for.
“Sanctions do not change that. I don’t even notice that I am under sanctions. Have I ever gone to them and said I need something from them?
“The American people and the Zimbabwean people are not indifferent. It is the administrations, one after another, which have a bone to chew with us. But you cannot get what is not yours,” he said.
The former army general said despite being perceived as a punishment, economic sanctions have in fact allowed the country to grow and develop by pushing leaders and citizens to think about what they need as a nation.
He bragged that even the education curricula under model 5.0 is in direct response to the urgent need to answer to the nation’s critical challenges of taking control of the pressing needs to innovate and produce locally.
“You look at our agriculture. We have got our agriculture policy 8.0 where we are now saying before we go to 2030, we would have achieved the feat of moving every Zimbabwean out of poverty completely and that is going to happen under the watch of President Mnangagwa.
“You will see if there are sanctions or no sanctions, we will move. It is just a fly trying to spoil the meal,” he said.
Quizzed on his take on the view that sanctions do not inflict the economy because they are targeted, the second in charge dismissed the claims.
“Absolute nonsense. Individual people have had their monies seized by the Americans. Are they in the Zimbabwean leadership? Are they part of the establishment? Are they in Zanu-pf? When you seize the monies of churches, what role do they have in politics?
“Their role is on the pulpit, telling people to turn to God and prepare for the life after death, to live in harmony, in peace, love, that’s what the churches are preaching.
“They don’t say vote for this man or that man, or this party or that party. They want people to be united and build their country. But when their monies are seized by the Americans, what is that? Are they in the leadership of Zanu-pf?” questioned Chiwenga.
Challenged to share details on reports of alleged factional wars against Mnangagwa, the vice president underscored that the duo has so much in common.
“President Mnangagwa has my blood and I have his blood. We are one, not joined at the hip, in fact that was not the correct description. We are one.
“As I am speaking here, you would think that I have phoned him to give you the same answers, sometimes word for word. And wherever we are, we think alike, and we move as one,” added Chiwenga.