President Mnangagwa of #Zimbabwe says sanctions imposed on the country are stymying national development

Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seeking the removal of sanctions imposed by Western countries, saying they are crippling national development.

He also indicated that elections due next July could be brought forward.

Speaking to governing Zanu-PF party leaders, Mr Mnangagwa said the government would do everything to make sure they were credible, free and fair.

Mr Mnangagwa became president last month after Robert Mugabe was ousted.

Mr Mnangagwa is expected to be endorsed on Friday as party leader and presidential candidate for Zanu-PF at the elections.

Mr Mugabe, 93, has not been seen in public since he was forced out of office by the military after 37 years in power.

However, former spokesman George Charamba said he had flown to Singapore for a routine medical check-up.

A United States travel and economic embargo remains in place for several Zanu-PF officials, senior members of the military and state-owned companies.

The Trump administration has said the sanctions will not be removed unless political reforms take place.

The European Union continues an arms embargo as well as sanctions against Mr Mugabe, his wife Grace and the firm Zimbabwe Defence Industries.

Robert Mugabe file photoImage copyrightAFP
Image captionMr Mugabe has not been seen in public since he was ousted

“We call for the unconditional lifting of the political and economic sanctions, which have crippled our national development,” Mr Mnangagwa told party leaders in central Harare.

“We realise that isolation is not splendid or viable as there is more to gain through solidarity; mutually beneficial partnerships.”

The president also said that elections were “nearer than you expect”.

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