Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
The Africa Union is determined to engage the West over illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe in an effort to ensure instability threatening the region is thwarted.
The union has since dispatched its Panel of the Wise to increase the pressure.
The United States and others imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to punish it for embarking on the land reform programme to correct the skewed land ownership that favoured the minority white farmers.
The move to heighten engagement with the West over the two-decade sanctions emerged during a meeting between Acting President Constantino Chiwenga and the AU Panel of the Wise chairperson Mr Amre Moussa, at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare yesterday.
Mr Moussa said the issue of sanctions against Zimbabwe and other African countries under the same embargo was deliberated on at the AU, Peace and Security Council as well as in the Wisemen group and a consensus on the way forward was reached.
“The consensus in the AU is that we have to stand firm in support of the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe and all other African countries hit by the same sanctions,” he said.
Mr Moussa said his team started their mission by visiting Zimbabwe and will be visiting other countries to share notes on the same issue.
“We will then as AU engage Brussels, London, Washington and all the other countries concerned on the other side on the matter,” he said.
The discussion with the Acting President Chiwenga, Mr Moussa said, was also centred on the implications of the sanctions on the economy, development of the country, society, the poor, young people and women among other things.
“We discussed all that. The consensus amongst us AU representative and the Zimbabwean Government is that we have to work together to lift the sanctions as quickly as we can.
“The sanctions are threatening the region’s stability hence the need to push for lifting of the embargo,” he said.
Mr Moussa, however, said it was not an easy task. “It is a long way but is doable,” he said.
“This is our intention, our determination to work towards that goal of fully lifting the sanctions on Zimbabwe.”