‘Praying for the exorcism of sanctions is an astonishing exercise in political theatre and futility’
BY TONY KAROMBO
Futile political theatre … Auxillia Mnangagwa wipes away tears at anti-sanctions prayer meeting
HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa hosted a prayer service at State House on Monday calling for the lifting of international sanctions on Zimbabwe, but the event was mocked as “tomfoolery” by the opposition.
First lady Auxillia Mnangagwa bizarrely teared-up during the service, which came as it was announced that October 25 had been declared a national holiday.
The Zanu PF government is splurging over US$4 million organising a march against sanctions on October 25, even as doctors are on strike over poor pay.
Most cabinet ministers attended the State House inter-denominational event.
“Another productive day at the office for Zimbabwe’s hard-working executive,” tweeted International Crisis Group Southern African director Piers Pigou, while posting pictures of Mnangagwa, Vice President Kembo Mohadi and almost the entire cabinet at the event.
Pigou said “praying for the exorcism of evil sanctions” was “an astonishing exercise in political theatre and futility.”
“The lies about sanctions, what they are and their impact are now on steroids,” he added.
The United States maintains individual sanctions on dozens of government officials accused of perpetrating human rights abuses, including President Mnangagwa.
The European Union has lifted a travel and asset freeze on dozens of government officials meanwhile, leaving just former President Robert Mugabe – now late – and his widow, Grace.
The US government, which has had its sanctions regime in place since 2001, has set conditions for their suspension, including key legislative reforms, respect for human rights, transparent land reforms and holdings human rights abusers to account, including soldiers who fired on and killed innocent civilians in post-election violence in August 2008 and January 2019.
Fadzayi Mahere, the MDC’s secretary for education said “no amount of prayer without political reform will cause sanctions to be lifted.”
“We call ourselves an educated nation but our government’s strategy to achieve the lifting of sanctions imposed as a matter of Congressional law is to hold a ‘prayer’ meeting where the president and his ministers ‘bind the spirit of sanctions’. Tomfoolery much? Zimbabwe deserves better,” she tweeted.
The first lady was seen dabbing her eyes with a piece of cloth after breaking into tears while praying for the lifting of sanctions.
“Dai Mwari vatinzwawo nyika yedu yeZimbabwe yachema (If could could hear our cries, our country has suffered),” she said before she began to cry. Zimlive