Rwanda president Paul Kagame has scoffed at the irony exhibited by the United States and its Western allies by demanding change in Zimbabwe when they refuse to lift sanctions that inhibit transformation.
Speaking in an interview with television personality Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa in Kigali this week, Kagame said it is ridiculous that the West expect Zimbabwe’s situation to change at a time when sanctions are a major impediment.
“Give them (Zimbabwe) time or even allow them the tools, if you are saying no I want you to change in a short time but at the same time they are under sanctions.
“When you are under sanctions you are denied the tools to apply to actually change the situation change.
“You can’t be the same person who applied the sanctions and demand to see change, it doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Kagame has not made his endorsement of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration a secret.
The tall and lanky president has evidently shown that he does not pay lip service and proved it by attending Mnangagwa’s inauguration ceremony in Harare.
He also once publicly exposed MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa‘s claims that he is the one who advised him on Rwanda’s Information, Communication Technology (ICT) strategy.
Kagame and Mnangagwa have striking similarities in their way of approaching international politics.They are both claim to be reformists and neoliberals and this has paid off for Rwanda making it a model African country in successfully recording annual economic growth and receiving foreign direct investment.
On his ascension to power, Mnangagwa made a pledge to re-engage the West and other previously hostile countries, increase foreign direct investment, improving ease of doing business, parastatal reforms, crackdown against corruption, a revamp of the civil service work ethic and compensation for dispossessed white commercial farmers.
He even coined a new mantra ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’
He has managed to implement some of his pledges which has seen the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption being given arresting powers and the clampdown against corruption intensifies on Wednesday.
Like Kagame, Mnangagwa also rose to presidency backing from the military with the only difference being that the November 17 takeover from his mentor Robert Mugabe was a bloodless and peaceful transition, while Kagame’s route was bloody and left more than 800 000 people dead.
In March 2019, United States President Donald Trump renewed sanctions on Zimbabwe blaming Mnangagwa for failing to implement important reforms and running a flawed election.
The United States has maintained the sanctions since 2003, and in a letter to the Senate, Trump wrote:
“Actions and policies of certain members of the government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.”
The announcement served as a major blow to Mnangagwa’s efforts of re-engagement and this week Kagame noted the folly of the United States and its Western Allies in demanding change without removing the shackles.