Sanctions unfair, needless: Ruto

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Sanctions unfair, needless: Ruto 
President William Ruto

Blessings Chidakwa Herald Reporter

In the face of adversities ranging from illegal economic sanctions, climate change and disease outbreaks, Zimbabwe has stood tall and today stands as Africa’s best-case scenario, Kenyan President William Ruto, said on Saturday.

Recognising the tortuous journey that Zimbabweans have traversed under illegal economic sanctions imposed by the West, President Ruto, who officially opened the 64th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), said Zimbabwe, despite the setbacks, is going places.

“It has been inspiring to witness the resilience and fortitude of Zimbabwe and the people, who, though not the authors of their country’s tribulations, refused to be victims of it, and did not give up, slow down or lament in despair.

“Instead, they endured and forged on, with the confident patience of a people who have prevailed against formidable adversaries and won daunting battles time and again,” he said.

Earlier, President Ruto, while touring the ZITF stands, had called for the unconditional removal of illegal economic sanctions that Western countries imposed on Zimbabwe.

“Twenty-four years of sanctions is unfair, unnecessary and illegal. Those children born 24 years ago don’t understand what this is all about, the women, and the people in rural areas don’t understand what this is all about. We say this not to be politically correct, we say it because it is the right thing to say.

“Based on this, I wish to declare yet again Kenya’s unreserved support for Zimbabwe’s readmission to the Commonwealth. I also want to state without fear or contradiction, and for the avoidance of any doubt, Kenya’s call for the immediate lifting of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe,” he said.

Notwithstanding the baneful economic sanctions, President Ruto said Zimbabwe’s case is similar to that of the rising African continent.

“In terms of potential, Zimbabwe exemplifies Africa’s best-case scenario. With a median age of just under 18, it is a young nation, and owing to one of Africa’s best literacy rates at 89,85 percent, it is populated by well-educated, highly skilled young people whose drive and motivation are unmistakable and compelling,” he said.

“Zimbabwe’s natural resources are diverse and plentiful, ranging from renewable energy potential, including hydro, wind, and geothermal as well as arable land and carbon sinks, to substantial reserves of coal, cobalt, copper, gold, iron, lead, limestone, lithium, nickel, phosphate, platinum, silver, tantalum, tin, tungsten and zinc.

“There is no doubt that these reserves represent tremendous wealth, and it is appropriate that they should be deployed to back the national currency. More critically, technology enhanced by innovation will certainly deliver far greater value for Zimbabwe’s economy from these natural resources.”

In a Joint Communique, President Mnangagwa and President Ruto noted the importance of boosting trade between the two countries as part of measures to spur economic growth and development in the respective nations.

“The Heads of State noted the importance of trade as a catalyst to economic growth and development of the two countries.

“They mandated Government officials from both countries to mobilise their respective private sectors to create joint platforms where they regularly meet to network and share business opportunities. The Heads of State underscored the deepening ties between Zimbabwe and Kenya with the view to elevate the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation to a Bi-National Commission (BNC).”

Last year Zimbabwe’s exports to Kenya stood at US$29,75 million while Kenya’s exports were US$23,14 million.

The two Presidents pledged to take advantage of various regional and continental frameworks to improve trade.

“The Heads of State briefed each other on the need to leverage regional and continental frameworks such as the Common Market of East and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), to enhance economic cooperation and integration. They also discussed international issues of mutual concern, including the need for solidarity in promoting peace, security, and stability in Africa.

“On immigration issues, the two Heads of State acknowledged that Zimbabwe and Kenya operate on a visa free regime to further enhance the ease of movement of people between the two countries. President Mnangagwa commended Kenya for waiving the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) fee for Zimbabwean nationals travelling to Kenya. In addition, Zimbabwe requested for the removal of the ETA application process for Zimbabwe nationals,” read the communique.

President Ruto’s visit also coincided with the holding of the meeting of the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation between the two countries which resulted in the signing of eight Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The MoUs were signed by the respective ministers and heads of relevant Government departments and portfolios in the fields of agriculture, science, energy, labour, education, social protection, information and communication technology and pharmaceuticals.

The communique also said President Ruto’s visit was aligned with the country’s engagement, re-engagement, and re-affirmation policy aimed at fostering positive relationships with the international community for sustainable development.