HARARE. Zimbabwe’s new cabinet, led by veteran leader Robert Mugabe, on Wednesday pledged to fight decade- old Western sanctions with the country’s rich natural resources and investment from friendly countries like China.
After swearing in the trimmed-down, 26-member cabinet, Mugabe said sanctions will not “destroy Zimbabwe,” despite of having left a dent on the country’s economy. “Zimbabwe will never fall. Yes, they (sanctions) can be an impediment but we will find ways to make progress. We have friends who want to work with us,” he said. The West led by Britain and the United States has maintained sanctions on Zimbabwe since the early 2000s and it recently said it will not lift the sanctions because the July 31 elections that were broadly won by Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party were flawed.
African countries, as well as world powers like China and Russia, have largely endorsed the electoral process. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, the incoming top economic manager of the government, said he was skeptical about relations with individual European Union countries that appear to be friendly to Zimbabwe. “Because the doors have been closed by countries which were our traditional partners, we have to intensify new economic relationships and friendships and that means every country that is friendly to Zimbabwe including China and other countries that want to trade with us,” he said.
0A trained lawyer by profession and former justice minister, Chinamasa was tasked with the mammoth task of reviving Zimbabwe’s 10-billion-U.S.-dollar economy, whose growth has been slowing down to projected 3.4 percent this year over low diamond mining revenues. Chinamasa, who gave the green light to multi-currency system during months of service as acting finance chief in 2009, said a performing economy was vital for Zimbabwe and the country could only overcome economic challenges by “intensifying economic relations with willing countries.