God is punishing US with coronavirus – Zimbabwe minister

Mohammed Awal Mar 17, 2020 at 09:30am

March 17, 2020 at 09:30 am | News

Mohammed Awal

Mohammed Awal

March 17, 2020 at 09:30 am | News

Zimbabwe’s defense minister, Oppah Muchinguri, described the coronavirus as God’s way of punishing the United States and other western countries. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

While the world struggles to contain the fast-spreading deadly coronavirus, Zimbabwe’s defense minister believes the pandemic was God’s “punishment” on the US and the West for imposing sanctions on members of the ruling regime.

“Coronavirus is the work of God punishing countries who imposed sanctions on us,” Zimbabwe’s defense minister Oppah Muchinguri said Saturday at a rally.

“They are now staying indoors. Their economies are screaming just like they did to our economy.”

Zimbabwe has not officially recorded a coronavirus case. Neighboring South Africa, however, recorded over 60 cases with 30 countries in Africa confirming cases including Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Egypt.

Opposition leaders have slammed the government’s reaction to the outbreak. 

A former adviser to the late prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Dr. Alex Magaisa, through his Twitter handle said the minister was “ignorant and callous” The Sunday Times reported. 

Also, exiled former spin doctor of the ruling party, Prof Jonathan Moyo added: “The first duty of government in a constitutional democracy is the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. Nothing has demonstrated this principle than how governments are protecting their citizens from the coronavirus pandemic. Zimbabweans are on their own with no protection.”

Zimbabwe has been under US and EU sanctions dating back to the reign of the late president Robert Mugabe, who was toppled in a coup in November 2017 after 37 years in power. 

The EU sanctions consist of an arms embargo and targeted asset freezing and travel bans, while the US has imposed financial restrictions and travel sanctions against selected individuals and entities.

Last year, thousands of Zimbabweans rallied in support of President Mnangagwa‘s call on the United States and the European Union to lift sanctions imposed against him and dozens of other officials.

The sanctions are believed to be the cause of Zimbabwe’s economic slump for the past two decades. 

In a speech denouncing the sanctions last year, Mnangagwa bemoaned how they crippled Zimbabwe’s development.

“The continued judgment setting of Utopian standards for Zimbabwe are callous, vindictive and should not be allowed to continue. We say enough is enough,” he said.

Ironically, China which is the origin of the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year accused the US and the West of waging a “cold war” against Zimbabwe.

China Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, likened the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and European Union (EU) to “cold war.”

“The continued judgment setting of Utopian standards for Zimbabwe are callous, vindictive and should not be allowed to continue. We say enough is enough,” he said.

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