RBZ governor Mangudya dismantles years of Zanu PF sanctions ‘propaganda’

HARARE – Zimbabwe should not “lobby on lies any longer,” the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) said on Monday after the central bank appear to dismantle years of carefully managed propaganda that the country is under economic sanctions.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya issued a lengthy statement railing at what he described as “sensationally wild, false and malicious media reports” about a yet-to-be-broadcast Al Jazeera documentary which – according to a promo – will reveal the apex bank as “Southern Africa’s laundromat” of the “gold mafia”.

While insisting on the RBZ’s integrity, Mangudya sought to attack a central premise of the money laundering claims – that the bank is involved in “sanctions-busting” activities on behalf criminal networks employed by Zimbabwe’s ruling elite that turn dirty cash into gold, which is sold around the world.

“The bank is not a sanctioned entity and the cited individuals are not sanctioned persons either,” Mangudya said in his statement, referring to several businesspeople and officials named in the documentary including gold dealers Ewan Macmillan, Henrietta Rushwaya, Kamlesh Pattni and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ambassador at large, Uebert Angel.

The governor added: “There are no sanctions on Zimbabwean exports and imports, including trade in gold to warrant Zimbabwe to circumvent international sanctions through illicit trade in gold. As such, the claim that there is a scheme to bust international sanctions using illicit ways shows beyond doubt that the peddlers of this narrative have a sinister agenda with nefarious objectives of tarnishing both the bank and the Republic of Zimbabwe.”

For the past two decades, the ruling Zanu PF party has claimed unilateral sanctions by the European Union and the United States on certain individuals and arms companies have derailed the country’s development and wreaked havoc on the country’s economy, which those countries deny.

CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said with his angry statement, Mangudya had let slip that the sanctions narrative was all propaganda.

“Today, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has announced that there are no sanctions on Zimbabwean imports and exports,” Mahere said. “The real problem in Zimbabwe is corruption and bad governance. No need to lobby on lies any longer.”

Peter Mutasa, the chairman of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said: “We have been telling some dunderheads that they are being played through propaganda. It’s not sanctions, it’s looting!”

Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba has previously cautioned government officials and state media against responding to a documentary which has not yet been broadcast by Al Jazeera, which pushed the first broadcast from March 2 to a later date.

On Monday, Charamba tweeted: “I would never have wasted bank time on a trailer!”

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