Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa has called for sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States to be removed, saying they were not justified.

The 57-year-old telecoms tycoon’s unusually forthright comments about Zimbabwean politics were made in a TV interview with CNBC Africa recorded October 26 in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Masiyiwa said sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States had paralysed the country, whose prospects of coming out of the economic crisis were dim for the same reason.

“I think for instance that the sanctions should be removed, there’s no justification for them anymore. They should be removed. I’ve always been on record to say the sanctions are not justified and now we’re almost 20 years into the sanctions. You can’t have one country operate with its hands tied behind its back,” he said.

The United States maintains that the sanctions, which have been revised a few times, were put in place to force Zimbabwe to meet its obligations of respecting human rights, good governance, free and fair elections and aligning laws with a new constitution adopted in 2013.

Masiyiwa also give a ringing endorsement of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, saying he believes the Zanu-PF leader who won a disputed election in July is “sincere”.

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