COMMENT: Global anti-sanctions echo a shame to our detractors

PROGRESSIVE forces from the region and beyond yesterday stood with Zimbabwe to yet again deliver an emphatic call on Western capitals fronted by the United States of America to immediately remove illegal sanctions, which now form part of a covert mechanism to effect regime change in the country.

Over two decades ago, the US and its allies imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe under glaring false claim that the embargo is targeted at few individuals and companies only linked to the Government.

However, the world is fully aware that the  Government’s principled stance on the successful Land Reform, which saw landless blacks allocated farms at the turn of the millennium as a major economic empowerment programme, was the prime provocation for imposing sanctions.

Zimbabwe has been under the yoke of sanctions since then and continues to bear the adverse economic impacts. In solidarity with the country the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) leaders in 2019 declared October 25 as Anti-Sanctions Day. This noble and commendable declaration has emboldened Zimbabwe’s resilience and fight against the embargo, a cause that has been joined by more progressive forces beyond the continent’s borders.

The People’s Republic of China, which vetoed for Zimbabwe in the United Nations Security Council 14 years ago, has been consistent in calling for the removal of illegal sanctions saying these are hurting the whole country and its people.

“China firmly supports Zimbabwe’s efforts in safeguarding its sovereignty, achieving development and overcoming the adverse impacts caused by sanctions,” the Chinese Embassy said.

On October 20, 2022, a Chinese mission to UN also called for immediate and complete cessation of Unilateral Coercive Measures against 25 developing countries including Zimbabwe and vowed to consistently and firmly support an end to all the unilateral sanctions.

Similarly, Russia has openly backed Zimbabwe in condemning the wicked practice by Western countries to use unilateral illegitimate sanctions in violation of the UN Charter. The United Nations, through its Special Rapporteur, Alena Douhan, has also called for the removal of Western sanctions saying these are frustrating banks, companies and individuals from participating in the global economy.

Leading the call for the revocation of illegal sanctions yesterday, Sadc chairman, President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, exposed the sanctions’ real thrust as a weapon for regime change.

President Tshisekedi, like other regional block leaders before him said Sadc is “deeply concerned that the claim that the sanctions are of a targeted nature” is not realistic as the punitive measures are actually aimed at unilaterally punishing a majority of ordinary citizens.

By imposing a blanket negative perception about Zimbabwe  across the world, in particular in the sensitive global financial markets, the net impact of the sanctions is to literally frustrate Zimbabwe’s economy.

We have said it before, that perception has caused unbearable suffering on our companies who are unable to access international credit lines and other financial services that are vital to the socio-economic development of the country.

“This is more concerning given the need for rapid global recovery from at least two years of the socially and economically crippling Covid-19 pandemic, which has now been compounded by a general rise in inflation across the world,” said President Tshisekedi.

“Zimbabwe, like most developing countries, is particularly vulnerable to these trends and the unilateral sanctions worsen the plight of her economy.”

Sadc, and progressive countries and more importantly Zimbabweans have long realised that illegal sanctions, which must be unconditionally removed are deployed as a regime change tool. We are aware of this, and the authors of illegal sanctions are also fully aware.

Zimbabwe as a democratic country since 1980 has never failed to hold general elections when they are due and would never succumb to any regime change pressures that seek to subvert the will of the people. The country is geared for the 2023 harmonised polls and as usual due legal and constitutional processes will be followed.

“In this context, Sadc appeals to those who have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to give space to the citizens of the country to exercise their democratic rights and not use sanctions as a covert mechanism to effect regime change,” said President Tshisekedi.

While it is gratifying to note that regional bodies are steadily piling pressure, openly for removal of illegal sanctions,  we exhort all Zimbabweans to also rally behind the Government in calling for the unconditional removal of sanctions.

It is encouraging that thousands of Zimbabweans across the country and from all age groups took part in solidarity marches to voice out their disapproval of imposed illegal sanctions.

Yes, October 25 was set aside, but it should not be a one-day event to call for sanctions’ removal.  It is the duty of every Zimbabwean across the political divide to pile pressure on the US and its allies to remove their sanctions.

This year’s Sadc Anti-Sanctions Day was held under the theme: “Enhancing Zimbabwe’s Resilience through Economic Development, Engagement and Re-engagement.”

The engagement drive should be a continuous process involving all Zimbabweans including those in the diaspora. We implore the US government to go beyond admitting the negative impact of sanctions and do the right thing, which is to unconditionally remove the illegal sanctions.

Meanwhile, we urge all Zimbabweans to remain resolute, maximise usage of available resources to build this great nation.

As President Mnangagwa always says “brick by brick, stone upon stone” let us enhance our economic resilience as a collective. The 2022/2023 farming season is upon us and we implore all land beneficiaries to fully utilise this natural resource for national self-sustenance. Sanctions must go now!

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