COMMENT:West must heed calls to lift illegal sanctions against Zim President Cyril Ramaphosa

African leaders attending the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) have once again called for the unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe saying the unjustified sanctions are not only imposing untold suffering to ordinary Zimbabweans but have  collateral negative impact on neighbouring countries. 

On Monday South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in his speech called for the unconditional lifting of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western countries as punishment for implementing the land reform programme to correct the country’s skewed land ownership which favoured the white minority.  

President Ramaphosa said the West-imposed sanctions are hitting hard on ordinary citizens contrary to propaganda that they are only targeted. In his address on Wednesday, Namibian President Hage Geingob also called for the lifting of the illegal sanctions imposed by the US and its Western allies. 

President Hage Geingob

President Geingob said the illegal sanctions must be removed immediately to enable Zimbabwe to meet the global 2030 Agenda on sustainable development. He said the sanctions on Zimbabwe are an obstacle to the country’s attainment of Agenda 2030 which seeks to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the people’s livelihoods. 

UN Member States in 2015 adopted 17 goals as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and set out a 15-year plan to achieve the goals. Zimbabwe despite being under the albatross of illegal economic sanctions, has been making headway in its quest to achieve the goals. 

“Selective punitive measures against Zimbabwe and  Venezuela must be lifted as these measures constitute the greatest obstacle to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said President Geingob. 

He said for the world to prosper and achieve its collective target of ending poverty, hunger and deprivation, there is a need to draw inspiration from the UN Charter that places greater emphasis on diplomacy and peaceful co-existence. 

The calls to lift the illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe have also come from the African Union (AU), Sadc and other leaders from the progressive world. In 2021 UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Professor Alena Douhan visited Zimbabwe. 

In her report Prof Douhan who was in the country for 10 days, said the cost of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe had by October 2021 ballooned to US$100 billion while the cost of borrowing for the country was more than 1 000 percent higher than the average in most countries. Prof Douhan called on the US and its Western allies to lift the illegal sanctions which she said were causing suffering of ordinary citizens.  

It is our hope that UNGA guided by Prof Douhan’s detailed report on the impact of the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe and the calls by African leaders for the unconditional lifting of the sanctions, will come up with a strong resolution compelling the US and its allies to lift the sanctions.

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