Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT will use the higher and tertiary education sector to counter illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe through harnessing local ingenuity and resources to develop the nation, a Cabinet Minister said.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said the abundant human capital and natural resources in the country are being directed towards busting the illegal sanctions.
Prof Murirwa said those who argue that sanctions are not harming the country and its citizens are being dishonest.
He said no government would waste time taking steps to impose embargoes when it knows they will not work.
The US and its Western allies imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe at the turn of the millennium in protest against the county’s land reform.
The sanctions have affected the country’s growth and created a negative risk factor for potential investors.
Opposition parties have partnered with hostile countries in lobbying for intensification of the illegal sanctions.
Analysts say their hope was that sanctions would trigger citizens to protest against the Government and effect a regime change.
The anti-sanctions drive saw Sadc leaders last year declaring October 25, as a day the bloc speaks out against sanctions as their impact are being felt across the region.
This year’s anti-sanctions commemorations are running under the theme: “resilience, progress, solidarity under an environment of sanctions.”
Prof Murwira said sanctions were hurting the economy and those who imposed them knew what they were doing.
“Sanctions are imposed with an intention. So how can someone say they are not harmful when they are designed to harm? It’s like saying a thorn won’t pierce. But it is designed to pierce, so it will pierce. To say that there was a whole government sitting down and designing sanctions about Zimbabwe so that they do not have an effect is being dishonest,” said Prof Murwira.
“It’s being intellectually dishonest to say that a gun doesn’t kill because a gun kills. The only thing that His Excellency the President Cde Mnangagwa is saying is that while sanctions are there, we should not just mourn but organise and come up with counter measures. We should be resilient and that means our education has to be done in such a way that brings national progress despite the sanctions.”
He said Education 5.0 which Government adopted in 2017 is part of the measures being implemented to counter the negative effects of sanctions.
“The intentions of Education 5.0 are very clear; to modernise and industrialise this country using human resources, using our natural resources and using the environment that we were provided. Education by nature is designed for national self-sufficiency. The way we have redesigned our education is meant to churn out producers as opposed to consumers. We are looking for job producers rather than job seekers. So, when His Excellency talks about the theme for anti-sanctions, it’s about resilience, it means we don’t like the sanctions, sanctions must go but, in the meantime, we will use our national capabilities to make sure that this nation survives and even prospers,” he said.
Prof Murwira said innovations in the education sector should cushion the country against the effects of sanctions.
He said the country has to learn from experience on the best way to develop even under sanctions.
“We are learning from ourselves. When a mosquito bites you, you don’t learn how to react by comparing the sting to someone else. Human beings are designed to resist domination as part of their survival strategy and this can only be achieved through education. Education empowers you to know which fruits to take and which water to drink as well as which food to eat,” he said.
Prof Murwira said the higher and tertiary education sector has proved that Zimbabwe can utilise local resources to address some of the societal challenges.
He said Covid-19 response by universities which saw the institutions manufacturing masks, producing sanitisers and consumables required for Covid-19 tests, is a confirmation of the institutions of higher learning’s capacity to counter the effects of sanctions while at the same time contributing to national development. — @nqotshili