Nqobile Tshili/Mkhululi Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
THE de-industrilisation of Bulawayo which has led to massive job losses for more than a decade is a direct result of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
The embargo caused Bulawayo to lose some of its traditional trading partners on the international arena hence it is prudent for the country to continue lobbying for the removal of the illegal sanctions.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube said this yesterday as Bulawayo joined the country and the Sadc region in calling for the removal of the sanctions.
Sadc last year set October 25 as a day to speak against and lobby the US and its Western allies to remove the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
The regional bloc has said the effects of sanctions are also spilling into the neighbouring countries.
Minister Ncube said Bulawayo which used to be the country’s industrial hub, has become a pale shadow of itself due to sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwe.
“If you remember very well Bulawayo was the country’s industrial hub. That is where we got the tag Kontuthu Ziyathunqa, due to smoke as a result of productivity that was happening in the city.
But when sanctions were imposed in the early 2000s, a lot of industries in Bulawayo shut down. The companies lost trading partners with the international community and this has affected the quality of life for Bulawayo residents. People have lost jobs and service delivery has been affected,” said Minister Ncube.
She said while some companies have managed to withstand the impact of sanctions, their production capacity was subdued due to the embargo.
Minister Ncube said it would be in the interest of every Zimbabwean to call for the removal of sanctions because they are affecting all citizens.
“We want to commend Sadc and other progressive nations for calling for the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe. As Zimbabwe we could be doing far much better without these sanctions. It’s time for those who have lobbied for their imposition to also join the country in calling for their removal,” said Minister Ncube.
Her counterpart in Matabeleland North, Minister Richard Moyo said besides affecting ordinary citizens, infrastructure development has also been affected due to sanctions.
Minister Moyo said sanctions closed the avenues for international credit lines.
“What that means is we cannot develop the country as fast as we want. We need loans from international institutions but sanctions inhibit the country from accessing those loans. This year due to Covid-19, international financial institutions such as the World Bank, provided loans for several countries to enable them to recover from economic shocks caused by Covid-19 but we were left out. Sanctions are suffocating the national development agenda. We have several infrastructural developments whose development have been impeded by failure to access loans. To develop the province and the country we denounce sanctions, they are illegal and should go,” said Minister Moyo.
He paid tribute to Sadc bloc for speaking out against sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Abednego Ncube said his province was one of the country’s biggest beef exporters to Europe but due to sanctions was no longer exporting.
He said Liebig’s meat canning factory in West Nicholson shut down after it lost markets when sanctions were imposed.
Minister Ncube said such investment among others have been seriously affected by the embargo directly impacting on the lives of ordinary citizens.
“Because of few job opportunities in the province as a result of sanctions, our young people are forced to seek jobs in neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana where they are employed in menial jobs. Sanctions have affected the infrastructural development of the country. We have a proposed plan and a site for the construction of Gwanda State University, although the university is now operating at Epoch Mine, it was our hope to develop it at its site in Gwanda. This is part of many projects that have suffered stagnation due to sanctions,” said Minister Ncube.
He however said the province was not just mourning about the impact of sanctions but utilising local resources to develop.
Minister Ncube said the province is leveraging on resources such as gold to earn foreign currency.
In a statement, King Mambo of Mambo dynasty said sanctions imposed on the country must be declared a crime against humanity.
“I am joining Sadc countries and Africa at large in calling for the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe sanctions should be declared a crime against humanity. Twenty years of sanctions have failed to achieve the desired results but instead have caused great suffering to my people especially the poor. It is now time sanctions against Zimbabwe are removed,” said King Mambo.
Sadc chairperson and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, in his speech on the second anniversary of the Sadc Anti- sanctions Day said the embargo had far-reaching impact in achieving global social and economic growth.
“We are acutely aware that the continuation of sanctions does not only impact negatively on socio-economic progress in Zimbabwe but also on the attainment of the Sadc Vision 2050, the African Union Agenda 2063 and ultimately the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development. As Sadc we fully support the very constructive re-engagement dialogue between the Republic of Zimbabwe and her global partners, including those that have maintained sanctions on Zimbabwe. We call on all progressive forces to lend diplomatic, political and moral support to the re-engagement efforts,” said President Nyusi. — @nqotshili/ —@themkhust