Sanctions must be unreservedly removed now

The Chronicle

SADC today sends yet another resounding message to the US, Britain and the European Union, denouncing the illegal sanctions the Western nations imposed on Zimbabwe and calling for their immediate, unconditional removal.

Leaders in the region and their people will deliver speeches, march, perform plays, poems and stage musical shows whose import will be around the undeserved punishment wrought on our country since 2001 as punishment for the implementation of the land reform and redistribution programme.  

THE Southern African Development Community (Sadc)

The measures were imposed without UN approval, thus are illegal. They have decimated our economy. Belmont Industrial Area, the heart of Bulawayo, nay, the nation’s industry prior to 2000 is dead silent after companies closed due to the illegal embargo. The few that are operating are doing so under extremely difficult circumstances. They are running on antiquated machinery as they lack long term, affordable credit to retool.  Those that have their own money to do so, impediments are put in the way, which makes it impossible for them to acquire new machines and or spare parts from Europe or the US. Even if they are lucky to retool, they face artificial barriers accessing Western markets.  

Hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost, not only in Bulawayo, but across the country too.

The World Bank is not lending to the country’s private sector because American citizens on its board are under instruction to vote against any proposals to lend to Zimbabwe. The International Monetary Fund is not providing balance of payments support to the Government because American citizens on its board are under the same instruction. 

Local banks struggle to receive or send money abroad because correspondent banks, numbering about 100 before 2000, no longer want to do business with Zimbabwe.  They are fearful that if they handle payments from or to Zimbabwe, they could fall foul of the US sanctions. Some five years ago, the US slapped CBZ with a US$3,8 billion fine after investigations revealed that the financial institution had processed 15 127 transactions on behalf of ZB Bank at a time when it (ZB Bank) was under US sanctions.  

As a result of the 22-year-old embargo, the economy has lost at least US$40 billion in potential business. That sum is staggering indeed for a small economy such as ours.   

All eyes will today be on President Mnangagwa as he leads the nation on the fourth edition of the annual Sadc Anti-Sanctions Solidarity Day commemorations.  He will deliver a virtual address to the nation, not only reiterating the country’s opposition to the illegal sanctions, but also detailing their dire consequences and demanding they be lifted immediately and unconditionally. There will be marches across the provinces also.  

Sadc countries declared October 25 a day to demonstrate regional solidarity with Zimbabwe against the illegal sanctions.

This year’s commemorations are being held under the theme: “Enhancing Zimbabwe’s Resilience through Economic Development and Engagement and Re-engagement.”  

We expect our neighbours to, as they have always done since the measures were imposed, also come up with their programmes that expose the illegality and ruinous impact of the sanctions while demanding their immediate and unconditional lifting.

The past two decades of sanctions have been onerous for the country.  

However, Zimbabwe being Zimbabwe, has asserted its resilience. This year’s theme summarises it all. It is a forward-looking theme, which does not enjoin the people to feel helpless, to feel sorry about themselves and waiting to be pitied. No. The economy has not collapsed as what the West wanted to happen. In fact, it is recovering, lifting itself up with its bootstraps.  

The economy will grow by more than three percent this year. Inflation is falling. The Zimbabwe dollar is finding its feet. Using internally-generated resources, the country is being built on a scale it had not seen in its history — roads, clinics, hospitals and so on. A small economy under two decades of sanctions is not expected to perform the way Zimbabwe is performing. But Zimbabwe is Zimbabwe. It is a strong nation of admirably resourceful, committed and patriotic people who fought a 15-year armed struggle to free themselves from British colonialism. Also, the country is blessed with abundant natural resources which its leadership and people, led by President Mnangagwa are utilising most judiciously to get us moving ahead.

Having noted the progress that is underway, there is no need for us to continue bearing the yoke of sanctions. They are illegal, they compromise development so must be unreservedly removed now. 

Article Source: The Chronicle

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