The Sunday News
Kuda Bwititi, Harare Bureau
THE Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community, President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, has said sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe must be removed immediately as lifting of the two-decade embargo is good for the region and the whole world.
Today’s Anti-Sanctions Day is turning out to be one of the world’s most emphatic diplomatic blitzkriegs, as several Heads of State from around the globe stand with Zimbabwe to rally against the illegal sanctions.
At its 39th summit in Dar es Salaam last year, Sadc set aside October 25 as a Day of Solidarity Against Sanctions, with all member states pledging to hold activities on the day until the embargo is lifted.
In a statement to mark today’s second anniversary of the Sadc Anti-Sanctions Day, President Nyusi rallied the whole world to support the lifting of sanctions, saying the Western imposed measures undermine the country’s capacity to respond to socio-economic challenges.
President Nyusi said with the world celebrating the United Nations’ 75th Anniversary this month, there should be a realisation that sanctions without UN approval are a violation of the UN Charter and run against the spirit of multilateralism.
The Sadc Chair said the 16-member bloc is satisfied that the call for the lifting of sanctions is receiving global attention after the lobby reverberated to the UN.
“We are encouraged that Sadc’s call has received some attention, and as such we applaud the recent call by the United Nations Secretary General, Dr Antonio Guterres, and the UN Human Rights Commission, for the removal of unilateral coercive measures, as they have significant negative impacts on access to Covid-19 prevention measures and post recovery efforts. We welcome the pertinent conclusions and recommendations of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, which also found out that countries targeted by unilateral sanctions are constrained in their quest to effectively respond to the Covid-19 pandemic,” President Nyusi said. Sanctions on Zimbabwe, he said, do not affect Zimbabwe alone but the entire Sadc region and beyond.
“We are acutely aware that the continuation of sanctions not only impacts 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.
The Sadc chair said sanctions are no longer relevant as they are detrimental to the socio-economic development of Zimbabwe, which like other countries around the world, is battling to fight Covid-19.
President Nyusi lauded reforms being undertaken by President Mnangagwa’s administration saying such developments are evidence that Zimbabwe is on a positive trajectory.
“On a very encouraging and positive note, Sadc notes with satisfaction the resolve of the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and of His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to continue implementing reforms aimed at stabilising the economy and the financial sector. Furthermore, we continue to witness political and legislative reforms that have seen, among others, the Public Order and Security Act (Posa); Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa); and the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act being repealed, and efforts to align legislation with the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The recently concluded landmark Global Compensation Deed Agreement, signed between the Government of Zimbabwe and former farm-owners, is evidence of the Government’s commitment to address the contentious issues emanating from the land reform programme, which was introduced to redress historical land inequalities that existed along racial and class lines,” he said.
On his official Twitter page yesterday, President Mnangagwa thanked African and world leaders for rallying behind Zimbabwe ahead of today’s historic occasion.
“We are not alone in calling for the removal of sanctions. I would like to thank leaders across Africa and the world for supporting Zimbabwe in our campaign to remove sanctions and allow our country to achieve its full potential,” he said.
Sadc is piling pressure on the United States to immediately remove the illegal embargo with the regional bloc telling American President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the region will not prosper if sanctions on Zimbabwe remain.
In a strongly worded letter to Secretary Pompeo timed to coincide with today’s solidarity, the Chairperson of the Sadc Council of Ministers, Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlovo, wrote:
“As the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), we believe that when Zimbabwe prospers, Sadc and Africa prosper and when Sadc and Africa prosper, so does the world. Mr Secretary. Coercive, punitive sanctions serve only to place yet further burden on the poor and vulnerable in Zimbabwe and to stifle the capacity and ability of Government to effectively address their pressing needs.
“As sisters, brothers, and neighbours of Zimbabwe, we are acutely aware that the continuation of sanctions against Zimbabwe impacts heavily upon the development prospects of not only Zimbabwe but the entire Sadc region and well-beyond.
“We, therefore, appeal to you, Mr Secretary, and through you to the Government of the United States of America to immediately lift the unilateral sanctions on Zimbabwe so that it may prosper in the face of the current challenges, thus contributing to development of the Sadc region as a whole.”
Yesterday, China’s chief envoy to Zimbabwe Ambassador Guo Shaochun reiterated that his country will stand on Zimbabwe’s side.
“Sanctions aim at so called targeted individuals, but hurt the country and its people. They spook investors, disrupt financial transactions between Zimbabwe and foreign countries and disable Zimbabwe’s access to credit from international financial institutions, which are needed for a country’s development.”
In an interview with our Harare Bureau, Tanzania’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Professor Emmanuel Mbennah, said sanctions have hurt Zimbabwe for far too long.
“The US$42 billion in lost economic development value and the 40% shrinkage of the country’s economy over the years due to the sanctions are dreadful, to say the least. Furthermore, the sanctions continue to hamper the genuine efforts and sincere commitment of the Government of Zimbabwe in rebuilding the country. In addition, the perpetuation of these sanctions blinds those behind the sanctions to the efforts being made by the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe in addressing issues of good governance, particularly corruption. One wonders, for how long should Zimbabwe be subjected to suffering due to these illegal sanctions?” he said.
In a statement, the Zanu PF Women’s League said it remains determined to call for the unconditional and immediate lifting of sanctions.
“As the Women’s League, we salute the women of Zimbabwe for their resilience and urge all Zimbabweans to unite against the illegal sanctions and support government efforts under the stewardship of His Excellency the President, Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, whose efforts in developing our country are visible for all to see against all odds.”