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Unpacking impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe

16 Aug 2018 at 06:18hrs | Views
According to Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, sanctions are defined as "official orders such as the stopping of trade, which is taken against a country in order to make it obey international law".

It is further defined as, "a strong action taken in order to make people obey a law or rule, or a punishment given when they disobey".

The issue here, therefore, is that sanctions are punitive measures taken against offenders who would have disobeyed a law.

When sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe on the instigation of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, there was no conceivable offence Zimbabwe had committed.

The imposition of such sanctions on a country becomes legal when they are endorsed by the UN. If such punitive measures are to be given to people, the have to be undertaken by a court of law, either nationally or by an international court.

If sanctions are unilaterally imposed on a country they are regarded as illegal. Naturally, sanctions imposed by the West on Zimbabwe after its landmark land reform programme in 2000 are illegal since they were not imposed by the UN.

The above preamble seeks to define sanctions and clearly indicate to the reader that they were in the first place illegal.

The other issue the preamble seeks to do is to purvey Western hypocrisy with regards to the observance of the rule of law. The imposition of economic sanctions on Zimbabwe is a high class example where the rule of law was severely adulterated by the West, which claims to be a paragon of democracy and the rule of law.

The economic history of Zimbabwe is very clear and well documented from the pre-colonial era through the colonial and post-independence era, to date.

While it is not the purpose of this article to discuss in detail the economic history of Zimbabwe, it suffices to mention that the economy was severely battered in the past 18 years due to the illegal imposition of economic sanctions by the West.

This period also saw Zimbabwe experiencing terrible asymmetric and deliberate media propaganda targeted at psyching up Zimbabweans that there was bad governance and serious neglect of the rule of law.

Such a scenario was carefully planned and vigorously played against the Zanu-PF Government, which the West deliberately fought to replace with their puppets from the MDC formations.

This is the image that the new Government has sought to remove through concerted efforts and vigorous re-engagement campaigns guided by the new vision: "Zimbabwe is Open for Business."

The embracing of Operation Restore Legacy and the "Zimbabwe is Open for Business" mantra clearly sent panic signals to the MDC, particularly the MDC Alliance, which is a grouping of seven political parties.

This panic mode in the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa, was heightened by the realisation that their illegal Western support base had been ethically taken away from them to side with the new dispensation that sought to re-engage the international community.

This is the reason why the MDC Alliance resorted to violence and destabilisation strategies they continue to employ today.

Reading from the above narrative, the questions this article intends to attempt giving answers to are in regard to the purposes and impact of the illegal economic sanctions that were demonically imposed on Zimbabwe and her peace-loving people.

Firstly, let me state that like Ghana during Kwame Nkrumah's era, the Democractic Republic in the period of Patrice Lumumba and Guatemala during its land reform era between 1950 and 1954, Zimbabwe suffered the same imposition of these devilish illegal economic sanctions, cherished only by the West outside the UN endorsement.

In the historic examples given above, the purpose of the illegally imposed Western sanctions was the same.

The most critical one was to make the people suffer so that they revolt against their democratically elected governments.

The people are always that target in all the different countries where such heinous economic sanctions have been imposed. This is the regime change agenda applied by the CIA and MI5 globally.

The vehicle for success, which the West employs regardless of how inhuman it is, is making the targeted countries' economies "scream", raising the unemployment figures thereof.

Once industries close and unemployment skyrockets, violence triggered by labour organisations erupts.

The government, as it tries to manage the violence is accused of heavy-handedness. The international community is inadvertently told of falsehoods in which government is accused of committing crimes against humanity regardless of the fact that such a scenario would have been deliberately played by the accusers.

The media is used as a platform for spreading their propaganda. History tells us that Zimbabwe and the Zanu-PF Government were vilified for acts created by the West and its surrogate opposition parties.

Dirty scenarios are played where an environment for clashes against party followers erupt. Violent clashes erupt against Government and opposition party followers as was the case on August 1, 2018.

This violent template has been played since the formation of the MDC and the West is the referee that judges the political correctness of political players.

Unfortunately, history continues to tell us that the beneficiary of proceeds for imposition of sanctions has always unfairly been opposition parties.

Sadly, the losers in this political game are the people, who are psyched up to believe in the Western media propaganda.

The propaganda is structured and disseminated in animated format in order to psyche up the people to revolt against the unwanted regime. Such a practice is currently being played out on social media today where treacherous messages are being carelessly circulated to play up on people's minds so that they revolt.

Unfortunately, it is the people who suffer the rot.

Sadly also, regardless of the literacy levels in Zimbabwe, people have been unable to apply critical thinking before they engage in riotous acts.

What worsens the political malice is the employment of the academia and legal professions as opinion leaders.

These schooled opinion leaders, careless about the impact of their actions, careless about the negative and inhuman nature of their practice, care more about money.

This is the reason why we find the likes of intellectuals such as Jonathan Moyo, Welshman Ncube, Ibbo Mandaza and those in the legal profession, thriving on the spoils from political activism.

Their concern is to get money, nothing else.

They rubbish anything good for the sake of money. Imagine Welshman Ncube, himself a beneficiary of the land reform programme, rubbishing the policy that seeks to address an inequality?

Where do these negative forces of Zimbabwe's land reform stand today when the World Bank endorses the South African land reform without compensation?

Where do these negative forces that supported the illegal imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe stand when Britain apologises for its mistakes by way of endorsing the current Government of Zimbabwe; when the Commonwealth is ready to admit Zimbabwe as a club member?

Where do these followers who do not apply critical thinking before they become riotous stand when Chamisa disowns them and Tendai Biti runs away into self-imposed exile?

Imagine Professor Moyo, a self-exiled political despot rushing to tweet that Biti will be given asylum according to international law, but then he is denied!

The narrative above serves to tell Zimbabweans that sanctions are real. They are a punitive measure aimed at psyching up the general citizenry to revolt against their own while they are excluded from enjoying the benefits of Zimbabwean resources.

Sanctions are imposed as a measure to punish Government leaders, who the West do not like while in reality the effects of sanctions grossly affect the citizenry, who ultimately loses jobs as a result of economic meltdown.

Fellow citizens, from 2000 to 2018 when the MDC helped Americans to impose sanctions through Zidera (Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001), it has been you the ordinary Zimbabwean populace who lost jobs; who could not get basic commodities to sustain your lives.

Politicians, both the targeted and the non-targeted did not suffer.

Some of those in Zanu-PF became criminals and corrupt, which led to Operation Restore Legacy. Some of those in MDC, if not all of them, benefited from donor funds and are filthy rich, while the rest of us languish in abject poverty.

The poverty you are experiencing today was largely brought by sanctions. It is, therefore, imperative that everyone desists from violence and denounces illegal sanctions, for the country to become a middle class economy by 2030, as envisaged by the new Government.

Dr Panganai Kahuni is a political socio-economic commentator, researcher and diplomat in the SADC region. He writes in his own capacity.

Source - chronicle
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