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Sanctions maintenance move by USA welcome as very little reforms carried out

08 Mar 2019 at 12:45hrs | Views
This is a very welcome move by the USA to have sanctions extended on individuals for undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe. Human rights abuses have grown worse after the military coup which ED Mnangagwa cunningly auspiced. The USA has been constantly, consistently and has been explicit in their requirements. The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, recently updated by Congress, has provided a very important tool and clearly identified the reforms expected: restoration of the rule of law, a commitment to equitable, legal and transparent land reform, and ensuring that military and national police forces are subordinate to the civilian government.

Many Western countries say Zimbabwe lacks a "culture of democracy" in which citizens could vote freely while political parties were treated equally. My personal reasoning is this; a government that arises from a stolen election cannot be accountable to the same people it has stolen the vote from. It cannot respect those people; it actually views them as foolish people.  A cunning government will not work to improve the livelihood of its people, period.

Though Zimbabweans maybe one lot of naïve people, many citizens of the developed countries are not. It's difficult to deceive them the same ways Zim govt deceive Zimbabweans. They see things clearly because their media is not stifled like the ZBC TV/Radio and their sisters Herald and Sunday Mail. Citizens of Western Democracies have plenty alternative TV and Radio stations with which to compare e same way news. In Zimbabwe we have a monopoly of ZBC TV and Radio under tight control of state. No other TV stations and Radio have been permitted though on paper we have Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe to award broadcasting licences. This Authority has remained under firm subordination of Zanu Pf Government. So some of us will be surprised and angered by statements from Simon Khaya Moyo, the current Chairman of ZANU-PF, who insistied that the sanctions be removed as reforms have been carried out. To me media reforms should be first as people need information to make informed decisions. In a democracy illumination begins with the media and a free press is a prominent pillar of democracy freedom and protection of civic rights. The maintenance of tight control of state media arms by Zim government ensures that Zanu pf government remains in power through broadcasting not only propaganda and lies, but threats too are propagated through the state media. Most of the threats issued by the Zanu Pf government to cower the people and intimidate/ridicule opposition have been through state controlled media outlets.

In Zimbabwe the very minimum independent media permitted is continually under siege from government through state agents who work in the dark. Many journalists daily face abductions, torture, death, intimidation and humiliation under Emmerson Mnangagwa's government.

The president of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa is among the 141 people and institutions that are still under the US sanctions, which are being extended by another year from 3rd of March 2019.

So for the same government to unilaterally declare that reforms have been done; that is illegal, not the sanctions. Zimbabwe government should see sanctions as a corrective, regulatory measure and not punishment. The Western governments' institutions are putting in place restrictions in order to protect Zimbabweans from excesses by a government that rules over them. They are still disputes whether this government was put in place credibly though. From the way this government is behaving towards its citizens many doubt if that is the case. You can't pick grapes from a thorny bush.

Zanu pf Government however has been seriously irked by the extension of sanctions, most of them however targeted on individuals. For Emmerson Mnangagwa's government desire to obtain two mutually exclusive ends is foolishly absurd. It is ridiculous. His government has to choose whether to carry out reforms, continue with battering its citizens and tolerating corruption and then forfeit the cooperation and lifting of restrictions by the Western democracy based institutions. Emmerson Mnangagwa has to mature and understand that he cannot have both. The only countries/institutions that can grant him both are SADC and AU. SADC and AU are composed mostly of country governments that employs the same strategies i.e human rights abuses and electoral fraud that Zimbabwean government wishes to continue in order to stay in power. SADC region and Africa at large will remain underdeveloped as long as these bodies are steered by political parties whose only wish is to remain in power at the expense of their people remaining seriously marginalised in total poverty. To me these governments are holding their own people hostage. Furnished with blemished leaders carrying out similar atrocities in own countries, AU and SADC are no fit to neither vindicate Zimbabwe's adherence to reforms nor to therefore advocate for the removal of sanctions. They speak the same language with Zimbabwean government and their ploy we understand is to cover up for each other. I cover up for you today, tomorrow you cover up for me. That's their attitude. The two are elections rigging clubs. After rigging they endorse each other's sham elections. Poor Africans remain at their mercy.

On the other hand if the Zimbabwean government carries out noticeable and wholesome reforms, cooperation and friendship of the Western Democracies is guaranteed. It will not even need AU or SADC to lobby on their behalf.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana regretted the development, saying Zimbabwe has no history of aggression against any nation, so the statement that "Zimbabwe poses an extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United State." is absurd. Here Mangwana prophesies ignorance of USA foreign policy. We wonder how such nearly dull people end up holding such high offices. Remember they were not chosen by the people. They chose themselves to represent Zimbabwean people, whether they are willing or not.

Mr Mangwana continued: "We have kept out of the internal affairs of all other nations, so we surely cast no threat to the interests of any nation nor their foreign policy." Mangwana was just short of saying, we still need your aid though. If we oppress our people just look aside, if we steal elections its our internal affair, you have no right to say anything. Just give us your money. This is exactly what the government of Emmerson Mnangagwa wants, aid with no responsibility. This is what is indeed absurd. It's disturbing actually to have people that are so callous leading government. Though the impact of these sanctions by Western democracies is being limited by teaming up of some crooked African governments, they have been welcomed by most Africans who deplore military governments modelled by Zimbabwe, Egypt, DRC, Angola, Rwanda, and Uganda to mention just a few. What western democracies are gesturing is that we can't be friends if you oppress your people and cheat your way through elections.

In Zimbabwe the people cannot do anything. They are afraid to protest if the government reacts brutally as in the last two incidences of August 1 and January 19. The signal the Emmerson Mnangagwa is giving is "let me do whatever I want and don't complain. If you complain I'll shoot you". Though protest and petition are provided for in the law of the land, the government of Emmerson Mnangagwa outlaws them. The current Zimbabwe government itself is a constitution unto itself. This does not go in a democracy. It's high time the Emmerson Mnangagwa declares himself rightly what he is, a wolf in sheep's clothing.

I like this part by Tracy Chapman. "What you gonna do eh, if you give a small boy a gun, and there is no place to run to, bang bang bang, he will shoot you down." Boys think guns are toys and they just shoots wily nily. The government of Emmerson Mnangagwa behaves like the small boy from Chapman lyric. Sadly Zimbabweans have no place to run too. We just wallow in the Abuse…with Mangwana saying no government should involve itself in the internal affairs of other nations. He lives in history…he should change his name to Yesterday because when many nations are moving forward in respecting and caring for own citizens, he is instead moving towards the medieval period.


Source - Zanda Shumba
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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