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Zimbabwe, Sadc have spoken; racists sanctions must go now!

26 Oct 2019 at 07:31hrs | Views
Sadc rallied in resounding fashion against Western sanctions on Zimbabwe yesterday. The events across the region marked the climax of a process that started with the declaration, on 18 August this year, of 25 October as the day when all Sadc member states would undertake various activities to strongly denounce the illegal, ruinous sanctions and demand their unconditional removal.

In their respective speeches at the 39th Ordinary Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, regional leaders expressed dismay over the continuing US and European Union sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Like they always do at every Sadc summit since the measures were introduced in 2002, leaders meeting this year in Tanzania came up with a collective decision as reflected in their communique denouncing the sanctions and asking for their lifting.

This year, they went a huge step further when they declared 25 October as a day when all Sadc will hold events to send the same message. The region will continue doing that every year until the sanctions are lifted. We are heartened by the echoing message that was sent out to the US and Europe yesterday, a message that these two powers must listen to and respond to by removing their devastating sanctions.

Stadia across our country were packed by hundreds of thousands of people who, through their presence at the marches, the placards they brandished and regalia they wore, collectively demanded that the sanctions be lifted.

Harare was massive, so was Bulawayo, Masvingo, Gweru, Mutare, Marondera, Chinhoyi, Lupane, Gwanda, Beitbridge, as well as other centres. President Mnangagwa led the nation in making the point only a few hours after he had arrived in the country from the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi in the Eastern Europe nation.

"We know very well that sanctions are neither smart nor targeted," said the President in his address at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.

"Many of our people have over the years lost loved ones in hospitals due to the impact of sanctions on our health services...our exporters are denied entry into some markets. The sanctions have perpetuated the cycle of poverty in our country . . . no amount of propaganda can spin or sugarcoat this gruesome truth. Every part of our country has been affected by these sanctions like a cancer . . . it clear and undeniable that sanctions were a reaction to the just and necessary action of taking our land. As the people of Zimbabwe we cannot continue to have our fundamental human rights and dignity trampled upon."

The illegal sanctions are the single largest factor damaging our economy. Billions worth of lines of credit which the country should have received from the West have been halted. Potential investors from those countries are fearful of being severely punished if they dare invest here.

Multi-lateral financial institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are under strict US orders not to vote for the release of funding to our country. Export markets that used to be open for our country were shut thanks to sanctions.

Overall, research has shown that the sanctions have prejudiced our economy of US$42 billion in potential revenue over the past 18 years.

It has lost US$4,5 billion in potential donor support over the same period and US$12 billion in loans from the IMF and World Bank. It is estimated that the country has also lost US$18 billion in potential commercial loans while gross domestic product has contracted by US$21 billion. No economy can operate efficiently in a globalised economy we live in today when it is financially isolated like ours as a result of sanctions.

The net effect has been severe economic challenges that have collapsed companies, rendered tens of thousands unemployed, left hospitals without drugs, machines and consumables and plunged a larger proportion of our people into poverty.

Mr Chester Crocker, the then US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs said on Tuesday, June 13, 2000, that our economy must be made to "scream." Speaking during US Senate hearings on the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill (Zidera) before it was put into law two years later, Mr Crocker gave us a chilling sneak peek into our future as a sanctioned country.

"To separate the Zimbabwean people from Zanu-PF, we are going to have to make their economy scream," he declared, "and I hope you, senators, have the stomach for what you have to do. So if we were to decide to try and work for change in power in Zimbabwe, I would hope that we would have the wisdom to be discrete, to be low-key and to avoid giving those in power there the excuse that foreigners are out to get them."

It is clear that in enacting Zidera, the US wanted our economy to scream, not out of excitement but out of indescribable pain that sanctions were to cause on our economy and its people. It was clear also that even the US senators were expected to "have the stomach" for what they were to do which was to impose the measures.

In other words, even the aggressors had to be brave enough to be able to impose the sanctions.

The fact that US senators were implored to be "brave enough" to sanction our economy, shows that even they appreciated how devastating their measures were going to be for the people of Zimbabwe.

Yesterday was indeed a moment on which we as a country and Sadc as a whole hammered home a resounding statement against sanctions; that they are illegal and socio-economically destructive, thus must be removed unconditionally.

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Source - chronicle
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