Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Sanctions have affected citizens from rural areas to urban areas

24 Oct 2020 at 07:44hrs | Views
Zimbabwe has laboured under the cruel sanctions imposed by the EU and the United States. In an unprecedented way The United States has made it its duty to oversee the Zimbabwean suffering. ZImbabwe has bled from the down Chesa Machokoto to Beitbridge From Chipinge to Plum-tree no single part of Zimbabwe which is not reeling under the sanctions. Economic sanctions are increasingly being used to promote the full range of American foreign policy objectives. Yet all too often sanctions turn out to be little more than expressions of U.S. preferences that hurt Zimbabwe's economic and plunging the common Zimbabweans in a pool of untold suffering. As a rule, sanctions need to be less unilateral and more focused on the problem at hand. The American Congress and the executive branch instituted far more rigorous oversight of sanctions, both prior to adopting them and regularly thereafter, they have not ensured that the expected benefits outweigh likely costs and that sanctions accomplish more nothing to them but gross human rights violations which has become an  alternative foreign policy tools.

The widespread use of economic sanctions constitutes one of the paradoxes of contemporary EU and American foreign policy. Sanctions are frequently criticized, even derided by the whole world except the ones who are imposing them. At the same time, economic sanctions are fast becoming the policy tool of choice for the United States in the post-cold war world, a tool to force submission by other sovereign nations.  The United States now maintains economic sanctions against dozens of countries; these sanctions have gnawed the crux of the economic standing of a nation. What is critical, moreover, is not just the frequency with which economic sanctions are used but their growing importance for U.S. foreign policy. It is clear that sanctions are imposed to create confusion in the country thereby giving a chance to the strong nations to jump in and steal the natural resources of the affected countries.

Sanctions do look like as mostly economic but also are political and military as penalties introduced to alter political and/or military behavior—are employed by the United States to weaken any country they target.

To accomplish foreign policy ends, sanctions take the form of arms embargoes, foreign assistance reductions and cut-offs, export and import limitations, asset freezes, tariff increases, revocation of most favored nation (MFN) trade status, negative votes in international financial institutions, withdrawal of diplomatic relations, visa denials, cancellation of air links, and prohibitions on credit, financing, and investment. These penalties will surely bring a country to its knees.

while sanctions are a way to signal official displeasure with a certain behaviour they have caused untold suffering to the nations which are affected. They can serve the purpose of reinforcing a commitment to a behavioral norm, such as respect for human rights or opposition to proliferation but America always sees mirage in the mirror when it comes to Zimbabwe. Sanctions provide a visible and more gruel suffering to the people in the grass roots. Sanctions have always mossed their targets and the innocent are the ones to suffer.  The greater reach of media is still another explanation. The CNN effect can increase the visibility of problems in another country and stimulate a desire on the part of Americans to respond. So in an action resembling a dog's breakfast American and Western press run news and programmes meant to portray Zimbabwe as a country in a war zone. They then react to their own fake news and respond bu sending allocations.

A woman in Mutoko seems not to bother about sanctions. She simply carries her farm produce to Mbare for selling she does not foreign currency. It seems that way but because of sanctions she can mot get fuel to go to Mbare. Of she manages he usual customers can mot afford to buy as the industries were closed due to sanctions. The chain of causation is long on these circumstances do not respect political affiliation.
Every Zimbabwean is feeling the dip cut of the sanctions no one is safe from the barbaric effects of these sanctions.  

Sanctions are blunt instruments that often produce unintended and undesirable consequences. Sanctions increased the economic distress on Zimbabwe triggering a dangerous and expensive exodus of people from Zimbabwe to the United States, Africa and Europe. More generally, sanctions can have the perverse effect of bolstering authoritarian, statist societies. By creating scarcity, they enable governments to better control distribution of goods. The danger is both moral, in that innocents are affected, as well as practical, in that sanctions that harm the population at large can bring about undesired effects that include bolstering the corruption triggering large scale emigration, and retarding the emergence of a middle class and civil society. Smart or designer targeted sanctions are at best a no solution as the targeted are the engine the heart beat of the nation.

We have noticed that Sanctions tend to be easier to introduce than to lift. It is almost always more difficult to change the status quo than to continue with it. It is often difficult or impossible to build a consensus for rescinding a sanction, even if there has been some progress on the matter of concern, if the sanction has been shown to be feckless or counterproductive, or if other interests can be shown to suffer as a result.
Zimbabwe has done everything but sanctions  are still on.

The rate of unemployment is high and it all boils down to sanctions. The companies have been closed down. Closing down a company means those employed in those companies become unemployed.  The aim in systematically putting people on sanctions is a ploy to starve the Zimbabweans to rebellion.

Most of our graduates can no longer get jobs they have trained for. The become road brigades and permanent home defenders. The sanctions create a nation of zombies as many youth grow without future turn to drugs. A broken society comes from the soil gracing sanctions.

This is  the case with with Zimbabwe where U.S. sanctions introduced in the wake of the 2001 land programme. The Zimbabwean case involves a powerful example of the danger of locking in sanctions, as the inability to amend or lift sanctions worked to the disadvantage of the weaker Zimbabweans.

Sanctions fatigue tends to settle in over time and international compliance tends to diminish. Inevitably, the issue that led to sanctions being introduced loses its emotional impact. Concerns over the humanitarian impact of sanctions also weaken resolve. At the same time, the target country has time to adjust. Working around sanctions, import substitution, and any improvement of living standards due to adaptation all make sanctions bearable. All of these factors have eroded the impact of sanctions. However SADC and all are saying Zimbabwe deserves better. Zimbabwe will be somewhere if these sanctions are lifted. This is because the economic, humanitarian, and foreign policy costs of U.S sanctions  on Zimbabwe far outweigh any  possible benefits.Sanctions have caused great damage to innocent people—as well as to American business, workers, and U.S. foreign policy interests.

America and Europe must realise that Foreign policy is not therapy, and its purpose is not to feel good but to do good. The same holds for sanctions.

Multilateral support for economic sanctions should normally constitute a prerequisite for their use by the United States. Such support need not be simultaneous, but it should be all but certain and likely to follow with little delay. Unilateral sanctions should be avoided except in those circumstances in which the United States is in a unique situation to derive leverage based on the economic relationship with the target. This is not so much a normative assertion as a pragmatic one, based on the overwhelming evidence that unilateral sanctions achieve little.

Secondary sanctions are not a desirable means of bringing about multilateral support for sanctions. Instituting sanctions against those who do not comply with the sanctions at issue is an admission of a diplomatic failure to persuade. It is also an expensive response. The costs to U.S. foreign policy, including the state of relations with major partners and U.S. efforts to build an effective WTO, almost always outweigh the potential benefits of coercing friends to join sanctions.

Sanctions should not be used to hold major or complex bilateral relationships hostage to a single issue or set of concerns. This is especially the case with a country such as Zimbabwe where the United States has to balance interests that include maintaining stability in Southern Africa.

Humanitarian exceptions should be included as part of any comprehensive sanctions. Innocents should not be made to suffer any more than is absolutely necessary. Including an exception that allows a target to import food and medicine should also make it easier to bring about domestic and international support.
Sanctions against Zimbabwe have affected the whole country and many social amenities can not function.
The evils of the sanctions can never be forgotten.

Zimbabwe blames Trump and any other president who presides over sanctions and pretend to see nothing wrong. All sanctions embedded in legislation should provide for presidential discretion in the form of a waiver authority. Discretion would allow the President to suspend or terminate a sanction if he judged it was in the interests of national security to do so. Such latitude is needed if relationships are not to become hostage to one interest and if the executive is to have the flexibility needed to explore whether the introduction of limited incentives can bring about a desired policy end.
Now Zimbabwe raises its hands as the hands are received in a show of unity by the SADC and a host of friends.
As we sit on the hard rock and we must always put our heads high. We have friends who are helping us and who are limping with us and slowly but sure our resilience as Zimbabweans will take us to prosperity.

We have come this far by faith and we will go that far by faith.
Zimbabwe united shall never be defeated.

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
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.

Get latest news by email: