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The new Minister of Foreign Affairs in Zimbabwe puts sanctions in disarray

06 Feb 2021 at 14:16hrs | Views
Dr Masimba Mavaza
The United Kingdom of Britain imposed sanctions on three security chiefs plus a minister of state security. If the president of Zimbabwe appoints cde Isaac Moyo who is currently the Director. General of the Central Intelligence and sanctioned by the UK how will the UK engage him as a sanctioned person. Isaac Moyo is likely to be appointed to replace SB Moyo who succumbed to COVID 19. This will surely cause a headache as he will be diplomatically expected to lead the engagement. Already our ambassador in the UK has failed to even issue a travel document to Zimbabweans willing to return home putting Zimbabwean already damaged relations with England on another level.

But what are these targeted sanctions slapped on the four security chiefs and do they help.

Targeted sanctions are intended to be directed at individuals, companies and organizations, or restrict trade with key commodities. ... Financial sanctions (freezing of funds and other financial assets, ban on transactions, investment restrictions. Sanctions are one of the tools utilised to address human rights violations. They are also an increasingly prominent tool in the European Union's foreign policy.

International sanctions policy is part of a global trend towards individualisation: rather than affecting the state as a whole, bans nowadays are targeted at individuals identified as responsible for the abuses.

 Originally developed within the context of the United Nations the practice of applying sanctions against individuals has become commonplace in EU foreign policy.

Sanctions against individuals represent the narrowest expression of a targeted sanction, discriminating clearly between targets and non-targets, while other types tend to display effects on non-targeted populations to different degrees.

Although traditionally highly targeted, EU sanctions (including those applied against individuals) are gradually becoming less discriminating, largely as a result of frequent litigation.

Despite the increasing trend towards individualisation of sanctions, few instances are known as yet in which the behaviour of targets has been affected, at least in a way that incites compliance with the sender's aims.

Still, a comprehensive inquiry into UN individually targeted sanctions found a compliance ratio of about 20 %, which does not deviate from common estimates for comprehensive embargoes.

Nevertheless, even the most optimistic assessments concede that the performance of individual sanctions could be improved beyond present compliance ratios with the help of better informed targeting policies.

In his 1997 report on the work of the United Nations, Secretary General Kofi Annan stressed the importance of economic sanctions: the Security Council's tool to bring pressure without recourse to force. At the same time Annan worried about the harm that sanctions inflict on vulnerable civilian groups, and their collateral damage to third states. He acknowledged that "[i]t is increasingly accepted that the design and implementation of sanctions mandated by the Security Council need to be improved, and their humanitarian costs to civilian populations reduced as far as possible.

"1 Widely shared concerns about humanitarian and third country effects can undermine the political unity required for the effective implementation of multilateral sanctions. The case of Iraq stands as Exhibit A. With the erosion of support for the embargo against Iraq, it is becoming clear that the effectiveness of a sanctions regime partly depends on how it addresses humanitarian issues. Although virtually all sanctions regimes launched during the 1990s allow trade in humanitarian goods, the "blunt weapon" of comprehensive embargo inevitably hurts those at the bottom of the economic heap. Given the poor track record of sanctions in achieving their foreign policy goals, the conventional wisdom that civilian pain leads to political gain is being questioned. Many ask whether the costs of sanctions are worth the results.

Despite sanctions conveniently called targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe the lives of Zimbabwean citizens has become worse.

"Targeted sanctions" or "smart sanctions", like "smart bombs", are meant to focus their impact on leaders, political elites and segments of society believed to be responsible for objectionable behavior, while reducing collateral damage to the general population and third countries.

Zimbabwe has been under the cruel jaws of the West and as the West chews and grinds the life out of every Zimbabwean life they try to beautify the evil act and call it targeted sanctions.

Before taking a closer look at certain measures, it may be useful to draw a distinction between "targeted" and "selective" sanctions. "Selective" sanctions, which are less broad than comprehensive embargoes, involve restrictions on particular products or financial flows. "Targeted" sanctions focus on certain groups or individuals in the target country and aim to directly impact these groups. But this has failed as it only cause strife on every Zimbabwean already groaning under the hard economic conditions. The United Kingdom has slapped more sanctions on four Zimbabwean security officials over alleged human rights abuses, in a move that will restrict their travel to Britain and freeze their assets. They are being accused for stopping a marauding gang of thugs who wanted to storm the election command centre and change the election results. This is the same violence shown in America which Britain condemned. Why is it now condemning the enforcer and praising the hooligans. These people who tried to execute an electoral coup in Zimbabwe in 2018 were described as "stupids" by Nelson Chamisa the then president of the MDC A. The opposition United with security leaders in condemning the hooligans who are now being used as the source of the targeted sanctions.

Applying a new sanctions regime following its exit from the European Union, the UK on Monday cited a crackdown on protests in January 2019 which killed 6 people even though the UK puts the figure are 17 in order to justify the illegal sanctions. as it introduced the sanctions on Minister for State Security Owen Ncube, as well as heads of police and intelligence organisations Britain purported to be working on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe.

This was a very shameful action by the United Kingdom. Zimbabwe is trying its best to re engage but we have countries like the UK undermining the efforts of the new dispensation.

We wonder what will the UK do if the Director General of Central Intelligence is appointed the minister of Foreign Affairs. He is a celebrated diplomat with diplomatic soft but forceful and fair approach to things. How would the former coloniser engage the minister of Foreign Affairs who is on their sanction list.

This shows that the effectiveness of arms embargoes in ending conflicts remains elusive. This is particularly true when the targeted group does not controls valuable natural resources.

The assumption that targeted sanctions exert minimal humanitarian impact will not hold, Zimbabweans have a different story to tell. The so called targeted sanctions have ravaged and savaged our economy.

We must always remember that In August 1996, the Security Council voted to impose a flight ban on the government of Sudan for its suspected support of international terrorism. Implementation of the ban was delayed, however, and the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs subsequently issued a report on its possible humanitarian effects. The report showed that even a selective flight ban could cause humanitarian suffering.

The present study conceives of sanctions as measures imposed by an individual or collective sender that interrupt normal relations or benefits that would otherwise be granted in response to perceived misconduct by the target. This broad understanding includes economic and financial restrictions as well as diplomatic sanctions. In the EU context, sanctions have traditionally been referred to as ‘restrictive measures' or mésures negatives in French, even though in recent times the term 'sanctions' is gaining currency also in EU parlance.

Despite targeted sanctions having first appeared in the context of the United Nations (UN), their origin is European, which explains their subsequent adoption in the EU context. The idea of targeted measures emerged in response to negative experiences with comprehensive trade embargoes in the mid-nineties, which led to hardship for whole populations due to the blanket interruption of all trade and finance. Following the international outcry over the Iraqi humanitarian catastrophe which was provoked by the UN embargo, in particular the high mortality rate among children, it became clear to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that the employment of similar measures would be politically untenable. This is the situation in Zimbabwe. Sanctions have destroyed whole communities and it is a wonder why the UK is so heartless as to impose more sanctions on a bleeding nation.

It's human not to kick a man while he is down.

The anger exhibited by both America and the UK in imposing more sanctions is best described as witchcraft. Five people were killed in America in a political violence caused by a sitting president. The UK does not see this as a sanctionable act. Their eyes are fixed on Zimbabwe. Their regime change mantra has started again.

They find themselves hobbled in conducting business with us but sanctioning our leaders giving them the travel ban cuts them off from their companies and bank accounts. All for what? World wide the, travel bans seem to have had limited results.

In recent years, however, we have observed a few instances of targeted financial sanctions. These include measures such as a freeze on foreign assets of specifically designated individuals, state-owned companies and governments. Selective asset freezes were imposed on Haiti, Serbia-Montenegro, the Bosnian Serbs, and UNITA. The primary challenge facing these asset freezes is the identification of funds belonging to the individuals, governments and companies targeted. Although the means of tracking financial assets have greatly improved, so have the means of deception.

The record indicates that targeted sanctions have been used either as a "warm-up" for broader measures or as the supposed "knock-out" punch.

To summarize, targeted sanctions may satisfy the need in sender states to "do something", they may slake humanitarian concerns, and they may serve to unify fraying coalitions. But they are not a magic bullet for achieving foreign policy goals. Again quoting UN Secretary General: "The international community should be under no illusion: these humanitarian and human rights policy goals cannot easily be reconciled with those of a sanctions regime. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that sanctions are a tool of enforcement and, like other methods of enforcement, they will do harm. This should be borne in mind when the decision to impose them is taken, and when the results are subsequently evaluated."

Did the UK consider the plight of Zimbabweans in piling more sanctions. This shows a typical disregard of the plight of Zimbabweans. The UK is concerned with the regime change. But to whose benefit of it does not please the generality of Zimbabwe except Biti and his thick head. The sinister reason behind the targeted sanctions is clear.

Vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk

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.

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