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Sanctions on Zimbabwe must just be removed

05 Oct 2021 at 06:35hrs | Views
TANZANIA served as the hub of the struggle for independence of southern Africa from the 1960s to the early 1990s.

Thousands of freedom fighters were trained at Morogoro, in central Tanzania. Also, Tanzania was the seat of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Liberation Committee. Hashim Mbita, a much-revered Pan-Africanist, was the executive secretary of that committee whose mandate was to drive the struggle for independence against colonial rule in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola and other southern African countries. Brigadier-General Mbita, who died in April 2015 was a Tanzanian who served in that difficult position from 1974 to 1992.

Because of that, one cannot talk about the independence of southern Africa without talking about Tanzania and its founding leader, Julius Nyerere; the OAU Liberation Committee and its executive secretary Brig Gen Mbita as well as Morogoro.

That country has continued to influence the course of history in the region.

At Sadc's 39th Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's capital, in August 2019, leaders took an epoch-making decision to declare October 25 of every year as Sadc Anti-Sanctions Solidarity Day to galvanise regional efforts against the illegal sanctions imposed against our country by the US and the European Union (EU).

Indeed, we recognise that Sadc had, before 2019, stood firmly with Zimbabwe in denouncing the embargo and calling for its removal but that summit decision has a substantially different, more profound significance.

Indeed, African leaders and institutions have made the anti-sanctions fight an ongoing process over the years, but the campaign against the unjust punishment this year started in a much more concentrated manner on Friday last week.

Zimbabwe, with the support of Sadc are running activities ahead of this year's edition of the Sadc Anti-Sanctions Solidarity Day by organising media briefings, webinars, demonstrations and others to castigate the sanctions, expose how ruinous they have been on the country's socio-economic fabric and demanding their removal. This year, the activities are running under the theme, "Friend to all, enemy to none: Forging ahead and enhancing innovation and productivity in adversity of sanctions."

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa told the media recently:
"While over the years individual countries had supported Zimbabwe in calling for the removal of sanctions, the anti-sanctions drive by Sadc as a region over the past two years has rallied more support for the country even from non-Sadc countries.

The negative impact of the sanctions on ordinary Zimbabweans will be highlighted through testimonies of affected businesses and other population groups including women, the youth and vulnerable groups across all socio-economic sectors."

We want to see an intensification of the struggle, culminating in strong messages being sent out on Sadc Anti-Sanctions Solidarity Day so that those who imposed the measures against our country can hear the messages and do the needful, which is to unconditionally and immediately lift the sanctions.

The adverse impact of the sanctions is evident for all to see. Over the past few days, we have, on these pages, been detailing how the embargo has reduced what used to be factories into deserted spaces; how those that are still running are struggling with antiquated machinery unable to retool because the Western owners of the old and new technology are barred from doing business with local industry; how tens of thousands of jobs have been lost; how companies that used to export to the US and Europe cannot do that anymore and how some businesses have been severely punished for doing business with our country.

Wherever one looks, the damage wrought by the illegal sanctions is clear.

They, therefore, must just be removed so that our economy can start working again. They must just be removed so that our people, who have suffered a collapse of their socio-economic statuses, who have been impoverished by the measures, can start living decent lives again.

They must be removed so that local businesses can retool, import modern and more efficient technology from Europe and the US. They must be removed so that this stigma that is upon the country is removed.

However, we must be honest to recognise the success of the national re-engagement drive when it comes to the country's relationship with the EU. We are witnessing a welcome softening on the part of Brussels, seen in the resumption of formal bi-lateral dialogue in 2018. That dialogue between the EU and the Government is ongoing. We urge the EU to continue dialoguing with our Government leading to that bloc formally and totally removing its sanctions against us.

While we welcome the positive signals from Brussels, we regret to note that the US has been painfully slow in easing up. There continues to be unproductive rhetoric from there and the US continues to sponsor local organisations that are working against our Government and country. It makes sense for the US to accept the hand of friendship that President Mnangagwa is stretching out to them.  He wants the country to be a friend to all and an enemy of none.

Source - The Chronicle
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