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Denying that there sanctions against Zimbabwe now a discredited position

22 Oct 2021 at 06:26hrs | Views
All is primed for the observation of the Anti-Sanctions Solidarity Day which was declared by Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders to take place every 25 October.

The day this year falls on Monday, and as expected, a number of activities will be undertaken around the region to push for the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by western countries.

The declaration of this day by the whole region has left no doubt in anyone's mind that the illegal sanctions are not hurting only Zimbabwe, but the whole of the SADC region and beyond.

The line being pushed by the opposition, especially the MDC-Alliance, that the illegal sanctions are targeted at individuals has since been discredited.

In fact, no one in their right frame of mind can be fooled to believe the position taken by the opposition party.

This is because the effects of the sanctions on development in both Zimbabwe and the region are so glaring to the extent that those who support them are now doing so to just to save face.

They are ashamed of making a U-turn and acknowledge that the sanctions have been bad on Zimbabwe and the region.

But it is not too late for the opposition to make such a confession, as continued denial means they are slowly being buried in their lies.

Everyone in Zimbabwe is aware of the bad effects of these sanctions and no one believes the MDC-Alliance anymore because the line they have been pushing has been proved to be just out of deceit.

SADC leaders have already started setting the tone for the anti-sanctions day.

Addressing the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly last month, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called for the lifting of the illegal sanctions, saying they were crippling Zimbabwe's economy.

"We call for the lifting of the sanctions that paralyse Zimbabwe and its economy," he said.

Also addressing the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly last month, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi reiterated calls for the removal of the illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.

That Zimbabwe's economy has been battling against the illegal sanctions since early 2000s is not an exaggeration or political expedience.

The MDC leaders called for the sanctions in the hope that it would be their stepping stone to gaining power, as they hoped that the suffering that the illegal embargo brought on the people would result in them separating ways with Zanu-PF.

It is not surprising that in the last few days, the country has witnessed the MDC-Alliance's shenanigans, as the opposition party is trying hard to discredit the work of the United Nations special rapporteur Ms Alena Douhan.

Ms Douhan is in the country for 10 days, assessing the impact of the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The MDC-Alliance leaders know fully well that the illegal sanctions have ravaged the country and they want to try and divert Ms Douhan's attention by all means.

Who does not know of the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), passed by the United States senate to guide the illegal sanctions regime?

But it is time western countries heed the call for the removal of the illegal sanctions, which is becoming louder by the day.

In 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade published a paper indicating the negative impact of the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, its people and the entire SADC region.

The paper was titled: "Impact on Zimbabwe and the region of the unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States of America and the European Union".

According to the Ministry, the land reform programme carried out in 2000 led the United States to impose the illegal and unjustified sanctions under the so-called ZIDERA Act of 2001.

The European Union (EU) also introduced its own sanctions in February, 2002.

"The sanctions also include travel bans and asset freeze for Zimbabwean officials and companies," said the ministry. "The EU insists that it will maintain the sanctions under constant review in light of political and security developments in Zimbabwe."

The ministry said far from the claim that sanctions were ring-fenced and targeted on a few individuals, the reality on the ground was that the tight grip of the declared and undeclared sanctions was being felt throughout the whole economy.

The ministry noted that Zimbabwe had by 2019 lost over US$42 billion in revenue in 18 years because of the sanctions.

It was believed by that time that Zimbabwe lost bilateral donor support estimated at US$4,5 billion annually since 2001, US$12 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and African Development Bank, commercial loans of US$18 billion and a Gross Domestic Product reduction of US$21 billion.

The ministry said access to international credit markets was blocked after the enactment of ZIDERA.

"The sustained decline in long-term capital inflows had ripple effects on the country's employment levels, and its ability to provide basic goods and services to its people, ultimately leading to a decline in the standards of living," it said.

"This resulted in the country suffering from de-industrialisation and, subsequently, stagnation effects."

In 2016 alone, 19 de-risking cases were recorded in 10 of the local banks.

On the other hand, Zimbabwean companies and individuals have found it extremely difficult to effect payments through the international payment platforms as these transactions are intercepted and blocked in the hostile countries especially the US, noted the ministry.

The Diaspora community was also not spared and this had adverse effects on diaspora remittances into the country.

"Some money transfer companies cannot transact with some Zimbabwean financial entities through money transfers," said the ministry.

"Funds are intercepted and money transfer companies become victims of long tedious investigations on specific transactions emanating from individuals in the diaspora.

"The negative perception initiated due to the sanctions negatively impacted on Foreign Direct Investment inflows as investors tend to shy away from economies that are perceived as risky."

Several key institutions with direct influence to the agricultural sector were placed under sanctions, while other financial services providers were slapped with huge fines.

The unilateral sanctions brought a myriad of challenges to the agriculture sector, including making it extremely difficult to access agriculture lines of credit and attract investment, the ministry said.

"This resulted in lack of development, rehabilitation, modernisation and deterioration of production and marketing infrastructure, ultimately reducing productivity and access to markets," it said.

"The sanctions affected the livelihood of households owing to lower agricultural yields and this derailed Zimbabwe's quest to attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) against poverty and hunger."

On the manufacturing sector, the ministry said it was heavily affected by sanctions through high cost of borrowing, tight liquidity conditions, outdated technology, continued use of antiquated plant and machinery, declining agriculture output, low aggregate demand and power outages.

For the mining sector, there is limited funding to recapitalise as most financiers stopped providing lines of credit to the industry.

This was accompanied by failure to receive proceeds from minerals sales, especially those associated with the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.

In the energy sector, the ministry said infrastructure dilapidated significantly since the imposition of sanctions due to decreased FDI.

There has been limited access to credit lines and financial support from international financial institutions like the World Bank, which stopped their support for energy infrastructure development programmes.

International investors demand government guarantees as prerequisite for investing in the sector, while charging high interest rates on loans for infrastructure development, the ministry said.

Water and sanitation infrastructure virtually collapsed resulting in the outbreak of cholera and typhoid, while some health facilities that were under construction like provincial and district hospitals and were being financed through the World Bank loan facility could not be completed soon after the imposition of sanctions as donors withdrew their funds.

The tourism industry was affected by bad publicity, while the health sector deteriorated.

"Zimbabwe has seen widespread reversal and cessation of donor funding in the areas of social development such as environment, health, water, sanitation, education, and infrastructure development, affecting ordinary citizens," said the ministry.

"Women and youth organisations and other vulnerable groups like children, the elderly and the disabled were severely affected by sanctions."

The ministry said Zimbabwe was the bread basket of the SADC region and the battering on agriculture by the sanctions resulted in the country and the region being liable to food and nutrition insecurity.

The sanctions are also affecting the smooth running of regional groupings such as SADC and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa.

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Source - The Herald
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