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Sanctions cost Zimbabwe over US$42 billion in revenue

31 Oct 2021 at 06:57hrs | Views
Allow me to welcome you to this unique and inaugural Sadc wide anti-sanctions Indaba which is being held under the theme "Zimbabwe a friend to all and an enemy to none". This statement is premised on His Excellency the President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF, Dr ED Mnangagwa's unwavering commitment to open up Zimbabwe for dialogue.

In the same vein, you will recall that Zimbabwe has been opened up for business. Under the able leadership of His Excellency the President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF, Dr ED Mnangagwa we have also up-scaled our engagement and re-engagement policy. Therefore, today's deliberations are symptomatic of our alignment to the key values of the Second Republic.

To this end, it is my singular honour and privilege to thank you all for accepting our invitation to participate in this conference. As a party that brought independence and democracy through a protracted liberation armed struggle we believe in dialogue as an essential feature of democracy.

It was Zanu-PF that led the people of Zimbabwe in a difficult protracted armed liberation struggle that led to victory and independence in April 1980.

The 90 years of colonial rule was characterised by racist colonial brutality and the violation of every human right that you can think of in the subjugated lives of the black majority.

Our fore-bearers did not go down without a fight, they resisted colonialism with bravery and distinction but were seriously disadvantaged by the level of military technology at the disposal of the invading colonial forces.

The leader of the resistance movement, Mbuya Nehanda, a woman of incredible revolutionary credentials was captured and publicly hanged together with many other leaders of the resistance movement. When called upon to renounce the resistance in return for her life, she refused outright.

When asked if she had any final words to say, she looked at her tormentors straight in the eye and said Mapfupa angu achamuka meaning, you can kill me but my bones will rise up against you. Today she stands tall at the intersection of two major streets bearing the names of two revolutionary icons, Julius Nyerere and Samora Machel.

Mbuya Nehanda's prophetic words became an inspiration and battle cry for subsequent generations of nationalists and revolutionaries in the Zimbabwe armed liberation struggle.

The black majority in Zimbabwe had many grievances, in fact too many to enumerate here. However, if you were to ask any freedom fighter why they volunteered to take up arms against colonial domination, the question of land was always on the top of the list. This was the same with ordinary Zimbabweans. The confiscation of African traditional land was easily the leading national grievance for the black majority.

The question of land almost scuttled the constitutional conference at Lancaster House in London in 1979, until the British and American government undertook to pay compensation to the white farmers whose land would be acquired for redistribution.

When first the Americans under President Reagan and then the British under Prime Minister Tony Blair reneged on this undertaking, the Zanu-PF Government was left with no choice but to compulsorily acquire the land for redistribution and paying compensation for improvements only on the land while insisting that the value of the land itself must be compensated for by the British Government who took the land in the first place without any compensation being paid to the indigenous owners of the land.

This infuriated the British Government which in retaliation mobilised its allies in America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand to impose unilateral coercive measures commonly known as sanctions on Zimbabwe with a view to achieve regime change through socio-economic strangulation.

So, colleagues, with your vast wealth of experience and multi-disciplinary backgrounds you will be able to identify and unravel the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on socio-economic development and on the enjoyment of human rights by the people of Zimbabwe.

Those who have imposed these sanctions would want the world to believe that they are targeted at a few individuals and a few companies and therefore harmless and of no consequence. This is the highest level of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

Yes, the sanctions are targeted, not on a few but on the vast majority of the vulnerable population. They are targeted at every aspect of the socio-economic existence of the Zimbabwean state.

They are targeted to remove the democratically elected Government of Zimbabwe and replace it with a western controlled puppet state.

The late former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Koffi Annan, once described the negative impact of sanctions as follows "sanctions remain a blunt instrument which hurt large numbers of people who are not their primary targets".

Let me differ slightly with my old friend, now departed, and say "sanctions remain a blunt instrument of mass destruction, which hurt large numbers of people who are in fact their primary target". Sanctions represent the highest level of economic warfare. In fact, they constitute economic terrorism of the worst kind.

Why do I say this? My old friend the late former Foreign Minister of Zimbabwe Dr Stan Mudenge was told by the British Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom that "sanctions will make your economy scream and your people will stone you in the streets".

So it was quite clear that it was the generality of the Zimbabwe population who was being targeted. Let us therefore pay tribute to the revolutionary zeal and resilience of the heroic people of Zimbabwe.

Studies have been done to show that every aspect of life in Zimbabwe has been negatively affected by the illegal unilateral coercive measures imposed on Zimbabwe by the western powers at the instigation of the United Kingdom.

As a consequence of the sanctions, many institutions and multilateral organisations moved their operations out of Zimbabwe, since the enactment of ZIDERA in 2001. This has imposed disproportionate harm on the heroic people of Zimbabwe.

In the same vein, the country's relations with other countries, particularly from the West remained constrained, leading to the suspension of bilateral loan disbursements to Zimbabwe. Following unrelenting pressure from the West, Zimbabwe was forced to terminate its membership in the Commonwealth. In addition, the IMF and the World Bank, also joined Western countries, and suspended all disbursements to Zimbabwe.

Most of these effects have manifested themselves in shortage of foreign currency, resulting in the country accumulating external payment arrears and failing to import critical supplies.

Although some of the sanctions have now been partially removed such as suspension of technical assistance, the impact of the sanctions is still being felt through higher risk premium and negative foreign investor perception. In this regard, total removal of the sanctions will go a long way in portraying Zimbabwe as a safe destination for investment. This will unlock the much needed financing on favourable terms.

Colleagues, Independent economists estimate that Zimbabwe has lost over US$42 billion in revenue over the past 20 years because of the sanctions.

It is quite clear that the US and EU sanctions on Zimbabwe are illegal and unjustified because they violate Article 41 of the United Nations Charter, which states that sanctions can only be decided upon by the UN Security Council. Any unilateral measures taken by an individual state without the authorisation of a UNSC resolution are illegal under international law because they infringe upon a state's right to economic and social development.

The country's neighbours and the entire African continent continue to feel the strain of the burdens of the Zimbabwean economy, which continues to reel under these Western sanctions.

In the context of the new dispensation based on the engagement and re-engagement spearheaded by H.E. President E. D. Mnangagwa, the sanctions which should never have been imposed in the first place should not continue to be applied to the situation that prevails in Zimbabwe.

In this regard, they must be removed unconditionally to allow the country to move forward. The need for unity of purpose from all Zimbabweans, Sadc and the AU in lobbying for their immediate and unconditional removal cannot be over-emphasized.

Let me conclude my brief opening remarks by congratulating the ruling Party, Zanu-PF through its Chitepo School of Ideology for putting together such an array of distinguished scholars and academics to participate in this ground breaking and history making symposium of such national importance and significance.

Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnagagwa has declared that "Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none" hence the theme of this symposium.

In this vein, the country has embarked on an economic renaissance programme, coupled with a diplomatic offensive which has seen it engaging with erstwhile foes while consolidating existing relationships with friendly nations.

The move is paying dividends as evidenced by the remarkable progress in repairing relations with previously hostile nations.

Thank you all for accepting our invitations to participate in this important indaba and may the discourse begin.
I thank you.

Welcome remarks by the Zanu-PF Politburo Member SECRETARY for External Relations, Cde Simbarashe S. Mumbengegwi on the Anti-Sanctions Indaba: 25 October 2021

Source - The Sunday News
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