Africa piles pressure on US over Zim sanctions

By Bruce Chahwanda, Political Editor

THE  77th United Nations General Assembly has provided a perfect platform for African leaders to pile pressure on the United States and its allies to lift the retrogressive illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) led by the regional body’s Chairperson and Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has called upon the United Nations to take necessary action towards the removal of the illegal embargo which has slowed down development in Zimbabwe.

“In the name of international solidarity and justice, we have questions over the maintenance of sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe. These are sanctions which, what’s more, date back to the era of the late President Robert Mugabe. Why is our organisation so silent and so indifferent to this injustice almost a crime against innocent people? As the current chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), I firmly call upon the United Nations to do everything possible to achieve the immediate lifting of sanctions against the Republic of Zimbabwe and its people,” he said.

South Africa Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor who was representing President Cyril Ramaphosa added her voice calling for an end to the illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and Cuba.

“South Africa calls for an end to the embargo against Cuba, which continues to impede the right to development of her people. In the same vein, we call for an end to unilateral coercive measures against Zimbabwe, which have compounded the problems experienced by the people of Zimbabwe and have a detrimental effect on the broader Southern African region,” she said.

Namibia President Dr Hage Geingob weighed in saying President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the people of Zimbabwe should be given a chance to build upon the second republic’s successful reform agenda without the burden of sanctions.

“Equally, we call on the lifting of sanctions against the Republic of Zimbabwe. Why are the sanctions in place for a country which is making progress at all levels?  President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the people of Zimbabwe have made laudable progress and reforms, which should be given a chance to succeed without the weight of sanctions,”  said Geingob.

For the past 22 years Zimbabwe has been reeling under illegal economic sanctions which have weighed down economic growth and limited opportunities for the young generation most of whom have been brought up under the york of the restrictive measures.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur Professor Alena Douhan also highlighted the negative impact of the illegal economic sanctions on youths, women and businesses.

According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Zimbabwe has lost opportunities worth over US$40 billion due to the illegal embargo.

SADC has set aside the 25th of October as an Anti-Sanctions Day in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe.