By Oleen Ndori
ZIMBABWE is gearing up for the first anniversary of the SADC anti-sanctions which has seen the country getting the necessary support from the region and other progressive forces, in calling for the lifting of the illegal embargo imposed by the West.
In the year 2000, Zimbabwe decided to embark on the land reform programme with the aim of addressing land imbalances and economically empowering its people.
The move was met with harsh responses from the country’s detractors which saw the European Union and the United States imposing restrictive economic sanctions through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA).
Under ZIDERA, Zimbabwe has been unfairly defined as a high-risk country for investment and cannot access offshore funds and loans from international financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank, stunting Zimbabwe’s economic growth and limiting its commercial participation regionally and globally.
“It is an act passed on Zimbabwe, not just an individual or one organisation but it has been passed on Zimbabwe so that it does not have access lines of credit, access to certain markets, it does not have even debt cancellation of certain areas, it does not have a level of investment, the cost of money into this country must be expensive and all these issues so that ultimately that is convertible into lack of variables which a government in this country must achieve towards the people of Zimbabwe in terms of social aspects and so forth,” said Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister (RTD) Lieutenant General Sibusiso Moyo
These punitive measures have been condemned by the SADC regional bloc, the African Union and the United Nations.
What is even more remarkable is the fact that on 25 October last year, the regional support was taken to a new level following the launch of SADC anti-sanctions campaign.
The then chairperson of SADC and Tanzanian President, John Magufuli said the removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West will benefit the whole region.
“During the 39th summit, we passed the resolution to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe which were imposed since 2001. In that resolution, we approved October 25 of every year to be a special day against sanctions in Zimbabwe where member states will be conducting various activities including preparing dialogues and declarations against the sanctions on Zimbabwe… It is my strong belief that our nations will benefit if sanctions on Zimbabwe are lifted,” he said.
In November last year, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Hilal Elver noted that the economic sanctions were contributing to Zimbabwe’s current food insecurity.
Although the sanctions have remained in place despite this widespread criticism, the second republic under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is forging ahead through sanctions-busting measures that continue to drive economic development.
“Efforts towards practical and real-time solutions to the sustainable debt burden that constitutes a risk to long-lasting recovery for most developing countries must be vigorously pursued. The efforts must enable debtor countries to channel more resources towards developmental programs for Zimbabwe the illegal economic sanctions are undermining the implementation of the SDG agenda and constraining our ability to shield the economy from the negative impact of the novel coronavirus. Sanctions severely undermine our efforts to access capital from the inter markets hence Zimbabwe appeals to the UN general assembly to unequivocally call for the removal of these sanctions. Finally, Zimbabwe stands ready to work with the international community to strengthen multilateralism for the realisation of our shared goal of creating a better world for all,” he said.
In the same vein, calls for the lifting of the illegal embargo have grown louder with regional leaders such as South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, Namibia President Hage Geingob and Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta and other progressive forces supporting Zimbabwe.
“To ensure that no country is left behind, we reiterate our position as the African Union that economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan should be lifted to allow their Governments to respond adequately to the pandemic.
“In support of the pursuit of economic development, unity and prosperity for the sister country of Zimbabwe, I once again call on the lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
“The Secretary-General’s recent appeal for a global ceasefire also includes a humanitarian call for the roll-back of international sanctions and to reinforce the efforts of vulnerable, fragile and conflict-affected countries, to deal with the impact of Covid-19. I state today that Kenya stands behind this initiative. In this connection, I wish to make a special appeal for an end to the economic and commercial as well as financial embargo against Cuba, sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan,” they said.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister; Retired Lieutenant General Dr Sibusiso Moyo says the immense support from the continent has had a positive effect on economic growth.
“The solidarity within and the progress made, now if I can say the macro-economic environment has stabilized the exchange rate has stabilised, we are now recording a budget surplus, by 2025 we expect to be a net exporter of energy, we are expecting a rejuvenated mining industry which is a 12-billion-dollar industry expected to buttress the development of this country,” he said.
The one-year anniversary to mark SADC’s support to Zimbabwe’s anti-sanctions campaign provides member states with a platform to collectively voice their disapproval of the economic embargo through various platforms.