Prosperity Mzila, Correspondent
Zimbabwe had the opportunity to host China’s State Councillor and Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Wang Yi, who was on an official tour of African states, as a follow-up to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit of 2018.
Zimbabwe was fortunate enough to spend more time with Mr Wang, as he preferred to schedule his visit here as the last leg of his African countries tour to give himself more time with China’s long-time friend.
The other African countries Mr Wang visited were Egypt, Eritrea, Djibouti and Kenya.
The first thing he did when he got to Zimbabwe was to bolster China’s call for the immediate and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe by the United Kingdom, (UK), the United States of America (US) and their allies.
The call by Mr Wang adds to the voices of many who are lobbying for the removal of the illegal sanctions on Harare.
In August 2019, Russia’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dimitry Kobylin called for the lifting of sanctions, while echoing his president Vladimir Putin’s sentiments, who has reiterated that the sanctions on Zimbabwe should be removed as they are hampering the socio-economic development of the country.
In October last year, Zimbabweans took to the streets where they converged at the National Sports Stadium with support from other SADC states following a resolution by SADC to rally behind Zimbabwe in its quest to rebuild its economy, starting with a loud call for the removal of sanctions on the country.
SADC resolved to join Zimbabwe in putting pressure on the Western countries to review their position because the sanctions are negatively affecting the whole of Southern Africa.
Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans marched on the streets of Harare, a clear sign that the sanctions where not at all targeted at a few individuals, but were affecting the ordinary man on the streets.
Tanzania, South Africa and Botswana were among the SADC states that sent their representatives in solidarity with Zimbabwe.
In August 2019, through its Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, the 55-member African Union called for the immediate removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
In February this year, the AU will meet for the 33rd Ordinary Session, where one hopes for increased pressure on the West to remove the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the UK, US and their allies are crippling and have devastated ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe, who are having a very torturous and demoralising time just trying to access the basic necessities of life.
One might want to argue how this has anything to do with sanctions, but this actually has a great deal to do with sanctions.
The ability of ordinary citizens to work a decent job to earn a decent income to support their families was snatched away when the UK and US decided to embargo companies that replenished manufacturing companies with spare parts and modern equipment.
This meant the manufacturing companies became stuck with obsolete equipment.
The ripple effect meant that companies cut down on the labour force and eventually had to close down, leading to huge job losses.
For this reason, the industries failed to service their consumers, both domestic and foreign, leading to the country losing the much-needed foreign currency.
Without foreign currency, the Government cannot service its international debt, which means it cannot borrow from the same financial institutions, further exacerbating the country’s challenges.
Closer to home, the Government is incapacitated without foreign currency earnings from the former vibrant manufacturing industries.
It cannot procure medicines and other medical equipment that enhance life expectancy.
This is not applicable to the industry and manufacturing sectors only; the sanctions have also hit hard on our agricultural sector.
Spare parts for tractors, harvesters and other farming equipment are hard to come by.
Fertiliser manufacturing companies have also been producing very little, which resulted in the demand and supply matrix, causing the essential farming commodity to be expensive.
The country’s new farmer can but only farm for their subsistence, with little to contribute to the country’s silos.
The result is catastrophic because it translates into poor farming seasons.
The need to import grain arises, but still this puts a strain on the little foreign currency the country has, but without food, not much will be achieved.
One is forced to think this is what the MDC-Alliance had in mind all along when they approached the West for sanctions.
This was in fulfilment of Chester Crocker, the US Senate who moved the sanctions motion in the Senate House saying: “To separate the Zimbabwean people from Zanu PF, we are going to have to make their economy scream, and I hope you, Senators, have the stomach for what you have to do.”
MDC-Alliance, together with their paymasters, seem to have strong stomachs, because they are not moved an inch by the predicament most impoverished Zimbabweans are in.
The UK, the US and their allies sit with hands folded and they continue to tighten the sanctions on the behest of MDC-Alliance leaders Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti and Dewa Mavhinga.
Our tourism sector has been smeared and battered by the West in order to bring Zimbabwe to its knees, and the same goes for mining.
This is the reason why the call for the removal of these illegal sanctions by Mr Wang is so profound and very significant.
The number of days he stayed in Zimbabwe gave him a clear picture of the damage done to the country by the sanctions.
Mr Wang’s desire to see this country move forward has seen him encouraging Chinese firms and businesses to consider Zimbabwe as their preferred destination of choice for their investments in order to revive industry and create jobs.
He vowed to assist Zimbabwe to access huge markets for its products in order to change its economic status.
Mr Wang completed his tour by visiting the new Parliament Building in Mt Hampden, the Harare-Chirundu Highway and the Sino-Zim tobacco contract farming fields.
All progressive countries, institutions and individuals should continue with the anti-sanctions call, as the country wants to chart its own destiny without the illegal sanctions as an albatross around its neck.