How sanctions hurt Africa


Abba Mahmood Correspondent
Sanctions are some of the tools used by the big powers to beat smaller nations into line. In other words, it is a tool of particularly the Western powers to deal with particularly developing world countries whose leaders dared to be independent in thoughts and actions.

In recent years, some African countries have come under various sanction regimes, all with the aim of dealing deadly blows on their leaders.

They do that under various guises, the most common being human rights violations or — a more nebulous term — lack of democracy.

To this end, Libya from the time of Gaddafi has been suffering from various sanctions imposed by the West including travel bans.

Somalia has also been under sanctions.

Sudan and Zimbabwe are also under various forms of economic sanctions.

What comes out clearly from these is the fact that sanctions are not targeting the leaders of these countries as claimed but the very existence of these countries.

Consequent upon this ridiculous sanction, the Gaddafi regime not only collapsed but Libya as a country has also collapsed.

Somalia too has existed only in name for over two decades now, thanks to useless sanctions.

As for Zimbabwe and Sudan, their leaders have strong organic links with their people.

President Mugabe of Zimbabwe may be many things but a fool is not one of them.

It is the same thing too about President Al Bashir of Sudan.

In fact, Sudan’s neighbouring Arab countries, including Libya and Egypt, had regime change as a result of the Arab Spring of 2011 but Sudan remained an island of stability in the sea of the North African turmoil that also consumed the leader of Tunisia where it all started.

Recently, there were votes calling on the US to lift the unjust and unfair sanctions on the people of Sudan in the social media.

It exceeded 100 000 votes by February 9.

It was so popular that the US took interest since people from all over the world were keying in and voting for the sanctions imposed on Sudan to be removed.

Some of the consequences of the sanctions on Sudan include the prohibition of money transfer from abroad to Sudan and vice-versa.

How does that help to bring down a regime? if one may ask.

Obviously, the sanctions are only targeting poor, innocent citizens who bear the brunt of the hardship.

From experiences around the world, economic sanctions have negative effects on security and development, service delivery, food security, and create an enabling environment for the growth and sustenance of extremism, terrorism and organised crimes.

Economic sanctions weaken state institutions including the security establishments of targeted states, which in turn strengthen various criminal gangs, thus exacerbating radicalisation and violent extremism.

This explains why almost all the countries that undergo sanction regimes end up in chaos or even collapse. Sanctions are meant to strengthen the forces of anarchy against the agents of law and order.

Sanctions have never succeeded in creating conducive atmosphere for peace.

Rather, they embolden the rebels to refuse any peace agreement, as is happening with the various rebel groups fighting governments across the African continent.

In fact, these unjust economic sanctions are contradicting the very principles guiding international cooperation as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

That was why the African Union Summit held in January 2015 condemned the illegal sanctions on African countries, and called for the lifting of these sanctions on its members.

So far, the DRC, Sudan, South Sudan and Zimbabwe are suffering as a result of these continued sanctions.

The sanctions have impacted negatively on the lives of the people of these countries, bringing untold hardship to especially women and children while helping, ironically, to strengthen the leaders that the sanctions want to change in the first place as they are viewed as those standing against arrogant imperialism.

There is a pattern in these sanctions. Mugabe of Zimbabwe is a veteran of anti-imperialist struggle who wants his people to own land, since independence is meaningless if the people do not control their lands from the imperialists who forcefully took them.

DRC and the Sudan are the largest countries in Africa in terms of land mass, which have the potential for greatness if allowed to remain peaceful.

These two countries have seen unfortunate wars and have experienced untold hardships since independence, leading to the recent breakup of the Sudan into two countries, the first redrawing of the colonial boundaries since the Berlin Conference of 1884/5 that partitioned Africa into the current African countries.

Sudan has been a responsible member of the comity of nations.

It has one of the most enlightened, literate and educated citizenry.

Many Sudanese are working in international organisations as a result of their world-class skills.

Indeed, the only African prize for good governance based on clear indices to encourage good practices, the Mo Ibrahim Index and Prize, was the brainchild of a Sudanese: Mo Ibrahim himself.

Sudan has been a founding and an active member of the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union.

It has contributed to the liberation struggle for the rest of Africa, being one of the first countries in the continent to gain independence: it got it in 1956. It is also active in the regional IGAD organisation.

The Republic of Sudan is the buffer between black Africa and Arab North Africa.

No wonder it is both African and Arab, and very proud of both identities.

The Al-Bashir regime is the first African administration to accept comprehensive peace terms which included the breaking of the country with the creation of South Sudan, painful as it is, to allow peace to reign in that country.

Sudan is also in the forefront of the battle against terrorism and extremism, including the battle of ideas as Sudan tries to counter the negative perception of the Islamic religion through sound education that encourages tolerance and peaceful co-existence.

Sudan certainly deserves commendation for all these efforts, the least being the total removal of the clearly unjust, unfair, unsustainable and condemnable economic sanctions imposed on its peace-loving people.

History is on the side of the oppressed. —

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