Isdore Guvamombe Assistant Editor
How sweet would it have been for the United States of America, Britain and their allies in the European Union (EU) to remove sanctions as a way of supporting the people of Zimbabwe in their fight against Covid-19?
Could this not give Zimbabwe extra love, a lifeline, energy and resources to combat the spread of the disease?
Could this not have been the best goodwill for the people of Zimbabwe?
The coronavirus first reported in China in 2019 has become a pandemic spreading throughout the world where it has infected millions of people and killed thousands regardless of race or political ideology.
It is the fad of our time, the definition of our generation and depending on how we handle it, it could as well wipe out nations.
It is fact not fiction that the fight against Covid-19, does not need a fragmented approach.
It needs all and sundry to work together.
It also means enemies should forgive each other and focus on this common enemy.
It needs putting politics aside and concentrating on saving lives. It needs total commitment.
It needs pooling resources and most nations do not have enough resources to bolster their health delivery systems and make them cope with this pandemic.
Most nations the world over were caught with their economies not in good shape and need assistance.
In fact, no one ever planned for it and things just took a sudden nasty turn.
For Zimbabwe, the Covid-19 outbreak came at a time when the country was reviving its economy from a long hiatus and that meant the Government had to channel funds meant for other national projects towards the fight.
Government, under the new dispensation was beginning to find its footing in sorting the health delivery system when Covid 19 came.
The outbreak came at a time when Zimbabwe, Sadc and the African Union had taken a position on the unconditional removal of sanctions imposed by US, Britain and its allies in the European Union in 2001.
By their nature sanctions throttle a national economy, by their nature sanctions block credit lines and suffocate the growth of any economy. For those who have known or experienced sanctions, it is clear that Zimbabwe is not alone in this.
Sanctions destroy livelihoods, hope and prosperity and bring misery, suffering and death.
Once an economy has been suffocated the people suffer down to the grassroots, businesses suffer down to the informal sector. Everyone suffers.
If the United States and its allies were genuine in feeling for the people of Zimbabwe whom they claim, the sanctions are meant to protect, this is the time to remove the sanctions.
The fight against sanctions needs a lots of assistance from other countries and under sanctions Zimbabwe will not have the much needed assistance, but will not get it.
The continued placement of Zimbabwe under sanctions makes it extremely difficult for the country to manoeuvre.
Of course Zimbabwe has done a lot to contain and manage the spread of Covid-19, but how sweet would it have been had the US and its allies in Europe removed sanctions.
This is time for them to spare a thought for the suffering masses of Zimbabwe. Covid-19 knows no politics. It talks live regardless of political affiliation.
Since the imposition of sanctions, the US and its allies have maintained a thread that the sanctions were meant to protect the ordinary citizen, but the effects have been exactly the opposite.
One of the major guards against the spread of Covid-19, is self-isolation and lockdown.
But these only work when the economy is thriving, hence making the Government able to look after its citizens under lockdown.
Under lockdown, families must stay at home and that means they must have enough food in the house, otherwise they will have no option, but to break the lockdown in search of survival.
That puts them and the nation at risk of contracting and spreading the virus. This cannot be avoided until the Government is able to provide. Outside that, staying home becomes as good as going out to search for food.
Under lockdown, the Government needs to have resources to feed its citizens from home, needs enough food supplements and that does not happen when a government is under sanctions.
Suffice to say, on a national scale, the Government is required to invest heavily in training of health workers, buying medication, medical equipment and construction of facilities.
This gain is very difficult when the economy is under sanctions. Some countries who would have ordinarily donated goods to Zimbabwe could not do so since they are bound by the sanctions.
One would think that the international community fronted by USA and EU would take this opportunity to save many lives in Zimbabwe by removing sanctions and allow the economy to flow.
And, allow goodwill donations to flow into the country from anyone who wishes without the fear of breaking the sanctions.
How sweet indeed would it be to wake up one day and find the sanctions lifted and Zimbabwe given a new lease of life in terms of funding by international lending institutions?
The sanctions are an affront to the fight against coronavius.