‘Sanctions not fit for purpose’

30 Sep, 2022 - 00:09 0 Views
‘Sanctions not fit for purpose’ President Masisi

The Herald

Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau

Illegal sanctions imposed by the West on Zimbabwe violate the country’s sovereignty, are a barrier to national development and a crime against humanity.

African leaders said this as they called for the immediate removal of the illegal embargo imposed on Zimbabwe by the West after the country embarked on the land reform programme to correct colonial imbalances.

In their addresses to the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last week, Presidents from the African continent said the illegal sanctions have caused untold suffering.

The United States promulgated the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) claiming that Zimbabwe is a threat to its foreign policy.

Since then, the country has experienced serious economic challenges, affecting industry and commerce resulting in people losing their source of livelihoods leading to forced migration.

While Government has reaffirmed that the land reform programme is irreversible, the West has retained its coercive measures in a bid to cow Zimbabwe into submission.

Pressure is mounting for the removal of the sanctions, with African leaders who attended the UN General Assembly condemning the embargo which suffocates Zimbabwe. The continent was led by the African Union (AU) chairperson and Senegalese President Macky Sall in calling for the removal of the illegal sanctions.

“The AU once again calls for the lifting of foreign sanctions against Zimbabwe. These harsh measures continue to fuel a sense of injustice against an entire people and to aggravate their suffering in these times of deep crisis,” said President Sall.

His sentiment was echoed by Sadc chairperson and Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi, who said the United Nations should make an effort to ensure the embargo imposed on Zimbabwe is removed unconditionally.

President Tshisekedi said the sanctions are an injustice and constitute a crime against Zimbabweans.

“In the name of international solidarity and justice, we do have questions over the maintenance of sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“These sanctions which, what’s more, date back to the era of the late President Mugabe. Why is our organisation so silent and so indifferent to this injustice, almost a crime against innocent people? As a current chair of SADC, I firmly call upon the United Nations to do everything possible to achieve the immediate lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe.”

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said while Zimbabweans were resilient, sanctions have become a hindrance in the country realising its full potential.

“While we are confident of the resilience and resolve of Zimbabwe as well as its economic transformation prospects, we are concerned that such measures are not advancing the cause of livelihoods of innocent Zimbabweans nor the calls for our Sustainable Development Goals,” said President Masisi.

Namibia’s President Hage Geingob said President Mnangagwa’s Second Republic has made laudable reforms hence the illegal sanctions are not fit for purpose.

He said Zimbabwe can do better without sanctions imposed on the country.

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

South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, reiterated the calls for the removal of sanctions saying they had a ripple effect on the Sadc region.

Her calls came just a week after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told American President Joe Biden that sanctions were forcing Zimbabweans to leave their country to seek economic refuge in regional countries.

Dr Pandor said Zimbabwe was in the same situation as Cuba, whose development is constrained by the illegal sanctions.

“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 the detrimental effect on the broader Sadc region,” said Dr Pandor.

Newly elected Kenyan President William Ruto also used his address to call for the unconditional removal of sanctions.

He said the ordinary suffer more as a result of sanctions.

“There might never be a more opportune time to revisit the practice of unilateral coercive actions, which often violate fundamental tenets of a rule-based international order such as those imposed on Zimbabwe and Cuba.

“Apart from undermining the sovereign equality of nations, they also indiscriminately punish the general citizenry, reserving their bitterest sting for innocent hustlers and the vulnerable. This compounds injustice and worsens suffering,” said President Ruto.

Addressing the same platform, President Mnangagwa welcomed the anti-sanctions solidarity by Africa and other progressive nations describing Zimbabwe as a peace-loving country which wants a fair chance to deliver on its people’s aspirations.

“We remain indebted to the Sadc region and the AU well as other progressive members in the community of nations for the unwavering support and calls for the removal of these unwarranted and unjustified sanctions. We once again call for their immediate and unconditional removal,” said President Mnangagwa.

He welcomed the findings of the United National Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of the Unilateral Coercive Measures on the enjoyment of human rights who visited Zimbabwe in 2021.

Professor Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur visited Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission in October last year and presented her findings on the impact of sanctions to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this month, where she revealed that sanctions were impeding the enjoyment of human rights by Zimbabweans.

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