Zimbabweans march against sanctions
ZIMBABWEANS from across different backgrounds, and every region yesterday marched against the illegal economic sanctions, sending a clear message to the Western world that their punitive measures should be immediately removed.
This followed the commemorations of the SADC Anti-Sanctions Day that were embraced with zest and zeal by ordinary people.
In Harare, thousands of people led by the Permanent Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Mr Tafadzwa Muguti thronged the United States Embassy in Westgate, calling for the immediate removal of the illegal embargo.
It was a hive of activity with people from all walks of life engaging in various activities such as singing, chanting slogans, dancing while others were holding placards in protest against the sanctions.
People were clad in various attires including national dress, political parties’ regalia, and overall suits emblazoned with anti-sanctions messages.
Youths and the elderly were observed marching around the embassy holding banners inscribed with messages such as, “Pasi nemasanctions.”
Members of the Political Actors Dialogue were also in attendance including New Patriotic Front leader Mr Welcome Shumba who said there must be consequences for the few Zimbabweans who support sanctions.
“We are calling for an immediate removal of sanctions and as POLAD we are giving them an ultimatum of two months to convince their Western allies to remove sanctions or we will bar them from holding any political position in the country,” he said.
Linda Masarira of Labour Economists was also in the crowd.
Zanu PF Harare Central Constituency shadow legislator Cde Loice Magweba denounced individuals who called for the imposition of sanctions.
“Honestly you cannot impose a death penalty upon yourself, sanctions are almost like a death penalty to millions of Zimbabweans. People are suffering because of some selfish individuals,” she said.
A concerned Chitungwiza resident, Simbarashe Namaja (16), who is also an aspiring musician, said sanctions are compelling youths to indulge in uncouth activities.
“I have always wanted to be a musician but my parents are failing to support my talent since they were all made redundant at their different work places mainly due to sanctions,” he said.
“My fellow youths are turning into criminals and many of them are resorting to drugs due to these sanctions”.
In Mashonaland West province, people from all seven districts converged in Chinhoyi to denounce the sanctions. Thousands of people from various organisations, Government departments, learners, and affiliates, marched from the Provincial Minister’s offices through town before an address at Chinhoyi Civic Centre.
Solidarity speeches were given by affiliates and Zanu PF’s youth league before an address by Mashonaland West Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mary Mliswa Chikoka, represented by the permanent secretary in her office, Mr Josphat Jaji.
Nurses and Doctors for ED provincial secretary general, Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital’s sister-in-charge, Mrs Cathrine Maziviva, said sanctions were negatively affecting quality healthcare delivery.
Mashonaland West Business Sector’s Mr Godfrey Mavankeni said the embargoes were impacting their international financial transactions.
“Zimbabwean companies and individuals have found it extremely difficult to effect payments through the international payment platforms as these transactions are intercepted and blocked in the sanctions-imposing countries, especially the US,” he said.
In the Midlands, hordes of patriotic Zimbabweans from across the length and breadth of the Province flooded Gokwe Centre to mark the Anti-Sanctions Day. Mr Charles Manhire, Director of Human Resources in the Ministry of Justice, who represented Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, later addressed the crowds. He said the West and their allies should take heed of the African voice calling for the lifting of the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
“The people have spoken so we ask the West to do the humble thing and lift these illegal sanctions on our country,” Mr Manhire said.
Some of the ordinary citizens who attended the event said the sanctions were hitting them hard.
“It is us rural folks on the peripheries who are hard hit by these illegal sanctions, these world bullies should just remove the sanctions on our country,” said Mrs Mary Jonga.
In Manicaland province, crowds marched along Herbert Chitepo Street in Mutare calling for the immediate and unconditional removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
The event attracted people from all walks of life and different ages as they added their voices to the growing chorus of the sanctions removal.
After marching from downtown, the multitudes gathered at Meikles Park where Zanu-PF Manicaland provincial chairman and Transport and Infrastructure Development Deputy Minister, Mike Madiro, addressed the gathering.
Cde Madiro said Zimbabweans need to unite and speak with one voice in calling for the lifting of the embargo.
“Thank you everyone who spared time to come and push for this noble cause. This is the unity of purpose required in calling for the removal of sanctions that have held the country back,” he said.
Mr Lovemore Chitima said sanctions are an albatross on the necks of all Zimbabweans and should be unconditionally removed.
“We want these sanctions removed as they are not targeted. They are a violation of human rights because we do not see the crime which Zimbabwe committed for it to be sanctioned in this way.
“To say they are targeted, it is a misnomer. They are causing the suffering of all people from all walks of life in Zimbabwe. Their removal is long overdue. The USA should not join in the land dispute between Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom. The land reform was executed to address the historical land imbalances,” he said.
Ms Cecilia Samanga also chipped in and said: “We have suffered enough as a nation and the sanctions should be removed.
“Everyone in Africa is rallying behind us and as Zimbabweans we should join hands and stand up against these illegal embargoes. We are Zimbabweans first and we want our country to move forward and regain its lost pride.”
In Matabeleland South, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Abednico Ncube led the provincial anti-sanctions proceedings in Gwanda.
The Minister led an entourage of stakeholders including ordinary people, Government workers, religious leaders, and school children on a march from Glow Service Station right through the town centre and ending at the main Government complex.
In Beitbridge school children from all the urban schools embarked on a march from the town centre, through the passport offices and the highway leading to Bulawayo and Harare, and ending at the entrance to the Beitbridge Border Post.
Other community members and school children gathered at Dulilvhadzimu Primary school in ward 5, where pupils from different schools performed poems and dramas denouncing the illegal sanctions.
It was the same situation in Plumtree town where stakeholders led by school children and the local Teachers for Economic Development (Teachers for ED) Chapter gathered at Dingimuzi Primary school.
Pupils also recited poems and dramas depicting the adverse effects of the sanctions on a number of economic and related national development matters.
In Mashonaland Central, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Monica Mavhunga addressed thousands who converged in Bindura for the anti-sanctions solidarity march.
“We will not give up. Zimbabwe continues to suffer unjustly under the sanctions imposed by the West and its allies and our own kinsman who called for sanctions in their wisdom or lack of it,” she said.
“The Second Republic went on a re-engagement mission which saw the opening of international trade and relations. Vision 2030 will be realised through the implementation of various economic interventions.”
Minister Mavhunga said Mashonaland Central proudly celebrates the success of the Devolution agenda which funded a lot of projects and saw the construction of schools and clinics.
She said sanctions will not work.
“This will not work. We are grateful for the many projects being launched in the province. Our country continues to move forward and we are set to turn into an economic giant,” the Minister said.
“Mashonaland Central calls for the removal of sanctions. We do not want sanctions and we are ready to defend the gains of the liberation struggle.”
Madzibaba Biggie Musanzika, provincial chairperson for the Vapostori for Economic Development, said sick people are flocking to churches seeking divine help due to lack of medicines in hospitals.
“People are coming to churches for assistance in need of things that need hospitals. Members of the apostolic sect depend on self-help projects for livelihood. Due to the illegal sanctions, they cannot trade,” he said.
In Mashonaland East Province, people from all walks of life gathered at Rudhaka Stadium, Marondera where the Presidential speech was delivered.
Before gathering in the stadium, they marched from Marondera Central Business District, led by the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Service (ZPCS) band which also provided entertainment during the commemorations.
Several provincial organisations who included learners from various schools and tertiary institutions took turns to deliver their solidarity messages, calling for the immediate removal of the punitive sanctions.
Tafadzwa Francis Matandire, a Form 3 learner at Rakodzi High School in Marondera, said there is no point in saying Zimbabwe is independent when illegal sanctions are still in place.
He said among other sectors, education has also been gravely affected by illegal sanctions imposed by some Western countries about 21 years ago.
“The education and economic departments are struggling because of these sanctions. Mostly the education department is not functioning because of these sanctions. Prices are going up for every education material. These sanctions have negatively affected the quality of education.”