Remove sanctions on Zim, AU tells US

By Innocent Mujeri and Jasper Hloka

The United States and its allies should unconditionally remove the illegal sanctions they have imposed on Zimbabwe as they are negatively affecting its efforts of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This was said by the African Union Commission deputy commissioner Mr. Kwesi Quartey, while addressing the Special Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism, during the Sixth Session of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) in Victoria Falls yesterday.

The AU deputy commissioner said the SDGs can fully be achieved if sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are wholly removed.

“For us to build the conditions to achieve these lofty ambitions, the AU has called for the sanctions on this country to be lifted,” Mr. Quartey said.

Mr. Quartey’s call for the removal of sanctions is not an isolated call, in 2019 the AU resolved to stand in solidarity with Zimbabwe on the removal of economic sanctions imposed on the country by the West.

Mr. Kwesi, added that apart from sanctions, conflicts on the African continent are an impediment on the successful implementation of Agenda 2030 and 2063.

“It is fair to say the armed conflicts are the biggest challenge for the successful implementation of our Agenda 2063.  We are caught up with the fierce urgency of now, time waits for no man even more-so for our women and children who continue to suffer from the absence of peace. And as indicated in the AU theme of the year (Silencing the Guns), the most vulnerable groups are women and our children who bear the brunt of all the ill effects of armed conflicts they have nothing to do with.

“Our women and girls continue to suffer disproportionately from gender-based violence and all other abuses and violations of their human rights in armed conflicts,” said Mr Quartey.

The AU boss further said Africa must intensify efforts to achieve Agenda 2030 as time is slowly running out.

 “The year 2030 is no longer a distance away, 2030 is already upon us so we don’t have time anymore and we have to work together closely and consistently,” he said.

Quartey applauded the African continent for their efforts in finding solutions to African problems as opposed to relying on other world powers to proffer solutions for the problems that affect African people.

“As we gather here today, for the special session, I would want to recognize and commend the efforts of both institutions (UN and AU) have demonstrated in recent years to find appropriate systemic solutions to the systemic problems that face Africa and various complexities that we are confronted with on a day to day basis.”, said Quartey.

He further said the culture of peace should be inculcated to the children and youths as they are the future leaders.

“We need to inculcate a culture of peace and tolerance at the very basics of our children and youth because through true education our children begin to see what is important in the world and become less likely to be taken by the machinations and fantasies of fanatics of religion.”, said the AU boss.

The hosting of the sixth session of African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) by the Zimbabwean government is a clear sign that the country is on the right track with its engagement and reengagement process as nationals from many countries are in Victoria Falls for the forum.