Sanctions behind suffering of ordinary citizens

By Tendai Mazwi

Sanctions have caused untold suffering to many Zimbabweans. Ordinary people are experiencing hardships as prices of good and services are sky rocketing almost daily and this is being attributed to these illegal sanctions by the United States of America (USA) as much as that country want to sugar-coat the truth by lying through their teeth that the illegal sanctions are targeted at certain individuals and businesses.

Zimbabwe is failing to move forward due to these illegal sanctions because they are hindering any form of development. Sanctions slow down progress thereby inhibiting Zimbabwe’s economic recovery and punishing the vulnerable in the society.

The US and EU are always talking about and advocating for human rights and the imposition of these sanctions are a form of human rights abuse. Zimbabweans have been denied certain privileges as a result of the sanctions which in itself, is a violation of their rights.

Zimbabwe has not been the only country that has been paralysed by the US sanctions, with Cuba, Yemen, South Sudan, Lybia and North Korea being among others countries and these are testament to show that the sanctions have affected individuals. For instance, since 1966 US citizens have not been able to visit Cuba risking up to 10 years in jail and heavy fines and prohibited trade operations by citizens and US companies thereby losing billions of dollars.

The US has maintained its theory that the sanctions are targeted at selected companies and individuals in Zimbabwe. The US maintains that the sanctions are not directed against the people of Zimbabwe, but that is, one naked lie that our tormentors have crafted to make them sleep better at night. Truth of the matter is that the sanctions are chocking Zimbabwe’s economy leading to the hikes in prices of goods and services. How can the US claim that the sanctions are targeted on selected individuals yet the whole country is suffering due to these sanctions?

The situation has gone bad to the extent that the sanctions are damaging the local financial services and payment systems, they are affecting anyone and everyone associated with Zimbabwe, a fact emphasized by Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa at a meeting of Afreximbank clients some time back. 

“When sanctions hit the country, every credit line disappeared. You could not talk to anyone, they were shutting down. For us as a business, there was one institution that remained and it was Afreximbank,” he said.

Sanctioned businesses are also being used by the ordinary citizens thereby affecting their personal life as well. These are also businesses that employ people and these people have families so, yes they are affecting the ordinary person on the ground.

Zimbabwe’s money transfer agencies also started facing problems in meeting their customer obligations owing to the termination of correspondent-bank arrangements between local banks and international finance institutions. With all these problems the US claims to say that the sanctions are targeted at selected individuals and businesses.

So are the US sanctions not directed at citizens in Zimbabwe? Ordinary people are suffering more from these illegal sanctions.

Both the US and the EU claim to be champions of democracy and human rights, yet they are stifling economic growth in Zimbabwe by maintaining the racist sanctions.

The sanctions are also being used as a pawn to effect regime change by making the living standards difficult in Zimbabwe and for citizens turn against their Government. But this strategy has failed to yield the desired result, hence they should be removed.

The lifting of these sanctions is paramount because Zimbabwe has not done anything to deserve them. Besides what wrong has Zimbabwe done to have illegal sanctions bestowed upon it, seeing that it is a sovereign and peaceful country.