I love buying Zim blueberries in the UK: Melanie Robinson

Pardon Muzavazi

ZANU PF and Government yesterday held a nationwide campaign against the continued stay of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Illegal sanctions have been in place in Zimbabwe since the year 2000 when the United States of America implemented the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) 2000.

While the West have imposed unilateral sanctions on Zimbabwe, they maintain that sanctions are targeted on selected individuals.

Yesterday the country’s social media timelines were awash with messages from the international community vehemently denying the existence of sanctions and their negative wholesome effects on the ordinary Zimbabweans while blaming ZANU PF for economic malpractice and corruption.

The EU Delegation to Zimbabwe posted on their official twitter handle @euinzim lying to the world that, Zimbabwe is not under any sanctions but is only under military embargos.  

“The #EU has not imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. The only operational restrictive measures relate to defence and arms: a ban for #EU companies to do business with Zimbabwe Defence Industries and an arms embargo. There are no other trade or economic restrictive measures,” said @ueinzim.

There is a false narrative being peddled by the MDC-A, and sympathetic embassies that ‘it is not sanctions, but corruption that is affecting the country’s economy.”

This is false ahistorical narrative which negates historical events which precipitated the imposition of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, and the international community’s denial of the existence is shameful!

It is public knowledge that illegal sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe following the compulsory acquisition of land by indigenous landless and impoverished black majorities under the Land Reform Program (LRP) beginning in the year 2000.

This has since affected Zimbabwe’s access to international lines of credit which affected farmer’s access to credit and machinery to successfully implement commercial agriculture.

Moreover, this also affected most farmers’ access to international markets, which brings to the fore the tweet by the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Melanie Robinson. She tweeted that Zimbabwean farmers were successfully exporting their farm produce abroad without any difficulty.

“I love buying Zimbabwean blueberries in the UK. UK sanctions don’t stop trade, they are about stopping human rights violations and corruption,” said Robinson.

This supports previous allegations by the international community that Zimbabwe has been run down by the country’s failure to combat corruption and mismanagement of public funds.

It is not true that Zimbabwean farmers have it easy to export their produce abroad. It is public knowledge that only a few selected farmers can export their produce with ease abroad excluding farmers who benefited from the LRP.

The above sentiments were shared by a Mazoe farmer, Anesu Shumbanhete who benefited from the LRP who has a thriving orange plantation but has failed to export his oranges abroad due to sanctions.

Shumbanhete lamented that since he began his organs production, he has failed to export his oranges abroad because he is producing the delicious juice fruit from a farm which was previously owned by a Commercial White farmer.

“I have come to the conclusion that both the EU and UL don’t buy fruits or produce from farmers who are on Land Reform Program.  It is not surprising that most of the beneficiaries of foreign markets are linked to sponsored communal farmers, especially those with title deeds,” said Shumbanhete.

Most LRP beneficiaries with 99 year leases do not have full title deeds to their farms and this is used to exclude them from participation in foreign markets.

Truth be told, these farmers are being punished by foreign governments for successfully implementing the LRP. They are also being punished for sustaining the local economy at a time when the West would have their prophecies that Zimbabwe’s economy will fall to its knees following sanctions fulfilled.

The Western powers have continued to falsely blame Zimbabwe for failing to uphold human rights and democracy as a scapegoat for the continued stay of sanctions, adding the corruption narrative.

The Western powers seem to enjoy being player and referee in world politics labelling other countries as corrupt and human rights abusers, a label they too share but continue to downplay through powerful media.

In its January 2021 report, Transparency International exposed the massive levels of corruption in the United States of America (USA) and how this affects issues such as health and the collapse of democratic institutions.

The Advocacy Director for the U.S. Office of Transparency International, Scott Greytak, noted that public confidence in U.S. “elections has been undercut by disinformation and record-setting amounts of untraceable…dirty money is flowing into the United States’ financial system.”

joint investigation published by BuzzFeed News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 2020 revealed how US major banks had knowingly allowed trillions of dollars of suspect financial transactions to go ahead, enabling drug kingpins, kleptocrats, and terrorists to move corrupt cash around the world.

It is disappointing to detractors how Zimbabwe was not even ranked among the most corrupt countries in Transparency Internationals report. While the US remains ranked among corrupt countries, together with some Western countries, their economies remain stable.

One of the major reasons why these countries’ economies have remained stable in the face of corruption is largely because they are free from the debilitating effects of illegal economic sanctions.

Unlike the US or any other country experiencing corruption, Zimbabwe remains underpinned by over two decades of illegal economic sanctions.

It is therefore ahistorical for the opposition MDC-A and their foreign handlers, the US and UK to claim that “it is not sanctions, but corruption affecting Zimbabwe’s economy,” when the evidence points to sanctions!