by Nobleman Runyanga
Last week, the United States (US) President, Donald Trump signed into law the extension of the 2001 Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), which that country enacted to punish Zimbabwe for reclaiming her land from a minority of 400 former white farmers for redistribution to the needy majority. Using the law the US introduced an illegal sanctions regime against Zimbabwe outside the purview of the United Nations (UN).
The US punished Zimbabwe despite that the issue was a bilateral matter involving Zimbabwe and her former colonial master, Britain which reneged on meeting its Lancaster House Agreement obligation to pay for the compensation of the white farmers. Put differently, the US meddled and continues to meddle in the affairs of a sovereign state contrary to the UN principle of non-interference. After nearly two decades of losing out by adopting a hard-line stance against Zimbabwe, Britain has since realised that it stands to gain more by embracing the country than by isolating it. One would have thought that Trump and his government (that is if he consults it) would get its cue from Britain and learn that co-operation builds a better world than antagonism.
Trump unashamedly laid conditions for the easing of the illegal ZIDERA sanctions. These include respect for the rule of law, property rights and human rights as well as the holding of free and fair elections. The US also demanded the release of the voters roll, the alignment of some pieces of law to the Constitution and what it termed the independence of the police, army, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), public media and traditional leaders. The conditions list reads like it was scripted by the MDC Alliance’s Tendai Biti and just handed to Trump for execution. It comes as no surprise though as the MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, Biti and one Dhewa Mavhinga travelled to the US in December last year to beg for the extension of the sanctions against their own people.
Targeted sanctions fallacy
Since 2001, the US and its willing local foot soldiers such have been peddling the blatant lie that the illegal sanctions are targeted at senior ZANU PF and Government officials only but everyone knows that ZB Bank and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), despite employing hundreds of non-political Zimbabweans, were also thrown into the sanctions basket. Their export proceeds were routinely confiscated by the American sanctions-monitoring mechanism, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In October last year, CBZ Bank was fined US$385 million for facilitating some of ZB Bank’s transactions. Such is the fallacy of the so called targeted sanctions. If anything is true about the targeting aspect of the sanctions, it is the fact that it is targeting the people of Zimbabwe through the economy so that they can revolt against their Government so that, in turn, the US’ favourites, the opposition can seize power through the back door.
Biti and company should have searched their souls before travelling to America on what has come to be known as the trip of shame to beg for sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe, Had they done this, they would have realised that instead of attempting to endear themselves with the electorate by punishing ZANU PF using sanctions, they are penalising the ordinary person in the street and expecting the same to support and vote for them.
They would have realised that it is not a senior ZANU PF officials sitting at the party’s Harare headquarters who would be forced to scavenge at the Pomona dumpsite for anything sellable to eke out a painful living after losing their job in Msasa due to the effect of the sanctions. They would know that it is their relatives back in Muzarabani and Mahenye who would bear most of the brunt of the sanctions when they fail to raise US$10 for their children’s school fees. They should know that political popularity is not acquired by employing dirty and cruel arm-twisting tactics, which bring in their wake the suffering of the innocent masses who they, like their American handlers, try to win by claiming to save from ZANU PF. This explains the opposition’s poor showing during the July harmonised elections.
Biti, Chamisa, Mavhinga and ilk should know that Zimbabwe is an independent and sovereign state which does not require policing or chaperoning by anyone. This nation has no illusion about the direction which its citizens want it go. If they are so politically diffident that they need Trump’s hand-holding and policing that remains their own choice which they should not impose on other Zimbabweans by inviting illegal and unnecessary sanctions. What the opposition and Trump should know is that Zimbabwe and the world are moving forward.
They have chosen engagement, co-operation and progress as opposed to Trump and company’s decision to keep themselves tethered to the past to their own frustrating detriment. They should know that no amount of bullying from the West can stop the rolling Zimbabwean economic recovery juggernaut. Other global players such as Britain, China and Russia have realised this and are already paving the way for it, so, with the elections behind us, no amount of hurdle-throwing from anyone - local or foreign - will stop it.
Shoulder to the wheel
Now that we have gone through a peaceful election process, every Zimbabwean should know that advancing the double task of economic recovery and sanction-busting is not just for Government only but everyone – business, individuals and organisations. Even from the remote areas of Chinaka in Honde Valley or Manjolo in Binga everyone can and should contribute in their own unique ways towards the re-building of this great country, which the US from thousands of kilometres across the Pacific Ocean also wants a controlling slice of.
Given the opposition’s unpatriotic behaviour one is persuaded to support those progressive Zimbabweans who have been suggesting that a law should be enacted to deal with those who abuse Zimbabwe’s independence to go to world bully boys on a bended knee to plead for sanctions against their people.