Sanctions on Zimbabwe senseless after 20 years

Regional Correspondent

Zimbabwe has been under destructive sanctions for two decades such that they have lost all meaning, stimulating only pain and hate. The motive for the sanctions torment are so outrageous that one might think they only serve to aggravate the misery and hardships of the common folk all this in their elusive quest for regime change!

Zimbabwe has bravely faced decades of economic sanctions and political harassment from the United States (US), European Union (EU), the United Kingdom and their allies.  The sanctions came as a response to the Land Reform Programme that Zimbabwe embarked upon in the year 2000, to correct colonial land ownership imbalances that saw a few white people owning large tracts of land while the majority blacks contended with small and largely unproductive pieces of land. Sadly since then, the west has kept on squeezing the country with sanctions as "revenge" disguised as a necessary international trade embargo for countries accused of human rights violations.

 Under the yoke of these sanctions, Zimbabwe has lost billions in potential revenue, opportunities, support and loans, depriving the country of the means to invest in health, education and infrastructure development. Sanctions have increased both perception and country risk, which in turn has raised the cost of credit as well as demand for cash business, with credit sales being frozen, movement of funds by business across the borders has remained very difficult. Parastatals such as the National Railways of Zimbabwe have struggled to get spare parts because each time they tried to buy the spares on their own, their money got blocked and later sent back because it would have been paid from a country under sanctions. One thing sanctions have succeeded is paralysing the manufacturing sector leading to a high unemployment rate.

 It is frustrating to imagine the economic strides that Zimbabwe would have achieved by today had it not been for the draconian sanctions imposed on the country by the West. The country’s developmental plans have been frustrated such that the country finds itself lagging behind its regional peers as far as development is concerned. Had it not been the harsh and unfair sanctions, Zimbabwe would be at the helm. Despite showing resilience and determination to overcome its economic challenges, Zimbabwe is still under the grip of sanctions  

 The country's legitimacy and sovereignty has been undermined for far too long. Zimbabwe has, however, not given up defending its principles and ethics that lead to the Land Reform Programme. In all reality, sanctions have failed to achieve their stated goals of promoting democracy, human rights and good governance in Zimbabwe which in actual fact are a figment of their imagination.

 The African Union and SADC have also joined in calling for the unconditional removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe recognizing that they are an obstacle to the country’s economic growth. The United States and the European Union should heed this call and lift the sanctions immediately and unconditionally. This would be in recognition of the positive steps that have been taken by the Second Republic, such as the adoption of a new constitution, the holding of peaceful elections, the implementation of economic reforms, and the initiation of a national dialogue process. For the past 22 plus years, Zimbabwe has been concentrating on sanction busting measures instead of focusing on development measures.  Zimbabwe is a country with immense potential and aspirations that would prove beneficial to the region and the rest of the globe, hence it needs support and recognition, and not hostile adversaries and isolation in order to set itself on a genuine economic growth path.

 Lifting sanctions on Zimbabwe would benefit the people of Zimbabwe, who deserve dignity and prosperity. It would also benefit the region, which needs stability and regional integration; and it would benefit the world at large, which needs more cooperation and dialogue now more than ever. There is no dignified reason for keeping Zimbabwe under sanctions as there is more loss than gain.

 The US has no business pressuring the nation to enact reforms that suit its greedy interests in Zimbabwe. The Second Republic has set clear vision which is guaranteed to transform the country into a globally competitive economy. The Government is aware of what must be done to improve the socio-economic status of the citizens and conforming to the whims of the West isn't in any of the Second Republic’s plans. What the Government is asking from the West is justice and the independence of its people.

 If the US is sincere in the affairs of Zimbabwe, it should take a leaf from the African organizations like SADC and AU which are more versed with the goings-on in Zimbabwe and remove the evil sanctions. Attempts to change the regime with sanctions have not worked for 20 years and it will not work soon as Zimbabwe will never be a colony again!