As the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly progresses, SADC countries have rekindled their call for the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has been under sanctions mainly from the United States government, the United Kingdom and the European Union since the early 2000’s. These have had a great impact on foreign relations between the country and highlighted foreign entities.
Delivering his speech at the assembly, Botswana President, Mokgweetsi Masisi said sanctions against Zimbabwe were a snag to stability in the SADC region.
“Sanctions against Zimbabwe are a setback to our stability in the region. Botswana, therefore, calls on the international community to end sanctions against Zimbabwe.”
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa said that sanctions would only drag back Zimbabwe in its effort to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We reiterate our position as the African Union, that economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan should be lifted to allow their government to respond adequately to the pandemic.”
Addressing the UN, President Mnangagwa said sanctions negatively impacted the country’s fight against Covid-19. He also noted that his cabinet had approved the coming in of the UN special rapporteur on sanctions to visit Zimbabwe.
“This will allow the special rapporteur to witness first-hand the devastating impacts of these illegal sanctions on my country. We reiterate our call for the urgent and unconditional removal of these illegal sanctions.”
Zimbabwe remains grateful to the SADC region, the African Union and other progressive nations who continue to stand with us and other voices to the call for the unconditional removal of these unwarranted and unjustified legal sanctions,” he further stated.
The SADC bloc has set the 25th of October every year as a day to stand in solidarity with Zimbabwe over the anti-sanctions agenda.
This year’s theme for the anti-sanctions solidarity day is “Friend to All, Enemy to none: Forging Ahead and Enhancing Innovation and Productivity in Adversity of Sanctions”.
Speaking during the last post-cabinet briefing, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa reiterated the efforts by Zimbabwe to re-engage with the international community and urged all citizens to participate in highlighting the country’s plight.
“The negative impact of the sanctions on ordinary Zimbabweans will be highlighted through testimonies from affected businesses and other population groups, including women, the youth and vulnerable groups across all socio-economic sectors. The programmes will be broadcast on all media platforms throughout October, climaxing on 25 October 2021,” she said.
However, opposition party leader, Nelson Chamisa, believes that sanctions have minimal effects on hurting the economy of Zimbabwe and the ruling government is using them as an excuse for failure.
“The biggest sanction that we have here in the country is corruption. Look at the corruption that is there that has become a national religion.”
“Of course there are sanctions (in Zimbabwe), invited by Zanu PF on account of their delinquent behaviour, their truant behaviour. When you terrorize your citizens and you want to have relations with the neighbour, the neighbour will tell you that look we not going to have any relations with you,” said Chamisa in an interview.
Sanctions have been a topical issue in Zimbabwean economics and some top government officials have been targeted by international sanctions.