Thursday, May 30, 2024

Zimbabwe’s anti-sanctions campaign divides opinions

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Zimbabwe’s government has launched a campaign to make unpopular what it considers foreign sanctions that have crippled the economy.

Government officials and the ruling party, the Zanu-PF leaders have been projecting messages across all major media platforms including social media about the impact of these sanctions.

They insist that sanctions particularly from the United States of America have made it impossible for any major progress to be achieved in growing and rebuilding the Zimbabwean economy.

This has been the mantra under the late Robert Mugabe who attacked the West of deliberately imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe and leading figures to force it into submission.

For over two decades Zimbabwe has struggled to rebuild its economy and sanctions have been blamed largely for this.

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The African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamatso recently said that sanctions on Zimbabwe must go so “Zimbabwe can play its role,not only at the regional level, but at continental level”.

Mnangagwa calls for end to sanctions

Last month at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his government has made progress in spite “of the sanctions we continue to face.

Sanctions are slowing down our progress, inhibiting our economic recovery and punishing the most vulnerable.

Zimbabwe deserves a new start. Sanctions are a lose-lose game. Co-operation is a win-win.”

The Zanu PF party has said in a statement that the “sanctions constitute a denial of the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe to develop and improve their their quality of life.”

It is mobilizing citizens to stage a protest on Friday, October 25 to push for the removal of foreign sanctions.

There are already agitations growing up among a section of Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora.

US denies sanctioning the whole of Zimbabwe

The US embassy has been forced to respond to the calls for the removal of sanctions saying that only certain individuals and agencies have been sanctioned and not Zimbabwe as a country.

Meanwhile the opposition MDC has described the removal of sanction campaign as a diversionary tactic of the government.

A leading member of the party, Tendai Biti said “The #sanctions mantra is a false narrative of deception, deflection ,diversion&deceit.

It seeks to deflect from the illegitimacy & failure of the incompetent predatory regime of Mnangagwa. It seeks to deceive public from billions being stolen by this regime via #statecapture.

Zimbabweans divided

Among Zimbabweans, opinions are divided on the campaign for removal of sanctions. Those views have been extensively shared on social media.

Dead economy

In 2018, the U.S. government said it had no intentions of lifting sanctions against some key Zimbabwean leaders including President Mnangagwa.

Fresh elections were held after late Robert Mugabe resigned from power but that wasn’t enough for sanctions to be removed, according to the US government.

The US government said it will only lift sanctions when the new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa demonstrates it is “changing its ways.”

The then U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Manisha Singh, told a House of Representatives hearing that there are 141 entities and individuals still under U.S sanctions.

President Mnangagwa this month described his country’s economy as “dead” and promised to bring it back to life.

Zimbabwe is facing serious economic challenges with surging inflation and lack of physical cash for business transactions.

It is yet to be seen if indeed the so called sanctions against some individuals and agencies in Zimbabwe are the reasons for this crisis and if their removal would breath life back into the Zimbabwean economy.




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