Zvamaida Murwira

Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe yesterday commemorated SADC Anti-Sanctions Day, with the African Union (AU) and the South African government adding their voices to growing calls for the unconditional removal of illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe by the United States (US) and the European Union (EU).

The SADC-initiated commemorations were held under the theme “Resilience, Progress and Solidarity under an environment of sanctions”, an apt description of trials and tribulations that Zimbabweans have endured under the yoke of the illegal economic embargo.

President Mnangagwa set the tone last Friday when he chronicled to SADC how the sanctions, imposed as punishment for implementing the Land Reform Programme by the US and Western nations, have stymied Zimbabwe’s economic growth.

And yesterday, AU Commission chairman Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat reaffirmed the continental body’s call for the removal of sanctions.

“The chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat reaffirms the African Union’s continued demand for the immediate and unconditional removal of economic sanctions imposed against the Republic of Zimbabwe, and in support of the Southern African Development Community decision to commemorate 25 October 2020 as SADC Anti-Sanctions Day,” said Mr Mahamat in a statement.

“The chairperson recalls the continuity of his call since 2017 where the Commission, its relevant organs including the Peace and Security Council and the Bureau of Heads of State and Government, have consistently voiced the Union’s concerns regarding the negative impact of the persistent economic sanctions on the economy and people of Zimbabwe. In this regard, he expressed his determination and that of the various relevant Organs of the Union to continue to mobilise support for the country’s recovery efforts.

“The Chairperson expresses the commitment of the African Union to continue working closely with the Southern African Development Community to support regional efforts.

“In this regard, the African Union associates itself with the statement made by President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique.”

South Africa equally reaffirmed its resolve to have sanctions against Zimbabwe lifted.

“Today, October 25, marks the day in which the Member States of the Southern African Development Community united in their resolve in calling for the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

In this regard, the South African Government reaffirms its support to the SADC Summit’s decision to call for the unconditional and immediate removal of sanctions against the Republic of Zimbabwe,” said the South African Government.

In its solidarity message, the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Zimbabwe said the Muslim community, stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the people and Government of Zimbabwe in commemorating the anti-sanction day aimed at calling for the removal of the illegal embargo.

“We commend SADC’s stance to conduct actions in its member countries to vigorously work toward the removal of illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe. SCIAZ’s stance is that sanctions have been an impediment in Zimbabwe’s economic growth through cutting off the country’s foreign trade.

ANC National Executive Committee and National Working Committee member Mr Dakota Legoete (left) addresses Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa.

“This has resulted in the shortage of foreign currency which compromises government’s ability to acquire life-sustaining necessities such as medicines, especially in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, water purification equipment, heavy industrial equipment, fuel and many other necessities. Sanctions literally kill,” said SCIAZ president, Mr Sheikh Ismal Duwa. In his address,

President Mnangagwa saluted SADC for standing by Zimbabwe during difficult times and the sanctions that were imposed to instigate regime change after the Zanu PF Government honoured its war pledge to ultimately reunite the people with their land.

He said going forward African states must continue to stand together, as demonstrated in the anti-sanctions solidarity, and defend the continent against foreign aggression and neo-imperialism.

On Saturday, Sadc Chairperson, President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, in a statement to mark the second anniversary of the SADC Anti-Sanctions Day, called for the immediate removal of sanctions, saying they were not good for the region and the world at large.

President Nyusi rallied the world to support the lifting of sanctions, saying the Western-imposed measures undermine Zimbabwe’s capacity to respond to socio-economic challenges.

In May 2018, United States Senator Chris Coons admitted that sanctions were adversely affecting Zimbabwe, saying if removed there would be a huge boom for Harare’s economy riding on its natural resources and huge human capital, which has a high literate rate.

He commended President Mnangagwa for the reforms that his administration undertook that included allowing election Western observers in the run up to harmonised elections.

“I think Zimbabwe is rightly recognised as a country with terrific potential. It has wonderful human resources in terms educated citizenry. It has got a legacy of infrastructure and development, agriculture potential, natural resources. If sanctions are removed, I think they will find interested partners from around the world that will gladly come and invest in the development of the region. But as long as there are significant sanctions imposed by Western countries on Zimbabwe that raises both direct and indirect challenges for them,” said Senator Croons.

From Tanzania to South Africa, and from Namibia to Mozambique, the anti-sanctions message resoundlingly reveberated on radio, television and social media platforms much to the chargin of the US and EU representatives in Harare who tried in vain to come up with a counter-narrative of saying that the sanctions are not affecting the ordinary people.