THE United States of America (US), the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) remain adamant that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has not done enough to have sanctions imposed on the country in 2001 lifted.
This comes as Sadc nations commemorate the AntiSanctions Day today under the theme “Resilience, Progress and Solidarity under an environment of sanctions”.
The region has joined calls from the Zimbabwe government for the sanctions to be lifted, saying they are damaging the region’s economy. Ahead of the commemorations, Mnangagwa paid tribute to resilient Zimbabweans and the region in calling for the unconditional removal of the illegal economic embargoes.
But the US embassy in Harare maintains that corruption, dearth of the rule of law and other transgressions are the biggest albatross to the country’s economic progress.
“The Zimbabwean government has set the goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2030. To get there, it should fulfill its promises of upholding the rule of law, fighting corruption, respecting human rights, and fully implementing Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution. #ItsNotSanctions
“The path forward to prosperity and deeper engagement with the United States and the international community requires progress on these goals. #ItsNotSanctions,” the embassy tweeted.
On his part, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen said the measures it put in place had no direct impact on the economy.
“The EU restrictive measures have no impact on trade and the tariff and quota free privileged access of goods from #Zimbabwe to the #EU market, granted by the Economic and Partnership Agreement (#EPA) ratified in 2012,” Olkkonen said.
On the other hand the United Kingdom of Great Britain’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson also said their sanctions were meant to ensure that the country respects human rights.
“The UK stands up for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Our sanctions only target those who disregard these values in Zimbabwe and across the world. The UK is committed to tackling corruption and ensuring a better future for Zimbabweans,” Robinson said.
But Mnangagwa insists that the sanctions are illegal and that they affect ordinary Zimbabweans. The president rallied Africa to harness its vast resources for the empowerment of its people in the face of challenges Zimbabweans have endured under the yoke of the economic embargoes.
“This theme is appropriate as it speaks of the difficult road Zimbabwe has travelled as an independent and sovereign nation. Surviving under the baneful shadow of sanctions has not been easy for us.
“It equally refocuses us to gird our strength and draw from our national endowments to develop our country and improve the plight of citizenry, in spite of the apparent odds against us. “Our people have borne the brunt of these illegal sanctions. As a nation let us never doubt the certainty of our victory over these illegal inhumane sanctions.
“They continue to make huge sacrifices for our sovereignty and territorial integrity. “I applaud their resilience, their courage, their fortitude, their unflinching determination in enduring the impact of the illegal sanctions.
“We must continue to improve production and productivity across all sectors of the economy.
“Sadc deserves a Zimbabwe which can play its effective and strategic role towards the achievement of regional diversity and collective prosperity.”
“Due to sanctions, Zimbabwe has limited access to multilateral and financial support from international financial institutions. “The cumulative effect of these illegal sanctions has been devastating in every sector of our economy. “Sanctions are a blunt, coercive instrument with farreaching implications on the ordinary people, especially women, children, youths and the elderly, people with disabilities and those suffering from chronic illnesses.
“My country’s citizens have fallen victim to this indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction which is being deceitfully presented to the world as targeted,” Mnangagwa said.
The president called for their unconditional removal to give to the country the impetus achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
The EU sanctions originally imposed during the era of the late former President Robert Mugabe target specific individuals both within the Zimbabwean government and associated with it. Travel restrictions and a freeze on assets were also imposed, along with the sale of military hardware and equipment which might be
used for internal repression.