By Tendai Ruben Mbofana
First and foremost, there is absolutely no doubt that both the Zanu-PF (and Zimbabwe government), as well as the opposition assertions have some elements of truth.
The ruling Zanu-PF party has one thing unquestionably correct — these sanctions were imposed as a result of the EU and USA disgruntlement over the land reform programme.
As the dispossessed white farmers were largely of British descent, their kith and kin in the United Kingdom (UK) were not amused as all.
What further irked them was the outright refusal by the Zimbabwe regime to compensate farmers.
Thus, the UK roped in its allies — the EU and USA.
The issue of human rights abuses was simply a smokescreen — since they could not come out outrightly admitting the real cause for their anger towards the Zimbabwe administration.
Let’s remember that this same Zanu-PF regime had brutally murdered over 20 000 innocent men, women and children (including foetuses) in a genocidal massacre of mainly Ndebele people in the 1980s.
Yet, these same proponents of human rights did totally nothing.
In fact, then Prime Minister Robert Gabriel Mugabe was frequently awarded for his “examplary statesmanship” in these countries, during the atrocities..
Since this was purely black-on-black violence — the EU and USA didn’t give a damn.
As much as the reasons proffered for imposing targeted sanctions in the 2000s were merely a smokescreen — they, however, wielded tremendous weight — because the Zimbabwe regime had indeed been busy brutalising and murdering MDC supporters as well as rigging numerous elections since the June 2000 general plebiscite — which it nearly lost to a nine-month-old party.
Which was also the real reason the panicked regime embarked on the violent and heartless land reform programme — resulting in the killing of scores of white farmers and their workers — as it accused the farmers of sponsoring the opposition party — which had become an overnight nightmare for Zanu-PF.
The most brazenly murderous being the 2008 presidential elections, when Mugabe lost to the then MDC president Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, but refused to accept the result and went on to unleashe a reign of terror, where hundreds of the opposition leader’s supporters were callously killed.
This is where the opposition viewpoint has been very correct.
As the Zanu-PF regime has begun compensating white farmers — the EU and UK have been gradually relaxing the restrictive measures — since they are probably satisfied with such a move.
But, they will obviously stick to their original story of human rights abuses being the justification for the sanctions.
On the other hand, the USA appears intent on continuing with the pressure — as possibly, Trump has since adopted the publicly stated reasons for the sanctions, considering that the Zimbabwe regime has actually intensified its human rights abuses.
Ever since the 2017 coup that ousted Mugabe, the Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa regime has worsened its propensity for violent repression — including the fatal shooting down of unarmed protestors by security forces in 2018 and 2019, and the virtual ban of any MDC activities.
The opposition is also 100% correct in that there is no incontrovertible evidence that these targeted measures affect the ordinary people of Zimbabwe or the country’s economy.
This yarn has been peddled by the regime as a smokescreen to cover up for its own gross and shameless mismanagement of the economy — that has left millions of citizens living in abject poverty.
The only people being affected by the sanctions are the 142 individuals and entities listed.