Former Education Minister David Coltart says sanctions on Zimbabwe, which have been on for nearly two decades, have long exceeded their sell-by date and are now benefitting the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
He told CNBC that sanctions had an effect when they were imposed in the early 2000s because they identified human rights abusers but from as early as 2010, they had already reached their sell-by date.
The European Union extended its sanctions on Zimbabwe by a year last month and the United States did the same thing last week.
EU sanctions affect only two people, former President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, as well as the Zimbabwe Defence Industries but they also include an arms embargo on the country. Although three former security bosses Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri and Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief Philip Valerio Sibanda are also on the sanctions list these are suspended.
United States sanctions on Zimbabwe are, however, more comprehensive. They affect about 140 individuals and entities but also bar Zimbabwe from receiving financial bailouts from international financial institutions. They can also be used to bar payments from outside in US dollars as the US may refuse to clear the payments.
Zimbabwe has complained that the sanctions are not only illegal but unjustified but it has said it will continue to engage with the United States and other Western countries.
It has also hired United States President Donald Trump’s ally to lobby for the removal of the sanctions at a cost of US$500 000 a year.
Coltart said in his opinion the Zimbabwe government should be judged by how well they abide by the constitution.