OPPOSITION parties have snubbed the invitation extended to them by government to attend the State organised anti-sanctions musical e-gala scheduled for Bulawayo this Saturday, describing the event as a waste of resources.
The e-gala is part of several events lined up to commemorate the AntiSanctions Day scheduled for October 25, which has since been declared a public holiday. This year’s commemorations will be held under the theme: “Resilience, Progress and Solidarity under an Environment of Sanctions.”
Southern African Development Community (Sadc) member countries last year pledged to commemorate the event each year in solidarity with Zimbabwe as part of efforts to pressure the United States government to drop its targeted sanctions against Harare.
The sanctions were imposed at the turn of the century in response to then President Robert Mugabe’s land reform programme and gross human rights abuses. The US government has, however, maintained some of the restrictive measures to force the Zanu-PF administration to introduce a wide range of reforms.
Local opposition parties have, however, refused to be part of the commemorations, blaming the Zanu-PF government of inviting the restrictions by disrespecting citizens’ rights.
Opposition parties and traditional leaders in Matabeleland region have refused to denounce the sanctions, saying the restrictions should only be lifted after government has implemented reforms demanded by the international community.
“We do not have time for nonsense. The biggest sanctions are Zanu-PF’s abuse of State apparatus for personal political gain. That alone is a sanction on the people of Zimbabwe,” MDC Alliance provincial spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza said.
“Corruption that knows no bounds within government, extra-judicial murders, abductions and torture of people who hold different views is another sanction on the people of Zimbabwe.”
Zapu Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Patrick Ndlovu said the gala was a waste of resources.
“If they are there (sanctions), they do not need a gala. Sanctions need reforms, good corporate governance and the like. As Zapu, we feel this is a waste of resources which could have been channelled elsewhere,” Ndlovu said.
MDC-T acting spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni said the party had not made a decision yet about its participation.
Information permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana on Monday invited all parties to attend the event.
“We have joined hands with other progressive stakeholders such as business, political parties and civil society to hold this year’s anti-sanctions egala. We extend an invitation to the MDC-T, MDC Alliance and others to come and give a shout against sanctions,” Mangwana tweeted.
In September 2019, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo said Zimbabwe had lost over US$42 billion in potential revenue over the past 18 years due to the sanctions, US$4,5 billion in bilateral donor support, US$12 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and African Development Bank and a further US$18 billion in commercial loans.