MARCUS MUSHONGA / MERCY MUJURU in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc have stepped up a crusade against sanctions imposed by the United States two decades ago.
In addition to declaring a public holiday to be commemorated on Friday, 25th October against the restrictions, Zimbabwe has lined up nationwide activities in all major cities to protest the sanctions.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who at the time of publication was attending the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit, was scheduled to return on Thursday evening to lead the anti-sanctions campaign.
“The issue is that Zimbabwe has been under sanctions for two decades,” Mnangagwa told Russian media.
“The SADC Summit in August resolved that member states will demonstrate against these illegal sanctions imposed on us by the West so that they can be removed.”
He added that the African Union (AU) had also pledged solidarity with Zimbabwe in its campaign for the removal of the restrictive measures that US and Western nations slapped on Zimbabwe while it was under the regime of founding president Robert Mugabe, now late.
“At this particular event, the region has taken the matter to another level, where as a region on one day — on the 25th of October — SADC will demonstrate against these sanctions,” Mnangagwa said.
Public transport operators – National Railways of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe United Passenger Company – have been ordered to ferry provincial representatives to the main event at the 60 000-seater National Sports Stadium.
While the US and the West insist the sanctions, under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), are against human rights violations, critics argue they are a ploy to frustrate Zimbabwe after it repossessed land from white farmers.
Mnangagwa insisted the land reform would not be reversed as the dispossession of land was the fundamental reason for waging the liberation struggle.
“It would be a betrayal of the brave men and women (of Zimbabwe) who sacrificed their lives in our liberation struggle if we were to reverse the gains we have made in reclaiming our land,” Mnangagwa said recently.
Guo Shaochun, the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, lashed at the US and Western allies for destabilising developing countries through sanctions.
“Sanctions have become a tool of some Western countries to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs in furtherance of own interests. This is blatant hegemonism and also shows that some countries are still intoxicated with the old dream of colonialism,” Shaochun said.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) confirmed it would mark Friday as a day to call for unconditional removal of US sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Ace Magashule, ANC secretary-general, said the resolution was made at the party’s recent National Executive Council.
“All ANC and Alliance structures are requested to mobilise activities on this day (October 25). It will happen throughout SADC,” Magashule said.
– CAJ News