from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) has reiterated calls for the lifting of sanctions Western governments have imposed on Zimbabwe.
The call comes as the regional bloc commemorates the Anti-Sanctions Day, marked yearly on October 25.
João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, President of Angola and Chairperson of SADC, called for the lifting of the restrictions that have been in place since the early 2000s after Zimbabwe embarked on its land reform program aimed at correcting the land imbalances in the country.
“This appeal by SADC for the immediate lifting of sanctions on the Republic of Zimbabwe rests on the backdrop of growing concern over the impact these sanctions continue to pose on the country and the SADC region,” he stated.
He said the bloc firmly echoed that the ‘targeted sanctions’ geared at a few individuals in Zimbabwe were adversely impacting the country.
“It is now over twenty years since the imposition of these targeted sanctions – two decades marred by the inability of the people of Zimbabwe to fully achieve their potentials across various sectors as a nation.”
Western governments slapped sanctions on the then government of president Robert Mugabe, now late, citing human rights violations and electoral fraud.
Critics however argue this was retribution to the land reform exercise that saw the minority white farmers dispossessed of land by the majority indigenous black Zimbabweans.
The United Nations (UN) deems the sanctions illegal.
Prospects of the West lifting sanctions however remain remote.
This after President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s successor, was retained in an election that SADC, ironically, condemned.
Western observer teams also rejected the poll outcome that retained Mnangagwa and the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in power.
ZANU-PF has been at the helm since independence from Britain in 1980.
– CAJ News