Poster supporting President Mugabe of Zimbabwe outside the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon on December 9, 2007. Mugabe blasted the "gang of four" European leaders for being agents of British imperialism., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Illegal sanctions must be removed
Saturday, 14 July 2012 12:00
Zimbabwe Herald Editorial
We call upon the European Union to totally and unconditionally lift the sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe in 2002 after the country embarked on the land reform programme.
Yesterday we reported that Britain and the EU were preparing to suspend the illegal sanctions and that a resolution to that effect would be made in Brussels at the end of this month.
According to British media reports, the EU council resolved to suspend the illegal sanctions, but agreed to reinstate them depending on whether they are satisfied with the outcome of the referendum and harmonised elections.
We do not believe that certain conditions should be met before the removal of the sanctions. That clearly will be meddling in the country’s politics. We know exactly what these conditions mean to the EU and their allies in America.
It means that if their favoured party loses, then the referendum and elections would, in their view, not be free and fair. Zimbabweans must be left to decide their own destiny without hindrance. It is not the duty of the EU, or any other foreign power for that matter, to decide who will rule Zimbabwe.
Everybody knows the sanctions were imposed to spite Zimbabwe after it embarked on the land reform programme a decade ago and that they have over the years served no purpose apart from worsening the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans.
We see no reason to celebrate their impending removal because these sanctions have never been justified in the first place as they were imposed unilaterally by the EU and their American bullies outside the scope of the United Nations.
Over the years, we have seen impish attempts by the EU, the United States and Britian to label the sanctions as targeted at certain individuals within Government and in Zanu-PF. This failed to stick as the rest of the progressive world has seen through these machinations.
In fact, the whole world knows that the sanctions have hampered Zimbabwe’s speedy economic recovery. Even those in the MDC formations who asked for the sanctions have long realised that they blundered big time.
We reiterate our call and the Government’s call for the sanctions to be removed in toto.
This means it is not only the EU which must lift its sanctions, but the Americans must also sit down and repeal the misnamed and sugar-coated Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economy Recovery Act of 2010.
We believe constructive engagement and not isolation and punishment would bring the necessary impetus to the efforts of the inclusive Government which has made tremendous progress in stabilising the economy since its formation in February last year in spite of the embargo.
No sane person can pretend not to see the devastation caused by the sanctions, which have seen Zimbabwe failing to access lines of credit, needed to revitalise its economy.
The Global Political Agreement signed in 2008 by Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations explicitly talks about sanctions and calls on all the parties to the agreement to work towards their lifting.
Under Article IV of the GPA, the parties noted the present economic and political isolation of Zimbabwe by the United Kingdom, European Union, United States and other sections of the international community over and around issues of disputed elections, governance and differences over the land reform programme.
They also noted and acknowledged “the sanctions and measures” imposed on Zimbabwe through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act by the United States Congress which outlaws Zimbabwe’s right to access credit from international financial institutions in which the US government is represented or has a stake.
The parties to the GPA noted the suspension of Zimbabwe’s voting and related rights, suspension of balance of payment support, declaration of ineligibility to borrow International Monetary Fund resources and suspension of technical assistance to Zimbabwe by the IMF.
They also noted the suspension of grants and infrastructural development support to Zimbabwe by the World Bank and imposition of targeted travel bans against current Government and some business leaders.
The three parties have since formed a re-engagement committee whose mandate is to engage with those who have imposed the sanctions with a view to having them lifted.
But until recently, the EU and its American allies have appeared insensitive and unwilling to re-engage Zimbabwe.
As we have said before, the sanctions are not serving any meaningful purpose other than punishing the people of Zimbabwe for having chosen their own destiny.
They must simply go and with no strings attached.