Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Southern African Development Community Engaging West Over Sanctions Against Zimbabwe

Sadc engaging West over sanctions, says Zulu

September 25, 2013
Rangarirai Shoko at the UNITED NATIONS, New York

SOUTH African president Jacob Zuma’s international relations advisor, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, yesterday said regional efforts were now on lobbying the West to lift its illegal economic sanctions as captured in the communiqué of the 33rd Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government that met in Lilongwe, Malawi last month.

The United States, Britain and their allies imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe in response to Government’s decision to acquire white-held farms without compensation.

The raft of sanctions are estimated to have cost the economy over US$42 billion in lost revenue over the past 13 years, and have also been fingered as a contributory factor in the ecological disaster afflicting Hwange National Park where poachers poisoned water holes and salt pans killing 81 elephants in the process.

In the words of former US assistant secretary of State for African affairs, Chester Crocker, the sanctions were designed to separate Zimbabweans from President Mugabe and Zanu-PF to — in the words of Robin Cook then British secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs — get Zimbabweans to stone the Zanu-PF leadership in the streets.

All this was meant to abet the MDCs electoral chances suffice to say the party slumped to its worst defeat since its launch managing a paltry 70 seats in the National Assembly to Zanu-PF’s 197 seats, 21 in the Senate to Zanu-PF’s 37 with President Mugabe routing MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai with 61, 09 percent of the vote to 33, 94 percent.

Ms Zulu told New Ziana here, on the sidelines of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly that Sadc was no longer pre-occupied with the political situation in Zimbabwe, but with collectively engaging the West to lift its illegal economic sanctions which were needlessly hurting the economy and people.

She, however, admitted that “progress” was slow as the West appeared intent on keeping the sanctions in place, particularly the United States which has ruled out any concessions on the issue.

The EU, on the other hand, has been wrought by divisions that saw the bloc remove the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation from its sanctions list.

Though they did not observe the elections, both the EU and the United States, have refused to be guided by the AU, Sadc, Comesa and the ACP countries that all sent in observer missions and have since endorsed the elections as free, peaceful, fair, credible and reflective of the will of Zimbabweans.

“Now that a new Government has been elected and is in power, what needs to be done is to lift the sanctions to improve the economy of Zimbabwe,” Ms Zulu, a one-time rabid critic of President Mugabe, said.

“We told them (West) that your strategy (of imposing sanctions to remove President Mugabe from power) is not going work, but they did not listen,” she added.

She conceded that the opposition was fairly beaten in the July elections, and blamed the West’s sanctions regime for the loss.

Ms Zulu said Zimbabwe could also help in persuading the West to lift the sanctions by coming up with conciliatory policies and gestures, especially on the economy.

On a lighter note, Ms Zulu jokingly said her family was expecting President Mugabe to bring cattle after her boss; President Zuma bequeathed her to him as his ‘second wife’ during the 33rd Sadc Summit in Malawi.

“They (family) are expecting him to bring the cattle, the Zulu (tribal) way. I am his second wife,” she joked.

The ‘betrothal’ symbolised the normalisation of relations between President Mugabe and Ms Zulu whom he publicly rapped for overstepping her mandate during President Zuma’s facilitation.

— New Ziana

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