The only difference between outright war and sanctions is that sanctions are financially low-cost.
Chester Crocker (the former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs) had this to say during US Senate hearings on Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zdera) before it was put into law in 2002: “To separate the Zimbabwean people from Zanu-PF, we are going to have to make their economy scream, and I hope you, senators, have the stomach for what you have to do.
So if we were to decide to try and work for change in power in Zimbabwe, I would hope that we would have the wisdom to be discrete, to be low-key and to avoid giving those in power there the excuse that foreigners are out to get them.” (Chester Crocker, 106th Congress House Hearings – Zimbabwe: Democracy on the Line – Tuesday, June 13, 2000).
Does Zimbabwe deserve to be under sanctions? What legal and moral right do America and the EU have for placing Zimbabwe under sanctions? No, the people of Zimbabwe do not deserve to have their economy squeezed to further the interests of foreign nations that need its resources.
There is no legal or moral reason for sanctions on Zimbabwe, in fact the United Nations, African Union and SADC have refused to place Zimbabwe on sanctions and called for an end to the illegal sanctions that America and the European Union have placed on Zimbabwe.
The real reason behind the sanction regime has to do with the fight for control of Zimbabwe’s resources and raw materials between Zimbabwe’s nationalist government of Robert Mugabe and the Western Elites, many of whom are the very politicians who voted to have these sanctions placed on Zimbabwe and have direct interests in Zimbabwe.
Since November 1998, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has implemented undeclared sanctions by warning off potential investors, freezing loans and refusing negotiations on debt. In September 1999, the IMF suspended its support for economic adjustment and reform in Zimbabwe.
In October 1999, the International Development Association (IDA) – (a multilateral development bank) suspended all structural adjustment loans, credits, and guarantees to Zimbabwe’s government. In May 2000, the IDA suspended all other new lending to the government.
In September 2000, the IDA suspended disbursement of funds for ongoing projects under previously approved loans, credits, and guarantees.
Contrary to the argument put forward by those who have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe that these sanctions target individuals evidence indicates that it is the ordinary Zimbabwean who has suffered immensely. The legitimacy of the sanctions regime has no moral strength and as such the sanctions imposed on the people of Zimbabwe are a crime against humanity.
The actions and statements of America, Britain and the European Union representatives highlights the lack of regard for the rights and well being of Zimbabweans. At one time South Africa, Zimbabwe’s neighbour was urged by Britain to cut off electricity supplies to Zimbabwe. There was also talk by Western diplomats to persuade Zimbabwe’s neighbours to create an economic blockade as vital imports have to come through Mozambique and South Africa.
Rhetoric of democracy and human rights is only useful to America and the European Union when it serves their strategic and economic objectives. It is not philanthropy that drives the actions of Western Governments in Zimbabwe but self interest. Many debates about Zimbabwe are laced with lies.
Others have been coated with ignorance and many more are overtly biased and carry very racist connotations and go as far as deliberately distorting history to justify claims that are false.
President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia once said “Today in Iraq, with all their democracy the oil pipelines are more secured than the women and children in the streets of Baghdad.”
That is what happens when America and her Western allies decide to bring democracy and rule of law to a nation, its inhabitants are reduced to paupers and its resources are plundered. Let this not be the case with Zimbabwe.
In his article Zimbabwe at War, Stephen Gowans asks pertinent questions which the SADC facilitator Jacob Zuma has to bear in mind, especially with the recent influx of visits and messages by the very people at the root of Zimbabwe’s problem.
Zuma should not lose perspective and become embroiled in scoring cheap points, giving way too much attention to small targets and not focusing on the real issues at hand.
“Should an election be carried out when a country is under sanctions and it has been made clear to the electorate that the sanctions will be lifted only if the opposition party is elected? Should a political party which is the creation of, and is funded by, hostile foreign forces, and whose program is to unlatch the door from within to provide free entry to foreign powers to establish a neo-colonial rule, be allowed to freely operate? Should the leaders of an opposition movement that takes money from hostile foreign powers and who have made plain their intention to unseat the government by any means available, be charged with treason?”
Sanctions are the most conspicuous and prevalent form of violence in Zimbabwe. It is a crude, cruel, destructive and inhuman weapon of coercion. The SADC facilitator does not seem to realize that sanctions are a crude and cruel form of violence manifesting in all parts of Zimbabwe 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Instead of entertaining bogus groups that are being funded by America and her allies to masquerade as Zimbabwe’s civic society and also denigrating his role as a Facilitator by personalizing the mediation process may South Africa President Jacob Zuma start acting as though he is worthy of the great task put on his shoulders.
There are countless NGOs that either operate in Zimbabwe or operate outside the country with a focus on Zimbabwe. While the Western media invariably refer to them as independent, they are anything but. Almost all are funded by Western governments, wealthy individuals, and corporations.
Western governments fund civic groups to discredit the government in Harare, alienate it of popular support, and mobilize mass resistance under the guise of promoting democracy and human rights. Their real purpose is to bring down the government and its nationalist policies.
The idea that Britain, which, as colonial oppressor, denied blacks suffrage and dispossessed them of their land, is promoting rights and democracy in Zimbabwe is laughable. The MDC’s role as agent of Western influence in Zimbabwe doesn’t stop at promoting economic policies that cater to foreign investors. The MDC has also been active in turning the screws on Zimbabwe to undermine the economy and create disaffection and misery in order to alienate Zanu-PF of its popular support.
Not only has Finance Minister Biti being at the forefront of ensuring that investors stay away but his continued stance in refusing to fund social and economic programs based on their origins indicates that any economic progress will be hampered by the MDC so long it is not in their favour.
The recent fight over the salary of civil servants is a clear indication that Morgan Tsvangirai and company have no interest whatsoever in serving the majority but are parroting what their handlers in Washington dictate. Not long ago Morgan Tsvangirai threatened that any investments made without his consent would not be honored should his party gain total control of government; this was done as a way of protecting potential American investments from Chinese investors who are willing to bring necessary capital and equipment to revitalize Zimbabwe’s economy.
Mr Facilitator, Zimbabwe is at war with foreign elements using local puppets. What are you going to do to ensure that when the dust is settled it is the people of Zimbabwe who have won and not the war mongers and their dogs?