AFRICANGLOBE – A group of White Zimbabweans have called on Western regimes to lift sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, a move seen as a major victory for President Robert Mugabe, who says the economic prohibitions are destroying the country.
The group, Zimbabweans Against Sanctions, led by White businessmen, and which includes farmer and former Zimbabwe cricket team captain, Heath Streak called for the total and unconditional lifting of all sanctions against Zimbabwe.
“We are forming this lobby group because we believe that the sanctions imposed on our country by the US, the UK and the EU are gravely hurting our country economically and, consequently, gravely hurting its people including us Whites,” said Streak, the spokesperson for the group.
“Sanctions lifting means a brighter future for Zimbabweans future regardless of race, colour or creed. Let us unify and join hands in this drive for the removal of sanctions by the West.”
It’s not clear how big the membership of the group, which dispelled claims that it is was an attempt to protect the few remaining Whites in Zimbabwe, is.
“We have never been part of sanctions, ever, and we are not protecting our interests. We have lived in Zimbabwe for a long time and we have businesses and we are successful businessmen,” a group member, Gary Smith said.
“We are part of Zimbabwe and we employ people and see what’s happening about sanctions and we are not protecting our business interest all.”
President Mugabe used the removal of sanctions as a major policy issue ahead of his reelection last year.
The Zimbabwean leader says Western regimes imposed sanctions on him as a punishment for reclaiming Zimbabwe’s stolen land from White settlers.
With the group of Whites joining the anti-sanctions lobby, President Mugabe’s Zanu PF can now show how the embargos were hurting the economy and why they should be removed.
Streak said the development of the country and the region has been hamstrung by sanctions and their lifting would be a great step forward.
The formation of the group coincided with reports that the European Union on Monday suspended sanctions on eight of the country’s powerful military and political figures but kept them on President Mugabe and his wife, Grace.
EU Decisions Not US Decisions
The bloc retained an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and sanctions on arms manufacturer, Zimbabwe Defence Industries.
It is uncertain if Robert Mugabe would be invited to join the African leaders expected at the historic US-Africa summit in August.
The President remains under a United States “Specially Designated National” list, or targeted sanctions for “undermining democratic processes”, according to acting United States embassy in Zimbabwe spokesperson, Jillian Bonnardeaux.
“The Government of Zimbabwe as a whole is not subject to U.S. sanctions”, US ambassador to Zimbabwe, David Bruce Wharton said in a statement released last week.
Responding as to whether the European Union’s decision to relax sanctions against the Southern African nation would influence the United States’ relationship with Zimbabwe, Wharton is quoted as saying that those were “decisions made by the EU but not by the United States”.
Western regimes imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe more than a decade ago in order to punish the country for taking actions that redress colonial imbalances.
By: Janet Shoko