Zimbabwe: Thinking Outside the Box on Illegal Western Sanctions

Zimbabwe: Thinking Outside the Box on Illegal Western Sanctions
Despite sanctions Zimbabwe’s economy has continued to grow

AFRICANGLOBE – The West’s refusal to lift the illegal sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe bids the incoming Zanu-PF Government to adopt sanctions-busting measures, including reorienting the economy from the West to win-win partnerships with all-weather friends in the East to whom the Westerners are also turning.

Synergies with the West, analysts said, were accidents of history and legacies of colonialism, while links with the East were voluntary and had always been beneficial from the days of the liberation struggle.

Miffed by their failure to unseat President Mugabe and Zanu-PF for the third time since launching the MDC at the turn of the millennium, Western countries have refused to accept the results of harmonised elections they did not observe, saying the sanctions will remain as the “elections were not free and fair”.

This is despite the massive endorsement of the polls by observer missions drawn from the African Union, Sadc, Comesa, ACP countries and other state observer missions.

The Western sanctions are estimated to have cost the country over US$42 billion in lost revenue with outgoing Finance Minister Tendai Biti saying the embargoes shrunk the economy by a factor of over 40 percent over the past 13 years.

Jobs and livelihoods were destroyed, with pensions and savings wiped out when the Zimbabwe dollar collapsed due to sanctions-induced hyperinflation in 2008 with hundreds of people dying from preventable diseases like cholera as Government’s capacity to provide potable water was curtailed.

Over two million Zimbabweans condemned the sanctions during the National Anti-Sanctions petition campaign in March 2011, with the AU, Sadc, Comesa, the Non-Aligned Movement, African Caribbean and Pacific countries adding their voices, but the West turned a deaf ear in the same manner it went against these bodies over the harmonised elections that were widely hailed as free, fair and credible.

In a statement released at the end of its 392nd meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Tuesday, the AU Peace and Security Council called for the immediate and unconditional lifting of the West’s illegal economic sanctions against Zimbabwe to foster socio-economic recovery.

And in a communiqué released at the end of the 33rd Summit of Heads of State and Government in Lilongwe, Malawi, Sadc also called for the lifting of the sanctions regimes that have also been condemned by Comesa, ACP countries and the Non-Aligned Movement, to mention just a few.

In its election manifesto that culminated in its resounding victory dubbed “Taking back the Economy: Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment,” Zanu-PF equated the illegal sanctions to a declaration of war.

Zimbabwe lost donor support amounting to US$36 million annually since 2001, US$79 million in loans from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and African Development Bank, commercial loans of US$431 million and Gross Domestic Product reduction of US$3,4 billion.

Addressing thousands mourners at the burial of national hero Retired Air Commodore Mike Tichafa Karakadzai at the National Heroes Acre in Harare last Sunday, President Mugabe declared that Zimbabwe was fed up with the ill-treatment by Western nations and will soon hit back by placing restrictions on Western companies operating in the country.

Political and social commentators concurred, saying the new Government was supposed to ensure that economic revival programmes in all sectors of the economy be spearhead by thousands of highly skilled Zimbabweans.

Midlands State University lecturer Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri said it was time Government devised a strategy to divide the West.

He said during the 1960s and 70s, Europe was divided over whether to support Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle against the Rhodesian illegal Government or not, with some countries calling the freedom fighters terrorists.

“The Scandinavian countries (that are also former) colonies assisted us. Here we are talking of countries such as Sweden, Norway among others. These are likely to understand us as they are familiar with the anti-colonial discourse.


By: Hebert Zharare