Oct 28 , By Zekey
A declaration by SADC at the 39th Summit of Heads of States and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC ) held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on the 18th of August has seen 25 October being set aside as an Anti Sanctions Day.
After independence on 18 April 1980 US was the first to open an embassy in Zimbabwe and pledged to assist rebuild Zimbabwe which they did. The late Robert Mugabe was the prime minister then president in 1987.
In 1998, Zimbabwe joined in the war in DRC dubbed 'Operation restore legacy.' This did not please US which accused Zimbabwe of exploiting diamonds from DRC among other accusations. In year 2000 Zimbabwe embarked on the land reform program which saw Zimbabwean people regaining their birthright which is the land. Before land redistribution about 4000 white farmers owned more than 80% of agricultural land and the majority blacks of about 14 million then owned less than 20%. This triggered worldwide condemnation by Western allies and United Kingdom slashed Zimbabwe with sanctions.
US' Office of Foreign Asserts Control (OFAC) administers a number of different sanction programs. Sanctions can either be comprehensive or selective using blocking asserts and trade restrictions to accomplish foreign policy and national security goals for the US. Between 2000-2008, US condemned Zimbabwe government for what it called assault on human rights and rule of law. In 2001, US began imposing restrictions on US support of multilateral financing, then financial sanctions against selected individuals and entities, travel sanctions, ban on transfers of defense items and services, suspension of non-humanitarian government to government assistance. Sanctions were also against persons contributing to the conflict in Zimbabwe. These included senior officials of the government, spouse or dependent child of any person on restriction, entities owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, the government of Zimbabwe or an official or officials of the Government of Zimbabwe and many more. Some people were also targeted for their connection to the government of Zimbabwe. This is what has crippled the nation.
OFAC sanction program for Zimbabwe began in 2003 on March 6 when the US President signed the executive order citing a threat to US foreign policy posed by the situation in relation to Zimbabwe which included widespread violence that threatened regional stability. More executive orders were signed. After the elections in 2008, extension of sanctions was carried out citing an undemocratic election held on July 25 of 2008 where some international observers were denied access. Decades later, SADC has come together to call for the 'unconditional' removal of sanctions in Zimbabwe.
WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS SET FOR THE REMOVAL OF THESE SANCTIONS?
"We have made it very clear that the easing of restrictive measures, targeted sanctions and travel bans will only occur in the context of credible, transparent and lasting democratic reforms." US
HAVE THESE CONDITIONS BEEN MET?
After the departure of the now late former President, R.G Mugabe, the new dispensation took over. Led by H.E ED Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe took off to rebuilding, re-engaging and reconciling the nation. In July 2018, Zimbabwe took to the elections for the people to democratically exercise their rights which the ruling party ZANU PF led by H.E ED Mnangagwa won. Foreign observers were allowed access and foreign media had coverage. The elections were declared open and fair by observers but the opposition was not satisfied and took the election commission to court and the case was dismissed for lack of tangible evidence. This drew negative attention back on Zimbabwe and violence which ensued thereafter. The new dispensation has been trying to fight corruption and re-engaging with international organisations in a road to correct the ills in Zimbabwe. Corruption has been the number one enemy of Zimbabwe. Looting without mercy for the masses. The new dispensation is at task to correct the wrongs left untouched for decades.
Is the West satisfied with the reforms taking place in Zimbabwe?
This remains to be seen by their response to SADC call for the removal of sanctions. It is of interest to note that Zimbabwe is divided over sanctions. Some want sanctions to remain for their advantage while others want to see them removed. Ambassador of US to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols has been instrumental in maintaining Zimbabwe was yet to reform and as the eye for the West, his words stick.
Who is at the receiving end?
Ordinary Zimbabweans. These so called targeted people can afford to travel outside the country for medication. Their children don't study in Zimbabwe. They get tenders, big posts in companies. Who remains? The ordinary Zimbabwean. The closure of companies in Zimbabwe led to unemployment of millions of Zimbabweans. Families have been broken and children suffering. Investors are shying away from Zimbabwe. Noone want to risk investing in Zimbabwe because of fear of being victimised for engaging with Zimbabwe. What will it take Zimbabwe? New dispensation is trying but is it enough?
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(article written in summary form)