International community sees the light on Zim sanctions

Philipa Jaja

For more than 20 years, Zimbabwe’s economy has been largely in turmoil due to the economic sanctions imposed on the country by Britain and its allies, including the United States of America and European Union countries.

The sanctions have made it difficult for the country to freely trade with other global nations and led to massive capital flight, with most if not all international companies moving their headquarters from Zimbabwe to neighboring South Africa.

This resulted in company closures which led to job losses for millions of Zimbabweans and subsequently reduced purchasing power of citizens.

While the UK and its allies want the world to believe that the economic sanctions, which they falsely claim are targeted at a few individuals,  were as a result of human rights abuses by the successive Zimbabwean governments, it is all too clear that the measures were Britain’s way of hitting back at Zimbabwe for embarking on the fast-track land reform programme which saw millions of landless black Zimbabweans get productive land, which for almost 100 years had been in the hands of the minority white settlers.

But as it dawned on many countries across the globe that the sanctions were illegal and hurting ordinary Zimbabweans, many nations began to advocate for their removal, including the international community which has been indifferent.

And now the calls have become louder.

As was expected, SADC countries were the first to voice their concern, imploring the West to lift the embargo on Zimbabwe, noting that they were also affecting them economically while also creating migration challenges for Zimbabwe’s neighbours and the region at large.

Having supported each other during the struggle for independence, SADC countries did not disappoint, amplifying their voice, through the adoption of the Anti-Sanctions Day at its 39th SADC Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in August 2019 and designating October 25 of each year as the day of solidarity with Zimbabwe against the illegal sanctions imposed by some Western nations.

SADC has always expressed solidarity with Zimbabwe arguing that the sanctions have an adverse impact on Zimbabwe’s economy and the region at large.

The bloc further heightened their campaign by tasking the African Union chairperson, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to raise the issue at the 74th United Nations General Assembly in September.

But the major turning point now, however, is the support that the country is getting from the international community, adding their voice to calls for the unconditional removal of the sanctions.

First outside Africa to support Zimbabwe was China which has always stood with Zimbabwe and has been consistent in its calls for the unconditional removal of Western sanctions

China, together with Russia, vetoed a UN Security Council vote to impose UN sanctions which had been proposed by the US and its Western allies.

This should not come as a surprise because the Asian country has for long been a victim of US sanctions, dating back from the inception of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Currently the US has sanctions imposed on the Chinese government, key members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), certain companies linked to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and others it accuses of human rights abuses.

It is common knowledge that China remains the biggest threat to the US’s economic and military dominance, which explains why it has imposed sanctions-solely to curtail the Asian giant’s economic development.

The strong long standing ties between China and Zimbabwe also explain why the US would not want sanctions imposed on the Southern African to be removed. China being currently the biggest single investor in Zimbabwe, economic progress for Zimbabwe is seen as propping Chinese economic growth at the expense of the US, which now feels left behind.

But being the economic powerhouse that it is, China’s stance on the issue of sanctions on Zimbabwe will go a long way in changing the world view on Zimbabwe and opening the eyes of the world on the intentions of the US, which has always sought to become the Global Big Brother.

Just like China, Russia has also lent its support to Zimbabwe in its quest to have the illegal embargo removed unconditionally so that the African nation can freely engage with other nations in all areas.

Russia was recently hit with sanctions by many Western countries after it asked them not to interfere in its conflict with neighboring Ukraine

The European country recently stated that the two nations were unanimous in their condemnation of the use of sanctions which are against the UN Charter.

And the good thing is that even the United Nations has also come to its senses and now realizes that the sanctions on Zimbabwe are illegal and should be removed.

The UN special rapporteur, Alena Douhan, spent 10 days in Zimbabwe to assess the impact of sanctions on the country and concluded that the restrictions were hurting ordinary people and should be removed.

With the UN being a world body, it is hoped that all nations will come to their senses and join others before them to demand the immediate removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe and let the African country explore its full economic potential, which in the absence of the illegal embargo, is no doubt, poised for massive growth.

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