ZIMBABWEANS from all walks of life have strongly condemned the illegal and unjustified sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and its Western allies.
For over two decades now, Zimbabwe has been suffering from illegal economic sanctions that have hamstrung its economy and cast a shadow on its development.
To pile pressure on the Western nations, SADC declared October 25 of every year as the region’s Anti Sanctions Day, where all member states join hands in calling for the unconditional removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The Government mandated the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services with organising a SADC Anti Sanctions Solidarity Summit and business expo that started here yesterday.
The inaugural summit was held last year in Harare and the second edition is being held in Mutoko, Mashonaland East province where various Government ministries and departments are taking a stand against the ruinous sanctions.
The objective of the summit is to increase awareness on the negative effects of sanctions on Zimbabweans and also highlight how the Second Republic is working around the clock to defeat them.
Mr Richard Mahomva, director International Communication Services in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services said sanctions have a negative effect on every Zimbabwean.
“This Business Expo and Solidarity Summit is mainly predicated on widening our scope beyond creating resolutions in the fight against sanctions as the media fraternity but it broadly and effectively speaks to the mandate that we have as a Ministry in taping out the views from the business community and the Government in terms of articulating the successes of the Second Republic.
“We are aware as Government that sanctions have had a haemorrhaging effect on our economy, but these companies that are here, they are here to tell the people a positive story of the milestones of the Second Republic in the context of the sanctions. We have more than 30 exhibitors both from Government and the private sector coming to express their solidarity with the thrust of the transformation that the Second Republic has effected in terms of the economy, politics and of course our social fibre in the context of sanctions,” he said.
Several organisations, including the academia as well as ordinary people spoke about how they are being affected by sanctions.
Professor Nhamo Mhiripiri, representing the academia, said it is a lie that sanctions are only targeted as they have a negative impact on everyone across the country and the African continent at large.
“Sanctions must go, they are not targeted on Government organisations or some specific politicians only. They affect all of us. I have a testimony on how these sanctions affected me, but I am not a politician, I am a scholar.
“In 2009 I was invited by Oxford University in the United Kingdom where I was to give a lecture about Dambudzo Marechera. I applied for a visa and paid for the fee.
“After a week, I received the response from the British Embassy notifying me that they had denied me a visa, but not due to any personal shortcomings, they cited things linked to the Government. It was just after a contested election.
“The Embassy mentioned that there was no Government in Zimbabwe, and there was a cholera outbreak and they told me that I was likely not to come back to Zimbabwe.”
He said another example where he was directly affected by sanctions is when he tried to change United States dollars at a bureau de change in one of the European countries and was denied simply because he is a Zimbabwean and Zimbabwe was blacklisted.
Mr Maxwell Hodzi, a farmer, said due to sanctions, prices of inputs and equipment needed to run successful farming projects are now beyond the reach of many.
“We are into farming, I am a beneficiary of the land reform programme and I feel the painful impact of these illegal sanctions.
“They are affecting our agriculture programmes, for example if my tractor develops a fault, I would need to buy some spare parts outside the country, but due to this embargo, we would fail to procure them.
“It is not only the agriculture sector that is affected, but these sanctions are having a ripple effect across all sectors of the economy and as a Zimbabwean, I am joining the nation in denouncing these sanctions. Sanction must go now.
“Let me also say those who advocated for the sanctions should not be allowed to be leaders of this great nation. They made everyone suffer so we are now suffering but we will never vote them into power. They are power hungry but they should not be given that power.”
A youth from Murehwa, Mr Rodney Kanhanga, who attended the summit, said Zimbabwe had lost a lot of opportunities due to sanctions.
“We have no other message here as youths than to say ‘’Sanctions Must Go’’ unconditionally. Zimbabwe has lost a lot of investment and a lot of business opportunities. Who would want to invest here when they are afraid of sanctions. We do not want them”.
Kingston Musabaika, a student at Marondera University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, said sanctions have a negative impact on the education delivery system in Zimbabwe.
He argued that because of sanctions, those who are supposed to work for the nation end up migrating to other countries where they are exploited.
Kimberly Machaya, a student at Munashe High School in Mutoko said sanctions have contributed to a rise in crime among the youth.
She said Zimbabwe should not cry anymore but be innovative as Zimbabwe is rich in a lot of resources.
“Let us not just say sanctions must go yet we are not doing something. Let us rise and be innovative. Zimbabwe is rich in minerals and we must work to bust these sanctions. Let us be innovative to be able to exploit every opportunity that comes around,” she said.
Mrs Shany Mutize, a resident of Mutoko, said women are also feeling the full impact of sanctions and they must go.
“I am a mother, I wish well for my children. I am hurt whenever I see the youth being idle simply because sanctions have robbed them of life changing opportunities.
“We understand well the effects of sanctions and we are not happy about them hence we will not stop calling for their immediate and unconditional removal”.