Sadc renews call against sanctions

Blessings Chidakwa, Harare Bureau

SADC countries have taken a strong stance against the piecemeal removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the United States of America last week saying a complete lifting of the embargo was required  for the country to move forward.

The US made fringe adjustments on the sanctions regime it imposed on Zimbabwe, largely moving the sanctions between laws and leaving the major financial sanctions in place, a development that has already been rejected by Zimbabwe, with President Mnangagwa describing the move as “nonsense”.

Since late 2017, the Second Republic has declared its willingness to engage and re-engage with the rest of the world under the mantra, “Friend to all and enemy to none”.

Sadc countries, which have already designated October 25 of each year as the day of              action against sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, have fiercely criticised just a partial lifting of sanctions, with Namibia, Zambia and Botswana, demanding that the sanctions be completely removed.

In a statement, Zambia’s acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Mulambo Haimbe, last week said: “Zambia stands firm in supporting efforts to alleviate the broader societal impacts affecting the region, the continent and the globe as a whole.

“Therefore, this latest decision (partial lifting of sanctions) is welcomed as a positive step among many others to follow.

“To this end, Zambia calls on the United States of America and other countries to remove all sanctions against Zimbabwe, which will signal a crucial progression in the implementation of shared ideals such as inclusive democratic governance: institutional reform and the promotion of stability, peace and security.”

Minister Haimbe said the lifting of sanctions would see renewed and more positive engagements in tackling developmental issues in Zimbabwe.

“The government of the Republic of Zambia acknowledges the decision by His Excellency Mr Joseph R Biden, President of the United States of America on March 4 2024, relating to the sanctions programme on the Republic of Zimbabwe, which has been in existence since 2003.

“Zambia takes cognisance of the profound implications of this decision as an important step towards reconfiguring relations with Zimbabwe and consequently supporting development activity in the southern African region. 

“The Zambian Government reaffirms its unwavering commitment to working closely with countries in the Sadc region and beyond in fostering greater integration and co-operation,” said Minister Haimbe.

Namibian Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Dr Peya Mushelenga also denounced the minor adjustments to sanctions against Zimbabwe.

He cited Article 96 of the Namibian Constitution, which affirms the country’s commitment to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, as outlined in the Charter of the United Nations.

“Accordingly, the Government of the Republic of Namibia underscores that it does not recognise unilateral coercive measures adopted without authorisation of the United Nations Security Council,” he said.

“The economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western countries are unilateral and Namibia urges constructive engagement that promotes dialogue and co-operation to address issues of mutual interest and concern between and among sovereign states. 

“The government of the Republic of Namibia further notes that the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe has been seized with inclusive and forward-looking initiatives aimed at broad-based economic transformation, an ongoing process deserving of the collective support of the international community.”

Dr Mushelenga said Namibia viewed the continued imposition of economic sanctions, in whatever form or guise, as counter-productive and hindering Zimbabwe from realising its immense economic potential.

Addressing the Second ED Mnangagwa Business Summit in Harare last Friday, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe would continue to work to ensure national prosperity.

“Despite the challenges that we are facing, due to the continued illegal and heinous sanctions from the United States of America, we must push the frontiers of our country’s success and prosperity. This task and burden rests upon us as Zimbabweans.

“We have been resilient for the last 23 years under sanctions, and no amount of propaganda, under whatever guise, will fool us. All forms of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe must be immediately and unconditionally removed. These sanctions are illegal, unjustified and cruel to all the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Commenting on the minor adjustment of sanctions, Political Analyst Dr Hamadziripi Dube said there was no justification for keeping the sanctions on individuals and some companies.

“Zimbabwe doesn’t benefit anything from the partial removal of sanctions which are merely abusive,” said Dr  Dube.

“America behaves as the referee of what transpires in other countries. What happens here in Zimbabwe doesn’t need an outside assessor as documented in the last shift focused sanctions.

“(US President) Joe Biden wanted to send a message to the world of removing sanctions on Zimbabwe while in actual fact he just shifted the focus and changed the wording, but using the policies to stiffen the life of Zimbabweans.”

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