The Herald (Harare)

20 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Sanctions Must Go in Totality

editorial

No attempt to sanitise the unjust or justify the unjustifiable can ever succeed to translate what is inherently evil into piety.

We find it not only patronising but downright unacceptable for the European Union grouping to sit in their capitals and pass judgment over the nation of Zimbabwe, by handing out punishments and doling out rewards among our political leaders all in an attempt to divide and rule us.

Zimbabwe has been and continues to call for the unconditional removal of sanctions illegally imposed on the country by the EU. Instead of the EU addressing that illegality, the grouping has the cheek to pick certain names from the Government, and then announce that travel bans against these have been lifted.

However, the EU action is quite hollow in that its sanctions against Zimbabwe remain in place, though its strategy of dividing Zimbabweans is quite obvious and will obviously fail like all other previous attempts. The EU announcement should therefore be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

As Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi put it: " It is totally meaningless. As long as one Zimbabwean is under sanctions, then the whole country is under sanctions. The sanctions should be removed in totality and unconditionally. These efforts to try and divide us will never work."

The EU announced the removal of travel bans on six cabinet ministers and 21 other individuals claiming that the reasons for which they were listed no longer exist. Economic sanctions against the country have had an adverse effect on our industry and have rendered thousands of our people jobless as European countries cut lines of credit for local firms and severed trade ties while aid organisations also suspended their assistance at the instigation of the EU, leaving many incomplete projects.

This is the reality on the ground that the EU wants to reduce to just travel bans on political leaders when even our diamond firms still remain under sanctions. Zimbabweans have sought ways of coping in the face of sanctions and it is during these challenging times that they have largely found each other.

Zimbabweans are united now than ever before, having worked together in the inclusive Government, crafted a constitution that is going for a referendum next month and already preparing for peaceful elections later this year.

It is quite critical to point out that the situation in Zimbabwe is what it is today largely due to Zimbabweans themselves with facilitation by the Southern Africa Development Community.

The EU is now harping on the Sadc roadmap and implementation of the Global Political Agreement, commitments that are binding to the governing parties since they were party to their creation. How the EU can then play referee on a process that is largely regional and has checks and balances is quite surprising. The colonial hang-over that keeps nudging European countries to seek relevance in Africa reeks of disdain for our leadership and mistrust of even our regional institutions.

Today it may be Zimbabwe, and tomorrow yet another country hence the need for African countries especially to speak with one voice against foreign interference and in denouncing sanctions against Zimbabwe.

We thought the Europeans, still reeling from a recession, would be expending their energies on finding solutions to their economic crises instead of futile attempts at controlling the politics in Zimbabwe in order to gain unrestricted access to our land and its mineral resources.

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