Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has called for the immediate lifting of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West and urged other SADC members to speak with one voice on local and international forums until they are removed.
He described the imposition of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe as barbaric, adding that last year's march against the sanctions should have sent a message to those responsible.
Mr Majaliwa made the remarks yesterday when he officially opened the SADC Council of Ministers meeting that was hosted via video conferencing by his country.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo and his chief director (Multilateral Affairs), Ambassador Rapheal Faranisi, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza and Finance and Economic Development Deputy Minister Clemence Chiduwa attended the meeting from their Harare base.
"Honourable ministers and distinguished guests, may I also use this opportunity to speak a bit about defence, security and democracy," said Mr Majaliwa. "We are all quite aware that SADC believes in defence, security and good basis of democracy.
"Tanzania in its position as SADC chair has continued to advocate for the removal of all economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe."
In October 2019, Zimbabwe held an anti-sanctions march that brought together international and friendly countries to speak with one voice against the economic sanctions.
Mr Majaliwa said SADC did not want to leave any of their members behind each time the block was implementing its agenda and challenged other member states to speak on behalf of Zimbabwe on local and international forums till all the sanctions are removed.
"Therefore, may I also use this forum to stand against these barbaric sanctions whose impact is very bad for the economy of Zimbabwe," he said.
He said it was important for SADC countries to speed up the implementation of its goals.
"It is very important that we continue to move forward, but we need to match each other in speed as we implement our resolutions to make sure the block's goals are achieved," said Mr Majaliwa.
"The challenges that we are facing are many, including budget deficits, policy and strategic differences among member States that is also the cause for low participation of private sector."