WITHOUT the bane of punitive economic sanctions, which must be lifted now, the Second Republic under the leadership of President Mnangagwa could have achieved more for its people, Sadc executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax has said.
In an address to Sadc citizens and the world at large ahead of the regional bloc's second Anti-Sanctions Day on October 25, Dr Tax said the region was being weighed down by the economic embargoes placed on Zimbabwe by the West as punishment for the land reform programme.
"The sanctions have caused suffering among Zimbabweans and continue to have far reaching effects on Zimbabwe and the entire SADC region. The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), as was passed by the United States Congress in 2001 and in subsequent amendments, is particularly harmful to the economy of Zimbabwe and welfare of Zimbabweans."
She said the diabolical Act punishes companies that would want to do business with strategic partners in Zimbabwe, leaving the country without external support for capital projects.
But against all odds, the country has soldiered on, Dr Tax said, as it continues to scale heights mostly on its own.
"We are proud of our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters who have shown great resilience notwithstanding the damaging sanctions. It is commendable that Zimbabwe is now among the top five reformers in Africa and top 20 improvers on ease of doing business scores in the world. This is in accordance with the World Bank doing business report of 2020. The region has also noted the Government efforts to compensate white former farmers in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe continues to implement reforms to turn around the economy."
Dr Tax said the country's economic reform agenda, through initiatives such as the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (STP), have registered notable successes while on the political front, the repeal of contentious laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPA) and the Public Order and Security Act, are clear signals that the Second Republic is committed to initiating far-reaching political and democratic reforms.
"Zimbabwe would have achieved more, if not constrained by the imposed sanctions. In line with the Sadc anti-sanctions stance, sanctions must be lifted now and there is no justification for their continuation at all. I call upon everyone, individuals, nationals, private sector entities as well as regional and international organisations to continue working with, and supporting Zimbabwe. I encourage all, the people of Africa and beyond to stand against these embargoes. Zimbabweans deserve better, so does every other African," she said.
She also saluted the African Union (AU) and the Organisation of African and Caribbean States for standing firmly behind Zimbabwe in the call for the unconditional removal of the punitive economic sanctions that have stymied the country's economic growth.
"Together we will and we must win, together we will definitely prosper, you and I have a role to play. Sanctions are real and must be lifted now," she said.
The US and the EU imposed sanctions on the country nearly 20 years ago in retaliation to the Government's adoption of the fast-track land reform programme meant to correct historical colonial imbalances.
Although the EU has rolled back most of its sanctions, the US' punitive measures set out in the misnamed Zimbabwe Economic Recovery and Democracy Act remain in existence and have prevented the country from accessing international lines of credit and increasing the country's risk profile.
Commemorations to mark this year's Anti-Sanctions Day will be hosted virtually including President Mnangagwa's address to the nation.
At the just ended UN General Assembly a number of world leaders called for the removal of the sanctions.