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SADC calls for sanctions lift on Zimbabwe

Staff writer


South African Development Community (SADC), a regional body, calls for removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The call is contained in a statement issued by the Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe in South Sudan on 25 October 2023 to mark the annual anti sanctions day.

“We call for the urgent removal of all sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, for the good of the country itself and its people, as well as for the good of the Region and the world” SADC states.

SADC noted that the need for removal of sanctions was in alignment with the collective global commitment “to leave no one behind”, and in practical furtherance of the spirit of multilateralism.

According to SADC, the sanctions on Zimbabwe were violation of the UN Charter.

“Sanctions imposed without the endorsement of the United Nations constitute a violation of the UN Charter, and run fully counter to the spirit and practice of multilateralism which we all hold so dear” the regional body argued.

SADC noted that the government of Zimbabwe has made great improvements to stabilize its economy under the leadership of President Emmerson D Mnangagwa.

“As a Region, SADC has noted and welcomed the resolve and progress made by the Government of Zimbabwe and of President Emmerson D. Mnangagwa in implementing their reform agenda aimed at further stabilising the economy and improving the lives and livelihoods of all Zimbabweans” the statement reads in part.

The Region has also noted the commitment by the Government of Zimbabwe to continue dialogue through its engagement and re-engagement drive as evidenced with the European Union, the United Kingdom and the International Financial Institutions, its creditors and development partners.

In solidarity with Zimbabwe, SADC noted that contrary to claims that the sanctions are “targeted” at a few individuals, the coercive measures continue to have a markedly negative impact beyond the “targeted” few.

“They have seriously undermined Zimbabwe’s credibility, its national image, its ability to engage and interact and the ability of Zimbabwean companies, small, medium and large, to trade and transact beyond its borders,” SADC said in a statement.

Brief Background

The rationale for the imposition of sanctions 23 years ago was primarily given as ‘concern for rule of law and human rights violations and concern at the overall state of governance in Zimbabwe’. It is clear, however, that the decision by western governments to isolate Zimbabwe both diplomatically and economically was indeed triggered by the implementation of Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform Programme in 2000.

The history behind the Land Reform Programme is long and complicated. Suffice it to say that the main reason for and objective of Zimbabwe’s 15-year Liberation War against the century-long settler colonial occupation was the recovery of land forcibly seized by those settlers from indigenous Zimbabweans, without any compensation.

Funding and other support-related assurances given during the Lancaster House meetings which led to a cessation of hostilities and Zimbabwe’s independence in April 1980, failed to materialise as quickly and as fully as originally promised or expected, and what support was provided became increasingly stringent and conditioned.

The frustration, disillusionment and anger of thousands of indigenous Zimbabweans who had fought for their freedom and patiently waited for their Government to honour its promises of land reform and re-distribution, erupted.

The Fast Track Land Reform Programme was launched. Reaction from western countries, in the form of sanctions and other punitive measures was swift.

Originally imposed by the USA, in 2001, in the form of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), and by the European Union, in 2002, the sanctions (including an arms-embargo) have been renewed at the beginning of every year since that time. The most recent renewal occurred in February 2023, by EU and in March, the USA.

ZIDERA was amended, indeed strengthened, in 2018, immediately prior to the holding of Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections (July 31).

On 15 September 2022, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added one more Official on the sanctions list.

In addition, eleven (11) individuals were removed from the list. These are either deceased or have been deemed to no longer undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes and institutions.

However, the arms embargo and the targeted assets freeze against one company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries, have been maintained by the European Union.



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