SADC has exposed a plot by the United States of America to influence the European Union (EU) to extend sanctions on Zimbabwe at its review meeting in Brussels next month.
On Tuesday, the US embassy in Botswana claimed on its official Twitter handle that Sadc executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax and Ambassador Craig Cloud had discussed that economic policies and corruption, not sanctions, had destroyed Zimbabwe’s economy.
But Dr Tax immediately rebuffed the claims.
“This was not part of what was discussed. (It) might be the position of the Embassy, but definitely not Sadc’s position,” said Dr Tax.
Political analysts yesterday said the Gaborone incident was part of grandstanding which has become common ahead of high-level meetings such as the EU review and the forthcoming African Union (AU) summit.
Political analyst, Mr Goodwine Mureriwa, said the US was making false claims to arm-twist Sadc and the AU to take a hard line stance on Zimbabwe as well as influence EU deliberations.
“The US is trying to arm-twist Sadc in particular and the world in general to support its illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
“It was the US which enacted Zidera on December 21, 2001. So, now ahead of the forthcoming meeting, the Trump government wants to perpetuate its unjustifiable aggression.
“One hopes progressive individual countries in the EU are going to take bold and realistic decisions to embrace President Mnangagwa’s hand of reconciliation and engagement in order to rebuild burnt bridges and strengthen bilateral relations,” said Mr Mureriwa.
Another political analyst, Mr Obert Gutu, weighed in saying the attempt by the US to deny the adverse effects sanctions have had on Zimbabwe was unfortunate.
“Sanctions are a brutal and lethal force that has made the Zimbabwean economy literally scream since the year 2001. Zidera was made in hell.
“The effect of Zidera is to deny Zimbabwean companies access to financial support from American corporations, especially those blue chip global corporates that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Bluntly put, America wants regime change in Zimbabwe.
“They can never, ever forgive the ruling party, Zanu-PF, for embarking on the land reform programme in the year 2000. They would prefer to have a malleable and puppet government in Harare, a government that they can easily control and manipulate,” he said.
Harare has registered significant progress in the attainment of media, political, electoral and legal reforms as well as the anti-corruption drive since the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa took over in 2017.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo, in September last year, presented a paper to Cabinet, indicating that Zimbabwe lost about US$98 billion due to illegal sanctions that were imposed after the Land Reform Programme launched in 2000.
According to the paper, Zimbabwe lost an estimated US$42 billion in revenue, US$4,5 billion in bilateral donor support, US$12 billion in loans from international financial institutions, US$18 billion in commercial loans and suffered a GDP reduction of US$21 billion.
President Mnangagwa has asserted his influence on the local, regional and international front after he undertook various reforms.
Notable achievements, analysts said, included the bold decision to invite local, regional and international electoral observer missions like the EU, US in the July 2018 harmonised elections, some of whom last observed Zimbabwean elections almost two decades ago after they fell out with the previous administration.
Mr Mureriwa noted reforms like amending the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and repealing of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), among others.
“Ongoing electoral reforms and repealing of AIPPA through the Freedom of Information Bill are set to strengthen our multi-party democracy by promoting freedom of expression, and of the media at large,” he said.
Some electoral reforms include amendment of the Electoral Act to ensure the release of presidential results within five days.
The Government has since set up an Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Political, Electoral and Legislative Reforms, chaired by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and has
since identified over 20 reform priorities drawn from reports of election observer missions.
The reform priorities range from recalibrating the legislative framework, election administration systems, voter registration rules, drawing up of constituency boundaries and political party finance and registration.
Last year, former United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Mr Johnnie Carson spoke highly of electoral and media reforms which President Mnangagwa’s administration has undertaken since the July 2018 harmonised elections, saying Harare was on course to implementing recommendations made by poll observer missions.
Mr Carson, also a former Ambassador to Zimbabwe, said this in Harare last year where he was leading an international election observer mission, the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute that was assessing progress on Harare’s implementation of its recommendations.