Fungi Kwaramba Political Editor
AHEAD of the SADC Anti-Sanctions Day, President Mnangagwa has paid tribute to resilient Zimbabweans and the region in calling for the unconditional removal of the illegal economic embargoes imposed by the United States and her allies.
The President rallied Africa to harness its vast resources for the empowerment of its people.
This comes as SADC nations will on Sunday commemorate the Anti-Sanctions Day under the theme “Resilience, Progress and Solidarity under an environment of sanctions”, an apt description considering the trials and tribulations that Zimbabweans have endured under the yoke of the illegal economic embargoes.
“This theme is appropriate as it speaks of the difficult road Zimbabwe has travelled as an independent and sovereign nation. Surviving under the baneful shadow of sanctions has not been easy for us. It equally refocuses us to gird our strength and draw from our national endowments to develop our country and improve the plight of citizenry, in spite of the apparent odds against us.
“Our people have borne the brunt of these illegal sanctions. As a nation let us never doubt the certainty of our victory over these illegal inhumane sanctions. They continue to make huge sacrifices for our sovereignty and territorial integrity. I applaud their resilience, their courage, their fortitude, their unflinching determination in enduring the impact of the illegal sanctions.
“We must continue to improve production and productivity across all sectors of the economy. SADC deserves a Zimbabwe which can play its effective and strategic role towards the achievement of regional diversity and collective prosperity.”
With the cloud of the Covid-19 still casting shadows across the world, this year’s commemorations on October 25 will be held virtually.
In his address, the President chronicled to SADC how the sanctions, imposed as punishment for the land reform by Western nations, have stymied Zimbabwe’s economic growth.
The President saluted the SADC region for standing by Zimbabwe during difficult times spawned by the illegal punitive and nasty sanctions that were imposed to instigate regime change after the Zanu PF Government honoured its war pledge to ultimately reunite the people with their land.
“I want to yet again express our profound gratitude to the SADC heads of States and Governments for taking this historic decision in Tanzania, itself the cradle of all liberation movements in Southern Africa. We are also appreciative of the many more voices calling for the unconditional removal of these illegal sanctions. This posture by SADC will indeed be in line with our mantra that an injury to one is indeed an injury to all.”
The President added that going forward African states must continue to stand together, as demonstrated in the anti-sanctions solidarity, and defend the continent against foreign aggression and neo-imperialism.
“Africa is an awakening giant equipped with its rich heritage and indigenous knowledge system of Ubuntu, which says, ‘I am because you are’. Let us be our brother’s keeper.
“Additionally, let us leverage the abundant and diverse natural resources within Africa to grow our economies and improve the quality of life of our people. In line with the SADC industrialisation Strategy and in the context of the African Continental Trade Agreement; mutual cooperation and trade must be promoted. Intra-regional and continental synergies, science and technology innovations and inventions must be encouraged towards a more prosperous, modern, industrialised and empowered Africa. To this end, we remain committed to play our part within the comity of nations towards the success of multilateralism and a peaceful world, with a shared future” the President said.
He said the show of solidarity was a reflection of the principled revolutionary character of the regional bloc, which has consistently opposed injustices and oppression.
He said the regional revolutionary bond has its genesis in a rich shared liberation heritage that embolden its leadership to take head-on, the neo-colonial machinations by detractors and opponents.
The President described the misnamed Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) of 2001 and subsequent orders imposed by the US and the European Union (EU) against the country as impediments to the much needed development for almost 20 years.
“Due to sanctions, Zimbabwe has limited access to multilateral and financial support from international financial institutions.
“The cumulative effect of these illegal sanctions has been devastating in every sector of our economy. Sanctions are a blunt, coercive instrument with far-reaching implications on the ordinary people, especially women, children, youths and the elderly, people with disabilities and those suffering from chronic illnesses. My country’s citizens have fallen victim to this indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction which is being deceitfully presented to the world as targeted”.
With the albatross rock of the illegal economic sanctions Zimbabwe has been exposed to natural disasters and pandemics such as Covid-19.
“Furthermore, sanctions have limited Zimbabwe’s capacity to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we are grateful to those nations and organisations who have stood by us and supported us in fighting the pandemic.
“Sanctions are without doubt a form of aggression against my country and a tool of regime change, coupled with the vicious cyber-attacks, hostile propaganda, calculated to divide Zimbabwe, sanctions undermine our people, unity and national cohesion.
“The cyber-attacks on my country are built on gross falsehoods and non-existent narratives of a nation in crisis. I would like to reiterate once yet again that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.
“We are a peaceful nation on the cusp of implementing robust reforms across all social economic and political spheres, to entrench constitutionalism. Our focus is on improving the quality of life of our people and leapfrogging our national development,” he said.
With the country robustly pursuing the UN agenda 2030, towards sustainable development and the Second Republic aiming to make the country an upper middle class economy by that year, the continued existence of unjust economic sanctions is an unnecessary onslaught on a sovereign nation by neo-colonial forces who fail to appreciate the strides that have been made by President Mnangagwa’s administration.
“Zimbabwe has achieved closure to the land question through various internal constitutional processes. The land is now united with its people and the people with their land.
“Sanctions have no basis and must be unconditionally removed. This will give impetus to my country achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and help us realise development which leaves no one behind. This is even more important given the overriding essence of the Decade of Action”.
The President added that as a result of the Second Republic’s re-engagement thrust, the country is emboldened by the solidarity oozing from well-meaning nations and the international community, not least the unequivocal call by the UN Secretary General António Guterres for the unconditional removal of the illegal sanctions.
Apart from the UN chief other prominent world bodies that have also called for the lifting of the economic embargoes that continue to stifle development, include the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and many African and Asian leaders.
The re-engagement thrust adopted by the New Dispensation has also seen the European Union lifting some of the sanctions it had imposed on Zimbabwe
“We urge the United States, the United Kingdom to reciprocate the hand of peace and friendship Zimbabwe has extended. Our hand of friendship remains stretched out to all.
“In light of the above, Zimbabwe is open for business and dialogue, and stands ready to welcome investments into our mining, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and infrastructural development among others.
He paid tribute to China and Russia for the resolute support and cooperation dating back to the country’s liberation struggle where the two countries offered both moral and material support fighting colonialism.
“To my fellow countrymen and women; the greatest way we can make us deserving of this solidarity from across the region, continent and the world, is to be united and staying on the course of principle. We are a determined people, a resilient African nation with a history of standing for what is right and just.
“We are an integral part of SADC and the African Union. Our outlook has always been pan-African — making Zimbabwe home to different nationalities. In return, we have been hosted by other nations always exhibiting hard work, honesty and commitment to laws of countries that host us. That character must never change, it must be supported and strengthened by the shared solidarity with which Africa and the progressive world continue to favour us.”