President salutes Africa
by Geraldine Katunga
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday saluted SADC, the African Union and the world at large for standing by Zimbabwe in calling for the unconditional removal of the Western imposed illegal economic sanctions during the Anti-Sanctions Day.
In an interview at State House yesterday, the President chastised the country’s opposition parties for consorting with the Western world led by the United States to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe and campaigning for their continued stay.
“On behalf of Zimbabwe, I wish to express my deep appreciation of the support rendered to Zimbabwe, first by SADC. Almost all SADC member states expressed themselves loudly against the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe. They joined our cry as Zimbabwe that sanctions should be removed unconditionally and immediately, across the board,” said the President.
For close to two decades now, Zimbabwe has been groaning under the weight of illegal economic sanctions that were imposed by Western nations that were outraged by the country’s decision to redress the racial land imbalances.
As a consequence of the unilateral sanctions that breach international statutes, the country’s population has been hit the hardest as Zimbabwe has had to go it alone without access to international loans.
Because of the illegal sanctions, Zimbabwe could not access assistance to fight the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, effects of successive droughts have also left the country vulnerable but still with no access to international loans.
As such, SADC countries in Tanzania last year declared October 25 the Anti-Sanctions Day, to lobby as a region for the unconditional removal of the punitive economic embargoes that have cost Zimbabwe billions over the years.
The President paid tribute to the SADC chairperson and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi for his bold statement that called for the unconditional lifting of the economic embargoes that have affected especially the vulnerable contrary to misrepresentations by America and her allies that they are targeted.
On Sunday, although restricted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen nations imposing restrictions on people’s movements and public gatherings, across the SADC region several people demonstrated against the illegal sanctions, while nations such as the Russian Federation and China also issued statements unreservedly condemning the illegal economic embargoes.
“I am also grateful to the AU (African Union). There was also a solid, broad, robust and clear statement representing the continent by the African Commission stating that as the AU, we are saying as a continent sanctions must go because they are illegal. What else do we want as Zimbabweans? We are so grateful to the African continent,” he said.
While almost every Zimbabwean spoke against the illegal sanctions, the opposition was oddly calling for the continued existence of sanctions.
“They are lucky that they are not Americans. If they had American citizenship, they could be locked up because there is legislation in America which forbids Americans to propagate against interests of America anywhere, but in Zimbabwe you have an opposition which bids day and night for the imposition of sanctions on their own people. This is regrettable (and) I hope one day they will realise that they are not only Zimbabweans but they are also Africans,” he said.
Just like in the US where they have laws that punish persons who speak against the interests of that State, the Cabinet is currently considering the principal framework of a proposed Patriotic Bill that will criminalise and impose stiff penalties for campaigning against the country through private correspondence with foreign governments and harming national interests.