By Yvonne Mashie*
I have realized there is a cancer that has eaten right to the core of the people of Zimbabwe, with each person failing to take responsibility of their actions. I always believe that when I have failed, I have failed. The next option is to find ways to resolve the issue, even if it means admitting that I have failed.
However, the Zimbabwe setting is such that when one has failed, they have to find someone else to blame it on. The issue of the so called sanctions has been romanticized for a long time, living an average thinking Zimbabwean exposed to the thought that they indeed are a reason why Zimbabwe has had twisted priorities over the last decades.
This is wrong.
There are individuals in Zimbabwe who are on the targeted sanctions list on the basis of their behavior that has more or less grounded the nation. It is interesting to note that international sanctions are actions taken by countries against others for political reasons, either unilaterally or multilaterally, to coerce a country into following international law. These sanctions can range from political, diplomatic, economic, military, sanctions on individuals etc.
Sanctions are designed to force cooperation with international law, for example sanctions placed on Iraq in resolution no// 661 on august 6 1990 after the initial invasion of Kuwait. The UN placed an embargo in an attempt to prevent armed conflict and again resolution 665 and 670 were added to create naval and air blockade on Iraq. Another category involves the UN Security Council condemnation of actions of a specific action or policy of a member or non member nation for example, after Ian Smith declared the Union 11 November 1965 the general assemble and UN in a 107 to 2 vote- took to condemning Rhodesia on all military, economic, oil and petroleum products.
The use of sanctions is mostly intended to apply pressure on a country or entity to comply with the objectives set by the Security Council without resorting to the use of force. Sanctions thus offer the Security Council an important instrument to enforce its decision. The universal character of the United Nations makes it an especially appropriate body to establish and monitor such measures.
The range of sanctions has included comprehensive economic and trade sanctions and more targeted measures like travel bans, financial and diplomatic restrictions, such measures in 2001/2 culminated in the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 s.494 restricting access to financing, debt relief and rescheduling, thereby forcing the government to operate on a cash basis only. Again, an arms embargo was placed on Zimbabwe leading to a ship laden with Zimbabwean arms been denied entry in South Africa.
Because of Zanu PF’s abuse of its own people, the leaders have been placed on the sanctions list to stop committing heinous crimes against the people of Zimbabwe. By the time targeted sanctions were placed on
individuals, Zimbabwe had already been black listed by the Bretton Woods Institutions and could not access loans from these Institutions.
Relevant Security Council decisions have reflected a more refined approach to the design, application and mandatory sanctions. These refinements has seen measures targeted at Zanu PF cronies, who triggered these sanctions in the first place, having their assets and offshore accounts being frozen.
Under ZIDERA, the USA cited retrogressive land policies, endemic corruption, Zimbabwe’s involvement in the DRC war, political intolerance, electoral fraud, gross human rights abuses as the reason for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe. The targeted sanctions in Zimbabwe fulfilled a 1996 report by International Progress organization that
criticized sanctions as “an illegitimate form of collective punishment of the weakest and poorer members of the society, the infants, the children, the chronically ill and the elderly”. However, because Zanu PF knows the processes of government that it has been in charge of for over three decades, they have been able to manipulate the system in their favour further disenfranchising the people of Zimbabwe.
Zanu PF has continually used the sanctions debate to refuse to fully implement the provisions of the the Global political agreement. The EU even appreciated that the sanctions failed to hit their mark judging
by the recent removal of travel bans on several Zanu PF officials. But the issue of course has never been a sanctions issue, but a governance culture issue.
The targeted sanctions gave an excuse and opportunities to Zanu PF as they became a convenient scapegoat to champion its corruption and self-engrandisement agenda. This saw the regime intensifying its grip on citizens as it played innocent victim by drafting draconian laws like POSA and AIPPA under the auspices of protecting the country’s sovereignty.
Zanu PF leaders went on a wealth accumulation crusade by looting diamonds, invading companies under the guise of Indigenization and Economic Empowerment and buying properties. China then entered the matrix due to the Look East policy, a programme that is suicidal to Zimbabwe as the Chinese are doing business without even remitting
taxes to the treasury and building on our remaining wetlands a move that is threatening our environment.
The sanctions in Zimbabwe are targeted against individuals, in other words the EU and USA would not trade with companies owned by the individuals or companies that aided the abuse of human rights. By 2008 they were only 120 people on the sanctions list of both the EU and the USA. Sanctions targeted perpetrators of political violence, these people were either involved directly or indirectly.
Zanu PF says the MDC invited sanctions into the country but when economic sanctions were imposed on Ian Smith in 1961, were they invited by the Nationalist Democratic Party? The people of Zimbabwe need to really appreciate that the issue of sanctions is not the issue in Zimbabwe. If sanctions were an issue, how come the MDC were able to
ensure there was basic goods in the market? How come the hospitals now have medication? How come the roads are being improved? How come the economy moved to an upwards trajectory? How come we now have fuel,
electricity and water, at least in places where it used to be before Zanu PF malpractices?
The people are tired of lies. It is a fact that poor governance is a major problem for Zimbabwe. The true sanction affecting this country is what Zanu PF has subjected the people to. Violence, poverty, fear.
This has to end.
* Yvonne Mashie is a Journalist and an Information officer with the Movement For Democratic Change. The views are hers.