Southern Africa: SADC Dismisses Targeted Sanctions Claim

SADC chairperson and President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, has reiterated calls for the removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some Western countries saying they push a negative perception about the country and cut it off from global financial markets.

In his statement to mark the Day of Solidarity Against Sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe yesterday, President Tshisekedi said despite claims that the sanctions were “targeted”, the reality was that they had a contagion effect and had caused untold suffering on the rest of the population.

The Anti-Sanctions Day, which is commemorated on October 25 every year, was set aside by SADC as a day on which the region rallies the international community to call for the removal of ruinous sanctions on Zimbabwe by some Western countries.

“Once again, the Sadc reaffirms its solidarity with the Government and people of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and reiterates the calls for the unconditional and immediate lifting of sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwean individuals and institutions,” said President Tshisekedi.

“Sadc is deeply concerned at the claim that the sanctions are of a ‘targeted nature’ and are aimed at unilaterally punishing a few individuals.

“The reality is that there is a spill-over and contagion effect on the rest of the country, in particular by imposing a blanket negative perception about Zimbabwe across the world, in particular in the sensitive global financial markets.

“This perception results in the country being unable to attract much-needed foreign direct investment, lines of credit, and other financial services that are essential to the socio-economic development of the country.

“This is more concerning given the need for rapid global recovery from at least two years of the socially and economically crippling Covid-19 pandemic which has now been compounded by a general rise in inflation across the world.

“Zimbabwe, like most developing countries, is particularly vulnerable to these trends and the unilateral sanctions worsen the plight of her economy.”

The sanctions were imposed at the turn of the century after Zimbabwe embarked on the land reform programme to correct a crooked land ownership system that favoured the white minority at the expense of the black majority.

The country’s economy is estimated to have lost up to US$100 billion as a result of the sanctions.

“Sadc is committed to the consolidation of democracy in Southern Africa, and indeed, elsewhere in the world. Zimbabwe is expected to hold regular national elections in mid-2023,” said the Sadc chair.

“In this context, SADC appeals to those who have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to give space to the citizens of the country to exercise their democratic rights and not use sanctions as a covert mechanism to effect regime change.

“Sadc is also committed to the spirit of multilateralism, and in this regard, notes that sanctions imposed against a fellow nation in the family of humanity must be made in accordance with international law.”

President Tshisekedi commended the Final Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Ms Alena Douhan, which recommends the removal of the punitive illegal sanctions.

In his speech during the Anti-Sanctions Day, President Mnangagwa expressed gratitude to the African Union and SADC for the international solidarity it continues to get in its quest to ward off illegal sanctions imposed on the country.

“I express profound gratitude to the Southern African Development Community, SADC, the African Union, AU, and to other progressive forces, for the support and unwavering solidarity we continue to receive as we struggle against the illegal sanctions imposed on us by some Western countries.

“This is a day SADC designated yearly to express its opposition to and outrage against illegal Western Sanctions against Zimbabwe, until they are removed,” said President Mnangagwa.

“We, the people of Zimbabwe, feel humbled by the solidarity demonstrated by both SADC and the AU, as well as by many progressive forces and organisations, who at the recent 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, in unison, called for the immediate and unconditional removal of the illegal sanctions.

“I particularly express Zimbabwe’s gratitude to Excellencies President Macky Sall; President Felix Tshisekedi; President Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi; President Cyril Ramaphosa; President Hage Geingob and President William Ruto for leading Africa’s charge against the illegal sanctions. They gave the campaign an early and emphatic start.”

Even as he amplified the call for the removal of sanctions, President Mnangagwa — as represented by VP Chiwenga — said he hoped the UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Ms Douhan, will make the West reconsider their position on sanctions.

President Mnangagwa noted that while there is no denying the immense drawbacks that Zimbabwe has to endure in pursuit of its national goals, Zimbabweans must appreciate that at the end of the day, they have to see to it that they successfully push their own development agenda.

“In addition, the endorsement of findings and recommendations contained in the Final Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Ms Alena Douhan, is a welcome development.

“It is the people of Zimbabwe’s trust and fervent hope that the recommendations of the Report will help persuade the West to immediately and unconditionally lift the illegal sanctions which Zimbabwe does not deserve at all,” said the President.

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