Anti-sanctions month hullabaloo about nothing: Analysts

The Zimbabwe anti-sanctions month of October in which the Southern African Development Community (SADC) joins the country in calling for the lifting of sanctions imposed by the West is a hullabaloo about nothing, analysts have said.

The regional bloc in 2019 set aside October 25 as the day of solidarity with Zimbabwe in the fight against the embargo, while the government has since declared October the anti-sanctions month.

But political analysts this week said as long as Harare is not ready to reform, the SADC solidarity in the scrapping of sanctions that have been in place for two decades, will remain much ado about nothing.

“The international community will only listen to the sound of practical reforms on the ground,” said Effie Ncube.

“Therefore, SADC should be focusing on getting Zimbabwe to make these reforms, which are completely in the interest of Africa. The noise from SADC should be for democratisation and not for the few that have looted the country since 1980.”

He further said: “A democratic Zimbabwe that treats all citizens as equals is the best assurance for stability in the region. Peace and stability ultimately depend on justice. Without truth and justice on the Gukurahundi genocide, peace in the SADC region will remain fragile.”

The government, Ncube said, can get the sanctions lifted overnight by ending human rights abuses and taking practical, verifiable and irreversible steps to free and fair elections, rule of law and respect for human rights.

“This is all doable and does not cost any cent,” he emphasized.

Mkhululi Tshuma, another political analyst, said the international community, especially the US and its allies would not listen to SADC lobbying.

“Their foreign policies are fixed and it’s just insane to think that the kind of lobbying being done by ZANU-PF will cause a change to those policies,” Tshuma told CITE.

“It’s only that ZANU-PF leaders are choosing not to learn from past experiences. Last year a lot of resources were lost. Even Zimbabweans themselves refused to be hoodwinked into the anti-sanctions march which later turned out to be a resounding failure. You will think that the party will do a thorough review and change tact but here they are, back with the same tasteless hogwash. It will not work simply.”

Tshuma said the government has to change its governance culture for sanctions to be lifted.

“First it (the government) must stop lying to its people,” he said.

“It must make strides on the reformation agenda. Rights abuses should be a thing of the past. Democratic ideals ought to be strictly adhered to. There must be respect for the citizenry and only then will there be a justification to remove sanctions.”

He added: “Right now you will be shocked to discover that many Zimbabweans want the targeted measures to continue. Politicians have disappointed people and the same people are happy to see the politicians squealing under the burden of sanctions.”

For Sipho Nyoni the international community has a lot on its plate and has no time for the Zimbabwean old story of sanctions when the government knows what needs to be done but chooses to do the opposite.

“The government knows full well what it has to do for sanctions to be removed and that is to free up political space, stop the harassment and persecution of dissenting voices, implement much needed political and electoral reforms, accelerate the implementation of substantial and not just piecemeal media reforms, stem the ever-growing tide of corruption and last but not least deal with institutional militarisation especially with regards to government departments and parastatals,” said Nyoni.

“The government is aware of issues it has to deal with for sanctions to be removed but is a bit lackadaisical in its approach towards these issues because in a way the issue of sanctions gives it a guide to hide behind and explain away its ever-growing failure to improve the livelihoods of Zimbabweans.”

This year’s theme for the Zimbabwe anti-sanctions campaign is: Friend to all: Enemy to none.

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