The Zimbabwe Communist Party (ZCP) said it supports the position adopted by SADC to rally behind the lifting of sanctions but was quick to add their focus should rather be assisting the country rebuild its economy.
At the recent 39th SADC Summit held in Tanzania in August, the regional block appealed to the international community to lift sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West and even declared October 25 as a day of campaigning towards the cause.
But ZCP General Secretary, Nicholas Ngqabutho Mabhena, said although necessary, lifting of sanctions was not the answer to Zimbabwe’s economic woes.
“We have always been saying that the only way to rebuild our economy is through a progressive national economic dialogue. Our economic challenges date back to 1980 where the country failed to transform the commanding heights of the economy to society as a whole,” he explained.
“From 1991 we adopted a neo liberal policies (the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme), which we have re-adopted again in 2018. These bad polices that we have been pursuing as a country are the cause for our economic decline.”
Mabhena called upon all the liberation movements in the SADC region to assist the Zimbabwean government adopt developmental polices that will assist in rebuilding her economy.
“We are of the view that returning to national planning such as devolution of power is the route to go if we are to rebuild the economy. The immediate challenge that we need to deal with is to resolve the currency question.
“Once we do that we need to focus on production, particularly farming and farmers should be preparing for the rainy season yet there’s not much being done save for corruption around the agriculture ministry,” he said explaining that focus needed to be production even if sanctions were to be removed.
The communist added that removal of sanctions would be futile if there was no discipline in how the country conducted its affairs.
“If we don’t arrest corruption, we won’t be able to rebuild our economy, so let us adopt policies that will assist in the rebuilding of our economy,” Mabhena said.
Meanwhile, some analysts believe the call made by SADC was not feasible because each country had its own foreign policy goals and direction, which were country specific while Zimbabwe’s sanctions were due to reform failure.
“This call made by new SADC chairman, John Magufuli (President of Tanzania) was more of political statement to sound politically correct. Zimbabwe’s sanctions were imposed because of deteriorating human rights record and any country that goes that direction will definitely attract the same,” said Thomas Sithole, a political analyst.
He added that was expected from Magufuli was to urge Zimbabwe to take its reform agenda seriously.
“The government must walk the talk and that’s how the country must deal with the sanctions that is says are illegal. The support that Zimbabwe needs is frank talk regarding the situation that is prevailing more so during such summits so that the country takes its reform agenda seriously,” noted the analyst.
Sithole added that leaders on the continent should be frank about the situation in the country because it had a bearing on their economies, as Zimbabweans who find their way to those countries for greener pastures, overwhelmed and overburdened their economies.
“For example, South Africa must talk frankly as their service delivery is overstretched by the mess than here. They cannot deal effectively with service delivery without helping fix situation here in Zimbabwe as the more people flock to there, the more their systems are overburdened. This is the frankness that the Zimbabwean leadership has to be told and it needs to understand that,” he quipped.