Bulawayo residents have expressed their feelings and position on the nation-wide anti-sanctions march scheduled for tomorrow with most of them who spoke to CITE having said they would not be part of the exercise.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) at its recent summit in Tanzania set aside October 25 as the regional day for campaigning for the lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West.
The European Union and the United States of America in early 2000 imposed economic sanctions on a number of individuals in the country accused of human rights violations.
While most of the sanctions have either been relaxed or lifted, ZANU-PF still blames economic failure on the embargo.
In solidarity with SADC, the government has since declared Friday a public holiday to pave way for the anti-sanctions march to be staged in all the country’s 10 provinces.
The main event to be addressed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and SADC representatives will be at the giant National Sports Stadium in the capital.
While smaller opposition parties, most of which have no representation in Parliament, have indicated they would be part of tomorrow’s proceedings, the biggest opposition party, MDC, has said it would not be part of the exercise it described as a waste of state resources.
“I will not be part of the march because I don’t believe it will yield expected results,” Nozibusiso Sivalo, a resident of Bulawayo told CITE.
“We are marching in Zimbabwe to influence people outside Zimbabwe to remove sanctions. As much as I understand there is new media to live stream the march, I think there could be more effective ways to handle the issue like dialogues and mediation.”
Ndumiso Ndlela said he would not be part of the march describing it as a waste of time and resources by the government.
“The issue of sanctions has not been properly unpacked to the masses,” said Ndlela.
“We are suffering and the government’s answer is that it is because of sanctions but they are turning a blind eye to real governance matters like corruption and gross incompetence by leaders in the government.”
He challenged those in government to instead reform for sanctions to be lifted.
Asked if she would be part of the march, a civil servant who did not want to be named, laughed out.
“Me: marching? Marching for ED to live well? Never!” she said.
Qalani Nhliziyo said he would not participate in anti-sanctions march tomorrow citing a wrong setting.
“The anti-sanctions march is done in a wrong setting,” he said.
“The message of anti-sanctions should be sent to Sydney, Australia, Washington, USA, and London UK, if it is a genuine message. Zim activists should go and march there.
The Zimbabwean government should not waste resources and time on this march. Only those who are targeted by sanctions should go and march.”
Nhliziyo said the march would instead worsen the problems of Zimbabweans.
“We are wasting time and resources – and the insanity of creating a holiday out of a reaction of few targeted individuals is shameful,” he argued.
“Zim will lose more than the 4 million budgeted – in revenue because of planned business transactions which will be disrupted by an illegitimate holiday. The marchers should turn against the human rights abusers instead of showing solidarity with them!”
However, Pofela Ndzozi, also Bulawayo resident, said he would be part of the march tomorrow.
“I will be part of the march,” he told CITE.
“I think that every effort to have sanctions lifted should be supported by every Zimbabwean. This does not mean though that sanctions are the only problem we face. I think speaking with one voice as SADC presents a unique opportunity demonstrating the effects of sanctions, not only to the Zimbabwean citizens, but our neighbouring countries, to that effect, it’s a good cause. Whether America responds positively is another.”
Political analyst, Mkhululi Tshuma described the planned march as a waste of time and resources.
“This is another waste of the meagre state resources the country still has,” posited Tshuma.
“We can’t have a situation where a few people who have stolen power abuse the whole nation to fight a cause that is not national at all. There are no sanctions against Zimbabwe by the EU or the US. There are only targeted sanctions against a few kleptocrats who have been abusing the whole nation.”
He said sanctions were necessary as the only hope for Zimbabwe to return to sanity.
“The sanctions march will not solve the issues affecting Zimbabwe. If there is going to be any useful march it must be against corruption, misgovernance and abuse of human rights. We can’t have abductions in this age honestly,” said Tshuma.
“May I urge Zimbabweans to shun this stupid grandstanding with the contempt it deserves. We can’t be used again. If our leaders want sanctions removed, then they know what they have to do. Surely wasting state resources on a march is not one of the ways.”
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) and the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) would be ferrying passengers to Harare for the march free of charge, something also described by citizens as a waste of state resources.