SANCTIONS imposed by Western countries on Zimbabwe are an injustice that has caused untold pain on Zimbabweans and the region at large, African Union Chairperson and Senegalese President Macky Sall has said.
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly here on Tuesday, President Sall said the economic sanctions should be removed immediately to enable Zimbabwe to realise its full potential.
This comes as African countries, notably South Africa, Rwanda, Botswana and Namibia, have consistently condemned the unilateral sanctions that were imposed two decades ago by the United States, Britain and their Western allies as punishment for the land reform programme.
It also comes as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, has red-flagged the US and her allies for unilateralism, breaking international laws and punishing Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans using their might.
At the UNGA 77th session, the biggest diplomatic platform in the world, President Sall was also unequivocal in the call for the removal of sanctions which have cost Zimbabwe an estimated US$100 billion in terms of direct and indirect investment.
“The AU once again calls for the lifting of foreign sanctions against Zimbabwe. These harsh measures continue to inflict a sense of injustice against an entire people and aggravate their suffering in these times of deep crisis,” he said.
The call for the removal of the illegal embargo comes just a few days after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his deliberations with US President, Mr Joe Biden, said the illegal embargo has not only affected Zimbabwe, but the entire SADC region.
October 25 has been set aside as the SADC Anti-Sanctions Day.
Apart from the primary sanctions that were imposed by the Western world as punishment for the land reform programme, there are also secondary sanctions that have seen financial institutions being fined to the tune of US$3.8 billion by the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control.
So debilitating have been the sanctions, particularly those imposed by the US and packaged misleadingly as the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, that multilateral financing from institutions such as the World Bank and the Africa Development Bank has ceased — with dire ripple effects on the lives and livelihoods of Zimbabweans.
The sanctions have decimated critical sectors such as health, education, and also the private sector.