Zimbabwe’s government has launched a campaign to make unpopular what it considers foreign sanctions that have crippled the economy.
Government officials and the ruling party, the Zanu-PF leaders have been projecting messages across all major media platforms including social media about the impact of these sanctions.
They insist that sanctions particularly from the United States of America have made it impossible for any major progress to be achieved in growing and rebuilding the Zimbabwean economy.
This has been the mantra under the late Robert Mugabe who attacked the West of deliberately imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe and leading figures to force it into submission.
For over two decades Zimbabwe has struggled to rebuild its economy and sanctions have been blamed largely for this.
The African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamatso recently said that sanctions on Zimbabwe must go so “Zimbabwe can play its role,not only at the regional level, but at continental level”.
Mnangagwa calls for end to sanctions
Last month at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his government has made progress in spite “of the sanctions we continue to face.
Sanctions are slowing down our progress, inhibiting our economic recovery and punishing the most vulnerable.
Zimbabwe deserves a new start. Sanctions are a lose-lose game. Co-operation is a win-win.”
These efforts are spite of the sanctions we continue to face. Sanctions are slowing down our progress, inhibiting our economic recovery and punishing the most vulnerable. Zimbabwe deserves a new start. Sanctions are a lose-lose game. Co-operation is a win-win! 3/4
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) September 26, 2019
The Zanu PF party has said in a statement that the “sanctions constitute a denial of the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe to develop and improve their their quality of life.”
It is mobilizing citizens to stage a protest on Friday, October 25 to push for the removal of foreign sanctions.
There are already agitations growing up among a section of Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora.
Progressive Americans unite with Zimbabweans against sanctions imposed by @usembassyharare @StateDept and in solidarity with the President of #Zimbabwe @edmnangagwa #sanctionsmustgo#UNGA2019#UNGA74#UNGA@SadcZim pic.twitter.com/fArPxpeczk
— ZANU PF Against Sanctions (@ZANUPF_Official) September 21, 2019
US denies sanctioning the whole of Zimbabwe
The US embassy has been forced to respond to the calls for the removal of sanctions saying that only certain individuals and agencies have been sanctioned and not Zimbabwe as a country.
“There’s a very false narrative…which I want to correct. Some ppl say that the U.S. has sanctions against the country of Zim. We do not, repeat, do not have sanctions against the country of Zim. We have sanctions against certain individuals & corporations…” @AsstSecStateAF https://t.co/hqaxz5ZAEl
— U.S. Embassy Harare (@usembassyharare) October 3, 2019
Meanwhile the opposition MDC has described the removal of sanction campaign as a diversionary tactic of the government.
A leading member of the party, Tendai Biti said “The #sanctions mantra is a false narrative of deception, deflection ,diversion&deceit.
It seeks to deflect from the illegitimacy & failure of the incompetent predatory regime of Mnangagwa. It seeks to deceive public from billions being stolen by this regime via #statecapture.
The #sanctions mantra is a false narrative of deception, deflection ,diversion&deceit. It seeks to deflect from the illegitimacy & failure of the incompetent predatory regime of Mnangagwa. It seeks to deceive public from billions being stolen by this regime via #statecapture
— TENDAI BITI (@BitiTendai) October 22, 2019
Among Zimbabweans, opinions are divided on the campaign for removal of sanctions. Those views have been extensively shared on social media.
This is the official sanctions list. If your name is not on it then there is no point for you to protest #sanctions. It’s none of your business. Don’t be used as a political condom. #StayInYourLane Source: https://t.co/AIt7IGXji4
— Audrey (@Miss_Audreey) October 22, 2019
Am 100% even if they remove the so called sanctions, nothing will change in Zim, the problem is not #sanctions , the real problem is the system, corruption yagara midzi in Zim,
— Bleedz (@eddieshangwa) October 22, 2019
An American @cynthiamckinney sees that #sanctions are bad for Zim yet we have local sellouts who are in support of sanctions, i think they deserve a jail time for going against the Gvt@Jamwanda2 @edmnangagwa @nickmangwana @Busisa74 pic.twitter.com/I8VZS5wrsx
— Brandon Madzima (@MadzimaBrandon) October 22, 2019
— YIELD Trust (@yieldzw) October 22, 2019
I’m getting more frustrated with pple calling in for #sanctions to be removed like it’s an easy task.We hav engineers like myself who fled the country we cld come back and make things better with the little we hve but koz #corruption pic.twitter.com/xnZqVn2NT2
— SamoraMoisésMachel jr (@SamoraMachel_Jr) October 21, 2019
Every Zimbabwean has joined the fight against #sanctions,fighting against #sanctions is not a @ZANUPF_Official responsibility but a national issue becoz the effects of these #sanctions have targeted the general populace.This is a powerful prayer,sanctions are the art of the devil pic.twitter.com/koO4ogYPbt
— Cde Effort Makusha (@CdeEffort) October 21, 2019
In 2018, the U.S. government said it had no intentions of lifting sanctions against some key Zimbabwean leaders including President Mnangagwa.
Fresh elections were held after late Robert Mugabe resigned from power but that wasn’t enough for sanctions to be removed, according to the US government.
The US government said it will only lift sanctions when the new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa demonstrates it is “changing its ways.”
The then U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Manisha Singh, told a House of Representatives hearing that there are 141 entities and individuals still under U.S sanctions.
President Mnangagwa this month described his country’s economy as “dead” and promised to bring it back to life.
Zimbabwe is facing serious economic challenges with surging inflation and lack of physical cash for business transactions.
It is yet to be seen if indeed the so called sanctions against some individuals and agencies in Zimbabwe are the reasons for this crisis and if their removal would breath life back into the Zimbabwean economy.