Zimbabweans led by their president, Emmerson Mnangagwa marched on Friday across major cities to demand an end to foreign sanctions.
The government a few months ago launched a campaign to make unpopular what it considers foreign sanctions that have crippled the economy.
Government officials including the President 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.
For over two decades Zimbabwe has struggled to rebuild its economy and sanctions have been blamed largely for this.
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.”
The anti-sanctions march roars to life. The procession has now entered the National Sports Stadium. Here protesters are pleading with Nelson Chamisa to have heart. @nelsonchamisa @mdczimbabwe @usembassyharare @euinzim pic.twitter.com/1jX9TNaFAS
— NewZimbabwe.com (@NewZimbabweCom) October 25, 2019
Protest over sanctions
Friday’s march is part of nationwide awareness campaign by the government to blame the country’s economic crisis on sanctions.
The United States for instance has said that sanctions alone cannot be blamed for the state of Zimbabwe.
US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Amb. Brian A. Nichols said “Our targeted sanctions are not responsible for Zimbabwe falling tragically short of its potential. The fault lies in catastrophic mismanagement by those in power and the government’s abuse of its own citizens.”
The economic crisis in Zimbabwe is as a result of corruption, and not sanctions.
— Team Pachedu ?? (@PacheduZW) October 21, 2019
The US embassy has further published what it calls the facts about U.S. Sanctions in Zimbabwe.
5 Facts about U.S. Sanctions in Zimbabwe pic.twitter.com/PxwiqfWv9T
— U.S. Embassy Harare (@usembassyharare) October 24, 2019
Support for Zimbabwe
But Zimbabwe seems to be enjoying the backing of the Southern African Development Community which it belongs to.
SADC’s executive secretary, Dr.Stergomena Tax said on Twitter that “On this day, 25th Oct 2019 #SADC reiterates its call for the removal of sanction on Zimbabwe, which continue to impact negatively on Agriculture, mining, industry &manufacturing, finance, infrastructure, aviation&tourism sectors & thus growth&development.”.
On this day, 25th Oct 2019 #SADC reiterates its call for the removal of sanction on Zimbabwe, which continue to impact negatively on
Agriculture, mining, industry &manufacturing, finance, infrastructure, aviation&tourism sectors & thus growth&development https://t.co/nRIdvuB6DP
— Dr.Stergomena Tax (@DrTaxs) October 25, 2019
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”.
The mantra of sanctions destroying Zimbabwe’s economy was trumpeted under the late Robert Mugabe who attacked the West of deliberately collapsing the economy.
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.”
It is yet to be seen how far this nationwide march and protest will led to the lifting of sanctions on individuals and agencies in Zimbabwe.