Sanctions: Ball in Zanu PF court

HARARE - Talking to a senior diplomat the other day I was asked if the Tsvangirai-led MDC still supported the travel restrictions on Zanu PF leaders and the remaining sanctions on the financial sector and certain companies.

My response was that in the GPA we agreed to seek their removal and had advocated this throughout.

Now that the GPA is a dead letter, we felt that the remaining restrictions were not having any impact and were counterproductive in that they gave Zanu PF a fig leaf behind which they could hide.

Further, they aggravated our relations with other African States and therefore we felt that they no longer served any purpose and should be removed.

But the difficulty of that position is that Zanu PF has done nothing in the 15 years since the first imposition of restrictions to warrant such an action by the countries and organisations that imposed them in the first place.

Now that Zanu PF has resumed full control of the State after yet another flawed electoral process that did not meet accepted benchmarks, the countries still wanting to see compliance with accepted standards of governance and human rights are reluctant to relinquish what they feel is their only way of applying pressure on the party to behave.

My response to that point of view was to say, try another way of going about the operation which will have the same effect on the targeted individuals and organisations.

For example, lift the travel ban and then state very clearly that any individual visiting their country and who, in their view had violated human rights or committed crimes against humanity, would be arrested and tried in the local courts.

In that way every individual would have to make a calculated estimate of what information they had on them, what the legal and political implications were and what was likely to happen in a real court of law.

Believe me I know of over 2 000 individuals in the leadership of Zanu PF and the State itself, who would be very nervous of stepping off a plane at New York or London, let alone the 140 or so individuals who are currently listed.

This would raise a further issue for civil society and human rights groups all over the world as to what criteria to apply to such arrest warrants. How wide do we cast the net?

In my view we could cast the net as wide as the infractions occur in a country like Zimbabwe.

We could go right back to 1983 and Gukurahundi, or we could reach back to Murambatsvina.

In the first instance we would have rich pickings — it is already established in law, that this was genocide; a deliberate attempt to wipe out a tribal or ethnic group by means of physical violence, extra judicial killings on a large scale and deliberately withholding food supplies to whole communities for extended periods.

We can certainly identify the individuals that were directly responsible for this “moment of madness” as Mugabe called it, and we could also identify many hundreds of perpetrators on the ground. Very few of the 140 individuals on the present list of restrictions would escape attention.

Murambatsvina is already classified by the United Nations as a mass violation of human rights.

700 000 people were made homeless, 1,2 million were displaced and hundreds of thousands were forcibly displaced from their urban homes. Tens of thousands died every month following these forced evictions in the middle of winter and we can identify the people responsible very easily.

Right now Murambatsvina mark 2 is under way and it would be even easier to identify those responsible.

Then there are all those who have been directly involved on the political oppression of the MDC and its supporters since 1999.

We have maintained careful records of these incidents and we have police reports, sworn affidavits, photographs, video, as well as recordings of statements and media reports, as well as many court records of cases that have been brought to trial but never concluded.

These records make gruesome reading and we have already had legal experts review the cases and give us their assessment of whether or not these would find traction in their courts.

They have indicated to us that many of the cases are absolutely water tight and would lead to conviction in a decent court.

Then there are the not so easy things to assess. In 2008, 300 000 people died in Zimbabwe, 17 000 women died in childbirth, tens of thousands died of TB and malaria — both diseases we thought were beaten.

Thousands died of water borne disease, hundreds of thousands of children died of all sorts of preventable causes.

Hospitals were just large mass mortuaries, clinics non functional, public health systems, water and sanitation collapsed.

Life expectancy fell precipitously from 60 years on average to 34 years. In a decade, life in Zimbabwe was returned to conditions last seen in Europe 400 years ago.

Was this deliberate? Many of us think so. Was it just the collective result of years of stupidity and mismanagement?

Perhaps; either way people were responsible and surely, they should be held accountable.

The reality is that Zanu PF had declared war on its own people and in the process they had destroyed agriculture, reduced two thirds of the population to absolute degradation and starvation and collapsed the economy, thrust 5 million people out into the Diaspora and reduced employment by half.

Comments (3)

(1) Through economic mismanagement, undemocratic practices, and the costly deployment of troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Government of Zimbabwe has rendered itself ineligible to participate in International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Monetary Fund programs, which would otherwise be providing substantial resources to assist in the recovery and modernization of Zimbabwe's economy. The people of Zimbabwe have thus been denied the economic and democratic benefits envisioned by the donors to such programs, including the United States. (2) In September 1999 the IMF suspended its support under a 'Stand By Arrangement', approved the previous month, for economic adjustment and reform in Zimbabwe (c) MULTILATERAL FINANCING RESTRICTION- Until the President makes the certification described in subsection (d), and except as may be required to meet basic human needs or for good governance, the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director to each international financial institution to oppose and vote against-- (1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or (2) any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution i never saw pakanzi travel restriction against ZPF people the act is against Zimbabwe as a country....reporter can you read at all? or you just write junk from your handlers? pity what a shame

mwana wevhu - 18 November 2013

for the full text about the Act follow the link https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/107/s494/text

mwana wevhu - 18 November 2013

"Then there are the not so easy things to assess. In 2008, 300 000 people died in Zimbabwe, 17 000 women died in childbirth, tens of thousands died of TB and malaria — both diseases we thought were beaten. Thousands died of water borne disease, hundreds of thousands of children died of all sorts of preventable causes. Hospitals were just large mass mortuaries, clinics non functional, public health systems, water and sanitation collapsed. Life expectancy fell precipitously from 60 years on average to 34 years. In a decade, life in Zimbabwe was returned to conditions last seen in Europe 400 years ago. Was this deliberate? Many of us think so. " "Talking to a senior diplomat the other day I was asked if the Tsvangirai-led MDC still supported the travel restrictions on Zanu PF leaders and the remaining sanctions on the financial sector and certain companies." The fact that you were asked if the MDC-T "still" supported sanctions implies that at one point, you did. It is my contention that the biggest culprit for the calamity you describe in the second quote in largely the fault of the MDC-T and its unpatriotic support for the sanctioning of your own brethren. But at least you have the decency to call them what they are, sanctions, instead of "restrictive measures." And as well to admit that they are not only 'targeted' at 140 people and a few companies, but also the financial sector. This my good man, is the reason why I went from voting MDC-T in 2008 to voting ZPF in 2013. I found you out for what you are, sell outs.

Nechinanga - 18 November 2013

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