'Sanctions removal welcome, but...'

HARARE - The opposition MDC has said it is not against the lifting of sanctions but wants the European Union to review whether the targeted measures have served their purpose.

Speaking on the sidelines of a breakfast meeting hosted by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce on the Zim-EU re-engagement conference in Harare on Friday, Dorcas Sibanda, the MDC deputy chief whip, said it has to be clear whether the reason for the imposition of sanctions has been achieved.

“Before these sanctions can be removed, people of Zimbabwe must get all their freedoms back,” Sibanda said.

“We also have to know that, the issue of sanctions is not behind our economic woes.

“These are targeted sanctions and those targeted know what they did and what they must do for them to be removed.

“People in the rural areas have been conditioned to think that sanctions are the root cause of all our problems, but that is not the case.

“Zanu PF has been behind this economic meltdown, with unaccountability at the forefront.

“If you look at the issue of outrageous salaries being earned by parastatal bosses — who approves those salaries?

“Even if those people get arrested, they are quickly released because it is a process that involves Zanu PF big-wigs, which are aware of such happenings.

“So to say sanctions have been hurting everybody is far from true.”

Sibanda continued: “It is necessary that people have freedom of expression, equal access to resources and are free to engage, before we can talk of the removal of sanctions.”

Thamsanqa Mahlangu, a member of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs, Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality, said it must be clear why sanctions were imposed in the first place, saying the mantra was being used by Zanu PF to cause unnecessary divisions in Parliament, thereby hindering progressive debate.

“Whenever you ask a responsible minister on any problem in his or her ministry, the answer is almost always linked with the sanctions issue,” he said.

“Now it is a taught hymn that is being sung to override any questions regarding accountability and responsibility.”

Mahlangu said the hasty removal of sanctions could have serious consequences on the ordinary people since those on targeted restrictions have been kept in check, knowing the possible consequences for their actions.

“At least there was some form of regulation for those who suppress freedoms of the ordinary people,” he said.

“Now if those targeted sanctions are removed, how do we know that these people will act responsibly?”

Speaking at the same event,  Ken Chikonzo, the ZNCC chief executive, said the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe would go a long way in promoting industrial revival and development.

“As long as there are sanctions, investment is subdued,” Chikonzo said.

“Once those sanctions are removed, there can be normal trading between Zimbabwe and the EU. This can unlock foreign direct investment because as it stands, investment in Zimbabwe is viewed as too risky, considering the country is under sanctions.

“Given a choice, investors would opt out of Zimbabwe because the environment is viewed as hostile for meaningful investment. So, the removal of sanctions can help industry access cheap financial assistance from across the globe without any hindrance.”

Zanu PF MP for Mberengwa East Makhosini Hlongwane said the EU delegation had been given an opportunity to see for themselves, effects of sanctions on industry and trade in Zimbabwe and that their removal would enable government to make a personal assessment of how it can move forward.

“For us, the desirable outcome would be the unconditional removal of all forms of sanctions so that government can carry on with it’s mandate without any hindrance,” Hlongwane said.

Mario David, EU Parliament vice president and head of delegation, said the removal of sanctions or their maintenance was not supposed to be viewed in line with a reward and punishment perspective.

“What I can say is, sanctions do not normally meet the target and their removal must not necessarily be viewed as some form of a reward,” David said.

“The removal of sanctions will not necessarily be because there is progress on part of those under such measures.

“Our aim is to create an environment that will allow localised engagement and interaction that can help in the solving of internal problems.”

The EU delegation was in Zimbabwe on an assessment mission ahead of this week’s review of targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Comments (3)

i thnc for thoz who used to hide behind sunctions the removal will be weth while for us the ordnary zimbos. we wil be in a position to knw and c that ma sanctions aye abviswa wats stoping the progress and no EU to blame. Besides thos targeted by these sanctions are not hurt chokwadi chaicho they are not hurt we the ordinary pple tisu tikuona moto. wen we talk of unemployment rate, if we are to indentify every individual on this un employed group hapana hama yavo yaunoona and tisu povo tiripo. Saka at the end of the day ngaabve kani ese futi

tindo - 18 February 2014

sanctions removal will be a way forward since non performance will be known to be due to the government and not sanctions.

JACKSON Mushayapokuvaka - 18 February 2014

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