White Zimbabweans in anti-sanctions drive

HARARE - A group of white Zimbabweans have joined the anti-sanctions lobby, calling on the European Union (EU), United States and Britain to lift the restrictions on Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Against Sanctions (Zas) group, which will be officially  launched on March 24, includes  former Zimbabwe Cricket captain Heath Streak, Mathew Smith and his father Gary.

Their calls for the unconditional lifting of sanctions come ahead of the EU meeting in Brussels this week.

Since independence, the country’s 75 000 whites, who form less than one percent of its 13 million population, have been expected to steer clear of politics in a tacit quid pro quo for being allowed to stay.

This is the first group consisting of three members to speak against sanctions which were imposed 12 years ago in protest at human rights abuses and violations of democracy under President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

“We are creating this lobby group because we believe that sanctions imposed on our country  by the EU are gravely hurting our country economically and consequently gravely hurting its people including us white Zimbabweans,” Zas chairperson Smith told a press conference at a Harare hotel yesterday.

“We are forming this lobby group because we believe that the total and unconditional lifting of sanctions is an issue that all Zimbabweans now agree on, irrespective of colour or political beliefs and we call on all Zimbabweans to support this cause as a common interests to benefit all of us.”

Smith, who is a hotelier, said not enough whites in Zimbabwe take a stand for what is right.
Streak, whose captaincy came under attack in 2002 for not taking a firmer political stand amid an anti-Mugabe protest by Henry Olonga and Andy Flower, was unequivocal in his call for the lifting of the embargo.

Streak, who is the Zas spokesperson, quit as Zimbabwe Cricket captain in 2004 after the board refused to give him guarantees over selection as political turmoil soared.

“We cannot change history but change the future. We are about unifying people for a common cause for Zimbabwe,” said Streak speaking from Bulawayo after Air Zimbabwe cancelled his scheduled flight to Harare.

Refuting allegations that the anti-sanctions call was a ploy to protect their interests amid renewed threats to white-owned farms, Smith said Zimbabwe’s policies have been misunderstood because of the negative perception the world has on the southern African country.

The group also called on United States President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron to give Mugabe an audience and hear his views.

The EU, which has gradually eased sanctions on Zimbabwe for several years to reward it for political reforms under the previous coalition government in which Mugabe shared power with his political rival Morgan Tsvangirai, is scheduled to further relax the measures this week, but will keep a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and his wife, EU sources claim.

But the EU has held out an olive branch to Mugabe, inviting him to take part in an EU-Africa summit in Brussels in April and granting him an exemption from sanctions to visit Europe.

The moves reflect a cautious easing of EU policy towards Zimbabwe.

Comments (7)

Is it the zenith/apex of brainwashing

Mukanya - 18 February 2014

Well I must say I like this kind of Zimbabwe where people unite for a common cause regardless of colour.

Kevin - 18 February 2014

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Fireplaces design - 18 February 2014

This is great, though coming late. We should all have started long back. When is the lunatic Tsvangison speaking reason?

peter mayor - 18 February 2014

This is great, though coming late. We should all have started long back. When is the lunatic Tsvangison speaking reason?

peter mayor - 18 February 2014

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Irrrigation Matters - 18 February 2014

Seing no evil and hearing no evil when there is alot of evil going on, is evil. Now that these whites have their business interests to protect first they have decided not to botha about human rights violations in Zimbabwe. 'sic'

Ziziharinanyanga - 18 February 2014

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