We can't continue blaming sanctions

HARARE - If there is one thing that Zanu PF politicians, including President Robert Mugabe, have perfected in the last decade, it is to blame sanctions for everything that has gone bad in this country.

This very disconcerting propaganda has been given legs by government which is funding a research on the impact of the so-called sanctions despite obvious evidence showing the man-made blunders which contributed to the ruin of our once-prosperous economy.

In a rare dose of refreshing news last week, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa went against his colleagues, and rightly urged Zimbabweans to stop blaming sanctions for the wreck that our country is.

Of course Mnangagwa, just like his colleagues, is also culpable for perpetuating this rather dishonesty, but his consistence, since he became VP in 2014, is quite sobering.

We remember his candid interview with a Chinese State television during his visit to the Asian giant in which he admitted that the country was 20 years behind in development.

The Midlands godfather has also been very clear on government’s policy inconsistencies and the need to expedite reforms to promote the ease of doing business.

It was, therefore, quite encouraging that the VP, a hardliner in the eyes of many Zimbabweans, would come out in the open and encourage change of direction in the way we deal with the current economic rot.

Surely, we cannot whine about sanctions for the rest of our lives.

Leadership is about solutions and managing crises.

Ever since the restrictive and targeted measures were imposed, more than a decade ago by Western countries, on Mugabe and his cronies — over human rights abuses and governance concerns — the regime has used the sanctions as a scapegoat.

While some remain, most of the sanctions have been lifted, including those imposed on strategic State-controlled institutions.

It is not the sanctions that have driven us to the current malaise.

Mnangagwa is spot on but admission alone is not enough. Government needs to walk the talk and set policies that allow the resuscitation of the economy — including attracting new investment — without blaming sanctions.

The moment government begins to think along those lines, everyone — including its fierce critics — would begin to see reason for convergence of ideas.

This doesn’t need rocket science.

However, it takes a wise person to seize the right moment and hopefully there are wise ones within our government.

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