Let's all work towards removal of sanctions

HARARE - The meeting between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and two United States senators Jeff Flake and Chris Coons — who are both members of Washington’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee — has shown that the US is in fact prepared to work with Zimbabwe once certain fundamental conditions are met.

US-Zimbabwe relations have not recovered since the days of former president Robert Mugabe. The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera), which meted out punitive sanctions against Mugabe in his personal capacity, as well as against many of his senior officials and some State entities, was recently amended.

The new Bill, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Act of 2018, contains conditions specific to the Mnangagwa administration which, if met may lead to the US government scrapping the current sanctions, thereby normalising relations with Harare which have been frosty for nearly two decades.

For the Mnangagwa administration, this is an opportunity to show that they have the potential to do things differently from the previous regime.

There is one thing that is worrying though. Members of some opposition political parties and civic society have vigorously campaigned for the retention of sanctions on Zimbabwe. The bottom line is that the continued existence of the embargo will continue to burden ordinary Zimbabweans.

It is every Zimbabwean’s responsibility to play their part in ensuring the forthcoming elections are peaceful. Political violence is something that can be avoided if every citizen decides to be tolerant of the other. Previously, violence and intolerance have been products of people’s failure to embrace this “otherness” in fellow citizens. People must start to see wealth and health in diversity.

The normalisation of relations between Harare and Washington will be good for citizens of both countries, perhaps more for Zimbabweans who have everything to benefit from their bigger brothers.

The bulk of what the Donald Trump administration has put up as conditions is achievable more so if the Zimbabwe government starts moving in that direction, that is, putting in motion the reforms meant to achieve this.

The Mugabe regime showed no willingness to align new laws with the Constitution. They never wanted to make the voters’ roll accessible to other contesting parties while the role of the military in previous polls is known, especially the June 27, 2008 run-off.

As a result, most elections post-2000 had contested outcomes, as a result of an uneven playing field.

This time, all Zimbabweans must work towards the total removal of sanctions against the country.

Comments (2)

What sanctions?

citizen - 9 April 2018

The usual rubbish and stupid propaganda. The business and traverl restrictions imposed on ZANU crinimals has no impact whatsoever on the majority of Zimbabweans.

spiralx - 9 April 2018

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