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SADC Chairperson calls for the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe

His Excellency Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique

Filipe Nyusi, the President of Mozambique and Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has today reiterated the regional bloc’s unequivocal call for the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

It has been one year since the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the SADC declared 25th October as the day for the regional bloc to campaign for the unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on the Republic of Zimbabwe.

President Nyusi said while significant progress has been made since the decision was made in 2019, Zimbabwe remains under sanctions that significantly undermine the country’s capacity to respond to socio-economic challenges that include three successive droughts; recovery from the effects of Tropical Cyclone Idai; poor access to affordable lines of credit on the global market; and servicing of her debt obligations.

“The prevailing COVID-19 pandemic has further placed serious constraints on the Government of Zimbabwe’s ability to fund programmes, as well as investments in key economic sectors. SADC, therefore, reiterates the call for these sanctions to be unconditionally lifted for Zimbabwe to improve the livelihoods of her citizens and develop unhindered,” President Nyusi said.

He expressed optimism in the fact that SADC’s call has received some attention as evidenced by the recent call by the United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Antonio Guterres, and the UN Human Rights Commission, for the removal of unilateral coercive measures, as they have significant negative impacts on access to COVID-19 prevention measures and post recovery efforts.

“We welcome the pertinent conclusions and recommendations of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, which also found out that countries targeted by unilateral sanction are constrained in their quest to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are acutely aware that the continuation of sanctions not only impacts negatively on socio-economic progress in Zimbabwe but also on the attainment of the SADC Vision 2050, the African Union Agenda 2063 and ultimately the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

He added that SADC fully supports the very constructive re-engagement dialogue between the Republic of Zimbabwe and her global partners, including those that have maintained sanctions on Zimbabwe and called on all progressive forces to lend diplomatic, political, and moral support to the re-engagement efforts.

On the other hand, most local and foreign civil society organisations and Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, the President of MDC Alliance feels the ‘restrictions’ are justified in that they are meant to influence the Zanu PF party to stop violating human rights, and the ‘wanton looting of state resources’ as evidenced an upsurge in corruption by the government and ruling party elites.

“Sanctions can not be removed just because someone marched. Those that imposed the targeted sanctions may not even notice that someone was marching. The story of sanctions has always been filled with lies. The truth is, at most 200 individuals including entities were slapped with sanctions following unprecedented human rights abuse, corruption, and mass electoral malpractice. That’s the truth,” Chamisa was quoted in the media yesterday while rubbishing calls for Zimbabweans to march in protest against the sanctions.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende