ON TUESDAY, the country’s former ambassador to the United States (US) Fredrick Shava was sworn as Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister to replace the late Sibusiso Busi Moyo who died in January from Covid-19.
Barely a day after being sworn-in by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and pledging to continue to pursue the government’s engagement and re-engagement foreign policy, the new Joe Biden regime in the US extended its sanctions on Harare.
The US joined the United Kingdom and the European Union in maintaining the embargoes, arguing Mnangagwa’s government is failing to implement far-reaching reforms, uphold human rights and deepen democracy.
Sanctions were first imposed during the turn of the century and since then we have been struggling as a nation to come out of the woods. The country has witnessed the dearth of lines of credit, foreign currency scarcity and lack of foreign direct investments as a result of the sanctions and ultimately the decline in the quality of life of citizens, characterised by poor infrastructure and high unemployment.
There is a great feeling of disappointment in Mnangagwa’s government that its efforts to reform are not being recognised by the US, Britain and its western allies and they should be forgiven for thinking that the motive is nothing, but a war for regime change.
Mnangagwa’s administration has, since assuming power in November 2017, aligned over 150 statues to the Constitution crafted in 2013 and more laws are being re-aligned. Archaic laws such as the despised Public Order and Security Act have been abrogated while many more would be allowed soon.
The developments, in our view, should be acknowledged by the US, the United Kingdom and the European Union, but we have observed with disdain that the superpowers continue to shift their demands for the sanctions to be lifted.
Appeals by both the Southern African Development Community and the African Union for the embargoes to be lifted have fallen on deaf ears. There is need for the US and the West to soften their stance on Zimbabwe and allow it back into the international community to rebuild itself.
The isolation of Zimbabwe has not only disadvantaged its citizens, but had a contagious effect in southern Africa. Millions of its citizens have become economic refugees in the region, especially in South Africa, needlessly burdening the countries.
As long as sanctions continue to be an albatross around Zimbabwe’s neck, the country and its citizens will live their dreams and aspirations. The sanctions must be lifted for the country to move forward.