“Breaking: Just got this from a high level official and former Vice President Mnangagwa’s close aide. “Gideon Gono the former Central Bank Governor and Daily News owner has been found with US$8 million cash at his home, Robert Mugabe had US$8 billion, Finance minister Chombo has US$10 million, Youth league chairman Chipanga had US$20 million."
Opinion & Analysis

Satirical journalism isn’t just for laughs

VAR
LET us give credit where credit is due. It was both noteworthy and highly commendable that the leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change, Nelson Chamisa, made his position on Western sanctions on Zimbabwe abundantly clear last week.

Responding to one of his many followers on social media, who had asked him to throw light on his official position on the contentious measures, Chamisa said unequivocally that “Sanctions must go yesterday”.
Although this significant pronouncement resulted in a fair dose of abuse from both his detractors and supporters, as was to be expected, it potentially marked a major turning point in the country’s history, in so far as this relates to Zimbabwe’s toxic politics.
This is particularly so when one takes into account the welcome and growing realisation by Chamisa’s CCC that inclusive national dialogue is probably the only viable way out for Zimbabwe, if the country’s decades long political and economic challenges are ever to be mitigated.

Do Sanctions Work?
Scholars who have studied the history of Western economic sanctions over the past century say they seldom work.
Academics have also gone on to note that measures meant to achieve “regime change” are particularly less effective and successful.
The fatal weakness of political and economic embargoes, which is absolutely true in the case of Zimbabwe, is that they almost always hurt average people more than they do to targeted and misbehaving ruling elites.
In addition, sanctions also almost always end up serving as potent propaganda weapons for those in power against their critics and those they lord over, as they merrily continue to misgovern their countries.
Which all confirms that Chamisa was on the mark when he denounced sanctions last week and pleaded with the West that their measures against Zimbabwe be removed without further ado.
It really is time that other silent key stakeholders find their voices on this crucial matter.

Sanctions & Toxic Politics
There is no doubt in VAR’s mind that our teapot shaped country’s partisan politics worsened alarmingly after the West imposed sanctions on Harare two decades ago.
The result of all this is that today Zimbabwe is in a worse position politically and economically than before the sanctions were slapped on the country, with ruling party and opposition supporters now more fearful and hateful of each other than ever before. One only has to sample Zwitter and other social media platforms to fully grasp the truth of this.
Indeed, our political disagreements have since morphed from issues to identities, and even total hate in many instances ever since Harare was first slapped with sanctions in 2001.

USA Case Study
To illustrate how bad polarisation is for ordinary citizens, a recent study in America revealed that the hyper-political times there, that worsened under the erratic rule of Donald J Trump, are making Yanks sick.
That study showed that about 70percent of Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, reported that politics was stressing them out, with 4percent (about 10 million citizens) harbouring suicidal thoughts owing to politics!
Another study even found that about 11percent of Americans (and 22percent of millennials) ended their romantic relationship because of politics!
Worse still, and just like in Zimbabwe, this toxicity is now said to be feeding on itself — which means that the actions of one side fuel the other side’s belief that their own barbaric responses are justified.
As all right-thinking Zimbabweans know, and VAR thinks that Chamisa correctly understands this, we are now, ourselves, firmly in this catastrophic abyss — which is putting our nascent democracy at stake.

Lancing The Boil
This is why both friends and foes should give Chamisa credit for attempting to bridge the political divide and stem deepening polarisation in the country.
On that score too, all compatriots are enjoined to take divisive alternative and mainstream media platforms with a pinch of salt, as a great deal of the extreme political polarisation we see emanates from there.
Zimbabweans must also learn not to support their party or politicians at all costs. We must normalise holding political parties and politicians to account at all times, no matter who we think this will benefit.
The ultimate goal in all this would be render people’s political differences more civil and to re-establish our ability to respectfully disagree. Surely, this is not too much to wish for.
Until next week, Azishe!

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