THE die has been cast! The United Nations (UN) says sanctions against Zimbabwe imposed by the United States, the United Kingdom and its western allies must be lifted unconditionally as they are affecting all facets of the country’s society.
UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Alena Douhan, who was in the country for two weeks on a fact-finding mission, was categorical that the embargoes must go, and then followed by an inclusive dialogue to find lasting solutions to the country’s decades-long political and economic challenges.
In a damning preliminary briefing on her findings, Douhan said: “The US and other states should lift their sanctions targeted on individuals and entities and end over-compliance.
“The time is ripe for sanctioning states and key stakeholders to engage in a meaningful structured dialogue on political reform, human rights and the rule of law and abandon rhetoric on sanctions as an advocacy tool.
“Over the last 20 years, sanctions and various forms of over compliance with sanctions have had insidious ripple effects on the economy of Zimbabwe and the enjoyment of fundamental human rights, including access to health, food, safe drinking water and sanitation, education and employment.”
During her sojourn, she met President Emmerson Mnangagwa, opposition parties, civil society and other interest groups to explore the impact of the sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Douhan has done her job and the ball is now in the hands of the US, the UK and their western allies to take action.
It’s clear as day and night that the US, the UK and their allies would immediately lift the sanctions. In the first place they never followed the UN system in imposing them. They would take time to end the embargoes and continue to make demands to Zimbabwe to reform.
Given such a scenario, it is now upon Zimbabwean politicians, civil society, the church and other interest groups to come to the negotiating table and talk the country out of its myriad of challenges.
Dialogue should centre on several issues, among them political and economic reforms, upholding of human rights, aligning of statutes to the Constitution, dealing with political violence impunity and necessary electoral changes ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections, among others.
It is time for Mnangagwa and the opposition — MDC factions leaders Douglas Mwonzora and Nelson Chamisa included — subordinating personal egos and come together to chart the way forward for the nation.
If Zimbabwe speaks in one voice, the sanctions will go and the nation moves forward in unison. Let those with ears hear, hear, hear!