Masvingo backs anti-sanctions campaign

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Masvingo (Masvingo Star-New Ziana) – Masvingo Province is mobilising to raise public awareness ahead of the solidarity anti-sanctions day slated for October 25 this year, a senior official has said.

It intends to mobilize people across the province to participate in various events such as street matches on the anti-sanctions day, provincial development coordinator, Fungai Mbetsa, said.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which Zimbabwe is a member, declared October 25 as a day of solidarity with Zimbabwe over illegal sanctions that the United States and the European Union imposed on the country two decades ago.

Various activities will be held across SADC on the day to call for the lifting of the embargo which has cost the country an estimated US$100 billion.

At home, marches are expected to be held in cities and towns across the country as Zimbabweans join the rest of SADC in demanding the removal of sanctions that have affected virtually every facet of life, especially the economy.

Mbetsa said the sanctions are holding back efforts by industry to retool in Masvingo Province like elsewhere in the country.

“Sanctions are negatively affecting the economy and the retooling of industry since some of the machinery was imported from Europe, that machinery is no longer being maintained only because we are no longer trading with them. By so doing, they are now sabotaging us, resulting in industries not operating at their full capacity.”

“But if there were no sanctions, the machinery could have been maintained or retooled, due to sanctions we can no longer import the machinery as a result of the constraints of foreign currency. We will try to raise awareness by unveiling the effects of sanctions on the economy to the general public.” he added.

SADC at its annual meeting in Tanzania in August agreed to collectively lobby for the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and designated October 25 a day for anti-sanctions campaign.

In imposing the sanctions, the European Union and the United States had hoped the resultant economic pain would force the country to abandon its land reforms which they opposed.

In separate interview, Mbambandi Matongo, a Mwenezi farmer, said because of the sanctions he was forced to improvise a lot of things, including spares for his tractor.

He said importing the spares from outside the country was out of the question in view of the crippling shortages of foreign currency in the country.

“Sanctions are our number one enemy, we support their removal at all costs because we do not see any reason for their imposition. Prices are skyrocketing because sanctions do not allow us to trade with others,” he said.

Matongo said the country has got the capacity to produce enough food and other necessities but was being hampered by lack of equipment with the available tools now redundant.

His views were echoed by retired Masvingo City councilor, Alderman Philip Debwe who said Zimbabweans must come out in their numbers to demonstrate at the US embassy in Harare.

“Sanctions have really dealt us a blow in health and agriculture. We cannot manufacture our own drugs and all our pharmacies have to import which is where ZIDERA (Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act – the US sanctions law against Zimbabwe) affects us,” said Ald Debwe. “We are trying to mechanise but the spares need forex where again ZIDERA comes into force.”

Masvingo Star-New Ziana

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