Harare, (New Ziana)- President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday called on the U.S and the European Union (EU) to unconditionally lift illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe nearly two decades ago as the embargo had led to a deterioration of the quality life of the people.
The Zimbabwean leader, who was addressing thousands of people who attended the inaugural anti-sanctions day, defiantly said Zimbabwe would continue to stand strong, with the backing of its patriotic citizens and support of regional and continental organisations.
“These unjustified and oppressive illegal sanctions continue to cause untold suffering to the ordinary people of our great country,” he said.
“Their direct and indirect debilitating impact has equally been felt by our neighbours in the region.”
The anti-sanctions day was born out of a declaration by the Southern African Development Community at its august meeting that designated October 25 as a day to call for the lifting of the sanctions.
The Zimbabwean government then declared October 25, 2019 a public holiday to mark Sadc’s solidarity.
President Mnangagwa said the embargo, imposed at the turn of the millennium following the Zanu PF government’s decision to compulsorily acquire vast tracts of prime agricultural land that was in the hands of a few white commercial farmers to resettle thousands of landless black families, had hit hard at all sectors of the country’s economy.
The west maintains the sanctions were targeted at specific individuals and not on the economy.
“For nearly 20 years we have lived under the unbearable weight of these illegal sanctions. Their impact on our daily lives is immeasurable and consequences are dire,” the Head of State said.
“We know very well that the sanctions are neither smart nor targeted.”
President Mnangagwa however said the land reform programme was a closed chapter and irreversible.
From health, manufacturing, mining to agriculture, to basic commodity supplies, critical sectors of the economy had seen their performance weighed down by the sanctions due to limited access to credit.
“The negative perception that has come with sanctions has impacted on foreign direct investment inflows, this in turn negatively affects our economic growth, balance of payment position and employment levels,” President Mnangagwa said.
No amount of spinning by the west, he said, would wash away the disastrous impact of the embargo on Zimbabwe.
The sanctions, he said, were a violation of not only the United Nations Charter but also international law.
“Enough is enough, remove them, remove these sanctions now,” he implored.
But President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe would still strive to attain its 2030 target of becoming an upper middle income country in the face of challenges through continued implementation of various reforms.
“We are a strong and proud people, a nation of warriors, a nation of the House of Stone. Like the Great Zimbabwe we shall continue to stand, fortified and strong, united by the spirits of those who paid the supreme sacrifice for this country and emboldened by the resilience, perseverance and hope of this generation which is hoping for the better,” he said.
“Forward ever, backward never, Zimbabwe shall survive.”
President Mnangagwa lauded the EU for having progressively lifted the embargo and accepting a hand of friendship and dialogue with Zimbabwe’s new administration.