Marondera (Chaminuka-New Ziana) -Thousands of people from Mashonaland East turned up at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera and joined the rest of the nation for an anti-sanctions rally that was attended by several stakeholders who included war veterans, students, churches, chiefs and members of the public.
Southern African Development Community Heads of State and Government set the day aside during their 39th Ordinary Summit held in Tanzania in August this year.
Representatives of different organizations gave solidarity messages that were in unison in slamming the embargoes, saying they were having a negative impact on the economy as they were crippling developmental programmes.
Provincial war veterans chairman Cde Peter Sigauke said the sanctions had destroyed economic opportunities and called for unity among Zimbabweans to fight the illegal embargoes.
“Today is a big day for us as a nation as we make it clear to those who imposed sanctions on us that enough is enough. These illegal sanctions are making life unbearable for the majority of people and they must be lifted. Let us unite and speak with one voice as Zimbabweans until they are lifted,” he said.
Kushinga Phikelela Student Representative Council (SRC) vice president Kenneth Tari said the sanctions had dampened the hopes of most students who are not absorbed into the formal job market on completion of their education as industries were either shutting down or operating below capacity.
He said: “These illegal sanctions are a thorn in the flesh of every student. We are learning, but we always wonder where we will be employed as industries are being closed down owing to the sanctions. We always wonder what the future holds for us and as students. We say it’s high time those who imposed sanctions on the country lift them. There are many challenges that we are facing as students such as shortage of food at the institutions where we learn and that has led most female students to turn to prostitution as a means of survival.”
The same message was delivered by a youth representative, Ethel Madawo who added: “Our generation is growing in a tough economic environment owing to the sanctions. As Zimbabweans, we are known the world over as very educated people, but most youths are unemployed. Industries are not employing, rather they are shutting down as operations are being negatively affected by the sanctions. In the end, the girl child is turning to prostitution and early child marriages are becoming the order of the day.”
Chief Svosve, in whose area the Third Chimurenga that marked the land reform program which led to the enactment of ZIDERA started, said although the sanctions were making life miserable for their subjects, Zimbabweans should jealously guard their land.
He said: “Those Western powers imposed these sanctions on our country following the land reform program. They thought that by imposing the sanctions on us, the program would be reversed, but that will never be the case. Land is our heritage and we must hold onto it. We will never back down and those sanctions must be removed.”
Pastor Zhou who spoke on behalf of churches said religious organisations were also being affected by the sanctions.
“We are praying with and for hungry people as life has become unbearable owing to these sanctions. As churches, we want to see them lifted. One day, God will hear our prayers.
Musician Andy Muridzo headlined the entertainment cast while a football match was played later on.
The United States of America and the European Union imposed sanctions on the country at the turn of the millennium after Zimbabwe embarked on the land reform programme to redress land imbalances that condemned the majority of indigenous black people to unproductive land.