Sakunda sanctions: UK pursuing ‘scorched earth’ policy
Harare (New Ziana) – The sanctioning this week of prominent businessman, Kudakwashe Tagwirei, by the United Kingdom is an attack on Zimbabwe’s economic recovery efforts as supported by the industrialist’s huge investments in agriculture, health, energy and other sectors, observers have said.
Through Sakunda Holdings, Tagwirei has been a leading light in the recovery of Zimbabwe’s agriculture through financing of the Command Agriculture programme that has benefitted tens of thousands of farmers who were hitherto failing to access loans from commercial banks.
Sakunda structured a facility through which farmers accessed inputs from suppliers and only paid the money back upon delivery of their produce to the Grain Marketing Board.
Between 2016 and 2018, Sakunda Holdings spent around US$580 million on agriculture support programmes.
The United Kingdom this week sanctioned Tagwirei, Sakunda and other companies associated with the businessman, in what observers said was a crude attack on indigenous economic recovery efforts of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
Political analyst, Donald Muyengwa said the UK had adopted a “scorched earth policy”.
“The UK, having realised that Zimbabwe is on the road to recovery through policies and programmes initiated by President Mnangagwa’s administration, has now embarked on a scorched earth policy by targeting individuals and companies which are at the forefront of those development initiatives.
“Mr Tagwirei has played a leading role in the revival of the agriculture sector providing the much needed funding that many farmers have been battling to access. This is an attack on the economy, an attack on Zimbabwe which must be condemned by all progressive forces. Zimbabwe must produce more Tagwireis, an economy without strong and patriotic local business people is a fragile one! Zimbabwe must not be bullied by a nostalgic dying empire,” he said.
Another analyst, Goodwine Mureriwa, said the move was a perpetuation of Britain’s confrontation politics as opposed to Zimbabwe’s efforts to reengage and thaw relations.
“The multifaceted businessman has supported Zimbabwe’s government economic activities in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, energy generation and banking. His generosity has also eased the burden of Covid 19.
“Targeting a beacon of black empowerment certainly does not help in resolving the bilateral dispute over the irreversible land reform program,” Mureriwa said.
He said Zimbabwe should remain resolute in busting sanctions through home-grown interventions meant to grow the economy and uplift the livelihoods of the people.
“With the partnership of progressive countries Zimbabwe is moving in at a satisfactory pace towards vision 2030,” he said.
Weighing in, Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, George Charamba said the latest action by the British government was a desperate attempt to put Zimbabwe on a leash.
“What upsets the empire the most are emerging alliances with non-traditional capital from Russia and the East as well as non-compliant, non-supplicative indigenous capital that does not serve them and which they cannot command,” he tweeted.
“Tagwirei made the twin mistake of linking up with Trafigura-not British Petroleum-in the bulk fuel business. His second mistake was linking with the state and not western multinationals in acquiring and reopening closed mines which multinationals held for years in speculation. Shamva gold mine is a key example, as is Freda Rebecca.
“As you know, subsoil assets have always been a preserve of Western multinationals. That dominance is now being undermined at a time when sanctions are increasingly straining on leash with each day that passes, the British note with alarm as the neo-colonial model they would have wanted here (is) failing. This is the fight.”
Zanu PF director for Information and Publicity Tafadzwa Mugwadi said the decision by the British government vindicated the party’s long held position that sanctions were meant to hurt the ordinary people.
“What is interesting in this whole sanctions saga is that the person targeted, in this case Mr Tagwirei is being punished for supporting government to procure vaccines to save lives inclusive of the lives of those who have elected to vilify him,” he said.
“Those who punish black business people for working with and supporting our government in transforming people’s lives are shameless racists and our people will teach their puppets a lesson of their life in 2023.”