A group of seven citizens has camped at the United States Embassy in Harare calling for the removal of the illegal sanctions the country imposed on Zimbabwe and vowed to stay put until they are removed.
The Broad Alliance Against Sanctions has been at the embassy since Friday last week and have urged Zimbabweans to follow their lead in calling for the lifting of sanctions that have crippled industry and cost the country over US$50 billion in the last two decades.
The organiser of the vigil Mr Calvern Chitsunge said the sanctions imposed by the US had proved that they were targeting all Zimbabweans.
“We have organised this vigil to show the world that sanctions are not targeted at the individuals on the list, but all Zimbabweans,” he said.
“We have decided to indefinitely camp at the embassy because we have realised that other forms of protests have failed.
“The sanctions are not hurting those people on the targeted list, but the ordinary and disadvantaged members of our community.”
Mr Chitsunge said a lot of companies countrywide had closed as a result of sanctions as they cannot access lines of credit while hospitals have a shortage of drugs and equipment.
“Those people in leadership positions that they claim to have targeted are not suffering like what the ordinary person is doing. This shows that the sanctions are targeting the whole of Zimbabwe,” he added.
Zimbabwe has been under US sanctions since 2001 when the world economic giant imposed measures to punish former President Robert Mugabe’s government for gross human rights abuses and following the chaotic land reform programme.
Mnangagwa, who took over from Mugabe on the back of a military operation last November, had been desperate for international re-engagement to lure investors and revive the economy. His failure to tame rampant corruption has hindered his efforts to get much needed financial aid.
In February 2016, Mugabe publicly said the country had lost gems worth US$15 billion through leakages at the Chiadzwa diamond fields, while Treasury received less than US$2 billion in revenue.
“We have not received much from the diamond industry at all. I don’t think we have exceeded US$2 billion, yet we think more than US$15 billion has been earned,” Mugabe said during his 92nd birthday with the state–run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.