Illegal and ruinous sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West have markedly slowed down the country’s development, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
He further dismissed the embargo as an attack on the rights of citizens.
The President said this here during his address to the 74th Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 74).
He applauded Southern Africa for solidly standing by Zimbabwe in calling for the unconditional removal of the two-decades-old embargo.
While Zimbabwe had registered significant progress in providing safety nets for vulnerable groups of society, the President said, more could have been achieved had it not been for the illegal sanctions.
“These achievements are in spite of the continued albatross of the illegal economic sanctions. These sanctions constitute a denial of the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe to develop and improvement of their quality of life.
“Furthermore, sanctions are slowing down our progress, inhibiting our economic recovery and punishing the poorest and most vulnerable,” he said.
The President said Zimbabwe was in a transition and was determined to overcome the reality that it had a collapsed economy and currency due to illegal sanctions.
Namibian President Hage Geingob weighed in, calling for the unequivocal lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe so that Harare could pursue its economic development agenda.
President Mnangagwa urged the United Nations (UN) to assert its authority and honour its principles by reining in countries that imposed the sanctions.
“As the United Nations, let us boldly honour the principles of our Charter. The wrongs of the world must be set right. Unfair practices must be challenged; injustice, racism and all forms of oppression of man by man must be opposed and rejected.
“My country applauds the South African Development Community, the African Union and all those who stand with us in demanding the immediate and unconditional removal of these illegal sanctions,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Those that imposed these illegal sanctions must heed this call and lift them now. Cooperation is a win-win game. Sanctions are a lose-lose game. Zimbabwe deserves a restart.”
The West, specifically the US and the European Union (EU), imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe at the turn of the millennium in protest over the irreversible land reform programme that sought to correct land ownership imbalances that had been inherited from the racist colonial regime.
Both the US and the EU claim to be champions of democracy and human rights, yet they are stifling economic growth in Zimbabwe through the maintenance of the racist sanctions.
Analysts have suggested that the West was using the sanctions as a ploy to effect regime change through making living standards difficult in Zimbabwe so that citizens turn against their Government.
The 39th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Tanzania noted the adverse impact on Zimbabwe’s economy and the region at large, of the prolonged economic sanctions, and expressed solidarity.
SADC called for the immediate lifting of the sanctions to facilitate socio-economic recovery in the country, and declared October 25th as the date on which SADC member States can collectively voice their disapproval of the sanctions through various activities and platforms until the sanctions are lifted.