Southern African leaders on Sunday rallied behind calls for the unconditional removal of Western sanctions on Zimbabwe, saying the embargo is hurting Harare’s ability to respond to economic and other challenges.The 2019 summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) declared October 25 as the day on which the organisation’s 16 member states should united every year to demand an end to economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the European Union, United States, and other Western countries.
SADC chairperson, President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, said the sanctions have worsened Zimbabwe’s plight in the face of socio-economic challenges such as droughts and tropical cyclones.
“While significant progress has been made since the decision was made in 2019, Zimbabwe remains under sanctions that significantly undermine the country’s capacity to respond to socio-economic challenges that include three successive droughts; recovery from the effects of Tropical Cyclone Idai; poor access to affordable lines of credit on the global market; and servicing of her debt obligations,” Nyusi said.
He said the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic has further placed serious constraints on Zimbabwe’s “ability to fund programmes, as well as investments in key economic sectors.”
“SADC, therefore, reiterates the call for these sanctions to be unconditionally lifted for Zimbabwe to improve the livelihoods of her citizens, and develop unhindered,” the Mozambican leader said.
Another solidarity message came from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who condemned the sanctions as counter-productive.
“The South African Government reaffirms its support to the SADC Summit’s decision to call for the unconditional and immediate removal of sanctions against the Republic of Zimbabwe,” said Ramaphosa, who is also chairperson of the African Union.
The Western sanctions against Zimbabwe were imposed in the early 2000s in retaliation to the Harare authorities’ decision to repossess land from white former commercial farmers.