Johannesburg — ZIMBABWEANS in the Diaspora have amplified calls by the government on the West to unconditionally remove sanctions and pledged their readiness to invest in the revival of the economy.
The foreign-based Zimbabweans voiced their concern at the sanctions imposed at the turn of the millennium, arguing such embargoes were hurting ordinary people.
An estimated five million Zimbabweans-almost a third of the population- fled the Southern African country in the wake of the problems emanating from the sanctions imposed by the United States (US) and its allies, including ex-colonial master, Britain.
These were effected after the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) embarked on the land reform programme.
The continued existence of these economic restrictions have seen millions of ordinary citizens dying from common diseases, municipalities failing to fully function, companies closing down and spiraling economic crises.
This past weekend, as is now the tradition annually under the Anti-Sanctions Day (October 25), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) renewed calls on the US and the West to immediately remove the sanctions.
Neighbouring countries have not been spared the impact of the sanctions as thousands of Zimbabweans, who flee their country exert more pressure on governments struggling to provide services to their citizens.
Luke Dzipange Zunga, chairman of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Chamber (ZDDC), called for the removal of the sanctions.
“The sanctions must be removed, whatever nature of sanctions they are,” he said in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
He said the removal of the embargoes would enable Zimbabwe address its economic programmes.
The sanctions are impeding the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa from turning the country’s fortunes around.
Zunga disclosed the Diaspora had plans to meet President Mnangagwa to present their proposals for land utilisation aimed at reviving the country’s agricultural sector.
He however accused the government technocrats of blocking the communication between the Diaspora and the president, who has been in power since 2017.
“The Diaspora is ready (to meet the president) and available,” Zunga, a renowned economist, said.
“It is the President (Mnangagwa) who is not available for engagement which the Diaspora has been asking for. If we meet the president, he will find that the Diaspora is more than ready,” he added.
“It may not be investment in terms of large amounts of money, but critical solutions. So far our president is behind curtains,” Zunga said.