Address by President Mnangagwa during the Anti-Sanctions Day main event at the National Sports Stadium.
On 18 August 2019, the SADC Heads of State and Government, meeting in Dar es Salam, Tanzania, took a bold and historic decision to declare October 25, as the day on which the entire SADC region would collectively voice its disapproval and condemnation of the illegal sanctions imposed on our country, Zimbabwe.
The unjustified and oppressive illegal sanctions continue to cause untold suffering to the ordinary people of our great country. Their direct and indirect debilitating impacts have equally been felt by our neighbours.
Today, we arise and collectively say: Enough is Enough! The illegal sanctions are an albatross to the development, well-being and prosperity of the people of Zimbabwe. SANCTIONS MUST GO — REMOVE THEM NOW.
As we meet, throughout the country, on this landmark day, let it be known that we are united in purpose, resolve and determination. Our friends and neighbours, equally join our call. As a nation and people, we say: Thank you SADC for standing by us and for speaking with one voice at the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly. We also say, thank you to the African Union and the progressive world, for supporting us during these difficult years in the history of the country.
Fellow Zimbabweans, Distinguished Guest;
To you I say, thank you for turning out from all walks of life, in such large numbers to mark this important day. Your active participation in all the activities that took place across the country, building up to this event is ample testimony that we are all united against the illegal and unjustified sanctions. We are indeed stronger together.
Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen;
The dispossession of our land was one of the primary grievances which led us to wage the protracted liberation struggle for our country. Ours was a fight to reunite the land with its people, and the people with their land, which promise we fulfilled during the Land Reform Exercise. However, this had dire consequences, and led to the imposition of the illegal and unjustifiable sanctions by the European Union and the United States of America.
The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) was passed in 2001, which saw our country being denied access to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank (WB) development finance and credit facilities. ZIDERA works in conjunction with the US Executive Orders which are renewed yearly and prohibit Zimbabwean entities and individuals from doing any business with the United States of America.
Those who act in defiance to this law, risk their financial transactions being blocked or penalised. In addition, travel bans and asset freezes have been imposed on a number of our citizens on frivolous allegations.
Furthermore, ZIDERA has blocked Zimbabwe’s access to international credit markets, leading to the drying up of traditional sources of external finance. The country has not received any budget support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank since the imposition of sanctions.
As a result, the Government has been forced to virtually operate from hand to mouth. The sanctions have also branded Zimbabwe’s financial linkages with the rest of the world as high risk, thereby making our banks compelling targets for de-risking interventions by corresponding banks in the USA and Europe.
To date, some of our local commercial banks have been slapped with staggering billions of dollars in fines.
For nearly 20 years, we have lived under the unbearable weight of these illegal sanctions. Their impact on our daily lives is immeasurable and the consequences are dire. We know very well that the sanctions are neither “Smart” nor “Targeted.” For example, two agricultural and infrastructural development banks were placed under sanctions, which saw them losing millions, in lines of credit and reputational damage.
State-owned companies and their subsidiary companies in the fertiliser industry also had their accounts frozen. Millions belonging to another chemical manufacturing company were also intercepted. Another state-owned company responsible for marketing the country’s minerals lost revenue in similar circumstances. The list is indeed endless.
Many of our people have, over the years, lost loved ones in our hospitals due to the impact of sanctions on our health delivery systems.
Meanwhile, breadwinners have found themselves without jobs as industries and companies either downsize or close down. Those in the industrial sector are denied international credit to retool their businesses, importers are asked pay cash up front and our exporters are denied access into some markets. The manufacturing sector has seen the country losing most of its overseas international markets.
The negative perception that has come with sanctions has impacted on foreign direct investment inflows. This, in-turn, negatively affects our economic growth, balance of payment position and employment levels. University students, the academia and members of the media fraternity, among others, are denied opportunities to participate at international fora, which would work to broaden their skills and competencies.
Every part of our country and sector of the economy, has been affected by these sanctions. Like a cancer, the sanctions know neither colour, nor creed, age or gender, and affect the rich and vulnerable as well as the young and old alike. It is clear and undeniable that sanctions were a reaction to the just and necessary act of redistributing our land. For the avoidance of doubt, we want to make it crystal clear that we shall never regret that necessary action and our Land Reform Programme shall forever remain irreversible. We will not betray the many sons and daughters of our country who paid the supreme sacrifice, fighting to liberate our land.
The act of imposing these ruinous sanctions was against the very grain, spirit and letter of the United Nations Charter and a gross violation of the core tenets of international law.
They are illegal and unjustified, with no place in a modern and progressive world which espouses the equality of all nations.
As the people of Zimbabwe, we cannot continue to have the right to our fundamental human rights, dignity and worth trampled upon, all because of the continued presence of this albatross of sanctions! This injustice of sanctions on our nation, our people and on our economy cannot continue. Enough is enough, Remove sanctions now.
Fellow Zimbabweans and Distinguished Guests;
Agriculture is the backbone of our economy; providing employment and income to, our population and also supplying raw materials for our manufacturing sector. Regrettably, sanctions have made it extremely difficult to access lines of credit, and attract investment into this sector.
The sanctions resulted in our inability to develop our irrigation potential which could have a significant impact to the national food security and agricultural growth. Without such essential investment, our country remains vulnerable to climate change. The market access for horticulture produce, sugar, beef and cotton, among other crops, into lucrative European markets, has also been affected.
The mining sector has remained constrained due to lack of funding for recapitalisation, in the face of the continued sanctions regime. Of particular concern are the two minerals marketing companies which were designated by the US and the EU. Assets belonging to these companies within the USA and the EU were frozen. The sanctions have continued to make it difficult for our diamond companies to market and trade at competitive prices.
The sanctions have slowed the rate of implementation of capital projects in the energy sector, resulting in curtailed and unreliable power infrastructure, insecure power supply and an uncompetitive industrial sector. Oil importers now have to operate on upfront payments as credit facilities have since stopped, resulting in the erratic fuel supply. The bottom line has been the erratic supply of some basic products and the reduced quality of life of most of our people.
Meanwhile, our road and rail infrastructure needs expansion, modernisation and refurbishment.
The sanctions have directly perpetuated the cycle of poverty in the country and curtailed our momentum to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Their far-reaching implications on SADC’s ability to achieve its collective targets in the social, economic and financial spheres cannot be ignored.
This is the reality of these deleterious sanctions. No amount of propaganda can spin or sugar coat this gruesome truth. The continued judgement and setting of utopian standards for Zimbabwe, which are never applied in any other jurisdictions, are callous, vindictive and should not be allowed to continue. This is the basis on which we say; enough is enough. Remove Sanctions Now!
Fellow Zimbabweans and Distinguished guests;
We are strong and proud people. A nation of Warriors; a house of stone. Line the Great Zimbabwe, we shall continue to stand, fortified and strong; united by the spirits of those who paid the supreme sacrifice for this country, and emboldened by the resilience, perseverance and hope of this generation, which is hoping for a better, brighter, happier and prosperous tomorrow. Forward ever, backward never.
Today we do not mourn, but we renew our resolve to succeed as a nation, despite the odds against us. Together, in love, peace, unity and harmony, Vision 2030 shall become a reality.
My Government will continue to take measures to mitigate against the impact of these illegal sanctions. To date, we have maximised revenue collection and ensured efficiency utilisation of scarce resources to boost critical areas, for example through programmes such as;
Command agriculture programme,
introduction of mono-currency regime to boost our country’s competitiveness and the competitiveness of our manufacturing sector,
fighting the scourge of corruption,
plugging revenue leakages,
dealing with currency manipulation and artificially high prices caused by greed cartels and businesses,
creation and support of vibrant provincial economies and rural industry systems,
resuscitation of our public transport sector,
modernisation and expansion of our health delivery systems as well as the qualitative improvement of our education sector with an increased focus on science, technology and innovation,
protection of vulnerable members of our society through the provision of social safety nets and support and empowerment of women, youth and the disabled.
Under the Second Republic, we the people of Zimbabwe, on our own volition and for our own benefit, have taken conscious and deliberate decision to reform our political and economic systems.
We are opening up both or political and economic space. Under my leadership, constitutionalism, democracy, rule of law, transparency, accountability and the inalienable human rights of all citizens, shall continue to be the hallmark of our great country.
The engagement and re-engagement policy, as well as the peaceful coexistence with all nations of the world, are now key pillars of our foreign policy.
The culture of dialogue, peaceful resolution of disputes and the acceptance of divergent views will continue to be inculcated among our people. Today we stand with our arms out stretched to all countries of the world, for mutually beneficial partnerships that improve the lives of our people.
Allow me to acknowledge and commend the European Union for taking some initial, positive steps towards responding to our offer for dialogue and friendship.
The EU has begun progressively removing the sanctions that it imposed on us, thereby allowing us to access some development assistance under the European Development Fund. Complementing these practical actions is an ongoing Political Dialogue to strengthen our bilateral co-operation.
We call on the United States Government to immediately and unconditionally remove the sanctions they have imposed on us, for the sake of our children, living and unborn, our youth, women, the elderly; and our economy as a whole. We the people of Zimbabwe deserve to grow, develop, modernise industrialise and prosper without the albatrosses of sanctions. The removal of these sanctions is just and indeed a fundamental human right, for the people of Zimbabwe.
To the Ambassadors accredited to Zimbabwe, you live, work and walk among us, these sanctions affect you too and you have seen their far-reaching effects on our people.
We invite you to stand with the ordinary people of Zimbabwe and report truthfully about the positive developments in our country.
We urge you to carry our message of good will to your capitals and to pass on our call for them to respond to the new realities in our country, and review their policies that do not serve the purpose of progressive cooperation with Zimbabwe. A Zimbabwe free from sanctions, is a better and more valuable partner to you all. We remain resolute and enduring in our commitment to dialogue, friendship and mutually beneficial partnerships.
Allow me to extend special gratitude to SADC Member State for their unprecedented pledge of solidarity with Zimbabwe which led to this historic day. We are equally appreciative of all the warm messages of solidarity expressed here today during the earlier addresses.
Fellow Zimbabweans and Distinguished Guests;
Let me reiterate my gratitude to you, the people of our great country for your sacrifices and the unwavering support you have given to me and my Government during these challenging times. Your steadfastness and patriotism are not in vain. We may be hard pressed on every side, but we are not crushed. Let us not despair.
Let us arise and shine and play our respective roles in the various sectors of the economy. We must roll up our sleeves and work; productivity, productivity and more productivity in every sector; agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, SMEs and all others. The Lord shall surely bless the works of our hands.
Let us continue to preach peace, peace, peace, love and harmony. United we stand, divided we fall.
Viva SADC solidarity.
Viva African solidarity.
Viva Unity against sanctions.
Forward ever, backward never.
God bless you all.
God bless Zimbabwe.
I thank you.